What does one do on a trip to Hong Kong having already visited twice before and done most of the important sights? Of course there’s plenty of places in the New Territories and Outlying Islands areas which I’ve never been to but I chose to leave Hong Kong and head 65 kilometres west to Macau.
To be honest, I’d never really had any interest in visiting Macau as I’m not fussed by casinos and gambling despite having visited Las Vegas a few years back! What I wasn’t aware of was the Portuguese architecture and so, with a few filming location sights thrown in too, I decided to take a trip across the waters. My wife wanted an easier and more relaxing day so stayed in Hong Kong whilst I headed for the Hong Kong-Macau ferry terminal which wasn’t too far from our hotel. I coughed up 160 HKD (£15) for a one way ticket, rushed through the passport control and luckily made it on to the 11:15 am ship just in time. As someone prone to travel sickness, it was a good job my wife was absent as she wouldn’t have enjoyed the crossing!
No sooner had I arrived and I was lining up to get a free shuttle bus to one of the casinos. These shuttle are a godsend and no questions are asked. I was dropped off in the car park beneath the Grand Lisboa Casino and there is no option but to walk through the casino and find your way to the right floor to exit the building….if you so wish!
Inevitably many people do have a flutter in the casino but not me as I was on a mission to see some more aesthetically pleasing sights! From that casino, it was about a 10 minute walk to the picturesque Senado Square (below) which is surrounded by pastel-coloured neo-classical buildings giving it a real Mediterranean Europe feeling. One of those buildings was the interestingly named Museum of the Holy House of Mercy.
After walking through the square I saw the fine structure that is St. Dominic’s Church. Soon after that I was on a very busy shopping street leading up towards my main destination; the Ruins of the Church of St. Paul. All the shops lining the street were offering samples of pork jerky and almond cookies which was very much welcomed by me.
Macau’s most treasured icon has five tiers and the steps leading up to it are just full of tourists battling for space to take selfies. I’m not gonna knock it though as I was one of them!
Hong Kung temple (below) – and no, that’s not a spelling mistake – is over 200 years old and, like many of the sights in Macau, was pretty much just a photo stop for me as I wandered the streets heading away from the main tourist area.
Around mid-afternoon the heavens opened up and the rain absolutely lashed it down for well over an hour as I sought refuge in the nearest covered place which was a doorway of a (closed) church. Once that had finally died down a bit I went in search of some locales from ‘Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom‘ (1984) (link will appear here very soon!) before returning to the Grand Lisboa Casino. The first picture below was taken from the steps of the aforementioned St. Pauls and it really does illustrate what a tacky-looking eye-sore the casino building is! It is one though that is pivotal to the economy of this Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.
I mentioned Las Vegas before but compared to that entertainment mecca, this place seemed rather dull and lacking in atmosphere. I had a wander outside and took some more pictures of the casino as well as the bus station structure across the road but I was only really there though to get a bus ticket (available on the second floor) for my return trip to the port.
I was actually back at the ferry terminal before 5pm but annoyingly there was no ferry to Sheung Wan in Hong Kong till 6:45 pm. As I was appearing live on the BBC Radio Leicester Football Forum show at 1am I was not happy as I wanted to get back and relax for a few hours before my late night media appearance!
The currency in Macau is different to Hong Kong but I never got any and didn’t spend anything at all. With the extra time to kill I was absolutely starving so went to the Golden Arches for a social Minions burger which was purchased with HK dollars which it seems you can do in most places not that I was really aware of it.
Click here to read ‘Hong Kong 2017 Pt IV: Getting Arty In Hong Kong’