On the Sunday, it is a day trip to Macau. I was initially planning to go to the Macau ferry terminal in Hong Kong island, but the Tourist Information Centre told us that there are also ferries departing from the Ferry Terminal at China Hong Kong City (at Tsim Sha Tsui). It depart every 30minutes and the journey time also take an hour. The return trip cost 323HKD which we paid upfront. Hong Kong dollar can be used in Macau so there is not much worry. But we were careful not to receive change in Macau dollar as it could not be used back in Hong Kong.
I read from the travel books the night before that it is advisable that we book the ticket early if we are planning a weekend trip. Oh no!
So in the morning, we made it a point to go direct to the ferry terminal first and make the ticket purchase. We got there at 9am and all tickets for the next 2 hours are sold out. The only available one is at 11.30am. Since I have forgotten to bring my passport with me and we are going for our breakfast next, this time interval is alright with us.
There is a foodcourt at the 3rd level fo the China Hong Kong City, so that is where I went for my breakfast. Bought a wanton noodles from the stall there, was quite shocked by the meagre amount they give. So I strongly recommend visitors not to buy from there.
The ferry was delayed by 15minutes but the journey time is the same. It is a foggy day today so we just slept through our journey there. Once we have cleared through the customs, it is already 1pm. After a quick inquiry with the Tourist Information Centre, we took bus 10A from the ferry terminal to our first stop - the Senado Square.
1. Senado Square
The bus wind through the streets of Macau and after 10minutes or so, we arrived at this popular tourist spot. The sun came out and it is perfect for a good photoshot. Macau was previously occupied by the Portuguese, thus many of its buildings are based on Portuguese architecture. Compare to Hong Kong, Macau has quite a history behind it. A number of chapels and cathedrals are landmarks sights in this area.
2. Lou Kau Mansion
Straight through the square to another narrow street is the Lou Kau Mansion. It is the house of a wealthy Macauese who was also a prominent figure in the gambling scene of Macau.
A tour guide kindly brought us around and explain to us the significance of the design and the history behind the house.
3. Ruins of St Paul
Further down the streets (according to the direction signs) is the famous St Paul Cathedral (or whatever that is left of it). This is one of the more famous landmarks of Macau and is the popular marketing picture used by Macau. The original structure was burnt down in a fire and only the imposing front structure remains.
4. Mount Fortress
Just next to the ruin is Mount Fortress. It is this defensive position which the Portuguese used to defeat the Dutch. Many cannons can still be found in this hill.
5. A-Ma Temple
We hop on a bus in front of Senado Square to A-Ma Temple. There are many buses going there from the Senado Square bus stop. The buses cost 2.5HKD per ride. The name Macau actually came from this temple. Macau was originally call A-Ma-Cau (A-Ma Bay) in Portuguese. But 'A' was dropped off eventually and it became Macau. I went in to pay my respects.
We took the bus back to the Senado Square area and board another bus 26A to Taipa. There are buses travelling to Taipa throughout Macau but some buses are less frequent so it is better that we positioned ourselves in the more central area to get there. The journey cost 5HKD. Here is the view of the bridge connecting Macau peninsular to Taipa island. The towering building is Casino Lisboa. We will be checking it out later.
Some of you all may have guess it. The main highlight of Taipa island is the Venetian. The largest and newest casino in Macau. It is said to be the largest casino in the world (I'm not sure). Here is the view from the outside of this legendary casino. It is designed based on Italian architecture.
There are many beautiful Venice-styled canals in front of the main building. Notice the boatman below.
We went in through one of the main entrance and the beauty of the interiors really took our breathe away. Just take at look at the following photos. This place is huge!!! The yellow lights give this place a golden feel (just like Thailand) and the walls are decorated with beautiful murals.
Straight down at the 1st floor in the centre is the casino. It is my first time to a casino and I'm quite surprised as to how open it is. Casino in Genting Malaysia is behind closed doors but this is open up for visitors to just walk up and throw in their stakes. I have taken a few photos of the casino in Venetian and the Grand Lisboa. It is only after I read through the travel guides later at night that photos are not allowed in the casinos do I realise I'm not supposed to do that. Thus I will not put any photos of the casinos online or share them with my friends.
After the casino to the second storey is the St Mark Square - just like in Venice! You can check out my photos in Venice and you will realise how similar it is.
There is an indoor sky, many canals and buildings with shops in it designed after Venice-architecture. While taking a photo of the canal, I noticed on of the boatman is singing and recorded a short video of it below.
Back to the Grand Hall is this amazing layout. You can notice the casino tables all around the main hall.
There is a food centre at the 2nd level and this is where we have our dinner. It offers an international crusine, featuring Japanese, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Western and Singaporean (Yes, it is Singaporean!!)
There are shuttle buses going from the Venetian bus terminal to the airport, ferry terminal and Sands. Since we still have 2 hours plus, we decide to visit the Sands resort to check out how it is like. Venetian is still the best. It gives visitors the best experience. Sands is more like a traditional casino with hotels at the top.
7. Casino Lisboa and Grand Lisboa
From there, we took a cab to Casino Lisboa which is only a 15HKD ride away. Casino Lisboa is started by Dr Stanley Ho. He is quite popular among the casino scene. Casino Lisboa is an older casino while Grand Lisboa is a newer one.
Grand Lisboa is the most prominent casino landmark in the whole of Macau. During the day it is golden, at night it comes alive with multi-color frenzy. We went into both the casinos. Master Cheng explained to me the Feng Shui significance of the Grand Lisboa.
A close look at the base of this grand structure. Here is the entrance to it.
Here is a overview of the casino cities of Macau. With Casino Lisboa in the foreground and Grand Lisboa at the back.
Our final casino stop for the day is Wynn. This is the second casino which give visitors a good experience.
While walking through Wynn, we came to a area which is call the Tree of Fortune. There were many people waiting around and it appears a show is going to start soon. It is 9.30pm. Heard the show start every 30minutes. We are in luck!!
This amazing ceiling of the 12 auspicious animal open up to a spectacular display of lights. I have recorded the entire performance, so do check it out below.
There is also a shuttle service back to the ferry terminal and we left at 10pm. Time is running out as our ferry departs at 10.30pm. We have to clear through the customs and get our pass stamp. So we race back and managed to hit the gates at 10.20pm. Phew!
The journey back was the most unmemorable. Due to bad weather, the ferry really gave us a roller-coaster ride back. At the end I noticed all the passengers were feeling queasy from the ride. It took me a few days to get over this feeling. The next day on the bus ride to the Big Buddha and on the plane back, this queasy feeling came back again.