Abour 1 hour by ferry from Hong Kong, Macao seemed like a great option for a day trip. We took the ferry early in the morning and were all really happy with how nice and smooth everything was – until we got to the immigration area of the Macao ferry terminal. The line seemed neverending and people were trying to cut in front of us a lot, some of the other tourists somehow managed not to understand the simple concept of filling out an entry-card (even if these cards are handed out on the ferry and everything) starting to fill them out when they got to the counter. The chaos made us all quite disapointed and at one point we were even discussing the posibility of simply taking the ferry back to Hong Kong. After about 1 and a half hours waiting we got through immigration. Im not sure if my entire family agrees, but I think the wait was worth it 🙂
Macao is a really special place – the standard of living is even better than in Norway, as there is no income tax – this is covered by the 35 casinos. There is also free health care, school, etc but it is extremly hard to move to Macao if you’re not born there. Macao was once a Portuguese colony for almost 500 years, but it was given back to China in 1999. The signs are still all in kantonese and Portuguese and there’s a strong portugese minority still living on the isles.
We ran into some guides outside of the immigration counters and decided that with a guide we would probably be able to see at least double of what we would manage on our own if we got a guide – so we did. After having breakfast we wen’t to Macao Tower, the 10th tallest tower in the world. The view from the tower is quite nice, you can see all of Macao and also parts of mainland China which is really close. The tower is a kinf of crazy place, as people get to go outside of the observatory and do a “skywalk” (with safety equipment of course) – not to mention the tallest bungeejump in the world is dwon from there as well. We saw a guy do the jump and it looked simply insane. The tower is a paradise for adrenaline junkies! 🙂
Our next stop was slightly more traditional – we wen’t to the temple of Macao. This budhism temple dates back to before the Portuguese colonized Macao and it features budha statues as well as tons of incence, you can smell the temple before you actually spot it. It was nice to see that some of the old culture still lives on in Macao as well.
Next stop was the St Pauls church – or what is left of it anyways. Everything but the facade burned down, but they kept it as a landmark and it is now one of the most popular sights in Macao. The area around the facade features Portuguese style buildings, without the characters I would have thought I was in Southern Europe somewhere actually. Really interesting combo, hehe.
Our final stop before heading back to Hong Kong was the biggest casino in the world (according to our guide anyways) – The Venetian. They have actualy tried to recreate several parts of Venice, including landmarks, gondol rides, etc. We didn’t really enter the actual casino as my brother and sister aren’t old enough, but I had a quick look and it looked huge. The reception area and the outside of the casino looks pretty interesting as well though – especially since my family and I have been to Venice before, hehe. Like my mum said “tacky and cool at the same time”.
This ended up as a rather long blogpost, but it was a rather long day as well and we saw a lot. I think that if Im going to do Macao again I will try to stay at least one night – really cool place though and Im sure it’s a gamblers paradise 🙂