Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Macau 澳門

only 70 minutes by high-speed ferry from Hong Kong is Macau (澳門) “a world of difference, the difference is Macau” as the cities catch phrase mentions.
Macau lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, bordering China's Guangdong province to the north and facing the South China Sea in the east and south.
there are mainly 2 reasons why “tourists” would come to Macau; 1 being to gamble as casinos are popping up all over the place. Macau has now surpassed Las Vegas in the amount of cash being handled!! or 2, to visit the 30 World Heritage sites. as i'm not a gambler, i was here to re-visit some of the World Heritage sites and to watch Cirque De Soleil’s show ZAIA.

the last time i was in Macau was 4 years ago and i couldn't get over the changes during this time! i remember in the past there was only a run-down looking Yaohan department store close to the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal (it’s still there), but now is a huge Fisherman’s Wharf amusement-shopping complex and not far from that is the Sand’s casino.
outside the terminal are free mini buses waiting to take potential gambling customers to the many casinos dotted around Macau, so just hop on one of these rather than paying for a taxi. to get to the city center where most World Heritage sites are i took the mini bus to the Casino Lisboa; the original Macau casino before all the others started to spring up. opposite the “old” Lisboa casino is the now full-on over-the-top gold Grand Lisboa casino.

the old Lisboa casino

the new Grand Lisboa casino

from here you can walk to the famous Ruin’s of Saint Paul’s where now stands the original façade of the church which burnt down in 1835.
as the center of Macau is fairly small you can walk around it easily visiting the other World Heritage sites close by.

Ruins of St. Paul's & St. Dominic's Church

for dinner we went to a quaint little restaurant on Taipa island called “A Petisqueira” where we had a delicious Portuguese meal. everything we ordered was beautiful; octopus salad, paella, grilled sardines, clams, all washed down with some Portuguese red wine. i will definitely come back to this restaurant next time i'm in Macau; nothing beats a great meal with service to match.

A Petisqueira
15 Rua S. João
Taipa Village
Taipa Island
Tel: (853) 28825354

close to this restaurant is also a famous shop selling the very popular Macau snack; “pork chop bun” (豬扒包) which is just that, a crispy bun with pan-fried pork chop inside. nothing else, simple but great tasting. unfortunately they had already sold out when we got there…
another must try is Macau’s Portuguese-style egg tart (葡撻). these can be found all over Macau and a great snack when you need a boost of energy.

Macau's must-try pork chop & egg tart

we were lucky to be in Macau during the International Fireworks Display Contest where 10 teams from Germany, Korea, Japan, United Kingdom, Portugal, Taiwan, Philippines, France, Australia, and China. each night 2 teams compete, so we got to watch the teams from Japan and United Kingdom compete. too busy drinking Portuguese red wine we missed Japan but got to see United Kingdom’s display….but disappointing though as i expected something a bit more spectacular.

overall a nice weekend escape from Hong Kong.


pascale said...

oh my I miss Macau...
haven't been there for ages!

world of sekimachihato said...

if you went back now you probably wouldn't recognize it! I hadn't been back for 4 years but wow, it's changed so much! (hopefully for the better...not so sure about that though)

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