Travel Log: Macau & Hong Kong

Today it is time for another travel log!  This one details the tail-end of our Southeast Asia trip: we spent the last few days in Hong Kong visiting friends before flying home (it is very easy to get back to Seattle from Hong Kong--you can catch a flight at 7pm and arrive ~5pm the same day.).  You have probably already seen some of my other Southeast Asia travel logs, but if not you can see them here.  I have traveled to Hong Kong several times for both work and vacation, but had never been to Macau, so this time we decided to take the one-hour high-speed ferry ride from Hong Kong to Macau for a half-day trip.  Macau was a Portuguese colony from 1557 until 1999 when it became a special administrative region of China (like Hong Kong), and has been known as the "Monte Carlo of the Orient" ever since gambling was legalized by the Portuguese government in the 1850's.  It is very easy to get to Macau: you can purchase TurboJet tickets in the Shun Tak Center (Central - Sheung Wan station) and then just jump on the ferry at the terminal below.  When you depart the ferry, you will walk outside to find buses owned by all of the major casinos.  You can jump on whichever one you would like to visit and ride to that casino for free; we chose the Wynn because it was one of the closest casinos to explore the Portuguese part of Macau (the Grand Lisboa is also a good option).  These buses are also the best way to get back to the ferry terminal for your return journey.  Please read on for photos and details of our day trip in Macau as well as some photos from Hong Kong.

After we walked through the Wynn and determined it looks exactly like its Las Vegas counterpart, we walked a few blocks up to Senado Square.  Senado Square (Senate Square) is a town square in the old part of Macau with beautiful European architecture and a uniquely paved street of black and white stones in an ocean/water theme with waves and sea creatures.

There were too many people to get a good look at the mosaic floor, but here is another view of Senado Square that shows the Chinese New Year decorations for the year of the sheep/goat/ram.  As you can tell, this is a very popular place for people to visit.

From Senado Square, you can follow a narrow street lined with shops up to the Ruins of St. Paul's.  It is always amazing to me how many people can squeeze themselves into one tiny street - and still keep the flow of traffic moving.

The Ruins of St. Paul's is a facade of a Jesuit church built in the 1600's.  The church burned to the ground in 1835, and the facade is all that remains but it is beautiful and I can definitely see why it was preserved.

A closer view of St. Paul's Ruins, so that you can see some of the detail.  This facade contains Catholic/Biblical motifs, flowers representing China (peony) and Japan (chrysanthemum), Chinese characters and lions, and even s a Portuguese ship.  The steps leading up to the facade make it look even more impressive as you get closer.

From St. Paul's Ruins, we walked up the hill of the Fortaleza do Monte where the Macau Museum is located.  This hill is a 16th-century fort with lovely 360-degree views of the area.

We walked all around the top of the fort to take in the view.  As you can see, Macau is densely populated but not with skyscrapers.  The buildings are in a range of ages and conditions.

We had to stop at Margaret's Cafe y Nata for Portuguese egg tarts - there is almost always a line because they are arguably the best egg tarts.  Margaret's Cafe y Nata literally sells egg tarts as fast as they can get them out of the oven.  They sell other pastries as well, but I honestly only saw customers purchasing egg tarts when we were in line.

A close-up view of the Portuguese egg tart- so good and worth the 30 minute wait.

We backtracked to the ferry by walking past the casinos again - this is the Grand Lisboa.

And of course, the Wynn.  We caught the bus from the Wynn back to the ferry terminal around 5pm, and were able to catch a ferry about 6:30pm.  There can be a long wait on Saturday evenings, so I do recommend trying to leave a bit early if you want to get back for dinner in Hong Kong.

This is a great street shot close to our hotel in Wan Chai - you can see the lit-up outline of the Shanghai Bank Building in the center.  I love how alive Hong Kong is at night - there is so much to do and see when you visit this city.

The next morning, we got up fairly early and took the tram to the Peak.  Sunday mornings are not very busy, and we only waited ten minutes or so for the tram.  We purchased tickets for both the tram ride and the 360 degree Sky Terrace (if you're going all the way up there, you need to spend the extra few bucks for the Sky Terrace).  Once you reach the top, employees hand you a free listening guide and you can take your time walking around the platform and listening to facts about different buildings below you.

I'm guessing this cute sign was added for New Year?  It was too cute not to take a photo.

We happened to be in Hong Kong the weekend of the Hong Kong Marathon.  It was really fun to see the runners going by in Wan Chai near our hotel!  The last leg of the marathon took the runners along the Central waterfront, which was such a picturesque way to end!

I hope you enjoyed these photos from Macau and Hong Kong, and that they inspire you to travel somewhere new this year!  Thank you for reading my blog today, and I hope you have a great week.


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