Setting Sail for Macau

Ruins of St. Paul’s in central Macau (facade).

After kicking off the New Year on a junk boat in Hong Kong, my crew and I decided to sail to Macau and spend the first day of 2018 in an incredible new place we had never been before.  Macau is a unique country because it has a mix of Chinese and Portuguese culture, and the island has both fancy gold casinos and traditional temples attracting a lot of different travelers.  It truly feels like an adventure when you ride past a concrete capitalist jungle resembling the Vegas Strip and into the heart of the city where historic ruins lay waiting to be discovered.

Traveling to Macau from Hong Kong is very easy, all you need to do is get off at Shueng Wan Station and catch a ferry that runs every 15 minutes for $25.  The boat ride is only an hour long and is very pleasant.  There is also an international airport on the island.  When we arrived, we decided to hire a taxi for 4 hours and split the price between the three of us rather than use a bus.  I can’t remember the exact price as I was a new traveler, but I remember it wasn’t that expensive and was overall worth it for the convenience.

The two images above demonstrate the stark contrast of architecture in Macau.  From gold-tiled casinos to traditional temples, there is no shortage of exciting things to see here.  We first stopped at the Colosseum at the Fisherman’s Wharf, which is very similar to hotels in Las Vegas!  You can walk through the Colosseum and also go to the nearby casinos if you are interested.  This is an obvious tourist trap, but I was on one of my first international trips so I’ll admit that I was impressed.

Next we drove to the Ruins of St. Paul’s, which is actually a replica of the real church but looks completely real!  Next we wandered to the nearby Monte Fort and hiked to the very top.  You can see a beautiful view of Macau’s skyline and also take pictures of the canons that were used to protect it.  After that we were in the mood for food so we walked down to the market and I ordered some really interesting ramen noodles with fish balls.  They were surprisingly sweet and delicious!

You can walk from this area to Portuguese Street and spend hours seeing the shops and parks nearby!  We did a mix of activities including lighting incense at a temple, trying free samples at the food stalls, then looping around this area until dusk because there was so much to see.  On our last stop, we went to Macau Tower where you can go bungee jumping and skywalking!  This tower holds the Guinness World Record for “Highest Commercial Bungy Jump” in the world.  Unfortunately since it was New Year’s Day there was a long wait for bungee jumping, so we did skywalking instead (Luke would be proud).

Skywalking at Macau Tower is actually quite the thrill.

Though it wasn’t bungee jumping, it was actually quite the thrill!  Our guide spoke perfect English and made sure everyone was comfortable before we started walking the perimeter of the tower.  She would instruct us to try different movements and took photos of us while we enjoyed the beautiful skyline and the sensation of being 731.6 ft in the air.  Though it was only for a few minutes, it felt like forever and was a really neat experience.

By the time we finished, it was night time so we decided to head back to Hong Kong from the port!  You can see Macau in a day if you make use of the buses or a taxi, but I recommend staying for a few days if you can.  I had a lot more fun here than in Vegas in comparison, and my money went a long way.

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