Last Saturday we took our Zhuhai interns to the exciting city that is Macau. Being at such close distance – the border is just next to downtown Zhuhai – we can go pretty much any day or time we want (if we have multiple-entry visas), but it’s always more fun when you have a big group and lots of attitude!
Instead of walking across the border, we decided to take the ferry early in the morning, because it is faster to get through and we wanted to make the most of our day. After landing on the other side of the bay, we walked to downtown Macau and up to Senado Square. Macau is a great mix of Cantonese and Portuguese culture, so just walking around and looking at the colonial architecture is extremely interesting.
From there we walked through the alleys around the square, past shops selling typical Macau food like cured sausages and almond cookies. The best part is that every shop gives you free samples, so we were able to calm down our hunger before we went off to lunch.
We then arrived at the Ruins of St. Paul, one of Macau’s most famous landmarks and a very exciting sight for us who come from Catholic cultures, since it is very odd to see a huge cathedral facade in the middle of an Asian town. The fort with all the cannons facing the casinos was also very cool to see!
After checking out the sights in the city centre, we decided it was time for lunch and took taxis to the casino side of Macau. We arrived first at the Galaxy, where we had lunch at the food court. From there we walked to the Venetian, by far the most lavish and extravagant of the casinos.
The boys, of course, wanted to try out their luck so we went inside the gambling area and sat at the electronic roulette. Dina and I – the Intern China interns and the only two girls in the group – are not really into gambling so after a while we got bored and decided to check out the shops around the canal on the second floor. If it’s your first time at the Venetian, you might get a bit disoriented when you realise the sky is actually a ceiling and the great Venetian canal (with gondolas and all) is all a big replica.
As with all games of luck, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and this time the boys had to go home with a few hundred RMB less than they came with. But no one can take away the fun they had betting it all away!
We ended the night on a great note at a small, cozy Portuguese restaurant where we ate a delicious grilled chicken, French fries and salad. Some of us took a chance with the lime-juice-and-chilli sauce: it was spicy, but greatly refreshing after a long day of walking! Then of course, some well-deserved beers and sangrias and soon it was time to cross the border and arrive back home in Zhuhai.
Hi all, today we have a special guest blog by Jenny O’Donnell on our lovely Zhuhai neighbour, Macau! Considering how easy it is to reach Macau with your multi-entry visa’s, the Zhuhai crowd especially, has no excuse to pass up this great weekend break idea!
Macau – Asia’s ultimate short break destination
Asia has many fantastic tourist destinations, but few are as enthralling and unique as the Chinese territory of Macau. Located on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, and a short ferry ride from Hong Kong, Macau’s rich and varied history has resulted in it becoming a destination unlike any other.
Although sovereignty reverted to China in 1999, Macau’s years as a Portuguese colony have had noticeable and lasting effect on Macanese culture. And it’s this fusion of East and West that has transformed the territory into one of Asia’s brightest tourist hot spots.
A wealth of sightseeing opportunities
Given its relatively small size, well-developed transport infrastructure and an abundance of things to do, Macau is the perfect destination for an exciting and engaging weekend break.
Nowadays, Macau is generally associated with casino gambling. But in reality, there’s plenty of non-gaming activities to occupy yourself with. Those with a passion for history can visit one of its many museums, whose subject matters cover everything from wine and ships, to motorsport.
Another major draw are the regular festivals and events that are held. Underlining its unique blend of cultures, these typically revolve around major events in the Catholic and Chinese calendars, and there are usually several in a given month.
This cultural blend is also evident in the buildings you’ll encounter, which range from elegant Chinese-styled buildings, to the many baroque-style churches you’ll find across Macau. These also form the basis for many of Macau’s famous walking tours, which are the best way to take in its culture.
Another popular activity is to take the cable car up to the top of Guia Hill, Macau’s highest point and home to the famous fort and lighthouse, and the Flora Gardens.
Shopping and Dining
For those who prefer a good meal and some retail therapy, a trip to Senado Square comes as highly recommended. Alongside luxury boutiques and other shops, as well as great restaurants.
That said, you may also wish to consider a trip to – and up – the Macau Tower. Not only can you observe the world below, it’s also home to the renowned 360 Café.
Macau’s famous casinos
When it comes to the ultimate Macanese evening out, there’s nothing quite like a visit to one of Macau’s famous casinos. Casino gambling is booming in Macau, which has resulted in such famous established casinos as the Lisboa being joined by new venues like the Sands Macao and the Venetian Macao in recent times.
Constructed and maintained with massive budgets, these casinos are among the most luxurious entertainment establishments in the world. And for many, playing a few hands of poker or a couple of rounds of roulette in their casinos is an essential part of the Macau experience.
Nevertheless, they’re not only about gambling. All of them feature an array of dining options, and are host to some of the territory’s finest restaurants. Most also offer shows that range from stand-up routines to theatrical and musical productions. And often, so lavishly styled are they that the venue itself serves as something of an attraction.
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