Let’s just say I have a few countries to catch up on! I’ve been so busy with my studies that I’ve left little time to manage my blog as I should’ve, but let’s play catch up whilst I have the time. Macau was a country I had never heard of before my sister mentioned it and I’m not afraid to admit that. When has it ever been mentioned? Let’s learn a little bit about it…
History of Macau
In 1557 the Portuguese landed on her shores and made Macau the first European colony in East Asia. I’m sure they asked very nicely. The original name of Macau was in fact ‘A Ma Gao’ by the Chinese after the Goddess of Sailors, A-ma. The Portuguese decided to adapt it to Macau, which is still used today. I’m sure they asked very nicely. As the years went by, the Portuguese did away with a lot of temples and traditions, replacing it with Christianity and western-style Churches. Again, I’m sure they asked very nicely. The churches still stand today and are actually well preserved for tourists – more on those oppression buildings later.
After the British defeated China in the 1814 Opium War, they opened a ‘deep water’ port in Hong Kong (more on that dust tin can later) and waved goodbye to Macau. From then, Macau has gone from a sleepy port town to a horrendous hub of light and money. Sounds amazing, am I right? It actually is.
How to get to Macau
Since China got renewed ownership of Macau in 1999, there have been a lot of developments in the way of ‘helping gamblers get there quickly’. There is an international airport, several bridges now connecting Macau to neighboring mainland and numerous ferries you can take to get there. The airport in Macau can be quite pricey even coming from South Korea like us. We opted for going via Hong Kong for several reasons:
One, I wanted to go via ferry because I’m adventurous and I obviously haven’t seen Titanic enough.
Two, I wanted to get a brief glimpse of Hong Kong to see if I wanted to revisit it at a later stage.
Three, we’re cheap bitches and it was the cheapest option.
We booked very last minute and it was over Lunar New Years so our flights were still on the expensive side of life. We paid 500 000 won each (currently $421) and flew at crazy times to keep costs down. The inbound flight landed at around 1 am and we decided to brave the night buses and a dodgy 24-hour McDonald’s before getting the first ferry to Macau. If you’re looking for a laugh, please go see my Highlighted story on my Instagram labeled Macau. This blog post is pointless all the entertainment is there. The night buses are fine and all the information on which one to take is clearly marked at the airport.
My very brief first impression of Hong Kong
Shiny and bright (I’m talking about the gold buildings) except for the sunrise (or sky in general) – you can’t see shit because of pollution. Thank you, next. OK, moving on.
Ferry from Hong Kong to Macau
Super easy to find and book tickets. Inexpensive too, can’t remember exactly how much but a quick Google search told me it was ‘confusing as hell just use Klook’. Moving on. It was about an hour and the scenery was beautiful, by beautiful I mean a polluted mess of ugliness.
Accommodation in Macau
It’s great, clean and cheap. It’s the complete opposite of Hong Kong. We stayed at the Ole London Hotel through Booking.com and it was great. It was close enough to the old school area and further enough away from the gambling hustle that I hardly heard anything. Definitely would recommend!
What to do in Macau
Shortly after arriving, I discovered Klook. If you have not heard of this beautiful space of wonder, click on it and enjoy. It offers tours/experiences at discounted prices and it’s a user-friendly website.
Night Bus Tour: The first thing we booked was the night bus tour, which I would definitely recommend because you get to see some of the craziness from a distance! You can marvel at the crazy ass buildings without getting stuck into the mayhem. Really cool seeing Macau at night and the different sides to it.
Church Tour (walking): My sister and I aren’t religious but the church tour is a must-see for everyone. It’s really interesting to see the mesh of architecture and how they incorporated the western-style into the existing Asian surroundings. We found the tour in a pamphlet and then just used Google Maps to get around. We also found some epic coffee shops on that day which I would also recommend.
Ruins of St Paul’s
This is beautiful and so are the surrounding areas. It’s well worth taking a good couple of hours to check out the various Portuguese style buildings.
Hop on Hop Off Day Tour
The highlight of this day was definitely the crazy fancy breakfast we had at the Lotus Casino. So hilarious to experience how 2% of the world lives. Ridiculous but also good fun. I fitted in well with my SpongeBob shirt. There are also other great things to see on the tour like the Old Village and indoor Venice. It’s a fun day out with enough freedom to do things your way.
Added Important Info
Do not use taxis, use the free shuttles provided by the hotels. They are great and go basically anywhere. The city is so profitable that all the travel is free. The money in gambling just blows my mind.
It gets super packed but it’s wonderful in the mornings. Get your ass up early to go see things.
Would I recommend Macau?
Absolutely. I always feel that a place has a lot to offer and even though I despise gambling, Macau has a rich history and beautiful sights that are well worth the trip. My sister and I really enjoyed ourselves! I loved the ferry aspect to it too because it just added to the adventure of the whole trip. If you’re living in East Asia I’d definitely suggest Macau as the perfect long-weekend getaway.