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In Culture

By kanannie

Not Gambling in Macau

On 17, Apr 2014 | No Comments | In Culture, Macau, Travel | By kanannie


The ruins of St. Paul’s.

With Macau being so close to us and wanting to see some cool Portuguese architecture, N and I took the ferry there one afternoon. It would’ve been morning, but we didn’t realize just how popular this route is, and all ferries for the next few hours were booked solid. Except in Super Class, which ended up being double the price ($40 per person). While this might not be very much if we were employed, we aren’t and we try our best to stick to our daily budget of $100. But we didn’t want to wait for the next Economy Class seat at 1:30pm so we sucked it up and bought one-way tickets.


Our hydrofoil ferry to Macau. Ballin’!!!

Waiting in line with the plebes to get on the ferry was tiresome, but we eventually got in, looked down our noses at the Economy Class scum and went upstairs to the Super Class area, where the seats are wider and lunch and a beverage comes with the ride. We didn’t know this and since we already had breakfast and we were saving our stomachs for the food in Macau, I barely touched my chicken satay (which was surprisingly decent).*


My chicken satay lunch on the ferry, with yogurt and water.

The trip ended up being a slightly rocky 45 minutes long, so we willed ourselves to sleep to avoid getting nauseous from the motion of the ocean.

Immigration wasn’t as bad as we thought and took only 15 minutes (compared to the one hour we had read about) to get to the front, where an uninterested immigration official barely looked at our passports and gave us a slip of paper in lieu of a stamp (this also happens in Hong Kong, which can be problematic because it is very easy to lose the tiny slip of paper).


Senado Square.


The Holy House of Mercy in the square.

We took a bus to Senado Square and were disappointed to find out that it’s like Times Square in New York, complete with tourist traps selling everything Mainland Chinese tourists would want. Like imported beauty products and powdered baby formula (as with many other consumables, the Chinese don’t trust their own baby formula and they shouldn’t).


Cool architecture in the square.


The old historic buildings were probably the most interesting part of Macau for me.

We were swept along in a sea of noise to St. Paul’s Church, or at least the one facade that remains of it.


The swarm of tourists drifting up towards St. Paul’s, with souvenir shops lining the street.


The ruins of St. Paul’s, which was pretty cool but I wouldn’t go all the way to Macau for it.


Look at that cool architecture!

We eventually found ourselves at the Fortaleza do Monte next to St. Paul’s which overlooks the city.


Mount Fortress.


A cannon aimed towards the Grand Lisboa.


Cannon closeup.


A view of the city from the fortress.

We were getting hungry by then so we walked to a small restaurant called Riquexo, which serves Macanese food. It was just alright. The grilled sardines were fresh and tasty, but the feijoada (bean stew with pork innards) was just OK. Not somewhere we would go out of our way for.


Non-descript alleyway leading into Riquexo.


Nothing special on the inside of the restaurant…


… and nothing special about their feijoada either.


The grilled sardines were damn good, though.


Laundry day.


Sun Yat-Sen’s memorial building. He’s everywhere!


Tilework of the city.


Old concrete apartment buildings.

It was getting late and we wanted to check out the casinos before we left. We took the free shuttle bus from the ferry station to the Venetian. Macau is now the most popular destination for gamblers in Asia, and we know how much the Chinese love to gamble. I felt like I was back in Vegas or A.C., where tour buses unloaded hordes of Chinese from Chinatown. But with China being so close, the Macau casinos cater to them, with tons of Baccarat tables and one Craps table in the whole of the Venetian. One very unlucky and unplayable Craps table.


Ceiling of the Venetian.


A gondola ride in the Venetian Mall. What suckers do.

So we wandered out of the casino and to Lord Stow, a famous Portuguese egg tart place with a store in the Venetian mall. A Portuguese style egg tart has a buttery, flaky crust and a burnt top compared to the Hong Kong style one, and it is so much better. We savored a nice warm one before heading to the ferry for home.


Lovely little egg tarts.

All in all, I didn’t think the day trip was worth the time and money. There are too few sights to visit and it is extremely crowded. If we were going with friends to spend a weekend sightseeing and gambling, then maybe. If we wanted to spend a lot of time with flashy Mainlanders throwing their money around, then definitely. I do have to admit that the egg tarts were kind of worth it.


See you later (maybe), Macau!

* Our friend Peggy hails from Macau and says the hotdogs on the ferry are very good. Who knew?

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