I wrote about the beautiful show House of Dancing Water. And about City of Dreams, the casino in which theatre the show plays. I also covered the Venetian, one of the neighboring casino’s.
What I did not tell you about yet, was our day at Macau as such. Well, that was not a success and that is an understatement.
Why? Let me walk you through that day and you will understand why, ok?
We took a ferry from Hong Kong Island to bring us to Macau.
|Glad that we took SuperClass, although it was not cheap.|
|The food was just awful. I did not eat it:-(|
|The boat ride takes about an hour. It starts of with a view of the Kowloon side of Hong Kong|
|Passing by the famous Star Ferry|
|The sea around Hong Kong is filled with smaller and even smaller islands.|
|Arriving in Macau|
|What? Dutch houses? (left)
Ofcourse! After all this is casino land; land of make-believe, fake and kitsch;-)
|We traveled with a ferryboat like these ones.|
Once there our plan was to explore the island on the left side (see map here under) and to eat and drink something along our stroll. We had to be at our show at 5 at the latest, so we had to get to the right side of the island in time for that. After the show we would have dinner around there and explore some more.
|Had hoped to get to know Macau like this, but no….it did not go that way:-(|
Good plan. Only it did not work out that way. At all.
Once we arrived we took one of the free casino shuttle busses to the area with many casino’s and sights; the bus to the new Lisboa casino.
So far so good. But traffic turned out to be a bitch and even that small trip to that casino took longer then anticipated. Once arrived at the casino, you find yourself in a tourist trap. You are lead all the way through the casino, wading through the crowds.
|Trying to get out of the casino, onto the street.|
No problem as such, because you are able to get out of the casino without loosing any money. Just not without loosing precious time.
So then you finally find yourself outside the casino, on the street, only to be surrounded by thousands of tourists. Really to the extent that the only way to get around is to shuffle little step by little step along the narrow sidewalks.
|The old Lisboa across the street|
|The new Lisboa. The building looks cool, doesn’t it?|
We were thirsty, hungry and not to forget rather in a hurry, but there was hardly any moving forward (or sideways, or backwards) possible.
|On the above pictures it may look as if there was enough space left to move around, but in reality it was worse then on the pictures.|
Finally it sunk in: there were hour long queues for taxis, walking was no option, finding a regular bus that would bring us where we wanted to be was a hassle and the shuttle busses did not run from one casino to another.
Very soon, we had to drop our hopes and plan to explore Macau and exchange it for a mission to arrive at our show (that we already paid for…a lot…) in time. The only way was to take a shuttle back to the ferry pier and from there another shuttle to City of Dreams.
There were long queues for the shuttles as well, so suddenly we found ourselves REALLY to be in a hurry.
All that time no food or drinks. And it was a hot, hot day. By that time we were pretty dehydrated, hungry and grumpy.
Just in time we made it to the City of Dreams. We rushed over to the Hard Rock Cafe there. Ordered something fast. Gobbled away our drinks and food and rushed to the theatre. Pfjew….
Fortunately all the stress and irritations fell of us while watching the show.
All in all we got a glimpse of Macau, but I don’t feel that we really saw a lot of it. So we said to ourselves: “Maybe we will go back there one day…”.
Let me share the glimpses that we managed to catch amidst all of our rushing and being stressed:
|There are ample Portugese influences. Like these gorgeous tiles.|
|But also Chinese ones. A nice mixture, for a lover of eclecticism as myself;-)|
|Chinese lantern decorations|
|I love these decorative light balls!|
|Ingredients for traditional medicine.|
|Cool retro neon add.|
The pictures above show clearly both Portuguese and Chinese heritage and character.
Two other characteristics are kitsch elements (especially in many of the casinos) and modern, contemporary architecture (like the City of Dreams and the Hard Rock Hotel and like in the pictures below).
|We did not have a chance to visit the cathedral or other historic monuments|
So when I read that the Stones are going to perform on Macau I wondered: is this maybe a good reason to go back???
I will let you know if we decide to go.
(update: the concert is sold out, apart from some super, duper expensive VIP tickets:-(.)
Some advice if you are considering to visit Macau from Hong Kong:
- go as early in the day as you can. I met an Australian lady who lives there and she advised me to arrive with the ferry from hong Kong before 9 a.m. (Not that I took her up on that advice, stupid me.)
- try to avoid weekends and holidays. Mainland Chinese, tour groups and other tourists and gamblers come then in big numbers. It is really NOT funny to visit on those days.
- try to visit during the annual fireworks shows, but in that case, book a hotel and add another day/night. (instead of a day trip)
- book a taxi and driver (ahead) for the whole day and be driven around from site to site.