As part of our trip to Asia, we came across a few places I'd not originally thought of visiting in the past.
One of those was Macau.

Easily accessible from Hong Kong, Macau is a special administrative region of China, that previously was a Portuguese colony.
The region is still scattered with remnants of its former owners, mixed with Chinese influences, as well as being a big hub for gambling (Skyfall, anyone?)

Paddy, having been there before, knew how to get theatre and all that, so I just followed his lead. We got the ferry from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal on Hong Kong island, which took around an hour or so. 

Note: tickets were sold out hours in advance so I recommend buying early if you want to make the most of your day!

It was boiling hot, and by that, I mean the humidity. I'm so bad at dealing with humidity & this was some of the worst I'd experienced!

We headed into the centre on foot, but there were plenty of coaches taking people to hotels and casinos, as well as the odd local bus and a ton of taxis.
The walk into the town was fairly long and I did wonder why we didn't get a taxi...but it meant we came across some old ruins near the ferry terminals and got our first taste of the casinos.
 
As we got nearer to the centre, we came across the Wynn hotel and casino, where Paddy stopped to do some betting, and I stopped to take full advantage of the air con.

I totally recommend visiting here if you can, it's insane. There was a huge light sculpture in one of the foyers, multiple restaurants, and god knows how many designer stores that I could dream about. Plus, a huge garden with waterfalls, a pool, and basically everything you could want from a hotel.

Anyways, after running out of things we could afford, we got a taxi to the central part of Macau.

Our first stop was Senado Square, which is absolutely beautiful. If you're visiting, this is a must do. It's one of the most beautiful squares I've ever been to, with colourful buildings everywhere you look, and a clash between the Portuguese and Chinese influences on this region.
It was amazing to feel like I was back in Rio whilst also feeling reminiscent of Hong Kong, and have two of my favourite cities come together in one place.
I think this was my favourite part of the entire day.

 
Whilst street-dawdling, we came across more stunning buildings like St Dominic's Church with its tall yellow front (you literally can't miss it), and weirdly enough, what looked like more Tudor-type buildings that would normally belong in Stratford-upon-Avon. Macau is such a mix of cultures that you forget you're actually on the Southern China border!

We stopped for some food and decided to go for the traditional Portuguese treat, the pasteĆ­s de nata (egg tart). Being from the UK, it might sound a bit weird going all the way to Macau to get one when Portugal is less than half the trip away, but they're so big there! We went to Koikei bakery and they were a delight, so I'd recommend this place for one...

Things to do in Macau:

  • Go into at least one casino - I was gutted we didn't make it to the Venetian, as lots of them are in their own separate area across the bridge from the main city area
  • See Macau's Fisherman's Wharf, a shopping centre in the middle of what looks like Roman ruins
  • Check out the Wynn, purely to add to your hotel wishlist
  • Have a Portuguese tart because when in...Macau
  • See a rainbow of colours in Senado Square
  • Visit the ruins of St Paul's for one of the most impressive ruins you'll see 
  • Get a taxi to the centre because if you, like me, are a Brit who doesn't like humidity and it's the summer, you'll need it
  • Visit one of the many museums - I reckon Paddy would've liked the Grand Prix one which, yes, actually exists and is described on Google as 'museum, auto-racing, and wine'
  • Plan it better than I did and make the most of it!

We were only there for the day, but both of us said we wished we'd had more time to explore the place better and see it at night! I'd love to stay here one day and see more of the area, as well as the casinos.
To have a taste of Europe whilst travelling in Asia was an unexpected but happy surprise, and it's actually made me want to see more of my home continent (particularly Portugal).
It's trips like these that make me feel so lucky to have the chance to see the world, but also to have a nice reminder of how much there is closer to home that shouldn't be second to more further-flung places.


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M x