It was drizzling slightly as we caught a rush hour MTR train from North Point station to Sheung Wan for the ferry to Macau. On arrival in the ferry terminal we discovered ferries were subject to delays due to dense fog in Macau and we were unable to depart until 10.30 am so we found a coffee shop to pass an hour before getting underway. Turbojet ferries run regular services from both Hong Kong and Kowloon to Macau. There isn’t any advantage in purchasing return tickets and as passengers need to select a particular sailing we find it easier to just buy single tickets at each port. If you are planning on making the trip please remember to take passports as these are needed for the journey.
Turbojet provides reserved, comfortable seats and we soon found ourselves dozing during the one hour crossing. Fog had lifted by the time we arrived in Macau but unfortunately it was raining heavily. Across the road from the ferry terminal there is a bus station with free shuttle bus services to all the casinos. As we wished to start the day in the historical part of the city we boarded the Grand Lisboa shuttle bus which is located fairly near to Senado Square. Passing through the casino we glanced at the gaming tables and slot machines which were already in demand and it wasn’t even lunch time.
With our hoods up to protect us from the warm rain we explored the old town with its Portuguese influenced architecture and pavements. Senado Square is particularly beautiful with its candy coloured buildings and ‘wavy’ pavements. Despite the rain, the narrow streets leading to the Ruins of St. Paul were crowded with tourists sporting umbrellas in every colour imaginable.
A necessity when visiting Macau is to sample the local Portuguese egg custard tarts, Pastéis de Nata which are served warm and have a thin crispy pastry case. These are sold on nearly every street corner and most people return for additional ones, as we were tempted to.
Our original plan had been to take a bus to Coloane Village in the south of the island to have lunch in Lord Stow’s cafe but as the heavy rain persisted we decided to head straight to the Cotai Strip where we would be able to take shelter in the huge themed casinos.
Our first stop was to the Parisian which has only been open for five months and comes complete with a half size model of the Eiffel Tower. The interior is opulent and French themed boulevards are lined with designer shops but we were surprised to find very few visitors to this multi million pound themed village.
We explored the base of the Eiffel Tower which overlooks a replica of the Champs de Mar gardens but we didn’t feel the need to take the lift to the top as we’ve experienced the real thing in Paris but it perhaps appeals to visitors who may not have an opportunity to visit Europe.
An indoor walkway links through to the Venetian, now nine years old but still immensely popular compared to its new neighbour. Whilst the Parisian offers opulent shopping avenues, it’s malls lack the appeal of a canal winding its way through a replica Venetian street scene and St. Mark’s Square. After cool drinks in one of the many cafes we were ready to continue on to Cotai Central which lacks the glitz of Venetian but again is a complete self contained ‘village’ with gambling halls on the lower floors.
Having no wish to gamble, we returned to the ferry terminal on one of the complimentary coaches which run at 15 minute intervals and from there we booked seats on the next Turbojet ferry to Kowloon as it was departing earlier than the Hong Kong one. Again, we had no difficulty in booking single tickets and boarding the next available ferry. After a full day’s sightseeing we were ready to sit back and relax in the comfortable seats and before we knew it, were back in Kowloon.
This ferry terminal is located near Mong Kok so we made our way to this most densely crowded of districts. Dazzling neon lights aplenty and an illuminated archway lead through to the touristy Temple Street Night Market where one can buy fake designer goods, clothes, trinkets and electronic gadgets. It’s interesting to stroll around but we didn’t want to buy anything and instead returned to North Point by MTR where I feasted on sizzling steak with leeks and root ginger in a restaurant on the Kings Road. Then, finally after a long day we returned to our hotel room for a cup of tea and a good night’s rest.
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