Macau: A world of difference

We had a daytrip to Macau last November from Hong Kong. The Cotai Jet ferry took us accross the Pearl River estuary to the newly built ferry terminal near the Cotai Strip on Taipa Island. From there we took a cab to the ruins of the Sao Paulo church. This is the main tourist draw in Macau (other than the many casinos). All that remains of the church is an ornately impressive fa├žade, the rest of the cathedral burnt down during a kitchen-mishap in the 1800’s. Despite this, the building remains a powerful statement of the power the Portuguese once wielded in Asia, and is as impressive as the cathedrals of Europe’s old capitals.

Sao Paulo Church
From the Sao Paulo, we climbed the adjescent hill to Monte Fortress. As a Christian stronghold in a distinctly un-Christian neighbourhood, the city’s early Jesuits was constantly concerned about invasion and having their heads chopped off by non believers. In 1617 they began construction of the Monte Fortress, a stronghold that would eventually cover over 10,000 square metres.

View from Monte Fortress

View from Monte Fortress

We then, went to Macau’s main square, Largo do Senado. It is located not far from the Sao Paulo church. This area is a slice of the Mediterranean. Cobblestone streets and beautiful colonial buildings line the square, giving it a lazy, laidback charm. We bought some souvenirs but there were quite pricey. We thought of buying Macau's famous Portuguese egg tart, but all the shops were also selling vavi salai terus kembang tekak.
St Dominic’s Church, Largo do Senado
We hailed a cab, and concluded our day trip at the Venetian. This place really remind me of venice, complete with the Companile, palazzo Ducale and the canal. But from the inside it does looks like a grander version of Villagio mall in Doha. You can easily spend a whole day at this place, depending on how much money you have (or won). From the high end shopping to the many entertainment outlets, you'll be spoilt by the choices. They had Cirque du Soleil in the evening when we were there, but we had to give it a miss as we already bought a return ferry ticket back to Hong Kong.
Macau has certainly changed a lot in the last 10 years. It certainly adds more lustre to the city in keeping pace with its more glitzy neighbour accross the estuary.

Grand Lisbao, Hotel & Casino

The Venetian


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