Spending A Day in Macau

Between our Vietnam Trip and our China Trip we stopped over in Hong Kong for a couple of days. On one of those days we decided to jump on a ferry and spend a day in Macau.

The Venetian Casino

Getting to Macau via ferry was a little confusing for us. There are a range of companies competing with each other at the terminal, and it was a challenge just working out which was the best option for us. We wanted a reasonably priced return ticket on a ferry leaving as soon as possible, but it was difficult working that out from the terminal floor as we couldn’t find a centralised help desk and had to rely on what the individual vendors told us, which was half translated and usually biased.

It all worked out in the end, but next time I will research and book the ferry tickets online. One thing we didn’t do was reserve the return trip, as the importance of doing this on a peak day was not made clear to us. More on this later…

The ferry ride was quick and comfortable. On arrival we were met with a variety of free buses that offered us ride to whatever casino they belonged to. We picked the Venetian bus, as we had heard of it and wanted to check out the indoor replica of the Venice Canals.

The casino was very lavish, as you can see from the picture above and we spent an enjoyable hour or so walking around admiring the attractions, but after that we wanted to explore outside.

Birdwatching with the Locals

We hadn’t done any research on Macau before going, we thought the casinos would be set up similar to Las Vegas and everything would be arranged in a strip, but this wasn’t the case. So when we walked outside, into the blinding heat we had no idea where to go and just followed the flow.

On the way we passed a small parkland where a local birdwatching club was taking some photos. I joined them for a bit while the rest of our part cooled off in the shade.

Rua do Cunha

We eventually stumbled onto the Rua Do Cunha, a quaint narrow food street that looks like it dates back to Portuguese colonial times. Here we sampled some great examples of Macanese food, including almond cakes, peanut candies and a heap of Portuguese each tarts. The food stores were very popular with visitors, many of them taking many boxes of the biscuits back on the ferry.

Macau Evening

We explored a little bit further around, but we didn’t have any clear idea of where to go so after it got dark we thought about getting back to Hong Kong, as we were leaving for Vietnam the next day.

Macau Night

We caught a taxi back to the ferry terminal and were met with a long queue that extended well out into the street. We made our way to the ticket booth and were told the next ferry we could book a return seat on was in five hours, just after one am. She also told us we were pretty lucky to get that, and we should have booked our return passage when we arrived to be sure of returning that day.

I asked what the queue was about, and she told me it was the standby queue, that a number of people with reserved seats didn’t show up for each ferry, but there was no guarantee it would be quicker.

However, she continued, we could buy an upgrade for $20 each, which would put us in the first class standby queue, which was only a couple of people long. We would also get a slightly more comfortable seat and a free beer.

We had little choice but to buy the upgrade, as we were already tired and wanted to get back. I have a feeling they sell more than a few of the upgrades to naive tourists on the peak days, but at least there was an option for us to get back quicker.

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