In the middle of our trip to Hong Kong last September 2019, we made a quick one-day visit to Macau. A whole other country in just a day? How mind-boggling is that? Hong Kong and Macau is just an-hour ferry ride away, but we even had to go through immigration all over again since we're technically leaving a country and entering another.
I was pretty impressed with the TurboJet Ferry we rode. It was quite big and spacious with places to put your luggage. You may want to sleep though during the trip itself because you may get motion sickness or headache from the ferry rocking back and forth. At the time, there weren't many people on board, but the ferry still left every 30 minutes on schedule. We can just hop on back to the ferry any time until the last one before Midnight. We planned to make the most of the day though to see as much as we can of Macau so we would probably be running back to catch the very last ferry anyways.
Gambling Capital of the World
From the port, we rode a free hotel shuttle service going to Macau's grand hotels and casinos. It is said to be the world's gambling capital, making more money than Las Vegas, USA. We weren't planning on gambling though since well, I can't even manage my finance properly to have money left for gambling, you know? Haha.
The hotels were so big, and the designs were always so grandiose and extravagant. There was also a cable car in the middle of the city that we spotted on a bus ride that I guess, tours you around the perimeters of the hotels? I honestly kind of felt out of place when we got off the bus and took a first look around. It was quite high class and I don't think that in a million years that I would even reach the level of success that would allow me to book a room in one of those! Maybe in another life?
We toured around inside the Venetian Hotel first and I was amazed by the attention to detail. Everything was covered in gold and there were elaborate paintings you can see on the walls and on the ceilings.
There were nothing but luxury boutiques next to one another, but we were able to score some really great deals at Venetian's food court that we super recommend you check out! We weren't able to ride a Gondola and have someone serenade us, but we did make drop a few coins into the make-shift river and made tons of wishes.
Battle of the Egg Tarts: Lord Stow's vs Margaret's
You may not know this, but there is an Egg-Tart battle going on in Macau between Lord Stow's Bakery and Margaret Café e Nata. And guess what? The owners of these bakeries used to be married to each other. Juicy right? We first bought egg tarts from a Lord Stow's Bakery branch right at The Venetian and then, rode a bus headed to Senado Square where the one Margaret Cafe e Nata is within walking distance of. We were self-proclaimed Egg Tarts critiques on a mission, to devour egg tarts and finally declare which one is the clear winner!
Biting into Lord's Stow's egg tart the first time was sweet heaven. As much as I would like to say that my girl, Margaret's tastes just as good, it wasn't at the same level. Margaret's egg tarts were too oily, with kind of a stronger flavor and it's crust crumbles easily. Lord Stow's wasn't too sweet at all and holds itself together quite nicely. After careful deliberation, we declared Lord Stow's egg tarts to be the winner! To celebrate, we went to Coloane to visit the original Lord Stow's Bakery and bought dozens of egg tarts to snack on back in our Airbnb in Hong Kong.
Senado Square to the Ruins of St. Paul
We didn't just ate egg tarts all day, because there is so much more to see in Macau. We took a leisurely walk on the cobblestone steps from Senado Square to the Ruins of St. Paul. Macau used to be a Portugese colony and you can see the culture remains in their very architecture. It's very picturesque, like you're inside a European painting. How, I would love to go visit or even live Europe in the future!
It might be funny, but there aren't a lot of people in the picture of the Ruins of St. Paul's below at all. On a normal touristy day, there would be so many people covering the steps all the way up towards the church. The church's name was Church of Mater Dei built in 1602-1640, and the facade that we see is what remained after the fire in 1835 that burned the church, as well as the school adjacent to it, St. Paul's College. Behind the facade is a museum you can take a peek at, but there wasn't much to see.
We also visited the Museum of Macau and went up to Monte Forte, an once used as a military base. Now, it features a park and an observatory, where you can get the best view of the entire city of Macau.
Walking along the streets of Macau is a literal treat in itself! When you get to the part past the Ruins of St. Paul, bakeries and several sweet shops will greet you from left and right. Sales people were even giving free samples of moon cakes, beef jerky and several other delicacies out as you walk through the streets. Like how can you even say no? Why will you even say no? I'm not even aware of what I was putting in my mouth anymore. I was just happy that it was all free.
You can buy a lot of baked treats and delicacies that you can bring home as pasalubong for you family. And you should do it here, because there aren't a lot of stores like this back in Hong Kong. It's too bad that we weren't able to do that at all though. We were too greedy for free samples. We kind of spent all our money on them, egg tarts. Hahaha.
Where else should we have gone?
This was last year and I'm missing Macau as I write this. I'm sure there is so much more of it that we didn't get to see! I hope to come back and spend more time there next time. Have you been to Macau and visited places we didn't mention? Which one were those? Which egg tart do you think is the best? Lord Stow's or Margaret's? Do share us your thoughts! I'm curious what your experience in Macau was like. What else can darling little Macau still have in store for us in the future? We can't wait and see!
Always stay tuned on the current news and be informed of the situation of the country you're visiting before hopping on a plane. But if you are planning on a trip to Macau in the future, here's a helpful itinerary we found from Will Fly for Food. Hope it will help!
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