Day Trip to Europe... I mean Macau

Post-secondary CNET and itinerary extraordinaire, Hannah Wilson, talks us through a day out in Macau.

My boyfriend came to visit me in Hong Kong and when I asked him what his favourite part of Hong Kong was... he said 'Macau'. Macau isn't Hong Kong but it is the perfect place for a day trip. It is only 1 hour away on the ferry, which costs around £30 for a return trip. Also, HKD (Hong Kong Dollar) is widely accepted, so there is no need to exchange money. However, some places will give you your change in MOP (Macanese Pataca), but you can easily use up the change on the public buses. These all cost 6HKD or 6MOP (60p) per person per journey. I found the buses to be very efficient and simple to use, but they can get very busy and overcrowded. It's best to ask the tourist information desk at the ferry port, although the staff aren’t the most friendly or enthusiastic, they will tell you which bus routes you need to take to each place that you want to visit.

Macau consists of two large islands connected by several bridges, but it is a relatively small place. There are two ports, one on each island. The Outer Harbour Port is located on the north island and is nearer to the old town, where you can see the iconic Ruins of St Paul’s. Macau was owned by Portugal in Colonial times, so the streets and buildings are very similar to the old European style, which feels strange when you’re on the other side of the world!

Personally, I found the old town very overcrowded, as there were tonnes of tourists from Mainland China all buying special biscuits and taking pictures of everything. However, you can’t visit Macau without trying Portuguese egg tarts. These are sold everywhere in the old town, and all cost 10HKD/MOP (£1) each. I would highly recommend trying one of these tasty snacks!

On the southern island of Taipa, you can take a short bus ride to the animal park and see some pandas. It only costs 10HKD and it is free with an ISIC student card. We were very lucky to see the pandas play fighting and eating. They fell asleep at around 3pm, and probably wouldn't move for the rest of the day, so make sure you don’t go too late in the day! (Although, please note that they close for lunch between 1pm-2pm).
Above: Seeing the pandas playing.

After the pandas, we took another short bus journey to the City of Dreams. This is a strip of incredible Vegas-style hotels. Each hotel has a spectacular unique feature. For example, the Venetian has an indoor canal and offers gondola rides, the Parisian has a replica Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Moulin Rouge. Also, the Wynn Palace offers complimentary cable car rides to reach their reception!  It is very easy to go in and look around each hotel and you can even try gambling in the casinos.

Above: In the Venitian hotel.
There is something for everyone in Macau. Overall, it’s a crazy and unique experience. I would definitely recommend a visit while you’re in Hong Kong!


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