Check out this new adventure of The 2intour Effect and discover a daily itinerary you can easily organize from Hong Kong
"Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play" - Mike Singletary
Mostly know as the "China's Vegas for the several Casino, Macau is not only a destination for gamblers and Baccarat players. This small city can play the ace card surprising visitors with its European heritage perfectly combined with the Chinese traditions, creating a unique cultural melting pot effect.
Our daily tour starts from Hong Kong Sheung Wan ferry station, where we buy two round tickets at the TurboJet desk (timetable and info at https://www.turbojet.com.hk/en/), destination: Macau. Foreigners are requested to show their passport at the custom desk and hopefully we have with us all the documents. Boats depart every fifteen minutes so we don't need to wait too much to weigh anchor; the journey takes approximately one hour during which we read some interesting facts about the city.
Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List thanks to its very peculiar coexistence of European and Chinese traditions. The Portuguese settled in Macau in the 16th century but their influence is still tangible today, from the blue tiled street signs to the tiled floors and the beautiful gardens.
Once there, we decide to take a local guide to optimize the few time at our disposal. Our first leg is one of the oldest temple: A-Ma Temple. The tradition links the name of the city to this temple and to the way Portuguese sailors transliterated the name of the place pronounced by local people:"A-maa-gok" (meaning "The Pavilion of the Mother"), calling the peninsula "Macau".
The temple was built in 1488 during the Ming Dinasty to commemorate Mazu, the sacred sea goddess who blesses the fishermen. The entrance is guarded by two stone lions and the gateway brings to six main parts which represents a series of classical Chinese architectural treasures.
From here we move to St Paul ruins, probably the most iconic place of Macau.
Built by the Jesuits in the 17th-century, the church was dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle and at that time it was the largest catholic church in East Asia. Today the front baroque façade and the grand stone stairs are the only remains of this church and crowd of tourists and local young people take selfie and sit in the majestic staircase right in front of the ruins.
The ancient Portuguese footprints are also visible on the East side, where stands Monte Forte (also known as Montaleza do Monte). This fort was constructed to protect the properties of the Jesuits in the city, especially from pirates, and then also used as the first residence for the Governors of Macau.
After few shots we walk the grand stone staircase heading the Senado Square. The square derives its name from the Leal Senado building, a meeting place for the Chinese and Portuguese in the 16th to 18th centuries located directly in front of the square, and is still home to Macau’s municipal council. The distinctive trademark of the square is the famous wave-like mosaic-tiled pavement with the colonial colored buildings which surround the square creating a very lovely atmosphere, something you do not expect being in an Asian country .
Our guide brings us to meet the other face of the city: the gambling and the luxury shops. Contrary to popular belief, it is Macau the capital of the casino in the world, and not Las Vegas. Gambling tourism is Macau's biggest source of revenue making up about 50% of the economy; the revenues have surpassed the one of Las Vegas already some years ago, landing to approx 5 times more today.
We decide to visit Wynn Palace, a luxury resort.
It's time to come back to the ferry station and to board on the boat. Once arrived in Hong Kong we are requested to pass again the immigration and we discover that the procedures can take sometime very long time. We wait one hour and a half before our turn, anyway we are really satisfied about this quick escape.
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