Macau

Go and visit Macau.
That was our lasting impression of the former Portuguese colony, now one of the two Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China. (The other being Hong Kong).

A brief ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, Macau is a whole different world. The majority of people still speak Cantonese, but their Portuguese heritage is never far below the surface. Streets and roads bear Portuguese names, menus contain Portuguese flavours and the architecture is a unique blend of west and east history.

Feeling the squeeze I'm downtown Macau

Feeling the squeeze in downtown Macau

Walking back in time through Portuguese history

Walking back in time through Portuguese streets

But before exploring Macau’s fascinating history, we would arrive on the doorstep of one of the most famous casinos in the world; The Venetian.
Andrew may have explored the original Venetian in Las Vegas during his (infamous) Bucks Trip in 2013, but the grandeur of this incarnation has not been lost over its twin. Macau is most definitely a direct copy of the one in Vegas, albeit with shops, restaurants and gambling venues to suit asian clientele.

Very grand at the Venetian

Very grand at the Venetian

A moment over the Grand Canal

A moment over the Grand Canal

Living the high life at the Venetian

Living the high life at the Venetian

Wowee!

Wowee!

Venice anyone?

Venice anyone?

The casino district of Macau is south of the old town, where land is continually being reclaimed and turned into the “Las Vegas of the East”. Casinos everywhere. A Disneyland for the adult.
Arguably the best show in Macau is the world renowned “House of Dancing Water”, an acrobatic, visually awe-inspiring story of lovers, pirates, dancing, and diving into an awesome water tank with rising platforms. Unbelievable!

The House of Dancing Water

The House of Dancing Water

With actual dancing water

With actual dancing water

Leaving the bright lights of the casinos behind, we strolled through the old town of Macau. And boy, were we in for a fascinating day that we never expected. Perhaps the world just doesn’t know very much about little ol’ Macau. You don’t have to look far to realise this place is one of the most unique places in the world.
A Chinese Portugal or a Portuguese China?
Every corner reveals something that the mind says can’t be right, yet it just is.
European churches, cobblestone streets, white and pastel colours across classical facades.

Many a church in ol' Macau town

Many a church in ol’ Macau town

Largo Do Senado (Senate Square)

Largo Do Senado (Senate Square)

The Portuguese arrived in Macau in the 16th century and turned it into a major settlement, anchoring ships in its harbours to trade with mainland China. As Macau prospered as a port, there were repeated failed attempts by the Dutch to conquer it in the 17th century. It was only until 1999 that China finally assumed formal sovereignty over Macau. But its Portuguese legacy would never be left in the past. Macau is proud of it.

Quiet times at Fort Guia

Quiet times at Fort Guia

'Fire at the Dutch!' at Fort Guia

‘Fire at the Dutch!’ at Fort Guia

One of the main landmarks is the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, a 17th century Portuguese cathedral and college built by the Jesuits. It was destroyed by fire during a typhoon in 1835. Only the southern stone facade remains, still bearing the intricate carvings of interesting Jesuit images with Oriental themes intact.

Ruins of St. Paul's Catherdral

Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral

Jesus and Dragons. Hmmm.

Jesus, Pirates and Dragons. Hmmm.

Dominating the skyline, however, is the 338m Macau Tower (home of the highest bungee jump in the world). The views from the sky deck were amazing. (Probably better on a clear day, but oh well).

Macau Tower by sunset

Macau Tower by sunset

The lights come on, from the top of Macau Tower

The lights come on, from the top of Macau Tower

Two days to explore the old town just isn’t enough. But I suppose that leaves us something else to discover about Macau for next time.

Overlooking Macau

Overlooking Macau

Visited 13th to 17th January, 2014.

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About starksepicadventure

We are Andrew and Lakshi Starks, young married couple from Melbourne, Australia. We are travelling around the world on our Starks Epic Adventure!
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