Wednesday, January 30, 2013

We Did Macau & Macau Did Us

Our day trip to Macau was totally unplanned.... being spontaneous is a thrill right?!?  We certainly thought so, until it backfired on us.  Here's what went down on our visit to Macau...

We finished up the India leg of our trip and arrived early on a Sunday morning in Hong Kong.  Being a Sunday, we didn't have any meetings lined up for work (click here for my first trip post) and had to figure out what to do with our day.... Oh the possibilities!!! 

We read in a travel magazine on the flight over that Macau was only an hour ferry boat ride from Hong Kong and everyone quickly jumped on board with the day trip idea.  After all, it was a whole new location to add onto our trip!  We left our hotel and bought round trip tickets on the Turbo Jet ferry to Macau.  
Since they sell tickets with assigned seating, we had to choose our return time when we left Hong Kong. I can't remember exactly but I think we left on the 11:30am and chose the return for 6:30pm (had to mention that part since it has a lot to do with the story).

Once we got to Macau the excitement began!

Well okay, no excitement right away.  Instead, we had to hover around an island map for what seemed like an hour to figure out where to go/ what to see.  Lesson learned- tis' best to have a plan or rough idea of attractions beforehand - BUT - we were taking a stab at being spontaneous!!!!

We decided to see Our Lady of Penha Chapel first. 

The Chapel sits on top a of hill with amazing views of the city.

It was interesting looking out into the downtown area from the church.  Sort of like looking out at the newer-modern world while standing back in an older world.

I thought every old-world detail along with the lush landscaping was just breathtaking....

... Along with the beautiful views of Macau of course! 
We took in a last look of the church and then headed back down the hill to our next stop, the A-Ma Temple (and a search for lunch).

There were so many beautiful sites during our walk from the Chapel to the Temple.

This mural had to be my favorite though, it had such a fun and colorful spirit!

Have you noticed through the photos that there's a mix of Chinese and European cultures in Macau? 

Turns out, Macau is a former Portuguese colony administered from the mid 16th century until 1999 when it was the last remaining European colony in China. The Portuguese influence was visible just about everywhere. The city streets in the older part of the city had a European look and feel to them....

... And I think we found the BEST Portuguese restaurant to enjoy lunch at called O Porto Interior.  I don't think I've ever had Portuguese food before but oh my goodness, it was soooooooo delicious!
The Macau Blonde Ale only made our lunch more amazing!  Who knew Macau's beer would be a Blonde Ale?  I wonder if I could find that anywhere in the US, hmmmm?

After our tummies were full and happy, we headed over to the A-Ma Temple.

The A-Ma Temple is the oldest temple in Macau built in 1488.  The entrance is a large boulder with ancient engravings.
The smell of incense filled the air as there was plenty burning in front of the main shrine dedicated to Kun Lam.

It was incredibly beautiful walking up to the top of the temple.

 Nearby boulders on the walk up had red Chinese characters evoking gods or to make prayers.

The peak of the Temple was very peaceful.  For being a tourist attraction I was surprised by the calm feeling I felt standing there. 

When we finished our visit at the Temple, we planned to head to the old city center of Macau... and that's where our day trip turned a bit sour. 

We were able to hail two tuk-tuks/trishaws (basically a pedi-cab in the US) to take us but thought they wanted to charge us $20 US for each ride.  We thought that was crazy expensive and told them we would get a cab instead.  Well, that was a BIG MISTAKE.
We ended up walking along the busiest street by the Temple trying to hail a cab for over a half hour until we ended up by that busted scary looking building above.  We didn't know exactly where we were and weren't sure if we could find the old city center, or heck- even make it back to the Ferry Terminal in time to catch our Turbo Jet. 

It was a bummer, we only got to see two tourist sites and had to give up (wa-wa).  Feeling desperate, we ended up hopping on a random hotel's shuttle bus that had a sign on it that said "Ferry Terminal".  We just hoped that we would end up back in time to catch our boat. 

For giggles we taped this video on the shuttle bus so we could remember the moment forever!  Never be too cheap to pay for a ride when you don't know where you are :)

So my visit to Macau wasn't the greatest, but I intend to have a do-over in the (hopefully) near future.   
We will meet again Macau!!!!

I'll have one last trip post from China/Hong Kong, then the kitchen 'after's!  Alex is adding the last pieces of trim to the counter tonight!!!!


  1. Oh wow! So exciting, and I'm glad you at least had a nice beginning of your unplanned trip. The pics are incredible!

    1. Yes, even though it wasn't perfect I am so happy to have those beautiful photos to remember the trip by. I hope to go back with the hubby too someday if I can! Glad you liked the pics too!


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