Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral Macau China

One day in Macau: The Venetian, Senado Square and Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral

Date: 2nd July 2012

I woke up early in order to catch a ferry to get to Macau by around 10am.

Hong Kong MTR subway trains
What the trains look like at 8am 🙂

To get to the ferry terminal for boats going to Macau, I got off at Sheung Wan station and just walked up, through a mall, to get to Turbo Jet’s ticketing counter (Cotai Jet is here as well). The ticket to Macau cost HK$163 (Rs. 1150/$21/€15) and I was hoping to get a seat for the ferry leaving at 8:45am, but as my bad luck would have it, the one guy in front of me at the counter wanted god-knows-how-many tickets and was arguing about change with the man behind the counter! Grrh, don’t you just hate it when this happens to you while waiting in line?! I stood there frustrated as not only did the 8:45am ferry fill up, so did the 9am one as well! I got one for 9:15am and then I waited at the departures ‘lounge’.

Passengers waiting ferry terminal
The terminal was filled with tourists from mainland China
Turbo Jet counter Hong Kong
I knew it would be well past 10am by the time I reached Macau
Inside Turbojet Macau boat Hong Kong ferry
This was the standard ‘class’ which was comfy enough and air-conditioned
Hong Kong Macau ferry terminal
I bid farewell to Hong Kong — for now

Tug boat ferry terminal Hong Kong

Hong Kong skyline from ferry
I asked for a window seat (as usual)

I kept praying I would get to Macau and clear immigration in time so I could head to the airport to see SNSD arrive. Ferry to Macau Hong KongBut that wouldn’t be the case.

Macau bridge from ferry
I only reached Macau at around 10:30am. I already knew by now that my chances of making it to the airport in time were slim.
Macau casinos from ferry
The casinos greet you as soon as you near the Macau ferry terminal

As soon as I disembarked and made my way towards immigration, my hopes of getting out in time were dashed completely. My god the rush! Mostly mainland Chinese tourists all coming in droves every 5 to 10 minutes or so via each ferry. Compounded by some tourists (in this case Indonesians) who neither spoke English or Chinese making filling up of immigration forms and talking to the immigration officers all the more difficult. By the way, they hand out immigration forms (and you need them if you are foreigner) in the ferries itself. Save yourself some trouble by filling it up before you queue up at immigration. Macau, like Hong Kong, is another Special Administrative Region (S.A.R) under China. Meaning they have their own set of rules (thus the casinos), currency and administration. So even if you have a Hong Kong visit visa, it doesn’t apply, you still need to get a Macau visa. Visa-on-arrival is available to several nations, including India (30 days in fact), so no need to apply for one in advance – as it’s free.

Macau immigration counter
I wanted to take a photo of the sheer volume of people at immigration but there were signs saying photography was prohibited. This was all I could sneak in to show you how long I waited to get to the counter.

By the time I was done with immigration, it was nearing 12:30pm. What followed next, well you can read that here.

Shinee fans waiting Macau ferry terminal
SHINee fans were waiting, but not a single SNSD fan in sight. For good reason. Read my K-pop Nation Concert post for more.

Once outside the ferry terminal, I decided to check out The Venetian first.

Macau ferry terminal bus station
All the big casinos have free buses from the ferry terminal to their respective casinos 🙂

It was a bit of a wait, but I got in one around 1pm.

Macau building architecture
This is the Macau Museum of Art
Fisherman's village fake mountain Macau China
This was part of some attraction called Macau Fisherman’s Wharf

Macau Fisherman's Wharf entrance

Macau Science Center Macao China
Macau Science Center
Kun Iam statue Goddess of Mercy Macau
Kun Iam statue
Macau tower China
Macau Tower, from where you can bungee jump… if you have the guts
Macau city buildings
Macau city, although sparsely populated, was quite impressive
MGM Grand casino hotel Macau
The casinos are everywhere! After all, that’s where all the money is coming from. This is the MGM Hotel and Casino

Tunnel road Macau

Macau infrastructure China
The infrastructure is ready for the thousands coming in daily to spend a lot of money on this island
Grand Lisboa hotel casino Macau
And that atrocity over there is the Grand Lisboa hotel and casino. In my opinion the ugliest building in the world.
Macau suspension bridge
We were going to be taking that bridge to get to Cotai, a large piece of reclaimed land on which many of the big casinos were built on
Macau bridge to Cotai
They have quite a few of these suspension bridges

Macau bridges ship sea

Crossing bridge to Cotai Macau
I can’t imagine what Macau must have been like before the big casino chains came here
Galaxy casino hotel Macau China
This is the Galaxy Casino and Hotel, which is close to The Venetian
Venetian Macao West Lobby hotel China
The bus dropped us at the West Lobby of the hotel
Inside Venetian Macau sign
I mainly came to the Venetian for what its famous for — replicating the canals of Venice, Italy
Fans kpop Nation Cotai Arena Macau
While I was here, I picked up my ticket for the K-pop Nation concert
Venetian Macau hotel reception lobby
The hotel has many reception desks and lobbies, as this building site is huuuuuge
Venetian Macau stairs escalator
And multi-storeyed
Venetian Macau ceiling chandelier
I can’t imagine how may billions they spent building it
San Luca The Venetian Macau
I finally reached the shops
Venetian Macau canal
And the casino’s watered down version of Venice

Shops Venetian Macau Venice replica

Gondola canal ride Venetian Macau
And what’s Venice without a gondola boat ride right?

Canal bridge Venetian Macau

Venetian gondola ride canal Macau China
The gondolier (the man maneuvering the boat) even sings — and that’s how you know they mostly employed Filipinos for this job 🙂
Venetian Macao Venice shops
Honestly I had no clue how far along in ‘Venice’ I was – it’s pretty huge!


Venetian Macau glass ceiling piller arches
Man… the work that went into getting this done


McDonald's Venetian casino Macau China
Nothing classes up a grand casino modeled after Venice than a McDonald’s 🙂
Venetian Victoria's Secret shop Macau China
You have plenty of brands to choose from here
Venetian Macau Casino China
All the walking eventually led me to the casino. But this is the only way to photograph the place, because like with most casinos, photography is strictly prohibited

There are many parts of the The Venetian that are only restricted to guests staying at the hotel, but if you got money to blow, there is so much to see and do here. I didn’t have both money and time (which was more precious), so I left having seen enough.

Macau residential apartments
I waited for the shuttle bus back to the ferry terminal
Sheraton hotel buildings Macau
That’s the Sheraton hotel to the right
The Venetian hotel casino Macau
That’s the Venetian hotel. So no shortage of rooms here.
City of Dreams Hard Rock hotel Macau China
And if the Venetian is full, you have plenty of choices all around. City of Dreams (L) and Hard Rock Hotel (R)

Macau sea tower MGM Grand

Macau airport China
We passed by Macau airport
Macau Grand Prix race building-china
The annual Macau Grand Prix, one of the oldest races in, erm, racing
Macau ferry terminal heliport China
This is the main ferry and helicopter terminal

The bus terminal had buses going into the city and I hopped on one to get to Senado Square.

Macau public park residential apartments
I took all these photos behind the glass
Casino Golden Dragon Macau China
Like I said, gambling is everywhere. This is Golden Dragon Hotel & Casino in Macau city.

China Communist party office MacauMacau tiled junction

Portuguese pavement Macau China
I got down in front of Senado Square, which is famous for its remnants of Macau’s Portuguese colonial history
Portugese colonial house Macau China
As evidenced by the architecture
Portuguese egg tarts Macau
But before I could go any further, the smell of freshly baked Portuguese egg tarts caught my attention. Being one of three food items Macau is famous for, I obviously had to have one.
Road to Senado square Macao China
I crossed the road
Senado square stone paving pattern Macau
Senado Square is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – one of many in Macau
Tourists Senado square Macao China
But my god the number of tourists!

Senado square municpal building Macau

Starbucks coffee Senado square Macau
Senado Square has enough of the usual brands
St. Domingos church Macau China
St. Domingos (or Saint Dominic) church
Inside St. Domingos church Macau China
I didn’t bother too much with colonial churches as I’ve seen my fair share in India and a ton in Philippines

Green window St. Domingo MacauMacau sign post Senado square

Shops Senado square Macau China
This is supposed to be a historical place, but it’s quite commercial

Classic Portuguese building Macau ChinaPortuguese church door windows MacauSenado square fountain Macau

Stone pavement art design Macau China
I just kept walking around, exploring all the smaller streets

Shops eateries street Macau

Pork bun shop Macau China
I had to try one of these pork buns too
Kok Kei cookie shop Macau
I walked past a very busy shop called Kok Kei
Almond cake biscuit samples Macau China
They were handing out several samples of Macau’s other famous tourist treat – almond cakes (although biscuits or cookies would be a more appropriate definition)
Inside Kok Kei biscuit shop Macau
After trying out a few samples, I decided to pick up a few boxes to take home. The almond biscuits were good but nothing I hadn’t tasted before. Only bought them because I didn’t know what else to take back from Macau as a souvenir.
Jerky meat shop Macau
Oh, Macau’s third most popular food snack – jerky. Beef, chicken, pork and probably some other meat too… you get them all jerky-ed.
Portuguese egg tarts Kok Kei Macau
But before I left, I just had to have more of these egg tarts. I was hooked on them! (They cost HK$7-$8 in these parts)
Way to St. Paul cathedral Macau
I moved to the next attraction
Stone street Macau China
Take away the signs in Chinese and you would mistake this for some European town
Tourists in front of St.Paul Cathedral Macau
This remains one of Macau’s biggest tourist attractions – the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral
Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral Macau China
The church was destroyed in a fire way back in 1835
Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral Macau
Only the facade remains
Ruins of St. Paul facade Macau China
Still standing tall
Behind facade ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral Macau
This is what it looks like from behind
Behind ruins of St. Paul Cathedral Macau
A few historical artifacts were excavated and preserved here
Grand Lisboa from Ruins of St. Paul Macau
From here too, the building that ruined Macau’s skyline is visible
Way to museum fortress Macau
I decided to check out the nearby fortress and museum

Chinese kids statue Macau

It was an uphill climb
Macau garden hill
Macau fortress wall
This is the Fortaleza do Monte
Fortaleza do Monte entrance Macau China
Fortaleza do Monte entrance
Macau museum fortress hill
The fortress also houses the Museum of Macau — which was closed by the time I got here
Macau fortress cannons
And what’s a colonial fortress without the obligatory cannons
Macau fortress cannon Grand Lisboa
How I so wish I could fire one at that architectural atrocity
Macau fortress view
You get some great views from up here
Macau viewpoint panorama
Panorama comprised of 8 shots

Macau old city China

View of Macau city from fortress panorama
I had to leave and get back to The Venetian

Macau fortress park dogs

Ruins of St. Paul through trees Macau
Quite goth isn’t it?

Ruins of St. Paul facade side view Macau

Stone street Ruins of St. Paul Macau
Even though I knew I didn’t have much time, I felt like exploring Macau a bit more

Cute puppy Macau China

Macau alley house China
I had no clue where I was walking to, but that’s usually what compels me to keep walking 🙂
Macau neighbourhood China
I walked through some neighbourhoods to get an idea of how people who don’t gamble all day live in Macau. Also passed by a lot of Filipinos 🙂

Steps Macau house neighborhood

Jardim Luis de Camoes Macau garden
Luis de Camoes garden
Grand Lisboa hotel casino Macau China
As I was getting late, I simply hopped inside a taxi and went back to the Venetian. And I passed by the Grand Lisboa again.
Bridge to Cotai Macau island
Each of these bridges only goes one way

Macau bridge to Cotai

Venetian hotel lobby reception Macau China
The taxi dropped me at an another entrance where I saw just how much beauty the Venetian has in store at every corner

The Venetian ornate decor Macau China Took both the above photos on my phone as I was rushing to get to Cotai Arena.

Venetian ceiling painting Macau
But I had to stop and take my camera out when I saw this!
Venetian hotel casino ceiling painting
Print or real painting?

You can read about how the K-pop Nation concert went over here. After the concert, I took the bus back to the ferry terminal. It was well past 10pm, but the night was still alive in Macau. After all, the amazing nightlife is one of the reasons why people visit Macau. If I had the money I would have spent a few days in Macau because you really need to if you truly have to enjoy all that Macau has to offer. I would have liked to have checked out Galaxy Casino and City of Dreams, but I neither had the time or the money this time around.

Macau bridge at night
So back to Hong Kong it was

By the time I arrived, it was nearing 1am. I cleared immigration and fortunately got a minibus going straight to Mong Kok. I had my dinner from a 24-hour McDonalds and called it a night.

Nest posts in this series:

Hong Kong 2012: Bird Market, Apliu Street Flea Market, Golden Computer Arcade

Hong Kong 2012: Ngong Ping 360 cable car, Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery

Hong Kong 2012: Tai O fishing village

Hong Kong 2012: Last day in Hong Kong, and one day in Bangkok

Previous posts in this series:

Hong Kong 2012: Mong Kok’s many markets, and fireworks at Victoria Harbour

Hong Kong 2012: Tsim Sha Tsui, Chungking Mansion, Avenue Of Stars, and Kowloon Park

Hong Kong 2012: Gurudwara, and walking around Wan Chai

Hong Kong 2012: Views from Victoria Peak, day to night Hong Kong 2012: Getting there

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