Was it the weather? Did I take the wrong sightseeing route? Macau left me perplexed. Did I really not enjoy it or were there other factors that killed what should have been a great trip to the Las Vegas of Asia? But whatever it was, it was a disappointing day in Macau.
The ferry from Hong Kong to Macau is easy and fast. The ferry, one hour each way departing from 2 different ferry ports in Hong Kong, were clean and simple to board. But the ride over on my day in Macau was treacherous. Tropical Storm Yutu was not far off the Hong Kong coast and while it was weakening, the waves were big and the boat was a ’rocking!
If I wasn’t such an old fart now who gets sick on roller coasters this may have been a fun hour. But a few people were making use of their barf bags and that smell is never pleasant. I kept my eyes on the horizon (the TV in the front of the boat, thanks vestibular-ocular-reflex) and held on for dear life. Actually we were all seat belted into our assigned seats so mostly you just had to worry about the crazies who got up to run to the bathroom to throw-up.
Once in Macau I walked to the ruins of the Church of St. Paul. It is the highlight of any non-gambling Macau trip. It was pretty cool even though only the façade remains and the neighborhood was very European (the Portuguese used to control Macau). Man, it was crowded!
The dreary, grey sky didn’t keep the hoards of tourists away, including myself. It misted most of the day but never really rained, thankfully.
Looking down into town from the ruins:
The main street running to the ruins was beautiful but strange. The same 2 stores selling dried fish and egg custard tarts were every other store, selling the exact same things- a monopoly of the most crowded street in Macau. This went on for blocks and blocks.
The egg custard tarts did look good but I found some from a mom and pop shop elsewhere for cheaper and it made me feel better than buying from the conglomerate of Macau egg custard tarts
Macau is really known for gambling. As it is known as the Las Vegas of Asia I was expecting opulence and overstimulation like Vegas but with an Asian flair.
There was some of this but nothing like what I was expecting. I did hit a few casinos. The Wynn was impressive but small. Same with MGM.
The casinos run free buses to and from the ferry terminal. If you do ever end up in Macau, I’d try the Venetian and skip the Wynn and MGM Grand.
The ferry ride back was just as hilarious, fun, and full of motion sickness. But I made it through both ferry rides without throwing up! I am a champion!
My advice: If you are on a strict timetable in Asia- skip Macau unless you are a big gambler. If you have a day to waste, head to the ruins and the Venetian. And plan to go on a non-tropical storm day!
Reader Question: Sea sickness? Roller coasters? How does your vestibular system fare?