A day-trip in Macau
Macau is a small city quite near to Hong Kong, with about an hour sea journey. As a Hongkonger, I don’t always visit there. The last time traveling in this city was 12 years ago! So I don’t have much understanding about it, and when I came there a few days ago, I felt like meeting a new friend. Start from zero, I chose not to plan in a day trip and walked anywhere as I liked.
I bought a ship ticket at the ticketing office in the ferry pier. At 9:15am I still needed to wait for 1.5 hour because there were so many people heading for Macau. I didn’t know I could be a waiting-list passenger to have a chance leaving earlier until I arrived at the gate, but I don’t think it’s a good idea since many passengers are queuing up. I took a seat with an Australian tourist next to me. He was about 40-50 with a big backpack, being on a 30-day trip for Hong Kong, Macau and some cities in China. This was the second time visiting Hong Kong but the first in Macau. We had a nice chat together thoughout the journey.
I started walking from the ferry pier (only by bus when returning). Macau is a comfortable, beautiful and walkable city. No worries when you are tired because there are some big and small parks which provide enough seats. One of the parks I recommend is Jardim da Flora, or Flora Garden with the whole city available from a small mountain.
Walking can allow one to have a deeper impression on a city, although finishing the whole is not impossible at a time. I walked in a township, with many low historic buildings preserved. I also noticed many new high-rise buildings on the other side and it seems to be a current and future trend. This made me think what Macau is, or what the city will be.
The currency system here is interesting. Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and Chinese Yuan (RMB) are acceptable in Macau so you don’t need to exchange your money to Macau Pataca (MOP, the currency in Macau) before traveling if you are from HK or mainland. Even when you pay in HKD, changes can be given by MOP. This is also the case in vending machine and the rule is clearly stated.
Really surprised when finding an interesting pocket park near Ruínas da Antiga Catedral de São Paulo (the Ruins of St. Paul’s), the most famous historic site in the city. There are several graffiti artworks covering the walls of the buildings nearby. The park used to be another building. The graffiti is not arranged by the government (like Kwun Tong, Hong Kong) but by an organization called Gantz 5 which promotes graffiti culture.
Is it true that there is nothing other than its colonial history as well as more high-rise hotels and gambling sites in Macau? Is happiness and even well-being taken for granted under ongoing constructions? Can the locals decide how Macau can go and take part in creating a better city with its uniqueness, besides the government officials and businessmen?
Although it was just a day-trip, I enjoyed the city walk in Macau. It’s a very small but fantastic city, and there should be more to explore other than what I said as above. I wish I could stay overnight and meet locals when I come next time.