Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hong Kong & Macau 2014

For me, a trip to Asia is never complete without a weekend stopover in Hong Kong to indulge in my favourite past time: eating and hanging out with the niece! As per usual, we ate our weight in suckling duck, dim sum, Shanghai dumplings, sushi, and hot pot. 

 In between our eating extravangzana, we also did some shopping, mostly at my kid sister's request as she was on the market for new eyeglasses, perfume, and make-up from her favourite shop - the ubiquitous Sasa. On our shopping list was upgrading our iPads, picking up a Chinese TV pad for my father, iphone and camera accessories, and new eye glasses. Buying electronics in Hong Kong is fun and not to mention a bargain! 

My kid sister, Keenan, and I also took an excursion to Macau, a former Portuguese colony about an hour ferry ride from Hong Kong. Macau is often dubbed as the "Las Vegas of the East." Whilst the gaming industry in Macau is 7x larger than Vegas, thanks to visiting Chinese tourists who are serial gamblers,  however, it lacks the vibe and entertainment options of Vegas. I'm not a fan of gambling but Vegas has always kept me entertained with its shows, concerts, and celebrity sightings, whereas in Macau, it's all about gambling and high-end shopping for the growing middle class in China.  

With street signs in both Portuguese and Chinese and walls adorned with the classic Portuguese azulejos, the central parts of Macau can be easily covered in a few hours. The highlight of course is visiting the ruins of St. Paul Cathedral which was destroyed in a fire in 1835. Fortaleza do Monte, a fortress overlooking Macau's numerous casinos including the tacky Grand Lisboa, is worth visiting as is the nearby Museum of Macau. 

On Largo do Senado with the classic wave-black-and-white-patterned streets is flanked by baroques buildings and churches. Closer to the waterfront are all the casino hotels. We visited a few, including the Grand Lisboa and Hotel Lisboa, both were packed with Chinese tourists because of the week-long holiday period known as the "Golden Week" as well as the Wynn and ending at our final destination for MGM Grand where we had a Las Vegas style buffet lunch. All in all, it was great to finally visit Macau.

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