Almost a month after my Macau trip, I'm finally posting this. As much as I'd like to write a complete account of the vacation, I unfortunately do not have the leisure of time. Therefore, I'll just pick up a few from my pool of photos and go through them in a breeze.
Macau, the world's most densely populated region
The most densely populated region in the world is, surprisingly, Macau. Narrow streets and "pigeon-hole abodes" like these are very typical especially in the older parts of the island. Those who watch enough Hong Kong dramas might have noticed that these are normally where high-speed chases and shoot outs between cops and underground societies break out. But, rest assured Macau and Hong Kong are among the safest places in the world.
Macau, a fusion of sorts
Macau is a place with fusion of Western and Oriental, historical and modern. These walls represent the different faces of Macau.
The Ruins of St. Paul's, Ruínas de São Paulo 大三巴牌坊
More than 400 years ago, the largest Catholic church in Asia was built here in Macau. It was known as the Cathedral of St. Paul. But in after a fire in 1835, all that was left was the facade of the cathedral, which stands till today. The landmark is now synonymous to Macau.
Fortress of Our Lady of the Mount of St. Paul, Fortaleza do Monte 大炮台
Located on a hill overlooking the facade of Sao Paulo is a massive fortress known as Fortaleza do Monte. It was built by the Portuguese to defend Macau from the Dutch.
"When Dutch ships attacked and invaded Macau in 1622, the half-completed fortress was defended by 150 clerics and African slaves. A lucky cannon shot by an Italian Jesuit, Geronimo Rhu, hit the powder magazine of the Dutch fleet's flagship and saved the city." ～Insight Guides
Macau Tower, 338m - "Why live on the edge when you can jump off?"
Macau Tower, standing at 338m is the 10th tallest tower in the world. It is one of most famous landmarks of Macau.
The father of bungee jumping, AJ Hackett broke the world record when he launched the highest bungee jumping facility at the tower. Jumping off from the platform at 233m, the fall reaches a maximum speed of 200km/h.
Think you have what it takes? Perhaps taking a look through the glass platform would change your mind...
The Venetian Macao, 澳門威尼斯
Historical sites aside, Macau is of course about casionos! The Venetian Macao is one of the latest addition to Macau's countless casinos. It is also the world's largest casino, with 3400 slot machines and 800 gambling tables.
The Venetian Macao, 澳門威尼斯
Vast in scale and ambition, this is the biggest casino in the world, owned by Las Vegas Sands Corporation. It is modeled after its sister casino resort, Venetian in Las Vegas and is the fourth-largest building in the world by area.
The casino has its own resorts and a shopping mall, which as the name suggests, has a Venetian theme. It is complete with Venetian facades, performances on the piazzas, canals, gondolas and an artificial sky that never rains.
A-Ma Temple, Templo de A-Má 媽閣廟
A-Ma Temple was built long before Macau was ceded to the Portuguese. The temple which is said to date back 600 years to the Ming dynasty, is the oldest temple in the territory. It is dedicated to A-Ma, the patron goddess of fishermen.
Fisherman's Wharf, 澳門漁人碼頭
When my parents entered a casino, I had to babysit my underage brother. Under the blazing afternoon sun, we wandered all the way to Fisherman's Wharf, the first theme park in Macau. Buildings are built in different styles - Cape Town, Amsterdam and Venice. There is also an Roman amphitheater, a man-made volcano and a Tang Dynasty fortress, which was not yet open to public.
So, what do I think about Macau? Well, one thing for sure, there're plenty of things to do other than gambling. Try the Portuguese tart for instance, and you'll wish you could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of your life. If you're an avid photographer, I suggest you forgo the buses and taxis and go on foot. And if you wander to the right (wrong?) place at night, you'll be lucky enough to bump into some hookers too. But then, that all depends on what you're looking for!