Macau, More than Casinos

Most people make a day trip to Macau from Hong Kong because those two islands are only one hour ferry ride away, and accommodation in Macau is tuned to the casino users who come with a thick wallet. There is no such things like a back packer hostel or a budget hotel, but the mid-ranged hotels are  really good value for money.

In Macau, you can pay either with Macau Pataca or Hong Kong dollar, but strangely HK coins are not accepted. Money changers are dotted around on the tourist tracks, and the best rate goes to Chinese Yuan, not US dollars.

At airport I cash some Australian dollars, NZ dollars,and leftover Yuans from Shanghai, to HK dollar.

Macau has wonderful public bus systems that are extremely cheap and clean, but most tourists stick to the casino shuttle buses that cover all the interesting spots for free. You don’t have to play at the casino or stay in the hotel to use those buses.

I take public bus No.26 from airport to get to my hostel in Rua da  Felicidades(Happiness street)



Get off the bus at outside Sofitel and start walking along Rua Da Ribeiro for which nobody seems to know the name of this artery road. They say,,,Ah, San-Ma-Lo, go that way.

Tip,,,try not to use the road name/place name in Portuguese when you ask for direction even if that’s the only name you know. Just show the local the Chinese name on the map, and they will pick up really quick and you are there. More importantly, never trust the locals ‘Yes’ as an affirmative confirm 100%, double check it with other person.

My hostel, one and only Macau’s budget accommodation, SanVa, is old, ramshackle more like a cubicle than a room, but hold it, with full of history, character and affordability. At $220 dollars(NZ $42) I got my single room without a window, but with a table fan.


10 mins walk from the hostel takes me to Macau’s draw card, Senado square and the ruins of St.Paul church. The alleyways connecting these two are packed with shops selling quick bites, cosmetics and Chinese traditional medicine. The path is cobbled surface that gives you a feeling of bit of Portuguese environs.




Full of people for a Monday night.






Moving to a side street to have a fresh air guides you to a residential block that has the colonial charm.


Back on the main tourist circle, this is the church of St.Domingo.


Spectators poking out to see the international youth dance festival being held on the steps of the ruins.




Chinese tourists waiting in a queue outside a restaurat to try some sort of soup.







Even though everyone says Macau has gone a tourist trap but this place is still beautiful, I think I have come to the right place.




Now walking up the hill to a fortress leads me to an array of canons.


Looks like a garrison, no this is a toilet block.


A canon aimed to the landmark, Hotel Lisboa.


The fortress is a good spot for the old to practise Taichi.


Back to the hostel, back to the street of happiness. Gonna have a deep sleep tonight.





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