Hong Kong Day 3: Macao and Chinese New Year
We started the day off with a traditional English breakfast at a British pub/breakfast joint. Potatoes and tomatoes, eggs and toast.
After breakfast we walked up to Man Mo Temple 文武廟, to see the coils of hanging incense. You are not permitted to photograph the interior of the temple, so you will have to use your imagination or visit it for yourself. The air is full of smoke and incense, and there are many patrons bustling about making offerings. The ceiling was covered with hanging incense coils, slowing burning and dropping their ashes on the ground all around.
From Man Mo, we headed to the ferry terminal to book tickets to Macao. We hadn’t really realized that being in Hong Kong during the Chinese New Year would make the journey to Macao particularly painful. The line to purchase ferry tickets was incredibly long, and when we arrived to the automated machine, most of the day’s tickets had sold out. We purchased tickets for both trips, there and back. However, our travel times ended up being very close together, which did not allow us much time in Macao.
The line to get through Hong Kong exit customs was jammed packed with people and their luggage. We took our place in “line” to get through customs, but in typical Chinese fashion the line was more like a giant mob of people, pushing each other endlessly in an attempt to make it through customs quicker.
We made it through customs with only a few minutes to spare before our boat left the harbor.
The trip from Hong Kong to Macao was relatively uneventful, and took about an hour. The cost for the return trip was about 70$CAD per person.
When we arrived in Macao we had to “line up” for customs once again, and again it took almost an hour.
Once through customs, we took a bus to the centre of the old town. The streets were completely packed with people. There were roads closed for New Year celebrations, police were directing pedestrians and there were fireworks going off.
We slowly weaved our way through the crowds and were able to see Sendo Square and the Ruin’s of Saint Paul’s before we had to get back on a bus to head to the ferry terminal again.
We managed to get back to the ferry terminal with just enough time to clear customs for a third time and get to our ferry. By this time we just wanted to be back in Hong Kong, and away from the chaos of Macao during the Chinese New Year.
Once back in Hong Kong, we lined up for a fourth time to clear customs for the final time.
It was interesting to see Macao, but if we had the chance to do it again we’d certainly do things differently.
Firstly, traveling during Chinese New Year was a mistake. If you are in Macao during the Chinese New Year, book a night or two in Macao and give yourself time to explore the area. On a regular day, it would certainly be easier to book ferry times that you’d prefer. If you are able to book a ferry to Macao in the morning, and return later at night then you’d have plenty of time to explore Macao. We were unable to choose or arrival and departure times so we ended up spending most of the day in line to clear customs.
Macao appeared to be an incredibly fascinating city, and it was a shame that we had such a brief visit there.