How To Do Macau For A Day Without Going To Casino

Macau has never been in my bucket list. I have no fondness toward lavish casinos and luxurious hotels (unless I stay in it). But apparently Macau has more to offer, more to my liking.

Largo do Senado, how can you not love this festive square?
Largo do Senado, how can you not love this festive square?

A trip to Macau was only our side trip to Hong Kong family holiday. We did not want to bother carrying all our stuff, finding a hotel in Macau, to stay for night, and come back the next day to Hong Kong for our flight out of China. So, it was merely a day trip.

Read: my story on finding halal food in HK and Macau here

Macau is the richest city in the world thanks to gambling and tourism business. But, unfortunately we came to Macau for sightseeing only. When everybody else drank wine and champagne, we drank tap water. When everybody else ate the infamous Portuguese egg tarts, we ate plain bread. When everybody else gambled, we cited the Quran *kibas kerudung*

But like everybody else, we came from Hong Kong Sheung Wan using TurboJet Ferry to Macau. It took about one hour trip in a fully air-conditioned ferry. You do not need to book in advance. Just come to the ferry terminal and buy the immediate departure. Easy peasy.

Immigration is not a problem also, although the officer mistaken me as a TKI (Indonesian immigrant, working mostly as blue collar workers in HK). Damn you officer. (Sampeyan pikir Simbok mau ngelamar jadi pembantu? Enak aja. Wong mau ngelamar jadi bandar poker.) Astagfirullah.

We got to Macau Outer Ferry Terminal as scheduled. I immediately noticed that Macau is way different than Hong Kong. A lot of signs, names of building, roads, are using Portuguese. I knew that Macau was under Portuguese for quite long time, but I did not expect the Portuguese influences were still immense. Say, Vietnam and Cambodia were under France, their buildings and food are influenced by the French architecture, but I hardly saw signage in French.

First, Puput wanted us to get a free ride using one of the casino buses in front of the ferry terminal. I knew that the driver wouldn’t care if we did not stay in their hotel nor gamble in their casino. Many people took the bus just because it is free.

But I am not among many people.

“Look at us, do we look like someone staying in The Venetian? We look more like Chungking Mansion kind of travellers.”

(Nggak tahu aja mereka kalau di tas kresek tulisan Indomaret yang dipegang Simbok ada puluhan juta dolar. Dolar Sleman.).

Finally we took public bus that took us to Senado Square. It cost MOP 1 equal to HKD 1, kids are free of charge. Macau was densely populated, traffic was jammed. But we got there, Senado Square.

Locally known as Largo do Senado, it is a paved square surrounded by many heritage building. There are old post office, cathedral, numerous boutiques and cafes. Senado Square is part of UNESCO Historic Macau World Heritage Site.

And I so loved it! I love old buildings, don’t really care if they are retrofitted, refurbished, or are turned too cafes as long as they don’t lose the old charms.

We walked down the aisle paved road. It was weekend and the Square was packed. I remember I said to Puput, “Are everybody in Hong Kong coming to Macau? How come it is so crowded?” Apparently, Macau is the most densely populated IN THE WORLD. Yes, you read it right.

Ruins of St Paul's
Ruins of St Paul’s

When we got to the Ruins of St Paul’s, Oliq has drifted to sleep. I had to stay back finding shade from a deciduous trees. From there I could imagine how magnificent the cathedral was once. Today , only one side of the wall that are still standing. The rest was ruined. There are 68 stone steps leading to it, and hundreds of people took photos from the step. I could not help but admire. The sky was bright blue, contrasting the grey facade.

Climbed up the fort
Climbed up the fort

From there, we started to climb Fortaleza du Monte, a fort that stands on the hill. It was a long and winding walk, but it paid off. From the steps we could enjoy the vast scenery. We could see Macau Tower that we had to miss due to time and budget constraint.

On the top of the fort, stood Museo du Macau that exhibited various artifacts. Outside was grassy yard with cannons, pool, and ancient trees. We met a Nepali security officer who greet us in Malay. He thought we come from Malaysia (partly correct because we literally come from KL).

Outside Macau Museum
Outside Macau Museum

We came down the hill and lost our way. HAHAHAHAHAHAH! We completely lost. So we walked and walked and walked (didn’t know yet that I was pregnant, but even if we knew Puput would still ask me to walk and walk and walk). After going downhill for some more, we found a jammed road. There were buses, cars, and LOTS of people.

We had to wait the bus that would get us to the ferry terminal for about 30 minutes. The bus was packed, but a passenger gave me a seat. The traffic was heavy and we managed to get to the ferry terminal before 6pm.

See, I did not go to any casinos and still enjoyed my trip. I did not eat Portuguese egg tarts and I still enjoyed my trip. I had to walk and walk and walked but I still enjoyed my trip.

The fact that you are travelling sometimes is even more important than the destination you go to. Especially if you are travelling with your loved ones.




6 thoughts on “How To Do Macau For A Day Without Going To Casino”

  1. I left a quarter of my heart in Macau back in 2010 (and took it back recently when I revisited), and yes, I didn’t gamble. Macau has more to offer than just the lavish hotels and casinos. It is two side of different worlds packed! One side you see casino, the other side you see churches. One side you see awesome hotels with great scent, at the other you’re in a (literally) Chinatown with buildings built cling to each other. ❤


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