Hong Kong’s impressively convenient public transit system makes it really easy to travel both internally and externally. During one of my weekends abroad, I took a day trip to Macau, a popular destination for Hong Kong residents and visitors due to its proximity. The most popular method of travel between Hong Kong and Macau is via ferry. A valid passport is needed for entry into Macau and back into Hong Kong. One-way, the ferry ride took a little over an hour.
Prior to going, I had the impression that Macau was the Vegas of Asia. This impression was based on a large number of comments made by my peers and coworkers who had traveled to Macau before. In my head, I pictured the neon lights and never-ending buzz of energy of Vegas. While it was true that Macau boasted an abundance of extravagant casinos, it certainly did not feel like Vegas. Rather, as a former colony of the Portuguese Empire and a current autonomous territory of China, Macau felt closer to a hybrid of cultures. Coming out of the ferry terminal, for example, the first thing I noticed were the posted signs, which included Chinese, English, Portuguese, and Korean.
From the ferry terminal, my travel companion Ben and I ordered a taxi to take us to the closest city center, Taipa Village. We had a late start that morning and arrived in Macau at 2PM. On a time constraint, we only had the chance to explore the area around Taipa Village, which we learned was an old Portuguese village containing a cozy alleyway filled to bursting with delicious street food stands, souvenir shops, and sit-down restaurants.
Nearby were a large casino hotel, lily pad park, temple, and miscellaneous souvenir shops. Around Taipa Village, signs were mostly in Chinese, English, and Portuguese. Having been there for only a day, I cannot speak in depth about the cultural nuances of the region, but the Portuguese influence is largely felt, beyond the street signs, in the food and architecture. Several restaurants and food stalls offered Portuguese cuisine and snacks that visitors gravitated toward. From well-known desserts like Portuguese egg tarts and steamed milk pudding to savory options like street food skewers and various Macanese/Portuguese seafood plates, Macau was truly a foodie paradise.
Hungry, our first stop was a snacks cafe called SEI KEE CAFE, which served the most delicious egg sandwich either of us have ever had. The egg was impossibly fluffy and juicy, the toast perfectly crunchy. Originally, we went into SEI KEE CAFE hoping to try its famous pork chop sandwich, but unfortunately could not try it because the cafe sold out of it for the day. To make up for this, we were silly and added to our misfortune by eating one egg sandwiches too many, leaving ourselves too full to try the other delicacies we meant to on this trip. I was happy to purchase some Almond Cookies as souvenirs for my coworkers and course mates though. After eating, we walked through the lily pad park (Terras Húmidas de Macau) and then the hotel casino, which also doubled as a high-end mall.
By the time we came full circle back to the alleyway, about four hours had passed and it was time for dinner. Still semi-full from the egg sandwiches and bubble tea from lunch, we shared a light dinner at a Portuguese seafood restaurant before catching a bus outside the hotel casino to return to the ferry terminal. From there, we took the ferry back to Hong Kong. Given the chance, I will definitely visit Macau again.