Saturday, February 14, 2009

MACAU, MY FAV PLACE IN EAST ASIA...

I have been to Macau three times in the last two years and first wrote about it in my blog on April 21st, 2007 that one can read here and did a follow up on the same trip that can be found here. On my second visit there, I got to visit more of Macau (I spelt it then as the Portuguese had done-Macao) and posted a new blog called Return to the dragon which can be read here.

(At the start of the town center)
In 2008 I went there again because I do enjoy going there. As I had written earlier, Macau is not just about the Casinos although it has positioned itself as a country (China S.A.R.) promoting it's casinos more than anything else. This has actually led to a downfall as their tourism numbers have progressively gone down. In this economic down turn, China has put in restrictions for their nationals going to Macau and possibly prevent people from gambling away their money! This was on local news in Singapore recently. However, I think there is still a lot to do in Macau and is a perfect weekend getaway from SE Asia. If one is fond of colonial architecture and Heritage buildings, this is the place to see some fine restored samples, like the picture below illustrates:


I think one will find better room rates and lesser crowds now and therefore a good time to visit. While one is there, do make it to see The Venetian and enjoy the delights of being able to go on a Gondola ride inside the large complex, on waterways/canals built indoors with boutique stores lined on both sides. The Venetian is located in the Cotai strip and one can find free transportation from Macau ferry terminal to and fro The Venetian. One can shop, dine, gamble, take a gondola ride or just enjoy the many free performances that this place has to offer, all indoors and in air conditioned comfort. Take in the regular paid shows as well, this is the Las Vegas of the East.

(Inside The Venetian-apologies for the blurry picture, taken around midnight but looks like day time due to the artificial sky and lighting)

video
The above video was taken late night, indoors, in The Venetian.

On mainland Macau, here are some more options of things to do or places to go to, other than those mentioned in my previous articles. There is the UNESCO heritage town center that needs more exploration than I did last time. There's a typical 19th Century (Built 1889) Chinese house called the Lou Kau Mansion. Visiting the house gives a glimpse of how a typical wealthy trading family lived in those days.

(Inside the Chinese Mansion)

Another good place to visit is the A-Ma temple (featured in my April 21, 2007 blog) and I watched a Lion dance performance this time, something that one can catch during the Chinese New year time. A video of the area around A-Ma temple featuring a Lion dance troupe is featured below:
video

Right next to the Am-Ma temple and also visible briefly in the video above, is the Maritime Museum of Macau. This is a fascinating place for me, being a lover of the sea, ships and of course seaplanes.

This museum features models of old ships that plied the waters around Macau and also when the seaport was used for take off and landing of seaplanes in the 1940's.

Cathay Pacific offered Seaplane service between Hong Kong and Macau during that time. In 1948 Cathay Pacific seaplane service to Macau became infamous for the first ever hijacking of a commercial Aircraft by Chinese bandits who eventually shot the pilot and crashed into the water killing 26 of the 27 people on board the Catalina Seaplane. The lone survivor was the leader of the gang! Pictures below are those of the seaplane service and a data plate illustrating some of the history of the origin of aviation in Macau. Click on image to read.




All in all, another enjoyable trip to the Pearl River Delta, I made it back to Coloane' that sleepy village I talked about in my earlier articles. There's more to Macau!