Apr 9, 2014

Visiting Macau from Hong Kong

Visiting Macau from Hong Kong is a no-brainer.  It takes one hour on the TurboJet Ferry ($20) which departs about every 15
minutes.  Macau is one of two Special Administrative Regions of China. The other is Hong Kong.  It is part of the philosophy of “One country, two systems.” Macau was under Portuguese control until 1999 when it was transferred back to China.  Since then the development has been amazing. By 2002 it was one of the world’s richest cities and in 2006 it became the world’s biggest gaming center. 

We wanted to stay at the new Venetian Casino Resort but they were fully booked for many weeks in advance.  Luckily I found a great place to stay – gotta’ love the internet! Pousada de Mong-Ha is a training hotel for the Institute of Tourism Studies. “Pousada” is used to designate an inn that reflects Portuguese culture.  The small 20-room hotel has small patios with fountains and traditional Portuguese title accents with all the amenities one expects from a more expensive hotel.  The complimentary breakfast included eggs cooked to order and many homemade items including jams and breads. Needless to say, the service is excellent.  The students are passionate about their position and offer excellent service.

The Educational Restaurant is beautiful offering a wide selection
of wines.  The restaurant also has a Happy Hour and Afternoon Tea. Keep in mind that it is a school so the restaurant is not open on weekends and holidays and we were there when the school was not in session so we couldn’t enjoy their restaurant. 
We expressed an interest in Macanese food which uses Portuguese cooking methods but Asian ingredients.  Chef John Chan graciously agreed to show us how to make Shrimp & Rice Vermicelli Soup.  It was an easy recipe and as Chef Chan suggested, “Remember to taste. The recipe may be the same but adjust the ingredients to suit your individual tastes.”

There is a free one-way shuttle three times a day to central locations including the ferry station and A-ma Temple. Even though we couldn’t stay at the Venetian we still wanted to see how it compared to the Venetian in Las Vegas, where we have stayed. The Venetian Macau has all the same landmarks as the Vegas Venetian: The Campanile, Gondola Rides, St. Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Rialto. The biggest difference is the size with the Macau Venetian
being much bigger. In fact, it is one of the world’s largest buildings by floor area, the largest casino in the world, and the largest hotel by area in Asia. The accommodations are beautiful and even the most reasonable room present a luxurious ambiance with high-end amenities. There are several pools, a dedicated child-friendly play area, high-end shopping, amazing shows and everything one would expect at a Vegas resort plus more. The Venetian gets 100,000 visitors a day.

We had lunch at North, a Chinese restaurant in a beautiful setting with a unique menu reflecting the cuisine of northern China. Luckily, a friend, Mildred, was with us to teach us how to eat “Poached Pork Belly (think bacon) with Cucumber, Leeks, Garlic and Sauce.” Basically, we wrapped it all up in the thinly sliced cucumber.  We also enjoyed Beijing-Style Crispy Duck.” Everything was delicious. Macao has many historical sites which we visited on a previous trip the most famous is the façade of the 16th century St. Paul’s Cathedral.