img_8737We've never been to Macau and this seemed like the opportunity. There's an excellent ferry service from Central (we found on the way back there's an even better one from Kowloon, where we are staying, but the Lonely Planet chooses not to mention this).

What is first rate value is the Macau information office at the Macau Ferry terminal. The lady there was full of information, maps, suggestions and so pleasant. First rate.

With all the messing about to get to Central we were somewhat late getting to Macau (11:30 or so) but that's ok as it's really not the sleepy little place that I'd expected.

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We should have come here 30 years ago as now the casinos have changed it. I would say ruined but clearly they are hugely popular so who am I to say all these people are wrong?

 

The world heritage area architecture has had a lot of charm but like Carcasson in France it's overwhelmed with the tourists and huge range of 'brand' stores, McDonalds, Hagen Das, and so forth selling pretty much exactly what they sell everywhere else. Better to escape into the alleys where the 'real' Macanese live and shop.

Lunch at the Restaurant Platao (just at the side of McDonalds) was recommended by very pleasant wooden box store owner and was really good.

img_8748We took a wander around one of the vast Casinos and frankly found it rather sad. The attraction of the 'luck' rather eludes me. Clearly the Casinos are making truckloads of cash, how do the punters think they are going to get some? “I'm going to win a fortune at the Casino” Yeah Right!

The courtesy bus our Information lady had suggested took us straight back to the ferry terminal and a simple matter to get back to Kowloon. Worth going to Macau, sure but we were years too late.

Back at the hotel we were in time for the complementary happy hour. We'd been talked into the upgrade, if that gave us more space in the room then I doubt we could have both fitted in a regular room at the same time.

Dinner at the Wu Kong Shanghai restaurant (http://www.wukong.com.hk/) just round the back of the hotel was really a high point. A proper Chinese restaurant with great food and amazing service. Neither of us would do the egg white and crab again but it was an interesting flavour. We were even thanked by the guys who appeared to be owners. Wonderful.

img_8749Our return to the airport has been problematic as we got a return ticket on the MRT airport express train however this starts rather late to get us to the airport in time for the very early departure. It's made worse as the bus to he station incomprehensibly starts even later than the train. We give up and buy a ticket on the bus service from the hotel.

When we wake at midnight there are several minutes of panic due to holding the watch upside down.

Lessons to learn. 1. Buy one way tickets whenever possible, return bookings lock you in for little saving. 2. Look at flight times before you go and think about when you might have to get up/arrive. 3. Read all the paperwork well in advance.

Last time I left Heathrow there was a sign saying they are building a “world class” airport there. I'm prepared to lay money they haven't got there yet.