Macau is – as Hongkong – a special administrative region of the Republic of China. It has its own legal system, police force and even monetary system. You can get there by Ferry very fast (it takes about 70 minutes).
In 1962 the gambling industry started under a government-issued monopoly license. This monopoly ended in 2002 and several casino operators from Las Vegas entered the market. The first was the Sands Macao in 2004 and after that the Wynn Macau in 2006. Later giant buildings like The Venetian, the MGM Grand Macau and the Galaxy Cotai Megaresort followed.
Gambling revenue has made Macau the world’s top casino market, surpassing Las Vegas.
At night the city really comes to life with all the colors and lights.
If you go to Macau you mainly go for the Casinos and the gambling. However there are a few other things to do and see. For example the Ruins of St. Paul are very famous and are officially enlisted as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Macau. The church was destroyed by a fire in 1835, today the Ruins consist only of the southern stone facade (17th-century) and the crypts of the Jesuits.
The culture, food and architecture is a mixture of Chinese and Portuguese. There a lot of historic streets, places and buildings which you can visit easily by a unhurried walk.
The skyline of Hong Kong is one of the worlds most impressive one and some say it is even the best one with the surrounding mountains and the Victoria Harbour. There is no other city with more buildings higher than 150m and in no other city live and work more people above the 14th floor.
Some of the famous buildings are the International Commerce Center (484m), The Center with its night-time multi-colored neon light show , the HSBC Building or the Central Plaza with its triangular top.
The images were taken from the Kowloon side so we faced Hong Kong Island from the front. There is another famous point to shoot the skyline and this is on The Peak. From there you have the back of the skyline but because of the height this view is also very impressive. I will post these pictures in a later article.
The weather was not that good this evening and there was almost no clear sky. But after the long exposure I used I have to say the clouds on the images look very interesting. One can see the movement and change of direction as they bend round the high structures.
Lei Yue Mun is a small village located at the east gate of Victoria Harbour. It is famous for its seafood market and restaurants. The combination of fresh seafood and restaurants able to cook the food immediately was a winning tactic.
In 1992, the First Lei Yue Mun Seafood Festival was jointly organized by several seafood restaurants, and its success has made it an annual event.
The Nan Lian Garden is situated at Diamond Hill and is easy accessible by the MTR. Right beside is the Chi Lin Nunnery and you can do both on a half day trip.
The garden is built in the Tang Dynasty style (618 AD to 907 AD). Hills, rocks, ponds, plants and trees are arranged according to the Tang style and rules. It is a tranquil place surrounded by skyscrapers and roads.
The Chi Lin Nunnery is a Buddhist temple complex and also built in the Tang Dynasty style. It was built without any iron nails and uses special interlocking systems cut into the wood to hold everything in place.
There is no entry fee and a must-see if you visit Hong Kong.
To see a few different markets in Kowloon we used the “Kowloon Market & Hong Kong History” Walk from the TripAdvisor App. This way it was very easy to navigate through the various streets.
The markets are also known as “The Fab Five” and consist of The Ladies Market, Fa Yuen Street, Goldfish Street, Bird Market and the Flower Market. But the side streets and areas like Nelson Street (which I liked best) are also very exciting. We spent quite some time there to browse and take pictures of this local market life.
The Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai is a good place to go. In the temples is always a nice and calm atmosphere which sometimes is a needed contrast to the busy life in the city. The temple holds two jade Buddha statues. They are made of porcelain, one is a Sitting Buddha and the other is a recumbent Buddha.
The Lama Temple in Beijing is the largest Buddhist temple in China. There are five large halls and you should spend at least an hour in the temple. In the hall of Ten Thousand Happinesses you can find an amazingly tall (18m) statue of the Maitreya Buddha. It is carved from a single piece of White Sandalwood. This statue is one of three artworks in the temple that were included into the Guinness Book of Records in 1993.
Pudong is a fast growing district of Shanghai. From The Bund you have a good view of the skyline of Pudong with the Oriental Pearl Tower, the Word Financial Center with the glas-bridge on the top and the Jin Mao Building.
We went to the top of the World Financial Center to visit the glas-bridge and take some pictures. There is also a nice cafe up there from where you have an amazing view.
A few random pictures from life in the city.
You see a lot of people who collect cardboards, plastic etc. to earn some money. This is why, despite the dense population, you can’t find much clutter on the main streets.
Shanghai has a population of about 13 million people and is a relative young city (about 700 years) compared to the long history of China. It is also a booming financial center of China, especially the Pudong area. There you can find the Shanghai World Financial Center or the Jin Mao Tower.
The architecture is very modern and sometimes it was hard to find the traditional chinese characteristics. The Jade Buddha Temple or the Yu Yuan Garden are famous examples of these traditional places, but be prepared for a lot of pushing and shoving.
Peking was in my opinion far more traditional and less modern.
Most of the pictures were made from “The Bund” from where you have an excellent view of the Pudong skyline.
A even better view of the whole skyline, the river and “The Bund” area is from the Hyatt Hotel Skybar. It’s an amazing bar and a perfect spot for taking pictures.
The Yu Garden is a pleasant private garden with many small lakes, ponds and bridges. It is a very nice place to visit, however it is very very crowded. Actually I never saw so many people on a small bridge like the Jiu Qu Qiao Bridge (Watch the video). It is a famous zig-zag bridge and a so called ‘Bridge of Nine Turnings’. A zig-zag bridge may have three, five or more zig-zags.
Although the lake is only about thirty metres wide, the bridge winds more than a hundred meters because of its nine twists. In the middle of the lake is a pavilion in which visitors may have a cup of tea or enjoy the view all around.
Shanghai offers a lot of different kinds of markets.
You can find anything from clothing, electronics, souvenirs or antiques. It is also known for the Fake Markets where you can get copies of famous brands in electronics, watches or clothing.
However walking through these markets is very stressful because every meter someone wants you to come with him and have a look at his products. It’s nearly impossible to just look at the things without people dragging you into their shops, but I guess the cheap products have their price 🙂
We spent one of our ten day trip to Shanghai at the Expo. The area was huge and for the bigger and interesting Pavilions, like the German or the UK Pavilion, the waiting time was between 4 and 5 hours! Nobody wants to stand that long in a line on a very hot summer day.
It was so hot, that some places had installed water steams coming out of the ground. That was a nice cooling and made the walking easier.
The Forbidden City is in the heart of Beijing. In ancient times, the emperor was said to be a son of Heaven. The emperors’ residence on earth was built as a replica of the Purple Palace where God was thought to live in Heaven.
Such a divine place was certainly forbidden to ordinary people and that is why the Forbidden City is so named.
“Beijing Forbidden City, also named Palace Museum, is the most magnificent and splendid palace complex in China and one of the five world-famous palaces with the Palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in England, the White House in the U.S. and the Kremlin in Russia.”
The wall was built for over 1700 years. Many emperor’s worked on this project to protect the people from the Mongol invaders. The workers were not paid for their work, it was slave labor and many lost their lives. All in all the wall is about 5900km long! It’s impressive to see this monument.
The Ming Tombs are located about 50km from Beijing. It is a burial site of 13 out of 17 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. We booked a day-tour to see the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs.