Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hong Kong and Macao

“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” – Mohammed 

On  Friday we made the 4 hour flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong, where we plan to stay a few days as well as taking the one hour high speed "Turbojet" boat to the former Portuguese enclave of Macao (now a bustling gambling destination 5 times bigger than Las Vegas in gambling revenue). We are interested in seeing the historic city center of Macao with the forts, monuments, churches and buildings left over from the Portuguese period. Hong Kong Island is like Manhattan in terms of the activity and fast pace only with many more people in a smaller place. Many people speak English as it was a former British colony as well as there being many people working and living in Hong Kong from all over the world due to it being the hub of finance and banking in Asia.
    Normally, a 4 hour flight would seem a bit long but after a 14 hour flight, it was nothing. On our second day here we visited the large Buddha statue on Lantau Island, about 45 minutes from Hong Kong by train and then up the mountains by cable car on an incredible 30 minute ride which ends at the Buddha statue and the famous Po Lin Monastery.  We next visited Macao where we visited the historic City center as well as visiting the Cotai strip which is becoming the premier gambling destination in the world. The odd thing about Macao was seeing all of the signs in Portuguese and Chinese as Portuguese was the official language for many years.

Flags commemorating Buddha's feast day on Lantau Island, Hong Kong

The entrance to the village where the large Buddha statue and the sacred Po Lin monastery are located

Macao  at night

Macao in the day

The swimming pool at our hotel, the Grand Lapa Macao
The ruins of Saint Paul in Macao

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