Macau (+Hong Kong) Trip Report

Laziness strikes again!

So last month we traveled to Asia with friends — first stop was Hong Kong where we took a day trip to Macau.

I should back up and say that I enjoyed my last couple of visits to Hong Kong but it was a challenging experience this time. Not only was it incredibly crowded (expected due to Chinese New Year), we also encountered quite a bit of rudeness — from pushing and cutting in lines to terrible customer service. I’m usually a pushover so my personal tendency is to ignore things like this but it’s harder to brush off when you’re in a group and want to make sure everyone is happy. It wasn’t so bad that I’d never go back… ask me again in a year. 🙂

On our first day together we decided to take a day trip to Macau. None of us had ever been — yay for new travel destinations! we took the Turbojet ferry to get there from the Kowloon side of Hong Kong.

The group! Bright-eyed and bushy tailed! Hehe.

The trip over to Macau was only an hour long. Upon arrival, we were immediately targeted by crazy aggressive people trying to convince us to book tours. One lady kept following my friend Rob even though he kept saying we had plans. YIKES! We also had the worst customer service at the information desk when we asked for directions to the hotel shuttles. The day wasn’t exactly getting off to a good start.

We took one of the hotel shuttles to the central area of the Macau peninsula. From there, we walked down the main drag to Senado Square, which is basically a town square/meeting place. Above is the City Hall. I loved the blend of Portuguese and Chinese architecture found in all the buildings in the square.

That’s us in front of a Lunar New Year display! I got stuck holding the selfie stick.

I’m sure Senado Square would be so beautiful at night when all the lanterns are lit up.

I wanted to see the ruins so we continued along the pathway (and made a pit stop at McDonald’s so we could all share the Prosperity Sharing box of chicken nuggets & wings – so good!). It’s lined with bakeries and souvenir shops and is absolutely crowded with people.

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Hong Kong Trip Report: Disneyland

I’m a huge fan of the Disney parks (Rob is too — begrudgingly :)) so one of my travel bucket list items was to visit all existing parks. And earlier this year we were able to cross that item off the list!

We’ve been to the original Disneyland more times than we can count (we’re lucky to have grown up with the park practically in our backyard). In 2011 we jump-started this quest with our 10 day trip to Walt Disney World. Then we traveled to Tokyo Disneyland in 2012, Disneyland Paris in 2013 and finally Hong Kong Disneyland earlier this year.

We devoted about 1.5 days to Hong Kong Disneyland. The resort is pretty small and unlike all the others, it consists of Disneyland alone (all other resorts have a second gate). This was a good amount of time so we didn’t feel rushed.

We stayed on property at the Hollywood Hotel, which was great. I loved the Hollywood theme and the art deco touches. I found it to be a really striking hotel.

We booked a “park view” room. Yes, Space Mountain and the RC Racer track is visible but I think this is more of a parking lot view. LOL. If I could go back, I’d probably select a garden view or sea view room.

I had to go out to the recreation area early in the morning to get a shot of this sign without anyone around. I was determined! I love it.

Off to the park! From the hotel, we used the convenient shuttle bus. It runs frequently throughout the day and even late into the night which allowed us to visit the city after the park closed.

Ooohhh! So exciting!

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Hong Kong Trip Report

Ahhh, my four day weekend is coming to an end. We were doggie-sitting so we spent a lot of time relaxing at home and having friends over for an early Memorial day potluck of Korean food (I guess we’re going through Korea withdrawal even months later). Today we went to see X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was a fun movie but didn’t quite capture me the way the Avengers movies have. I’m not quite sure what it is because I love so many of the actors — Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, etc — but I’m just not obsessing or fan-girling about the series. Still recommend it for a fun way to spend a couple of hours. 🙂

Back to my trip report! Just two more installments, I think…

Before our time in Seoul, Rob & I first stopped over at Hong Kong. I visited way back when with my dad (must have been 20+ years ago, wow) but have wanted to see it again as an adult. Not to mention that Hong Kong Disneyland was calling my name. 😉

Compared to other major Asian cities I’ve visited (Tokyo, Bangkok, Seoul), it is a BREEZE to get around Hong Kong. As a former British colony, most people speak English. I know that unfamiliar situations are par for the course for traveling but when there’s no language barrier, it makes everything so much easier. For us, anyway.

We spent 3 full days in Hong Kong splitting time equally between the city and Disney. It definitely wasn’t enough time for the city but hopefully we’ll make a pit stop there again the next time we visit Asia.

Our adventure started SUPER early on Wednesday morning, 2/12. We had a 7am flight so we stayed at a hotel near LAX and took the shuttle to the airport. We arrived just after 4am and found that the Air Canada terminal wasn’t even open. Apparently there was a power outage the night before so all the systems were taking awhile to get back online. OMG!!! All I wanted to do was check-in our bags and get coffee. ARGH. I am SO not a morning person. We ended up being third in line which was great because the line got long really quickly because of the delay.

Our flights were uneventful (we had a short layover in Vancouver – made me wish we had a few days there) but man, the legroom on Air Canada is tight. That says a lot since I’m so short! Once we arrived at Hong Kong airport, we flew through immigration and customs, hopped in a taxi and made our way to Kowloon.

We stayed at the Sheraton Hong Kong in the Tsim Sha Tsui district and when we were checking in, I was informed that I apparently booked a smoking room. WTF. OOPS. The front desk clerk took pity on me (I was so tired by this time) and managed to change our room to non-smoking and upgraded us to a harbour view room. AWESOME.

This was our view of the harbour! We got up to our room right before 8pm so we were able to see the beginning of the Symphony of Lights, a nightly multimedia show on the water. Our vantage point wasn’t the best so I couldn’t see much and obviously couldn’t hear anything. Sadly we never got the chance to see it live along the waterfront.

We wanted to eat before knocking out so we walked down the main street, Nathan Road, and happened upon the iSquare mall which had a food court. We ended up at a modern Shanghainese restaurant Shanghai Popo where we ordered Shanghai fried noodles (OMG YUM) and beef with pine nuts and rice cake (WOW). The food totally hit the spot.

The next day was Valentine’s Day and I woke up at about 7:30am and couldn’t go back to sleep. At least I was free and clear of jet lag!

First order of business was to go to Tim Ho Wan — a dim sum chain known for its Michelin star (not the branch we were going to though). Aziz Ansari ate here on his episode of The Layover and we’ve been wanting to try it ever since! The location we visited is at Hong Kong station but it was SO hard to find (the station is enormous). When we ended up finding it, we realized it was so close to where we exited the fare gates after getting off the train. Of course.

The herd of people outside was the giveaway. We got there early (maybe around 11am?) so we only waited about 10 minutes. Seating is mostly communal and we got two seats in the middle of a long table. It was a tight fit, lol.

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