Since we were flying through Hong Kong on the way home, so it was a good excuse to stop for a few days, and I figured it would make sense to start with Macau, in this case a full 2 days since one day really didn't seem sufficient after what I had read online.
The good thing is that you can land in Hong Kong and take a direct ferry to Macau without even going though Hong Kong immigration, so that's what we did. We landed in Macau, waited in Hong Kong 1.5h for the next ferry, and they took our luggage from the plane and got it directly on the ferry along with us. It was a bit unnerving since we never got to check that the luggage made it, but it did:
Macau has two piers and 2 ferry companies, Taipa was the closest one to our island
Macau technically uses MOP which no one really seems to want, and readily accepts HKD. They even have ATMs that give you HKD directly
Turbojet is the competing company to Cotai Jet, the one we took back to HKG 2 days later
The next morning, we got up reasonably early due to the time difference, and went to visit old town, starting with A-Ma Temple before the hoards of tourists would show up. Honestly, it's nice to see, but it's far from being one of the best temples we've seen, including those in Hong Kong a few days later.
Sadly, our first cab screwed us over by taking a clearly longer route to the temple, hoping we wouldn't notice, but at the end of the day, we couldn't do much about it, and cabs were still dirt cheap (we paid something like $8 instead of $5 or somesuch). Still, that was annoying...
We then walked a bit deeper in downtown to mostly see buildings peeling off and churches in sad states, or closed:
probably the nicest building, but not visits allowed
Probably the highlight was the food market we found tucked in a corner, not counting stalls that cut still alive fish in pieces and let them slowly die there, heart still beating, instead of just killing them, sadly a pretty cantonese thing to do :(
We eventually got to the old town fort, which was fun enough to see, and then waited for its museum to open at 10:00. It was actually reasonably good, and probably the highlight of old town:
cricket fights were a popular pass-time
Next, were the ruins of St Paul, which were just that, ruins:
From there, we took a cab to Fisherman's Wharf, a nice collection of buildings and shopping arcades and then walked around town a bit:
pollution seems bad
we found a nice portuguese restaurant in old town
The next day, we went to check out the zoo and did a quick side trip to Coloane, which honestly was not really worth it:
an ok temple at the south end, but not worth the trip
fishing village in the background
The zoo was fun, though, especially the young pandas that had been born recently:
saturday morning, all the kids were there
the two babies that had been born the previous year
Sadly, a lot of Macau old town wasn't that nice anymore, it went downhill from what it used to be, maybe due to lack of funds.