Zhuhai and Macau, China
Day 150: Country #15.2
Zhuhai is the border city between mainland china and Macau, a special administrative area that used to be ruled by Portugal and has become the gambling “capital” of Asia.
I stayed near the border and was able to walk to Gonbie station fairly easily, where I made my way through a series of immigration and customs lines. It didn’t take too long.
The other side immediately felt like an alternate reality with Portuguese signs, which I could somewhat read because I took Spanish classes in school. The architectural influences were also visible.
I decided to spend the day in the older and more historic northern region, walking through Nossa Senora de Fatima, then explored the numerous narrow streets toward the Grand Lisboa casino.
I was surprised to find that my cellular internet didn’t work in Macau so I went into the casino to find wifi, which signed up me for a bunch of spam text messages throughout the rest of the day. The Grand Lisboa was quite extravagant, but I’m not a gambler, so I quickly left and made my way along the water to Nan Wan where I got a view of the city from across the water, then hiked across to A-Ma temple.
Next, I looped back around to a series of Portuguese and Christian churches and landmarks near the city center. Starting at St. Lawrence church to St. Augustine Square, then Senado Square and St Dominic church, I ran into other foreign tourists, gained insight into Christianity in China, and even saw a piano recital.
After the long road dotted with churches, I came across the Macau Museum, which very neatly described Macaus history. I especially liked the first exhibit at the entry which laid out eastern history on the left side and western history on the right side, so you could get a side by side comparison of each region’s economic, technological and cultural achievements.
The museum served as part of Monte fortress atop a hill, which overlooked another city square.
Further up the hill you can capture some stunning views of the city, especially around sunset as red hues reflect off the Grand Lisboa.
Unsure when exactly the border would close, I made my way back to Zhuhai without any issues.
One way to find cheaper accommodations is to go to a lower cost area. This could be just a few blocks away, a less desirable neighborhood, or in this case, across a border.