Posts Tagged 'hostel'

Macau Trip!

Recently, a few friends and I went to Macau for the weekend. Macau is the SAR next to Hong Kong, about 1 hour’s ride away on the jet ferry from Hong Kong, and at a pretty affordable price.

We went early on the Saturday morning for our trip, with the feeling of really going abroad when going through customs when we reached there. The free casino buses were eager to take us to their casinos, but people just use them to get around the city for free! We boarded one to take us to the Old Town part.

There we did a lot of photography and sightseeing, particularly looking at the Façade of St Paul’s Cathedral, the only remaining wall of it. We grabbed some lunch from the stalls around that main tourist hub, including some traditional Macanese pork chop bun.
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As it got later, we headed to the night-life sector where all the brand new, huge super-casinos are. Having never been to Vegas, this place gave me that awe-inspiring ‘Vegas-feeling’ and more! Brightly lit up in the dusk, and later, night sky, they were amazing.

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We headed to The Venetian first, which had a mock-style canal similar to Venice (complete with gondolas!). We tried out a few of the casino games there too, only a few bets though. It’s a shame we did not get to see a show this time round, but will try and come again soon.
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After a long night of checking out the casinos, we headed to our hotel. With this being a weekend trip, we stayed at a hotel we found through Hotelclub.com for the night. A much needed rest after the long day we had!

The Sunday, being our last day, we headed out again to check out the Macau tower. This thing is huge! The views were amazing from the top, and, even though we were too chicken to do the skywalk, that looked amazing too. You can actually walk around the outside of the highest point of the tower (safety harness on, of course). This would make a great birthday/Christmas gift for someone who is an adrenaline seeker for sure.

With our last few hours, we headed back to the old town to explore some more and walk the streets. We went past the Lisboa, the most famous and one of the oldest of the casinos there. With it being time to head to our ferry port, we caught an evening ferry back to Hong Kong, ready for work on Monday morning.

All in all, I thought Macau gave the tourist everything they would want. Great food, a new culture to experience, many modern and old places to visit and a great atmosphere. With the price of a ferry from Hong Kong, it is definitely worth a visit if you’re around Hong Kong and have a couple of days to spare.

Taiwanese Adventure!

For Chinese New Year, we went to Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. Beautiful place there, and even though it may not be the main priority on everyone’s “Where to see in Asia” list, it is definitely worth a visit.

We visited a lot of tourist places in Taipei, and a few places we just stumbled upon or into. In the 5 days we were there, here are some of the highlights:

  • Chiang Kai-shek Memorial – a big open space in the middle of the city, the resting place for the former leader of the Republic of China, and head of the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) – the military arm of the Kuomintang (Chinese Republican, anti-Communist, nationalist party). For a brief history of the NRA, KMT and PRC (abbreviations are a big thing in this period of history…), check out this video below Adrian and I did…

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  • Taipei 101 – what can I say apart from amazing views, the Fastest Elevator in the world, one of the highest post boxes in the world, an outdoor observation landing and a really surreal experience. A must-visit place even if you’re in Taipei for only 1 hour.

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  • Longsham Temple – there’s a few temples with this name, but the main one is at its namesake MRT station 2 stops away from the Main Station.  We went on one of the big days of Chinese New Year and it was rammed… Great experience.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Taipei Zoo – I know this is something you can do anywhere in the world, but the zoo here is pretty mint. Tigers, Asian elephants, bears and orangutans were the highlights, with the 2 resident Pandas also being the stars of the show. Cheap enter at NTD 60 (about 1.50 pounds in the UK). There is also the Maokong Gondola at the zoo which runs for 4 stops – the queue was too big for us to go on it, and it was similar to the one we’ve been on to get to Lantau island’s Big Buddha, so we gave it a miss, but it is definitely a highlight of Taipei!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Shilin Night Market – one of the most famous night markets in Asia – great street food, quirky restaurants (we went to Modern Toilet – a toilet-themed restaurant where your food comes in little toilet-shaped bowls, you sit on toilet seats and drink from toilet cups. The toilet there wasn’t ‘restaurant-themed’ though…) and fun fair booths. For more of a feeling of this place, check out my videos below…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Tamshui – beautiful sunsets, Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Domingo (old colonial fort) and lots of people. What I’d call the ‘Blackpool of Taiwan’. Worth a visit!
  • Xinbeitou Hot Springs – exactly what it says – the public bathes there is $40 entry and $20 for the locker. There are 3 levels of hot springs – the highest being 45 degrees Celsius, lowest about 35 degrees. Tastes like sulphur so don’t dunk your head (my first mistake), but very good for your bones. An old guy chatted to me there, asking where I was from etc, and told me this particular hot springs gets a lot of old people with arthritis and bone aches as it’s soothing for them. The old lad came 4 times a week and was insanely happy he got a 15% discount too, good on him, great chap. There are other springs which are better for skin. Saying that, our skin felt so soft after we dried too. A definite destination if you go to Taipei!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While we were there we did a lot of photography and filming (clearly…). So here are 2 of my final products.

1) A general ‘family video’ of what we got up to there:

2) A more ‘artsy’ video of the scenes of general Taipei. Named after the Taipei 101, I have created this video to be a preview of Taipei life in 101 seconds (so 1 minute, 41 seconds). Enjoy and let me know what you think.