The casinos and back streets of Macau

Last modified 15.03.2022 | Published 28.03.19851980's, China, North, Central and East Asia, Travelogue

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From Hong Kong I went on a day trip to Macau, like many people from Hong Kong do. I found their casinos and also walked into the back streets of Macau.

This article is part of a diary based travelogue from a six month journey in 1985 to several countries in East and South East Asia: Japan, Taiwan, China, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand


Thursday 28.3.1985, Hong Kong – Macau

Getting there

As I had bought the airplane ticket for Manila yesterday and the camera would take too long to repair considering the departure already the coming Sunday, I left for Macau today.

I had long been thinking that it would be wrong to drop a visit to this old Portuguese colony when staying in Hong Kong. So I went to the tourist office of Macau in the Star House and picked up some brochures and checked prices on the various means of transport. It turned out that the most convenient was a hydrofoil for 54HK$ and a 1.5 hour voyage.


Macao entry and exit stamps, 1985

Macau stamps in my passport


In Macau I joined a South-African living in Los Angeles. He told me that he had checked into a fairly cheap hotel.

How much, I asked. 270HK$ was the reply. “Oh yes”, I said and thought of my 22 dollars at the IYAC.


A walk among colonial architecture

We went for a little walk in the small, narrow Chinese back streets. He told me that without me he would never ever have dared go in there. Now he had the greatest experience of his lifetime.

For my part I saw no problems walking in there. I was after all used to that kind of streets from Taiwan, HK and China. He wasn’t. I immediately realised that in the middle of the day in the hours of shopping there was very little probability that we were going to get robbed or threatened in any way.

Macau, a Portuguese colony from the 16th century, is now about to suffer the same destiny as Hong Kong in 1997. What is most exciting about Macau, and indeed the reason for most visits here, is the playing casinos.

For my part five minutes in each of them was sufficient, just to have a look. The places are however very popular among Hong Kong people who come over in large numbers to win money.

What in my opinion was most interesting was however the Chinese streets. They are always full of life and people selling and buying all things possible. The old Portuguese buildings which according to my brochures were big sights were in my eyes almost ready to collapse. (Even symbolically, so to speak.)

I had actually planned to stay the night here, but there was so little to see that I returned to Hong Kong the same evening. When I returned to the hostel at 2330 the front door was unfortunately locked and I had to go to

  • TRAVELLERS HOSTEL in Chungking Mansions. They didn’t have any available beds but I was given a mattress to sleep on the floor instead. That was alright.


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The introduction to this journey to East and South East Asia.

Previous chapter: Back in Hong Kong.

Next chapter: Hong Kong for the last time