Monte Forte

Monte Forte (Fortaleza do Monte)

On the top of the hill on Macau peninsula, now in the centre of old town, is the old fort. This fort has been converted into a museum of the history and culture of Macau. On the top is a garden which provides a beautiful view over the city.



Above the city, old fortress walls and new museum walls.

The new economy of the new empire.

This tourist attraction is adjacent to the St. Paul’s church ruins. By entering through the museum’s lower level, an elevator is available to lift you up to this uplifting view.

The Macau Tower

The Macau tower is the highest viewpoint in the city. There is a revolving restaurant on top to give a 360 degree few while you enjoy a meal. If you are adventuresome, you can walk along the ledge outside the restaurant, or jump off the edge on a bungee cord.  I was attracted to the red flowers in the tree at the centre. So were the birds. Can you see them if I zoom in?

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Suddenly the birds left. I looked down and found out why they left.

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banyan tree

reflecting pool beside the museum

There are big water effects and small water effects.

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Watching over the city below.

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the old city and the new city



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Macau St.Paul

Ruins of St. Paul’s Catholic Church

This church was built by the Jesuits between 1602 and 1640. Surprisingly, with all of the rain during a typhoon, it was destroyed by a fire on the 26 January 1835. This south facing wall was preserved and has been supported with steel and concrete to make it safe.

Facade of St. Paul’s Church in Macau.

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The beautiful carvings were added between 1620 and 1627 by local craftsmen and Japanese Christians who had been exiled there from Japan.

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The front of the church and the 68 steps leading up to the church provide a popular place for Wedding Photographers.  Notice this photographer lying on his back to capture the front of the church in the background.

A popular spot for wedding photos.

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Beside the church is a place to practice local Asian religious customs.

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In this historic part of the old city of Macau, the Portuguese influence in the architectural style is evident.

Portuguese style street

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Old versus new.

St. Paul’s Catholic church museum.

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Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China

Macau, also spelt Macao, is only 40 miles west of Hong Kong. A high-speed ferry can get you there in only one hour. The ferry terminal is on the island of Taipa next to the airport and the bus terminal. From there, charter buses run to the big casinos and luxury hotels across the bridge in Macau.

The two main economic engines of Macau are tourism and gaming casinos. The revenues from gaming are among the highest in the world.

Leaving the Hong Kong ferry terminal at 9:30 AM, we arrive in Taipa at 10:30 AM. Because of its special political status, passports are required for inspection at both ends of the ferry ride.

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The ferry terminal, bus terminal and airport are all located on Taipa Island.

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Macau has one of the highest population densities of the world. It also ranks as having the lowest birth rate, lowest infant mortality rate and fourth highest life expectancy rate. Here are some street scenes of the old city.

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Macau was once a Portuguese territory until 1999 when it changed its status to being a Sovereign of the Chinese government.

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Macau is a popular vacation spot for the Chinese residents since it is in the south, has beaches, and modern hotels. Almost 50% of the population were born in China. Would you like to live in a busy community with the highest population density in the world?

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HK Promenade

Kowloon Promenade and Avenue of the Stars

How convenient to be docked at the Harbour City shopping mall. With 800 shops and an indoor connection between the ship and the shops, what more could anyone want? Well, on a beautiful sunny afternoon a stroll along the waterfront would be nice. Fortunately, that is available from the south exit of the mall. A modern urban park wraps around the southern tip of the Kowloon Peninsula from the ferry docks to the east. Within a half kilometre, we walked past the old clock tower, the cultural centre, the space museum, the space theatre, and the art museum.  These are all along Salisbury Road, between the road and the water. Just past the art museum is the Intercontinental hotel and the Avenue of the Stars, a boardwalk out over the water commemorating the stars such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. It is like the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

HK Space Museum West Wing.

This is a panorama shot of the Promenade. The clock tower and cultural centre are on the right, and Hong Kong Island and city are in the centre.

Hong Kong as seen from the promenade on the southern Kowloon Peninsula.

Below is a panorama of the HK art museum, under construction in March of 2017. The HK Space Museum is connected to the  HK Space Theatre.

The HK Space Theatre has an OMNIMAX projection system.

HK Space Museum on Salsbury Road.

Although the Space Theatre looks like a half of an orange, it is actually egg-shaped and is located on the busy Salsbury Road that leads along the harbour providing access to the waterfront businesses.

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Between the Space Museum and the Ferry terminals is the beautiful and unique building of the HK Cultural Centre.

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The Old Clock Tower was built in 1915 for the former Kowloon-Canton Railway station. It is 44 metres tall and has a 7 metre high lightning rod on the top.

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As you stroll along the promenade near the art museum, you may come across this sculpture of a polar bear sadly lamenting the effect global warming is having on his environment.


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Around the Pacific Princess

On our overnight stay in Hong Kong Harbour, a lot of preparation had to be done for the next leg of the around the world cruise. Of course, you have to fill up with gas/bunker oil. That is done from a small tanker ship that ties up the ship on the opposite side from where our cruise ship ties to the dock. It kind of makes a sandwich with our ship between the dock and the refuelling tanker.  A tugboat stands by in case it is needed and a couple of others just snuggle up to keep us company.

Refueling in Victoria Harbour

Refueling in Victoria Harbour

GoPro fisheye view of the world.

Several of these pictures were taken with the wide-eyed lens of a GoPro camera. It is possible to straighten them out a bit with the computer but I thought you might find a few of them interesting.

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On one of our cruises, perhaps the scheduling got screwed up, we had to refuel out in the bay, away from the dock. Our ship dropped anchor and the fuel ship tied up to us. More lines were used, and the tugboats were pushing the two ships together. They had it easy here at the dock in Victoria Harbour.

tugboat on standby

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Tenders are watercraft that are used to transport passengers from the ship to the shore in ports where the water is too shallow at the dock, or the dock is too small. They hold over 100 passengers, not comfortably. They can be used as life-craft if needed and in that case, more than 100 people will be loaded on.

Another ship on the other side of the terminal building.

On the other side of the terminal building, another cruise line is preparing their ship as well.

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Now you have the story, here is my youtube video.




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Victoria Harbour 2

Morning  in Victoria Harbour

The early morning sun lit up the city so brilliantly. Unlike a previous visit where I was shown the harbour through the fog from one of the ferry boats, this morning, I was viewing it from the balcony of a smaller cruise ship.

A clear bright morning in Hong Kong.

The Observation Wheel and Central Ferry Piers.

Convention and Exhibition Center

Victoria Harbour has changed from a major marine route to a major tourist attraction. Another great place to view the harbour is from the top of the hills on the island. Aptly named Victoria Peek is a park at the top. A tram runs up to the peak. It is the world’s steepest funicular railway and has been in operation since 1888. A zoological and botanical garden is also at the top.

As I look toward the Star Ferry Terminal, I try to get my camera to capture the sparkling water. Only later did notice the warm glow from the early morning sun.

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Victoria Harbour

Victoria Harbour never sleeps.

First found in sailing charts of 1425, this harbour is a well-known tourist spot. Often seen from Victoria Peak above the city, these pictures are taken from the deck of the Pacific Princess at the dock near Harbour city on March 2, 2017.

Dusk in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

Dusk in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

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Ferry Terminal


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All of the pictures above were taken with a cell phone. The iPhone 7+ does quite well in these lighting conditions. These were all taken just after sunset, about 6:45 PM.

All of the pictures below were taken with a Canon T4i with a Sigma 18-200 zoom lens. They were taken later, after dinner, about 8:30 PM.



Using the zoom lens to get a closer look at the harbour and city.


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One last picture, zoomed out to show the moon, watching over Hong Kong and giving an indication of how big the city is.

The moon from Kowloon


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Lantau video

Video of Big Buddha, Monastery and cable car ride.

It was a cloudy day. While visiting Hong Kong, I took a trip to Lantau Island to see the Tian Tan Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery at the top of Ngong Ping Road. The ride back by cable car was very interesting and the views were special because of the foggy conditions. Watch the cable car in front of us disappear into the fog and remember it is always the same distance away from us.

Turn up the audio volume to hear the intro and watch the youtube video.

 Links to picture blogs:
Po Lin Monastery
Cable car Ride down to sea level


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Views from a cable car ride down the mountain.

We travelled to the island by ferry. A bus drove us around the mountain and up to the Tian Tan Buddha at the Po Lin Monastery. Out return trip is by cable car. The 360 cable car’s station is at the top of Ngong Ping on Lantau Island and runs down to Tung Chung station.

two cables, two cars

The gondolas operate on a two cable system where a larger cable supports the gondola and a second, smaller cable pulls the gondola along the top cable which does not move and only acts like a rail for the cable cars. The picture above shows one of the support towers. The other pictures do not because only 8 towers are used to support the 5.7 kilometre (3.5 mi) long route.

360 cable car

For a premium price, you can ride in the gondolas with a glass bottom for a better view of the valley below.  In the fog, I do not think it would have made much of a difference.

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There is a hiking trail for those that want to make a day of it. The cable car ride is about 25 minutes, by bus, it is only one hour.


Hiking trail.


When we get below the clouds, the scenery improves.

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Can you imagine this on a sunny day?

Which way is up?

No wonder why we could not see much up there.

Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal and offices.

Tugboats ready for work.

As we approach the station at the edge of the airport, things look a little different.

Is this the end of the line?

A closer look and a pass-through proves it is only a place to change direction about 60 degrees to head across the bay to the final terminal at Tung Chung station.

Please remain seated while we change directions.

The final lap.

Finally down to sea level and back in the city.

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Po Lin

Po Lin Monastery and Ngong Ping Village

Down the 263 steps and a short walk along the path leads us to the Po Lin Monastery where we have reservations for a vegetarian lunch.

Po Lin Monastery

After the delicious lunch we were free to wander around and explore the buildings and property.

Po Lin Monastery (more steps)

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OK to take a picture from the doorway.

Who is counting and how long does it take?

Hall of 10 Thousand Buddhas.

Now for a walk through Ngong Ping Village to the 360 cable car.

As we leave the monastery property we pass back through the entrance gate. The fog is still very thick around the Big Buddha. In the center of the hill you can faintly see the staircase leading up to the statue. It is not so hard to reach up and touch the clouds.

Entrance gate to the Po Lin Monastery

Inscriptions on the gate.

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As we walk, we can see the clouds blowing by, getting thicker and thinner.

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When we reach the end of the village main street, the clouds are clearing a little and we are at the 360 cable car terminal.

One end of the Ngong Ping Village.

The “360” cable car terminal.

clearest view of the Tian Tan Buddha.

waiting for cable car tickets

While waiting for our guide to buy and bring us the cable car tickets, I take the opportunity for one more zoom in on Tian Tan Buddha. This only 15 minutes after taking the picture of the stairway leading into the clouds.

Tian Tan Buddha from the 360 cable car terminal.

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