Celebrating Christmas in Hong Kong and Macau

With the largest number of skyscrapers in the world, Hong Kong feels like an ultra-modern place despite its very traditional Chinese values. And whether it’s old-fashioned or new-fangled, Christmas is everywhere.

We arrived from Sri Lanka and ventured away from the crowded city to Lantau Island. Twice the size of Hong Kong’s main island, Lantau Island was once the site of fishing villages but is now home to the territory’s international airport and Hong Kong Disneyland.

We chose it for its beautiful forested national parks and the walkable area of Round Table Village, located in Silver Mine Bay with daily ferries to downtown Hong Kong.

Traditional stilt houses of Lantau Island, Hong Kong (image: Wikicommons)

If you prefer high-rise apartment living over stilt houses on the sea, then central Hong Kong is the place for you. And if you’re a food lover, then you’ll be in heaven.

Hongkongers enjoy five meals a day: breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and siu yeh. But don’t forget about yum cha, the Hong Kong version of brunch that includes dim sum. Yum!

A panorama of downtown Hong Kong at night (image: Wikicommons)

While you can spring for a fancy helicopter ride, we elected to take the high-speed ferry from Hong Kong to Macau. It only costs $22 USD per person, and the journey takes around an hour.

Due west from Hong Kong across the South China Sea, Macau is the world’s most densely-populated region and offers a fascinating mix of Chinese and Portuguese cultures. And casinos!

As one of the top international gambling destinations, Macau has a gaming industry that’s seven times larger than that of Las Vegas.

We strolled through the historic center of Macau, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with fantastic Portuguese architecture, and enjoyed the Macau Botanical Gardens on our way to the Grand Lisboa Casino.

An incredible antique ivory carving on display at Macau’s Grand Lisboa Casino

Our room at the Riviera Hotel had a beautiful view of Macau Tower across the Sai Van Lake, and we even found Santa Claus in the on-site restaurant for our Christmas Eve dinner.

To all a good night.

Up next: We drop a postcard to Wanda from Macau, then take a 10-miles-a-day walking tour of Beijing on our way to ring in the new year with Ben in South Korea