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Monday, March 9, 2015

Macau, China

Hong Kong to Macau

I've never been to China before yet I can imagine myself backpacking in that foreign land. When I knew that a part of China can be reached by boat in Hong Kong I made sure we get there. I fancied the countryside but that's way too far from our side so I decided that we visit the Casino capital of Asia. Macau is one of the Special Administrative Regions of People's Republic of China, aside from Hong Kong. This part of China is booming with flying colors, casino's mushroomed like daisies and people throws money like trash.  

How to get there via Hong Kong:

China Ferry Terminal is located in Tsim Sha Tsui. Walk through Harbour City Mall until you reach the end or take a taxi to 33 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Don't hesitate to ask for directions.

Ferry to Macau Price range: HKD 132 to HKD 172 
Ferry Runs From TST: Every thirty minutes from 07:00 until 24:00

We took Roundtrip Turbojet tickets Hong Kong to Macau: HKD 145
Macau to Hong Kong: HKD 185
Travel time: 1 hour (depends on the weather condition)

In Macau ferry terminal you have an option to buy Oceanpark tickets . We we're planning to go the next day so it was a perfect opportunity to get discounted tickets. More cheaper, no taxes added. Ticket price: HKD 260

We meet a lady who introduced herself as a tour guide. She knows Macau at the back of her hand, the bus numbers, street alleys and all the tourist attractions. Agent fee: HKD 100 (good for 2 pax)

She knew the place so well that we were able to get a free Lunch at Olympus Hotel. They asked us to register in the casino and that's how we got the free meal at Oceanus Hotel. I advised you to roam Macau on your own, getting lost is part of the fun, i forgot about that for a second when I said yes to a tour guide. Anyways its has its pro's and con's. Let's focused on the bright side. 

Outside the ferry terminal there are plenty of free shuttle bus to different hotel locations. We took the bus to Sands Hotel and again register for a free membership. I'm not quite sure what am going to do with all my hotel membership cards but I guess its a good souvenir. In Macau Sands Hotel just outside the hotel across the street we visited Macau's Fisherman's Wharf. This is Macau's first theme park located at Freguesia da Sé in Macau Peninsula, near the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Pier. Make sure to check out this place, it's like roaming around Rome in Asia. (One day I'll go to Rome and see my imaginations come to life).

Estimated bus fare: MOP 3.20 - MOP 4.50
Across the street away from the Fishermans' Wharf we took Bus 28A to A-Ma Temple one of the oldest and most famous Taoist temples in Macau. Always check the bus route before hopping inside the bus. Another Nearby Attraction: Maritime Museum

Afterwards just outside the temple we took another to bus # 21 to Macau Tower

We went to the nearby bus stop outside Macau tower and head straight to Senado Square or Largo do Senado in Portugese. According to my research. Take bus 2, 3, 3A, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8A, 10, 10A, 11, 18, 19, 21A, 26A, 33 and stop at Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro (San Ma Lo)Most of the streets and landmarks are labeled in Portugese in Macau. This is the place where everybody ends up after a long day , 2005 UNESCO's World Heritage that simply transports you to the Portuguese colonization era. People gather here for the attraction, food and shopping. It's a crowded place to be on a weekend but that's what makes it a more interesting place to be. Different nationalities all over the world visits Senado Square to experience its diversity. 
Nearby Attractions: Monte Fortress and Macau Museum adjacent to the Church Ruins. 

Walk around and don't worry you'll never miss the Ruins of St. Pauls Church around the area. A few metres away from the church check out the famous eatery selling Portuguese Egg Tarts too, it's located on one of those uphill roads . The egg tart was moist and sweet adding the feeling of wanderlust into it which makes it more special. Try out different delicacies in each shop and don't worry they won't mind, just make sure to say thank you with your biggest smile. Free taste provided in each store. 
Before heading out of Senado Square we did my favorite part of the trip. Food trip! We had the famous Milk Tea and a bowl of Meat and Vegetable with curry chinese sauce. 

Casino Sightseeing begins! 

Walked away from Senado Square to nearby casinos. The nearest one is Grand Lisboa Hotel / Lisboa Hotel. Crossed several streets to watch fountain light display outside Wynn Hotel for a few minutes. 

Then another amazing nature themed display named Tree of Prosperity in Wynn Macau was shown. This fountain show is amazing, it's not just about lights and sounds. This gigantic globe opens up then a majestic tree slowly rises as the ceiling changes. Its ironic how they render the message about the environment whilst outside the establishment is the booming casino industry.  Across Wynn Hotel, took free shuttle bus in Star World Hotel to Galaxy Macau Hotel. Watched another Fountain Show in Galaxy Macau. 

A dance performance welcomed us as we went in Fortune Diamond (Galaxy Macau). Mimicking a graceful peacock dance with blasting colors in the background. This fountain display was quite surprising too, it started with a simple unison of water and light then came out this enormous diamond. It was a sophisticated display due to the big diamond appearance mix it up with a grand dance introduction. Each casino really has their own surprises. Talking about surprises one dancer gave my mum a voucher, the customer service then gave her this long necked glass with the peacock symbol of the hotel. She was happy about it for her display cabinet. 
After the grand display in Galaxy Macau we went out to take the free shuttle bus going to the Venetian Macao. The last Casino sightseeing on our list. This hotel was grand, elegant and totally blind blowing, for someone like me who stays in backpackers hostel once in a blue in a 5 star hotel,  this was like a palace. Everything was painted in gold, intricate carvings, high ceiling with religious drawings , enormous lobby's with extravagant stairs and big pillars. It's the finest luxury casino hotel in Macau or maybe even in Asia according to some critics. My favorite is at the Venetian casino's shopping mall where you'll see a Paris themed Gondola section, where a gondola sails on a fake canal under a fake blue sky. I guess this is where Singapore's Marina Bay Sand Shoppes Gondola themed attraction got the idea too.

Afterwards we went straight to a connecting bridge to Sands Hotel for our free dinner. 
Late night departure to Hong Kong, back before 12 midnight. 

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