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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Had a Quickie in Macau

Day 3

We allotted our third day in HK for a side trip to Macau. We drag ourselves to the Macau Ferry Terminal as early as we could so we can spend longer time there. It was a Monday. Everyone we were walking with in the MTR walkways and train stations were all dressed in business suits. The shades of their clothes were mostly of black, blue and gray only. I swear, I’ve never seen any other colors. I distinctly remember how we were so peculiar from them. My friend was in a bright red dress and I on a hot pink one haha. You could easily single out who were the tourists among the crowd.

@ HK-Macau Ferry Terminal

After 2 MTR train rides (Central and Sheung Wan), we were already at the Ferry Terminal after 30 minutes. We paid HKD 134 for our ticket to Macau. I noticed that the ticket prices vary depending on the departure time. Prices are more expensive on peak hours I suppose. Our ticket going back to HK costs HKD 176. It was 42 dollars more expensive. The entire process was smooth, from purchasing your ticket, to the immigration, to the embarkation. The ferries are well-maintained thus very much comfortable for the travelers.

with my granny seatmates :)

The journey just took an hour and forty five minutes. Again, immigration process was a breeze. One good thing was, we didn’t need to change any money because they also widely accept HKDs. From the port, you just have to cross the road by the underpass. From there, you will see different hotel buses waiting. They are free shuttle services to the hotel. We took the one for Venetian Macao. Instant free transpo haha.

free shuttle buses to Venetian Macao

The Venetian Macao

This hotel is being considered to be one of Macau’s attractions. Known for its grandiose interior replicating the romantic city of Venice, you can never go wrong here. You will definitely love strolling around this 5-star hotel.

This luxury hotel and casino resort is the 6th largest building in the world by floor area. It has 40 floors and also considered to be the largest casino in the world.

It is also owned by the same company owning The Venetian Las Vegas which is Las Vegas Sands.

It was fun walking in this little Venice. We never shopped though. The stores here sell expensive stuff.

We never got to try riding the gondola too. I don't think it will evoke the same feeling that it would, if you'll ride the real ones in the Grand Canal of Venice.

We had our lunch at the food court. Thank goodness, they have this place where cheapskates can eat haha. It was also nice to have so many choices in one place.

my delish chili wings

We realized we spent too much time here already so we moved on to our next destination.

awesome view from the cab

Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral

Half of our day was already spent at the Venetian. We asked the taxi driver to take us to the Ruins. Yes, no more free ride haha.

This is one of Macau's most popular landmarks. It was the largest Catholic cathedrals in East Asia back then. But do you ever wonder why only its facade was left?

Back in 1835, Macau was hit by a cruel storm and it caught fire for the third time leaving it the way it is right now. Yes, it had been burned twice already before the 1835 incident. All its glory faded away.

There were so many tourists when we got there. It was really hard taking photos without other people on it.

Museo de Macau and Fortaleza do Monte

Not too far at the east side of the Ruins going uphill, is the Macau Museum. We went there to check it out and also to escape from the crowd and seek refuge from the heat.

The museum shows the history of the city. It was pretty much a new museum. It was only opened back in 1998. Relatively new compared to other country or city museums.

The museum is built on top of this Fortress Hill. It is said to be the oldest fort in all of Macau. It used to be originally a part of the Cathedral to protect it from pirates.

Later on, it became a military fort. The fort has cannons in all four sides of it. On the present day, the fort serves as a great view point of the city. Many tourists and locals are frequenting this place.

I also wanted to see the Senate Square which is also walking distance from the Ruins. But then again, we had a kid in tow and constant walking had already wore him out. We just skipped it.

We hailed another cab to take us to our next destination. It was so difficult to get a taxi near St. Paul! Maybe because there were so many people, that they easily get occupied. I think we waited 20-30 minutes to finally get one.

Macau Tower

The place that came to our mind is the Macau Tower, so we asked our driver to take us there. It is also an important landmark of the city. We made it there in 20 minutes. We paid HKD 100 for the Entrance Fee, have some souvenir photo taken and then went up to the tower’s observation deck.

Macau Tower stands at 1,109 ft making it to the World Federation of Great Towers. I actually never knew that there was that kind of federation haha.

The elevator ride was fast that we didn’t feel that it is twice as high as the regular buildings that we have here in Manila. We alighted at the 58th Floor where the observation deck is.

There were not so many people which I liked. You would certainly have a great viewing spot on your own. You don’t have to worry about other people obstructing your view.

It was so awesome to see the 360 degree view of Macau from up there. You’ll see the sprawling buildings, the extravagant casino structures, their great infrastructures, everything.

I was a bit hesitant to step on the fiber glass floor at first. Well, actually not only me but most people there haha. It felt like it’s going to break and that you’re going to fall to your death. But then, I got over it soon and find myself sitting on it. And no, I didn’t die. :)

who's afraid of heights? :)

We went three floors up to see what’s there. The 61st Floor is where the daredevils are. It was the floor for AJ Hackett’s Bungee Jumping and Outdoor Observation Deck. It is also known as the world's highest bungee jump facility.

 It was so windy up there but we got to take some decent photos.

The Bungee Jump rate is ridiculously high and it’s non-refundable. It is HKD 2,600 (PHP 15,000). It’s so expensive that you won’t have a choice but to jump. It’s either you cry for losing that big amount of money or cry out of too much fear and excitement to do it. For me it was both. It’s too expensive and I’m too chicken shit.

On the ground floor, there are some shops you can check out. We shopped there for a bit. Then we went outside to take some snaps of the tower.

happy bestie

It was already past 5:00 PM when we decided to go. I still wanted to see the Fisherman’s Wharf but we were afraid we might miss our ferry back to HK.

We just agreed to go back to the Port. Unbelievably, rush hour traffic was non-existent in Macau. We were there before 6:00. Our ticket was for 7:30 so we still have a lot of spare time. To our surprise, there is no such thing as sitting area in Macau Port’s waiting area! We checked both floors and nada.

We just strolled around and checked out the shops for some souvenirs. We also decided to have dinner in one of the few restaurants there. Guess what? I-had-the-blandest-food-ever.

duck noodle soup

We arrived in our hotel at around 9:00 PM. It was a long day. I did not regret spending such a short time in Macau. I actually did not like it, like it. I imagine it is more beautiful at night when all the buildings, the casinos and everything are lit up. At day, I saw nothing special. The streets reminded me of our Recto here in Manila. On the back roads and narrow alleys, I saw a hint of poverty. Macau is not all glam and glitter (like what we see in all sorts of media).

Will I go back in Macau? Not really. Not because I dislike what I see. But more of, it’s lacking something I’m searching for as a traveler. Maybe when I already have wads of dollars to burn, I’ll come back here for the casinos. ;)

“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

This is Part 4 of my Hong Kong travel series.

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