On the morning of December 25, when all other Noypis were still asleep because of their Noche Buena, some still busy celebrating the festivities, and some enjoying their holidays elsewhere, Pats and I were doing our final preparations for our long-delayed trip to Hongkong and Macau.
Our first stop, the peninsula of Macau, where we were welcomed by its 10~ish degrees Celsius breeze. It was uber cooooooold! But, I liked it!
Our Macau trip was an adventure. As you may already know, Macau’s population is mostly, if not all, Chinese. And, not all of them speaks / understands English. We first encountered this language barrier when we were just about to ride a cab going to our hotel – East Asia Hotel.
Pats and I queued up at the taxi stand, equipped with only the hotel’s name and address (Rua Da Madeira 1a, Porto Interior), we asked the cab drivers whether they could bring us there – we mentioned both: “East Asia Hotel” and “Rua Da Madeira”. All of them had the same response: “Huh?”, with that ‘what the effing hell are you saying!? Go study Mandarin!’ facial expression. One of them was pointing inside the arrival hall and saying something in Chinese, and we figured: “Information Officer can help us!”. So, I approached the officer and asked her to write the hotel’s name – in Chinese, on a piece of paper, and voila! the cab drivers now know the place.
Lesson learned: Free candies at the Information Officer’s desk doesn’t taste good. 😛
– East Asia Hotel –
The hotel lobby is not as spacious as your favorite 5-star hotel, nor 4, nor 3. But that is typical in Macau, given the number of establishments there. Nevertheless, our ‘standard’ room was spacious enough for the two of us, and the toilet even had a bath tub. So for approximately US$93.00, it actually should be good. Price is quite expensive because we booked the hotel only about a week before the trip, and it was the cheapest we could get that time. IMO though, it was worth it.
– Senado Square –
We were able to settle and get out at past 5 PM, and it was already getting dark, and colder. With no map at hand, and little idea of where landmarks were, we just went out and kept walking along the side streets. Fortunately, we ended up at Senado Square.
Contrary to the pictures that I’ve seen prior the trip, Senado Square was very very crowded. It’s Christmas, so it’s expected. Because of this, we weren’t able to exploit the place for photo-ops. Still, it was fun watching different people enjoy the cold, and bright night.
As we walked around, we stopped by a local hawkers (restaurant) for dinner. And since it’s cold, we wanted to have something hot. We asked for the menu, and as expected, it’s purely in Chinese. With no other options, we ordered the most common one we know: Wan Tan Mee, which was actually nice.
– Ruins of Saint Paul’s –
After eating, we continued our stroll. And while walking along the busy streets around Senado Square, we happened to reach Macau’s must-visit landmark – the remains of the once Portugese Cathedral dedicated to St. Paul. We reached it purely by chance, lucky us. Hehe.
– Venetian Hotel –
Night was still young after coming from the ruins, so we ventured towards The Venetian Hotel – a hotel having an Italy-inspired interior, the closest we could get to Italy… for now… 😛
They do have a casino, just like the other major hotels. But we didn’t bother going in. Can’t and won’t. 😉 Aside from the casino, there’s a number of shops and restaurants inside the hotel. The visit there was quite worth it as you can spend a few hours just strolling around and enjoying the ‘artificial’ view.
To go there, we rode Bus # 3 and disembarked at the Macau Ferry Terminal. It costs around HK$3.20. And just outside the ferry terminal, on the other side of the road, there are free shuttle buses going to The Venetian Hotel.
Our first trip to the ferry terminal was another adventure. Just like before, we didn’t know how to get there by bus. So, we had to ask a kind lady at a nearby hotel. Luckily, she speaks English and was able to tell us how to get there. Unfortunately, the map at the bus stop doesn’t specifically say “Macau Ferry Terminal”. Instead, it’s in Portugese. So take note, if you want to get to the Ferry Terminal, remember “Terminal Marítimo do Porto Exterior”. It’s an easy find though, just don’t fall asleep. Furthermore, when we asked the bus driver if he will pass by the ferry terminal, the only response he gave us was: “Hong Kong”. We assumed we’re on the same page as him, so we hopped in and hoped that our assumption was correct.
Going back was then a piece of cake after that. 😛
Lesson Learned: Prepare coins if you don’t plan to buy the Macau Pass.
And, try to learn how to give that ‘I-don’t-know-how-much-the-fare-is, so-I-paid-less’ facial expression. 😉
More commuting tips here.
– Fisherman’s Wharf –
The following morning, after a quick instant noodle breakfast, Pats and I went to Fisherman’s Wharf for more photo-ops, just a few hours before our planned ferry ride going to Hong Kong.
We only saw it when we went to The Venetian Hotel, and noticed that it’s near the ferry terminal. So again, we took our chance. We boarded the bus going to the ferry terminal, went down, walked a bit, asked a lady promoter, and reached it.
There are a lot of beautiful photo-spots around the Fisherman’s Wharf. I was able to take a few. More time there, I could have taken lots more. Next time!
After we checked-out of the hotel, we grabbed a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant. Luckily this time, they have an English menu.
Unfortunate still, I didn’t like my dish. I should have sticked with the noodle soup.
It was rather an exciting trip, no maps, not much preparations, tourist much.
And honestly, I enjoyed Macau more than HK. 😀