Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Macau in 24 Hours

After 2 nights in KL, we flew to Macau again using promo airfare of Air Asia. Wife and I have to endure the 3.5 hours of never ending noisy chitchats of mainland Chinese who occupy at least half of the plane. Upon checking out of Macau airport where we can’t find a Macau map,  we rode the Bus #26 to take us to the city for MOP 4.20 fare each.

Unfortunately, we missed the bus stop after A-Ma Temple, where we are supposed to just walk going to Ole London for US$ 55/night. First taxicab we flagged down does not understand English, so it was the second cab near the last bus stop that took us to Ole London hotel for MOP 25 including luggage fee of MOP 4. Still less expensive than getting a taxicab from the airport which will cost us between MOP 70-80.

We arrived at 1:00 pm in the hotel with heavy downpour. Good thing that they allowed us to check-in before we went out for lunch at McDonalds in Senado Square. Inspite of the hotel-provided map and their Filipina staff Marivic giving us walking direction to a laundry shop and Senado Square, we initially got lost until we talked to one shop owner who could speak English.

It is almost useless to ask directions from the locals, since most of them do not understand English language. After lunch at McDonalds, we bought a foldable umbrella, because the hotel-loaned umbrella can’t protect us both from the rains. Since I ran out of clean shirt, we patronized the on-sale items at a Hang Ten shop in the square.
Ole London map below

From Senado Square and in the streets within the block, there are signages that lead to the Ruins and other tourist sites, so its hard to get lost on that area. Aside from the iconic fa├žade of the St. Paul Ruins, there are burial chambers on the basement at the rear of church’s ruins. On its left side are the small Na Tcha Temple and Section of the Old City Walls, which are not easily discernible.

Walking down from the Ruins, we missed the path going to Mount Fortress, so we just entered St. Dominic’s Church and LouKau mansion, which is not really a mansion on whatever is left on its present size. On the way there, we tried the pork barbecue bun and egg tart on a popular store there, and they are good.

After going back and leaving our things in the hotel, we rode a bus to the ferry terminal to ride the City of Dreams’ shuttle bus. Their lady representative dressed in blue-purple uniform gave the passengers a coupon each to try their luck in their casino’s roulette where I won a gift certificate for fortune cookies.

We watched the mermaid show on the large screen of casino entrance, but we were not able to see their famous Bubble Show because their equipment was undergoing repair. Inside the casino, we just watched the games and a performance of their showgirls, before crossing the street going to Venetian hotel and casino.

Venetian’s classic architecture and design is a contrast from the modern theme of the City of Dreams. After looking at the mural on the lobby’s arch ceiling, we basically just crossed the casino floor then went up to their foodcourt. Prices are quite expensive and I think our hainanese chicken dinner with drinks was not worth the HK130 I paid for. We should have tried the HK 168 buy-one take-one buffet at City of Dreams instead.

Well, I just considered it as “cover charge” for using their nice washroom facility, their very good imitation of daylight sky indoors, and their version of Venice canal with singing boatmen. Going back was thru Venetian’s shuttle bus to ferry terminal, then Bus #10 where we dropped off at Pointe 16 before walking 10 minutes to our hotel.

Breakfast is along a hawker stall on the road leading to A-Ma Temple. The hawker stall above has English translation of their menu which made ordering food easier. We got flat rice noodle with shrimp and a congee dish for about MOP 16. It was a very cold morning (less than 20 C), and most people are wearing jackets except us. We passed a local temple with grafted mandarin fruit tree outside, before reaching the maritime museum which was still closed.

We learned a lot about Chinese traditions in our stop at A-Ma Temple. Thanks to the Filipino guard who works there who taught us how to make the water on a copper basin splash vertically for goodluck, and how to pay our respects to the Buddhist deities with the incense sticks. This is also where I saw the biggest flower candle, the month-long burning incense in “katol”-like spiral form, and the pole-size firecrackers. On foot from Barra to the casino areas, we could see the Macau Tower along one of their bayside roads.

At Hotel Grand Lisboa, we tried the dice game, before admiring the various ivory, jade, and gold sculptures collection of Stanley Ho. At 11 am, we went back to the hotel to check-out, then had lunch on a popular local eatery near the previous hawker stall. The bacalao fish and other rice topping dishes we had are value-for-money, again inspite of language barrier in ordering food.

Taxicab from Ole London to ferry terminal cost costed us MOP 39, while ferry boat from Macau to Hong Kong’s Kowloon side costs HK$ 140/head at that travel period, with option to charge in MOP or Phil. Peso on credit card.  Many thanks to Ms. Cathy who gave us tips on itinerary and hotel accomodations.
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  1. i enjoyed reading this article... would love to go to macau someday.

  2. nice post! This post makes me miss macau a lot. Cheers!

  3. Thanks for your comments.

    I also like to return to Macau someday, as I haven't totally explored the area yet.