Planning a side trip to Macau during your Hong Kong vacation? Don’t have the luxury of time or money (or both) to spend in Macau to have an overnight stay? Thinking of touring Macau in mere hours time? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then our story might be of help. This is our Macau tour, and we did it in only 8 hours.
From our humble station at Golden Crown, we took a ride to the nearest station near the Macau Ferry Terminal. After a few minutes, we found ourselves at the terminal with a fairly high number of tourists going to Macau.
Our original plan was to book with Cotai Jet since they had a birthday promo for the month of August (it was my birthday month after all). Alas, all morning schedules of Cotai Jet were fully booked. To cope with the misfortune, we booked with Turbo Jet instead.
Blogger’s Note: Though we did not get tickets for the earliest possible departure time, Turbo Jet has a Standby passengers lane which gives passengers a chance to board an earlier trip should vacant seats become available. Luckily enough, we did manage to board an earlier trip! Hooray for taking chances!
Time of Arrival in Macau: 10:27 AM
After 2 hours of smooth travel time, our ferry finally arrived in Macau. But before we could start our day’s activities, we had to go through immigration first. Despite the horde of tourists entering Macau, immigration was fairly quick due to the number of counters open for service. I wonder how Manila Immigration would handle a similar situation though.
Macau is known for its many hotel casinos. What’s even sweeter is that these hotel casinos have free shuttle rides from the ferry terminal (or airport) to their hotels. Just pick one and off you go! As for us, we went with Grand Lisboa’s bus since it was fairly near the famous Ruins of St. Paul.
Grand Lisboa: 11:00 AM
We first had a quick stroll inside Grand Lisboa before going to Senado Square. As expected, the gambling fever is ever-present, with locals and tourists alike trying their luck with card games and slot machines. Since we are not very keen on using our money for sheer luck, we didn’t try out even the easiest slot machine available.
After cooling off inside Grand Lisboa, it was now time to head to Senado Square (estimated walk time of 8 minutes based on Google Maps). Now don’t get us wrong, 8 minutes of walk may sound like a very easy thing to do. However, the humidity brought by Macau’s August summer weather proved that to be a much sweatier experience than we expected it to be.
Senado Square: 11:17 AM
After the short but tiring walk, we finally reached Senado Square. The place was very representative of Macau’s past, being a former Portuguese colony. The unique building architecture and classy pavements are testaments enough.
Commercial stalls are aplenty along the narrow streets leading to the Ruins. With countless clothing boutiques, sneaker shops and food stalls, among others, the place is basically an outdoor mall. Be on the lookout for free pork jerky samples!
Of course, we wouldn’t miss out on Macau’s most famous dessert, the Portuguese egg tarts. We were not disappointed with the hype surrounding these cute pastries as they were absolutely delicious. The combination of the hot crust, sweet filling and flaky texture was a match made in heaven. This was already our lunch, by the way.
Blogger’s Note: Macau’s official currency is the Macau Pataca (MOP) and has almost the same value as a Hong Kong Dollar (HKD). However, Macau merchants accepts HK Dollars so that’s one less thing to worry about. Note, however, that although you can use HKD in Macau, you can’t use MOP in Hong Kong.
After munching on those savory egg tarts, we headed on to the Ruins of St. Paul. This is our first visit to a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ruins of St. Paul: 11:31 AM
Basically a stone facade of the Cathedral of St. Paul, this iconic Macau landmark is rich in historical importance as the ruins have stood the test of over 4 centuries time.
There is a museum located at the back of the Ruins but we ultimately left that out because of time constraints. Due to the number of people and the nearly unbearable heat, we had to take a quick breather and eat a well deserved dessert courtesy of a DQ Blizzard (yes, there is a Dairy Queen near the ruins).
Torre de Macau: 1:01 PM
Next up on our itinerary is Torre de Macau (Macau Tower), home of the world’s tallest bungee jump. With the help of Google Maps, we boarded a bus on-route to the tower. Why did we have to go inside the tower instead of just taking a photo of the engineering marvel from afar, you ask? Well, that’s because we will be doing the Skywalk X. Yes, Skywalk X, that one attraction where people walk outside the tower’s 61st floor. No biggie.
Skywalk X is one of the major attractions offered by Macau Tower, alongside its scarier (and much pricier) brethren, the bungee jump. The Skywalk X cost us HKD688 each for the package which comes with a Skywalk shirt (which you are required to wear) and a Photo CD. Yeah, I know, it’s quite expensive. But the inner adrenaline junkie in us prevailed so we just had to go for it. For more info about the Skywalk X and the Tallest Bungee Jump in the World, visit AJ Hackett’s website HERE.
Blogger’s Note: Be sure to wear closed shoes with laces. While Kaye wore closed shoes (Keds Champion sneakers to be exact), the pair didn’t have laces which carries the risk of falling off during the course of the Skywalk. She was advised to wear rental shoes instead.
After buckling in our safety harnesses and a short briefing, it was our turn to brave all of the 764 feet below us. This wasn’t our first time to do an activity similar to this since we’ve already tried Crown Regency Cebu’s Skywalk back in 2011. With Cebu’s version of the Skywalk having only an altitude of 413 feet (from the 37th floor), it’s clear that what Macau Tower offers has a dominant edge in both height and might.
Luckily for me, I immediately adjusted with the feeling after staying a few moments outside the walkway which helped me relax. Though I’m not really that afraid of heights, so I have that going for me, which is nice (See what I did there?). That wasn’t the case for Kaye though as she was nervous almost all throughout the duration of the Skywalk. Haha. Shaky, shaky baby.
Your guide also serves as your personal photographer so you don’t have to worry about taking the necessary snapshots to document the experience. The guide also gives interesting commentary about Macau and the views that we get to see from up above.
The activity does not only involve walking around the walkway. You are also encouraged, nay, obliged to do the run-and-slide, which for me was the highlight of the afternoon.
City of Dreams: 3:29 PM
After our thrilling adventure at the Macau Tower, we availed another free shuttle ride, this time going to City of Dreams. City of Dreams is quite far from Macau Tower as it is located in a separate island. We didn’t do much here aside from the usual strolling and picture-taking .
The Venetian Macau: 3:55 PM
After strolling around the City of Dreams, we proceeded to The Venetian Macau just across the street.
Upon entering the Venetian, one can’t help but be amazed at the interiors of the hotel. With inspirations coming from Italy’s finest cities of Rome and Venice, the level of detail given to the halls and walls of the Venetian can only be summed up with one word: glorious.
The Venetian is not only a hotel and casino, it also houses an indoor mall complete with designer boutiques, fancy restaurants and a man-made river with gondola rides. Yup.
The casino inside Venetian was literally the biggest gambling place I have ever witnessed. The casino was just enormous and almost all tables were filled with gambling tourists. I gotta think the casino is pretty much raking some serious moolah everyday just from its gaming earnings. It seems the financial crisis hasn’t reached Macau yet. Picture-taking is prohibited in the casino area so no documentation for that, unfortunately.
Early Dinner: 4:15 PM
We decided to have our dinner earlier than usual since we were getting tired and hungry for all the walking we’ve been doing for the past few hours, not to mention our lite lunch of egg tarts. Although the Venetian prides itself in having a number of fancy restaurants, it’s good to know that there are cheaper options for tourists with limited budgets like us. Off we went to the food court.
The food court houses many food stalls with diverse cuisines like Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc.
After having dinner, we decided to go back to the Macau-HK terminal courtesy of the free bus rides from the Venetian.
Although our original plan was to have a quick stroll at the Fisherman’s Wharf before going back to Hong Kong, we were already dead tired from all the activities we did during the whole day (and because the previous two days were spent at Disneyland and Ocean Park no less). Because of that, we scrapped going to the Fisherman’s Wharf and headed directly to the terminal instead.
Back to Macau-HK Ferry Terminal: 6:10 PM
Our decision to skip Fisherman’s Wharf was a blessing in disguise though as some trips going back to Hong Kong were already fully booked at that time. Luckily, we found a counter selling Macau-Tsim Sha Tsui tickets. We safely arrived in Hong Kong around 9 PM and still had time to visit Avenue of the Stars (to be included in my next blog post).
A day tour in Macau can be a very exciting, tiring and somewhat frustrating affair. After all, time constraints, unexpected outcomes and a hot weather are realities we simply had to endure. But amid all that, we proved that touring Macau in 8 hours, however exhausting, was very much doable. Sure, we didn’t have much time inside the hotel casinos and even skipped some staple landmarks like the Fisherman’s Wharf. But such is similar in life, in that we don’t always get what we want. We just have to deal with it in the most positive manner possible.
In retrospect, our time in Macau may be short, but it was all worth it. 😀 -rod-
We’re coming back for you, House of Dancing Water. Just you wait.