Saturday, August 17, 2013

A TASTE OF MACAU


Ruins of St. Paul
If there's another country I know by heart aside from the Philippines and Hong Kong, that is the once Portuguese colony, Macau. Been to this place countless times in my high school days.

A'right, Loner!



TAKE OFF I got my one-way MNL-MFM ticket for free through my Mabuhay Miles Membership with Philippine Airlines. Other airlines that offer cheaper direct flights from Manila to Macau are Cebu Pacific and Air Asia.

TOUCHDOWN Packing a lot of stuff is always my problem whenever I travel. So the moment I landed, I immediately took the free shuttle service of Holiday Inn to get me to the hotel and get rid of my luggage. Taxis will usually cost you around MOP50-100 depending on your destination. You may also take the public buses for around MOP3.20-5.00 (Grab a map and a city guide though at the airport, so you would know which bus to take)

BUY & PAY Always bring US bank notes when you travel to get better rates when you change your money to other currencies. Macau's money is Pataca or MOP but they do accept HK Dollars and Chinese Renminbi here though. (1MOP=5PHP/0.125USD, estimate)

CHAT Most Macanese speak English. Swarms of Filipinos are in every corner too. Knowing the whereabouts is a no problem.

TIPS&TRICKS You need not get a Macau Pass nor take public buses nor taxis and pay!!! Macau is small that you can actually go around just by walking. And to get to Taipa or to the hotels or other attractions of your interest, you can always take advantage of the free shuttle bus services of the hotels which you can find mostly in San Malo, Ferry Terminals, Border Gate and Airport. 

The Macau Tower
Hotels' free shuttle services at the Macau Ferry Terminal.
One of my favorite spots Senado Square aka San Malo. Where you'll meet and get to hang out with a lot of pinoys and backpackers.
Busy streets of San Malo
Statues before St. Paul Cathedral
Pastry shops everywhere. Take advantage of the free taste! haha
Street Signage in Cantonese, Portuguese and English.
STAY I got a discounted Holiday Inn room in Taipa for MOP699/night! But if you're on a tight budget, there are some hostels you can get for MOP40-80/pax/night. You may also try couchsurfing if you know some friends who are based here.

SEE & DO Bungee Jumping at The Macau Tower is worth a try, that is if you dont have heart problems and/or acrophobia. Visit a cultural heritage like the Ruins of St. Paul, Mount Fortress, Museu de Macau and the busy Senado Square for those who are after a lil history introduction. See the Lotus and Kun Iam Statues. Watch House of the Dancing Water in City of Dreams if you have too much of an extra budget. Take a tour of the different enormous casino-resort-hotels. Or if you wanna take a plunge, you can go ahead and visit HacSa Beach. 

WHEN THE SUN SETS Grab some beers at 7Eleven and have a good time along with pinoys and other tourists at San Malo or at the Lakeview (near Macau Tower) or groove into the music at D2, Moonwalker or Cubic. Gamble? Don't even think about it buddy!

Go around Macau and experience a sense of tradition by taking a Tricycle Rickshaw.
They usually charge MOP150 an hour but make sure you agree on the price before starting your trip. 
A MUST TRY! My favorite! Cha Siu!

EAT & DRINK Pastry shops and other Macau delicacies are available along the Senado Square or San Malo. You can get free tastes of the beef jerky (which I didn't and don't intend to try, haha!) Cha Siu, one of my personal favorites is just heavenly. 

SHOP Souvenir Shirts, keychains, fridge magnets are available along the streets. You can always find a pop-up store in every corner. If you wanna go on some retail therapy from the affordable Giordano to the high fashion brand Saint Laurent Paris, you can check out Senado Square, One Central, The Shoppes at Four Seasons and other Cotai shops.

A well-deserved super late lunch.
Vintage Rolls Royce on the road. 
Macau delicacies.
I have never ever tried this during my visits here when I was younger until now. They say it's delicious, but the smell disgusts me. 
Souvenir Shirts.
One of the three bridges linking Macau and Taipa.
Walking and walking and walking.
Kun Iam Statue a few blocks from Macau Science Centrum.
Lighthouse & Chapel at the Guia Fortress 
Canyon in the gardens of Museu de Macau
Museu de Macau just right behind St. Paul's Cathedral


YOU MUST KNOW The tourists of Macau should know that tipping is a very popular as well as important tradition followed in the region. Nearly 10% of the bill is given as tip in most of the restaurants and hotels of Macau.

ESTIMATE TOTAL COST For a 4D-3N trip to Macau, you'll probably spend not that much provided you are able to get cheap plane tickets and cheap accommodation, PHP15k-20k (350-450USD)/pax will do; inclusive of your basic meal expenses, transportation fares and some budget for souvenir shopping. You decide on how much you wanna bring for your clubbing and shopping spree. If you prefer to stay in 5-star hotels and plunge into the Galaxy Sky Wave pool, then that's a different story. 

WHEN TO GO Best to visit Macau is from November-March if you wanna experience winter and April-June if you're traveling light and don't wanna take bulky coats and thermals with you for the cold weather. July-Sept will just ruin your trip. It rains a lot during these months. 


VISA Regular philippine passport holders are given 30days visa upon arrival.



x

MARTI SABATER