April 15-19, 2017
Macao or Macau is a special administrative region of China and was a Portuguese colony until 1999 and it is still evident until today the influence of Portugal to Macao. It’s where east meets west, a lot of Catholic churches were built and some are even besides Chinese temples. And while the main language is Cantonese, they are usually than not translated to Portuguese, eventhough you can barely see Portuguese in Macao today. Amazingly, there are a lot of Filipinos in Macao and I have not seen or noticed any Portuguese there during our visit. I believe that English language should be the predominant translation in Macao rather than in Portuguese.
Macao and Macau are used interchangeably and there are no rules in which one to use. But when you’re in Macao, it is sort of noticeable that they use Macau for Portuguese translation and Macao for English translation. That’s also why I am using Macao in my blog instead of Macau, which is more commonly used in the Philippines.
HONG KONG TO MACAO
Makoy and I took TurboJET going to Macao from Hong Kong for an hour and half and we arrived at Macao four in the afternoon. We were advised by our Couchsurfing* host, Katie, to save some coins to pay for our bus fare. You don’t necessarily need to change your Hong Kong Dollar (HK$) to Macanese Pataca (MOP$) because they are both accepted in Macao for a rate of HK$1=MOP$1=PhP7.
*Couchsurfing is a service that connects members to a global community of travelers. Use Couchsurfing to find a place to stay or share your home and hometown with travelers.
OUTER HARBOR TO TAIPA
Couchsurfing is usually for free and we’re able to save PhP2,000 for a night of accommodation. Luckily, Katie is a nice and generous host. From Macao Outer Harbor to Taipa, we rode the bus #28A going to Chun Yuet (New World) Garden for MOP$4.20 (PhP29.80). Thanks to the tourism information desk of Macao with the help of Google Maps. Be sure to get a map before leaving the port because it would be really helpful.
We had our late lunch at McDonald’s Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Sen and just ate Big Mac meal (with medium fries and drinks) for MOP$43 (PhP301) as there were only limited options unlike in the Philippines, we have wide range of menu. We paid HK$ and we were given MOP$ for change. Hooray for not needing a money changer! That’s how we got MOP$ in Macao.
When we arrived at the New World Garden, our host wasn’t there yet. We just dropped our stuff off in front of her apartment and off we went to Venetian Macao to experience the casino and Gondola of Venetian Canal. We rode a bus numbered 21A/25/26A going to Venetian Macao and paid HK$/MOP$3.20 (PhP22.40). We’re able to buy 1.5L of water in a convenience store for only MOP$4 (PhP28) compared to the HK$13 (PhP91) of 1.5L of Bonaqua in Hong Kong. It was such a relief.
THE VENETIAN MACAO
The Venetian Macao is a combination of a mall, casino, and hotel in one. Kids and minors are allowed in the place except for the casino area, where only 21 years old and above are allowed to enter. The Venetian Macao is very grandiose and stunning in appearance with all the intricate designs and paintings around the ceilings and walls that would make you feel like you’re in a medieval architectural masterpiece. The canals are indoor under a fake sky ceiling that can cause dizziness if you look above and walk because the clouds are not following you and would make you feel that they are moving fast.
The canal in The Venetian Macao is a lot smaller compared to the Venice Grand Canal of McKinley in Taguig City, Philippines. Though I have not been to the Grand Canal in Taguig, I just based it in photos and the size between the two is quite obvious and comparable. Otherwise, the Venetian Macao is worth visiting. A ride on the Gondola in the Venetian Canal is around MOP$100 (PhP700) which we did not try.
THE PARISIAN MACAO
The Parisian Macao is another casino-mall-hotel in one which is connected from The Venetian Macao via indoor bridge. Parisian Macao is quite more interesting because of its replica of Eiffel Tower of Paris. Their replica is half the size of the original but nonetheless, its entertainment value together with its mesmerizing lights are jaw-dropping and show-stopper to the visitors. You may go to the Eiffel Tower and experience the top view from it for MOP$100 (PhP700) which we did not try because it’s too expensive. We just went out and crossed the road to take a photo of the tower.
Just like the Venetian Macao, Parisian Macao has very interesting and gorgeous interior that would make you genuinely feel like you’re in a European country like the ones we see on photos and books. The designs, paintings, and statues are superbly created and copied from the original. If you love taking photos, it is one of the best places in Macao to be in. Don’t be misguided that you wouldn’t spend any peny touring around Macao because you will. Yes, there are free shuttle rides among casinos but their stop overs are among casinos too and not to the tourist destinations. Buses only stop to their designated bus stops not like in the Philippines wherein you can ask the bus to stop anywhere to your convenience.
OTHER HOTELS AND CASINOS
There are other several hotels and casinos in Macao that you’d like to visit using the free shuttle. We didn’t try to check what’s inside of the other hotels and casinos because we are not the type of people who would like to gamble or interested in gambling.
Makoy and I decided to walk going back to the New World Gardens just using Google Maps. Unfortunately that time, my GPS is acting weird and we were pointed at the wrong direction and we got lost. But still luckily, we were able to see a bus stop going back to our destination, we rode bus #33 for MOP$3.20 (PhP22.40).
We finally met Katie, our Couchsurfing host. She was very warm and had so many stories to tell with each other. We really had a good time that she even invited us to a bar to get some booze and even paid for our beer that costs MOP$75 (PhP525) per mug. We got another round but we insisted to pay for our own because we already bothered her in her apartment and she even paid for our beer.
MACAO GIANT PANDA PAVILION
You have not been to China if you have not seen the endangered giant pandas 🐼. Giant Pandas are native to south central China and only about 1,000 are living in the wild and around 100 are in zoos or shelter. US is paying around US$1,000,000 per year to rent a panda from China. Today, pandas are only allowed to be rented and not to be purchased. All pandas in the world today are owned by the People’s Republic of China including the future offsprings.
Macao has a sanctuary for two giant pandas, located at Seac Pai Van, Coloane, named Kai Kai and Xin Xin. From Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Kee, Taipa, we rode the bus #25 going to Macao Giant Panda Pavilion for MOP$3.20 (PhP22.40). Every entry to view the giant pandas costs MOP$10 for 2 hours. You must hope and pray that during your visit the panda is awake. It was very difficult to take photos of the panda because it doesn’t want to go near of the people and would just prefer to spend its time sleeping.
KUN IAM STATUE
We were supposed to visit the different temples in Macau, but due to time constraints we skipped them. We headed straight to Kun Iam Statue, we rode the bus #25 from the nearest bus stop from Macao Giant Panda Pavilion for MOP$4.20 (PhP29.80).
Kun Iam is the goddess of mercy in Chinese Buddhism. The statue stands on a lotus-shaped dome that houses the Kun Iam Ecumenical Center where you can find exhibition of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. The entrance is free.
RUINS OF ST. PAUL
From Kun Iam statue, we walked a little going to Rua de Madrid bus stop to ride bus #8 going to the Ruins of St. Paul for MOP$3.20 (PhP22.40).
The ruins is the remaining facade of the St. Paul Church during the 1500s which has caught fire three times. It was considered as the biggest Catholic Church during its time. Now it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular destinations in Macao which is very obvious in the photos.
Senado Square and A-Ma Temple is just near the Ruins of St. Paul but we did not have enough time to visit those places because our flight back to Manila is at 8pm and we must hurry because we still need to go through the immigration.
The Na Tcha Temple built in 1888, is a Chinese folk religion temple in Santo António, Macau, China dedicated to the worship of the deity Na Tcha.
The Na Tcha Temple was built in homage to the child god of war. It is believed that it was built to put an end to the plague ravaging the region during that time. Na Tcha Temple is located just beside the Ruins of St. Paul.
Markets along Rua de Sau Paulo just beyond the Ruins of St. Paul. The stores usually sell flattened dry beef and they give away slices of it for free taste. Some also sell cookies that have also free tastes to attract customers. One of the OFWs we have talked to shared her story that they took advantage of the free taste during the time they were looking for a job in Macau because they were already running out of money.
This souvenir shop is owned and operated by a Macanese but she has Filipina tinderas that will entertain you while buying and suggest you to ask for discount from their amo. We were given MOP$100 (PhP700) discount from what we bought. It almost a 33% off. The store is located at Rua de Dom Belchior Carneiro near the Ruins of St. Paul.
A Buddhist Temple across Rua de Estalagens and Rua de Sao Paulo just near the Ruins of St. Paul.
View of the Grand Lisboa from the Ruins of St. Paul.
From Ruins of St. Paul, we hurriedly return to New World Garden via BUS 21A (MOP$5/PhP35) to get our luggage and head straight to the airport via bus 36 for MOP$3.20 (PhP22.40). We just had our dinner at McDonald’s Macau Airport, we spent all our remaining Macanese Pataca because we won’t be getting any huge amount of money if ever we change it again to Philippine Peso.
|Bus 28 Outer Harbor to Taipa||4.20||29.80|
|Big Mac Meal McDonald’s Taipa||43.00||301.00|
|1.5L of Bottled Water||4.00||28.00|
|Bus 21A/25/26A to Venetian Macao||3.20||22.40|
|The Venetian Macao||–||–|
|The Parisian Macao||–||–|
|Bus 33 to A. Dr. Sun Yat Sen, Taipa||3.20||22.40|
|Bus 25 to Giant Panda Pavilion||3.20||22.40|
|Macao Giant Panda Pavilion Entrance||10.00||70.00|
|Bus 25 to Kun Iam Statue||4.20||29.80|
|Bus 8 to Ruins of St. Paul||3.20||22.40|
|Bus 21A/26A/33 to New World Garden||5.00||35.00|
|Bus 36 to Macau International Airport||3.20||22.40|
|McDonald’s Macau Airport Dinner||55.00||385.00|
TOTAL EXPENSES IN HONG KONG AND MACAO
|Hong Kong Tour||556.40||3,887.80|