A Day in Macau

Turning Portuguese in Macau 🙂

Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of trying to revisit a country in a day!

This was what I felt when I recently visited Macau from a trip to Hong Kong. When I try to recall my visit to Macau now that I’m back in Manila, I can’t help but be amazed at the energy that I’ve got during that time. It wasn’t my first visit to Macau though. I had one way back in 2002, or was it 2001? But it was about 7 years ago and looking at the place from its tourism advertisements on TV and in travel magazines, Macau has indeed undergone a major facelift. Kudos to its government. Clap. Clap. Clap. 🙂

Sadly though, with all the expansion and building of casinos in this small peninsula of China, it is growing to be sort of a modern western country in Asia. However, the culture can still be seen from among its people and the people’s way of life. And if the locals can keep that culture and preserve the old Portuguese and Chinese structures, then it will still be a nice place to visit for culture-inclined people, like me. 🙂

I’m not really fond of gambling in casinos (although I did quite gamble a few times when I was in Las Vegas which made me won about $20plus dollars – not bad for a beginner. Haha.), so I made it a point to leave Venetian and the other well-lit, colourful buildings towards the end of the day.

Which attractions can you definitely visit while on a day trip in Macau?

If you get to Macau via the First Ferry (New World) or the Turbo Jet ferries from Hong Kong, it will take you to the Macau Peninsula itself. But if you get to Macau via the CotaiJet, then it will take you to the Cotai Strip in Taipa Island, an island south of the Macau Peninsula, which is still a part of Macau (it is where the Venetian is). Since we went to Taipa towards the latter part of our visit this time, I’ll start off with the travel details in the Macau Peninsula. (This is based from the two trips to Macau that I had. Like my entry about Hong Kong, this will be updated  from time to time especially when I get to remember the places I went to and the things I did during my previous visit.) 🙂

1. THE SANDS CASINO AND THE FISHERMAN’S WHARF – The Fisherman’s Wharf is the first theme park in Macau which can make you feel like you are in Amsterdam or in Venice as the buildings suggest. Rows and rows of restaurants and stores are located within this complex which can actually take much of your day trip. The Sands Casino is another huge, popular casino located right beside the Fisherman’s Wharf.

2. ESTATUA DE KUN LAM – a Macanese religious icon.

3. MACAU TOWER CONVENTION AND ENTERTAINMENT CENTER – the tallest structure in Macau. This tower offers more excitement than just giving a bird’s eye view of the city. Macau Tower hosts thrilling, adventure activities, one of which is bungy jumping. Their bungy jump activity, which provides a fall of 200km/h and a rebound of 30 meters above the ground, is known to be the world’s highest commercial bungy jump enlisted under the Guiness Book of Records!

Skyjump is another record breaker. The first in Asia, it is also enlisted as the “Highest Commercial Decelerator Descent” in the Guiness Book of Records.

Skywalk X is taking a walk around the main outer rim of the tower, which is 233 meters above the ground. This was what I wanted to do during the visit but decided to do it some other time. And I bet you know the reason why. (I chickened out. Haha.)

Some Really Brave Souls Doing The Skywalk X

Mast Climb is climbing 105 meters up the vertical ladders of the tower. This is another world’s first since this is the only tower in the world where you could climb to the very top.

Entrance to the tower would be 80 MOP (as of this writing). But you would need to make a different payment if you want to do the adventure activities.

With all these, it seems like that it would take some time for me to once again set my foot back in Macau, huh. (Have to really gather that strength and slowly get that fear of heights off my mind.)

While at the tower, you may drop by the 360 Degree Cafe and enjoy a festive lunch or dinner buffet overlooking the peninsula and the nearby islands.

Overlooking the Macau Peninsula

4. PENCHA CHURCH – This religious structure once served as a popular point of pilgrimage among the seafarers. Rebuilt in 1935, the present chapel sits on Penha Hill and provides a great panoramic view of the city.

5. A-MA TEMPLE – Built in 1488, this is one of the oldest and the most famous temples of Macau, dedicated to the Goddess of Seafarers.

6. SENADO SQUARE (LARGO DE SENADO) – paved in the traditional Portuguese pavement, the square is enclosed by the buildings of Leal Senado (the seat of Macau’s government during its time as a Portugese Colony), Santa Casa da Misericordia, General Post Office, Business Tourism Center, and St. Dominic’s Church to name a few. This is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

7. ST. PAUL’S RUINS – Also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ruins is Macau’s most famous landmark. It is the facade of what was originally the Cathedral of St. Paul, a 17th century Portuguese cathedral in Macau.

8. FORTRESS ARMOURIAL GATE AND MACAU MUSEUM –  These two are located just beside St. Paul’s Ruins and a visit to these two local attractions can actually give you more information about Macau and its history.

9. THE VENETIAN – If you are into gambling, then this (and the other casinos in Macau) is the place for you. If not, then you can wander in this extremely huge and grand architecture and enjoy the other attractions in this attraction.

One of the things that I have enjoyed in Venetian is the Gondola ride. For 88 MOP, you can take the ride in any of the three man-made canals and watch the Italian gondoliers entertain you. These people are really talented. Our Gondolier told us that they all had to be singers and actors before they can be qualified for the job.

Of course you wouldn’t leave a casino without trying out your luck. 🙂

When you’re done exploring the insides, don’t forget to check out the outer structure. The lights at night are just amazing! 🙂

If you’d like to go back to the Sands Casino and the Fisherman’s Wharf and check out this area at night, you can just hop-on in one of Venetian’s readily available coaches to the Sands. 🙂

10. COLOANE VILLAGE – (I visited the Colane Island during my first trip to Macau. During my most recent trip, we didn’t get to go to Coloane Island since we reached Taipa Island at already 5pm after going around the Macau Peninsula. So if you’re doing a day trip in Macau, you have to skip one of the islands. Otherwise, you would be running around a lot, which is really not advisable as you wouldn’t enjoy the trip at all.)

11. LOCAL RESTAURANTS (PORTUGUESE AND CANTONESE) – Of course, don’t forget to try having a meal at the local restaurants get a taste of the famous Macanese egg tarts. If you are a fan of Lord Stow’s Bakery in Manila (which I had almost everyday when I was having rehearsals with Trumpets in Podium), you may want to still try the egg tarts in Macau. It’s actually a great experience eating those tarts in the place where it was originated. 🙂

Cantonese restaurants are worth visiting as well. You won’t miss them as they can be seen almost anywhere in all three islands.

During our most recent trip to Macau, we had lunch at a very cozy Portuguese restaurant called Praira Grande located along Praca Lobo D’Avila. It was quite funny coz the moment we got into the restaurant, we saw an all-Filipino team at the bar and at the dining area. Although it isn’t really run by a Filipino, one of them told us that the Assistant Chef is a Filipino! Boy, am proud!

With An All-Filipino Crew in a Portuguese Restaurant in a Chinese Peninsula 🙂

They gave us a very warm welcome and even suggested the dishes for us. One of the guys in the bar served us free glasses of Portuguese white wine. Haha. 🙂

We had Garlic Comida (Garlic Butter with Olives and Bread) for appetizer (which was really, really yummy), and Paella A Praia Grande (230 MOP), and Frango A Africana (African Chicken – a must try in Macau, 150 MOP) for the main dishes. I wouldn’t dare describe each of them as I am quite bad when it comes to ingredients and recipes (haha). So, I opted to post the photos of each dish below instead, so you could see for yourself. 🙂

We took the newer ferry on our way back to Hong Kong, the Turbo Jet, and I didn’t regret taking that ride as it placed me to a 40-minute deep sleep. I had the smoothest sail in my entire travel life.

Enjoying A View of The Sands While On-Board the Turbo Jet

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3 Comments »

  1. […] have recently gone to Hong Kong (and Macau as side trip) for a trade fair. It wasn’t all work for sure. Since Hong Kong is one of my […]

  2. jasmine said

    enjoyed reading this and it was really helpful as I’m planning a trip to Macau soon. Would like to ask though, how to get to the Praia Grande restaurant? Is it on the Macau main island or taipa? Thanks!

    • pamalfaro said

      Hi Jasmine. This might be a very late reply. Nevertheless, I still would like to answer your question. The restaurant is very near Macau Tower. We actually rented a van to get to the sights that we wanted. There are buses available for transfers which are definitely cheaper than the rented vans, but we thought that it might be a bit of a hassle to take the bus since we were in Macau for just a day. It was a side trip from HK and we wanted to get to as many attractions as possible. Vans for rent are available upon exiting the terminals. You just have to good haggler to get a good price 🙂 I hope you enjoyed your Macau trip! 🙂

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