Kaka goes to MACAU: Quick trip in the gaming capital of the world

My post-birthday solo trip in Macau is actually a spontaneous one. I booked a flight at once when I saw how cheap the fare was. Prior my flight, I did not have any itinerary in mind. I just said to myself, I will wing it this time. 🙂

Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) is a small autonomous region in southern China, and was a Portuguese territory until 1999. This explains why the language was still being used widely, and that there are a lot of Europeans living like locals. Also known as the Gaming (or Gambling) Capital of the World, this rivals the gaming business of Las Vegas.

For Philippine passport holders, this is a visa-free country offering up to 30 days. If there would be a need to extend, necessary paperwork should be done to apply for a proper visa.

Arriving in Macau

My flight out of Manila was in the evening, so I kind of expected that it would be quite hard for me to get to my Airbnb room. Macau International Airport is located in Taipa–a bridge away from Macau Peninsula. Good thing there were casino buses for free. I rode the one going to Wynn Macau as I am to meet my host at StarWorld Casino.

Upon arriving, I opted to exchange around USD 50 to Macau Pataca (MOP) or Hong Kong Dollar (HKD). These two currencies are accepted in Macau, but from what I heard it would be best to exchange it to HKD instead of MOP. I think this is because people can easily travel from Macau to Hong Kong via ferry.

 

My Airbnb accommodation

I booked this place the last minute because my first booking was cancelled by the host. Good thing I was still able to find a place to stay. The rate at that time was Php 1,904.00/night (roughly $35), but when I checked a few days ago it is priced at around. Php 7,000/night (roughly $132). Talk about major price increase. 😐

The one I rented out is a room within an apartment near MGM and StarWorld Casino, across Ascott in Macau. The apartment itself has 2 rooms, and at the time of my visit there were other guests at the other room. Chi has a small area in the living room where she sleeps. At first I was a bit scared because it was my first time renting a shared space. I found it a bit awkward when I went out of my room to heed nature’s call when I saw two Chinese men (the other guests, I presume) in the living room smoking and topless, giving off that “this is my turf” vibe. Haha!

My room has its own air conditioning system, floor electric fan, night lamp, cabinet, side table, and a small desk. Indoor slippers were also provided but I opted to use my own slippers. The internet connection in the apartment is also fast that I was able to stream seamlessly my KDrama addiction that time. 😀

My host, Chi, was also very helpful. Though she had a hard time communicating with me in English, she used an app to translate her thoughts for me to understand. We communicated through WhatsApp; thanks to my trusted Flytpack wifi. 🙂

 

Public transportation around Macau

From my Airbnb place, I just had to walk a few meters further down the road to reach Praca Ferreira Amaral. If I’m not mistaken, it is the main bus stop of the area. Bus routes can be easily seen, as well as the fare needed to be paid. It is written mainly in Portuguese and Chinese, with some English words. I had to make sure I always had coins with me to avoid any hassle.

Walking is another options. I saw a lot of locals and tourists (even those carrying luggages) just walking instead of taking the bus. The nearest tourist attraction from the place I stayed at is Senado Square, probably  500M to a kilometer worth of walk. However, if the plan is to visit the different casinos, it would be best to take the bus as there are casinos on the other side (Taipa).

 

Roaming around

I was a bit lazy so the places I visited were just a few kilometers away from my lodging. Good thing the nearest tourist spot is Senado Square and Ruins of St. Paul.

Senado Square (also known as Largo de Senado) is considered a World Heritage site, and as part of the UNESCO Historic Center of Macau. Back in the day, it was known as a meeting place of the Chinese and Portuguese, and up to now the area boasts its well maintained European-style buildings even as modernization takes place. No cars can be seen inside the Senado Square as it was designated as pedestrian-only zone several years ago.

Within Senado Square stands St. Dominic’s Church. It was built by Dominican priests in 1587 to worship Our Lady of the Rosary. The insides of the church are well taken care of, and the structure is also well maintained even after several centuries.

Few meters away is the well known Ruins of St. Paul. According to history, the church was once known as the biggest Catholic church in east Asia before it caught fire several times. The only part that remained is the facade and the stairs leading to it. At the time of my visit, there were not so many tourists and the sky was clear so I got one good shot of the place. I did not spend so much time in this area because of the heat, and the crowd was increasing.

Ruins of St. Paul’s

It was a relief there is a Starbucks nearby so I decided to take a break there. It is a bit small though, and I almost missed it because there was no usual logo outside. Since it is located in a high traffic area, I kind of expected that it will be packed. I kind of did not have a pretty good experience here though because of some customers. Maybe due to our cultural differences, a group of tourists just sat on the empty chairs beside my table and even took mine over without even asking. I was pissed at them for not even bothering to ask. They just placed their stuff and their drinks on the table I was occupying. My goodness. 😐

 

Traveling from Macau to Hong Kong and vice versa

I took a quick side trip to Hong Kong from Macau. To get there, I booked a ticket online through the TurboJet website. I did not have to create an account because it was for my one-time use. By doing so, it saved me a lot of effort and time to get a roundtrip ticket from Macau-Hong Kong-Macau. It cost me roughly around Php 2,100.00 for the tickets, and I paid via credit card.

My online booking confirmation from TurboJet

When you opt to purchase TurboJet tickets online, remember the following:

  1. Make sure you choose the correct Macau departure port and Hong Kong destination port. For my trip, I took the Kowloon-Macau (outer) route. You can either take the ferry from Macau Taipa or Macau Outer Harbour.
  2. There are different sailing time. Make sure you arrive at least an hour before the departure to give way to boarding.
  3. Present the credit card used upon claiming of actual ticket;
  4. Present passport and Macau arrival card;
  5. Bring another government issued ID (just in case).

The Macau Outer Harbour is probably the cleanest and well organized pier I’ve gone to so far. The place is fully air conditioned, and with free wifi for tourists to use while waiting to board. To get here, I took the bus with a drop off point at Terminal Maritimo.

The smooth ferry ride itself from Macau to HK took around 1-2 hours (I didn’t really notice the time because I was asleep the whole trip hehe), and unfortunately I wasn’t able to take a picture of the insides of the ferry. I remember filling out an arrival card that I presented when I got off at Kowloon port. I presented both my passport and arrival card, but they did not put a stamp on my passport. I was instructed to just make sure my arrival card is intact.

 

My brief stay in Macau was good one even if I didn’t get to experience the casino night life. Maybe next time I’ll do that when I have more funds hehehe 😀 ~~

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