Since Macau is just an hour’s jetty boat ride away from Hong Kong, most tourists visiting HK allot a day in their schedule to squeeze in a quick escapade to this country. For those wanting to do the same, here’s our 1-day itinerary that will help you in planning your own trip.
St. Dominic Church, Senado Square, Macau
Bits of Trivia:
Macau, who have been under the influence of the Portuguese for more than 4 1/2 decade and currently under the sovereignty of People’s Republic of China, is a country rich in history with a very diverse culture. Remnants of the Portuguese rule can be spotted all over the place through old churches, government buildings and iconic landmarks exhibiting western designs and architecture. Many of these played significant role in Macau’s glorious past and was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
How to get to Macau from Hong Kong:
From any place in Hong Kong one has to reach the Sheung Wan MTR Station and head to Exit D, where the HK-Macau Ferry Terminal is located.
Currently, Turbo Jet and Cotai Jet are the leading ferry companies servicing the HK-Macau route and as of January 2013, fare ranges from HK$141 for Economy class to a whooping HK$1,800 for the VIP class. Night trips are relatively more expensive than day trips.
♥ Make a concrete list of the places you want to see so that no time is wasted during your trip. Attractions are spread out in three different islands and getting to these places would take some time so keeping an itinerary will help keep your trip organize.
♥ Start your day as early as 7AM to maximize your trip to Macau.
♥ To save money on transportation, make use of the free shuttle rides offered by different casinos. During our trip to Macau last year, we didn’t shell out any money because of these free bus rides. :)
♥ Bring water to keep you hydrated during your tour. Also wear comfortable shoes. Bear in mind that you will be walking a lot.
♥ Eventhough Hong Kong dollars is widely accepted in Macau, some casinos only accepts Macau Pataca. For shopping, both Patacas and Hong Kong dollars are accepted.
♥ Best time to go to Macau is during the autumn season (October – December) and during spring (March – May). Temperatures during this periods are pleasantly moderated ranging from 20-25° centigrade.
After getting off the ferry and clearing immigration the next thing we have to do is to look for the free shuttle rides being offered by different casinos. These shuttles are usually parked just outside the terminal so you wouldn’t have any trouble finding them. Locate the shuttle for The Venetian Hotel which will be our starting point.
The Grand Canal Shoppes, Venetian Hotel, Macau
The Venetian Hotel is considered as the most successful hotel / casino in Macau not to mention the largest casino in the world. Basically identical to it’s twin in Vegas, The Venetian was the first to focus on the entertainment aspect of the resort experience, featuring Cirque de Soleil performance almost every night of the week.
Another tourist draw of this hotel is the Grand Canal Shoppes where the largest Venice replica in the world is located. Here, you will find an impressive canal system, featuring gondola rides (MOP118/ride for adults or MOP88/ride for children) and aria-singing gondoliers. Shops offering products ranging from gadgets, clothings, accessories, etc as well as high-end cafe and restos reminiscent of top Vegas restaurants dotted the sides of the Grand canal.
After shopping your heart out, don’t forget to check out the main hotel lobby where you will find the famous golden icon and the gloriously painted ceiling.
Dragons’ Treasure Show at City of Dreams, Macau
Cross the street from the Venetian and you will find our second stop, the City of Dreams.
Compared to the family-oriented theme of The Venetian Hotel, The City of Dreams on the other hand sports a more hip atmosphere. Bold contemporary designs and brash furnishings such as the Bubble Fountain and the Vquarium gives off an MTV-like vibe.
Out of the many attractions on this hotel, the most impressive and notable would be the Dragon’s Treasure Show. Shown inside the Bubble Theater, a 360° domed theater, the Dragon’s Treasure is an immersive multimedia show featuring state-of-the-art 4D CG animation intertwined with astounding special effects, mesmerizing water curtains supported with a sweeping musical score. The story revolves around the aphorism that reminds us all that the least of us can be greatest and the greatest the least.
Ivory carvings inside The Grand Lisboa
After watching The Dragon’s Treasure Show, we will moved on to our next destination which is the Grand Lisboa. To do this we need to catch another free shuttle going straight to Grand Lisboa from the parking area of The City of Dreams.
The Grand Lisboa used to hold the record as the tallest building in Macau before the Macau Tower was built. Its lotus-inspired architecture is considered as one of the memorable icons of Macau.
Aside from the magnetic pull of the gambling tables, another highlight that attracts tourist to this hotel is the extravagant display of Stanley Ho’s prized collection at the lobby. Magnificently carved ivory and jade sculptures were blatantly displayed together with two intricate golden carved pieces depicting the Imperial Palace and a tropical island filled with treasures. But these treasures pale in comparison to the Star of Stanley Ho, a 218.08 carat diamond which is allegedly the largest cushion shaped internally flawless D-color diamond in the world with estimated value of $100 million.
Me and my brother at Senado Square
Just a 5-minute walk from Grand Lisboa lies Largo de Senado or more popularly known as Senado Square.
The Square, which was characterized by its wavy Portuguese pavements, became the seat of power during the Portuguese rule. Most of the buildings here served as government sanctuaries and played great roles in Macau’s historic past. Because of this, the Square was inscribed into UNESCO World Heritage sites as part of the Historic Centre of Macau.
Following the flow of tourist will lead you to a congested street dotted with shops selling beef jerkies and other delectable items. Every single store that sells beef jerkies on this part offers free taste to passing tourists as a way of advertising. So if your hungry after all that walking, grab as much of these as you can and believe me, your growling stomach will quiet down in no time.
The iconic Ruins of St. Paul
At the end of the street, you will stumble upon St. Paul Ruins, one of the most popular landmarks in Macau.
Enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005, Ruinas de Sao Paolo otherwise known as St. Paul Ruins is the remnants of what used to be the greatest Catholic church in Macau and even in East Asia, the Cathedral of Saint Paul. The cathedral which was originally built by the Japanese Christians and Macanese, underwent a series of unfortunate event in the form of three separate fires ending up in its total devastation. Today, only the baroque-style facade remains.
The Colosseum’s romantic evening atmosphere.
Hop on another free shuttle and head back to Hong Kong – Macau Ferry Terminal. When you reach the place, walk towards the Fisherman’s Wharf which is situated just beside the Pier area. This will be our last stop before going back to Hong Kong.
The Fisherman’s Wharf became instant hit for tourists because of the different buildings built in the style of world seaports such as Venice, Amsterdam, Spain and Cape Town. Other well-known architectural landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Tang Dynasty Fortress and the Pyramids of Giza are also showcased here.
Aggregates of more than 150 shops and boutique will keep any shop-a-holic happy and busy. For the gamer’s out there, the Underground Amusement park will keep you entertained as exciting games such as Mobile Suit Gundum, Guitar Mania, Morphis ESP 8 (Simulator) are found here.
With the night settling in, a luxurious stroll back to the Terminal is the best way to capped off your one day escapade to Macau.
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