Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 3 - Bem Vindo Macau

On the 3rd day of our trip, we headed over to Macau. Initially while planning our trip, we wanted to stay one night in Macau. However, after seeing the steep hotel rates, online we changed our mind and decided on a day trip instead.

We purchased Turbojet tickets on our first day, so basically on our traveling day it was just light breakfast and then hopped onto the ferry and prayed hard we won't get seasick for the next hour. The ride was surprisingly smooth, with hubby sleeping as he was still exhausted from all the walking in HK Disneyland.

Upon reaching Macau, we had to endured a very long queue at the immigration. Halfway through the queue, there was a commotion at one of the lanes! Apparently one Chinese national lady tried to cut queue, but obviously she messed around with the wrong person. The other lady was obviously pissed off, and eventually it turned into a catfight, hair-pulling and all! The immigration had to sent all their lady staff to control the situation, which lasted around 10 minutes. It was my first time witnessing a catfight, but it broke the monotony of the queue.

After around 40 minutes, we were finally out from the immigration office! We headed straight to the Macau tourism counter and asked for some tips and directions. The lady advised it was better if we took a cab to the city centre, where the Historic Centre of Macau is located as well.

The Historic Centre of Macau is a collection of historical buildings that incorporates the eastern and western cultures in the country as a result of colonisation by the Portuguese. It was successfully inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2005.

We took a cab and reached Senado Square within 10 minutes. This would be the start of another walking trip for us. The square was in its full Christmas decoration glory, and filled with tourists.

We walked along the square, admiring the paved walkways and beautiful architecture. The buildings reminds me of Malacca, another Portuguese colony. I can see the similarities through the building designs. It's only the Peranakan culture that remains unique in Malacca, something Macau does not have.

We visited St. Dominic's Church as it was located strategically in the square. I think it was the only church constantly full of visitors due to its location. The rest of the churches are quieter, or do not have visitors at all. Other sites we visited within the area were the Cathedral, Cathedral Square, and Lou Kau Mansion.

One of the key places I wanted to visit was of course Ruins of St. Paul. I was kind of upset with hubby because he had no idea what building I was referring to! To be honest, I was really excited to see the Ruins with my own eyes. It was the representation of Macau (besides the casinos) and I was there!

As usual, the place was filled with tourists, and we had some difficulty getting a good shot. Eventually some kind soul took a very nice photo of us and the facade, which I'm grateful of. We spent quite some time at the Ruins, including visiting the crypt and climbing up the steel stairway built on other side of the facade to view the structure in detail.

Coincidentally, the coming weekend marked the 10-year anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty of Macau to China. There were a lot of decorations being put up, including this colourful float at St. Paul's Ruin. Thank goodness we didn't decided to go to Macau that weekend!

We also visited Mount Fortress, which is located next to St. Paul's ruins. Apart from the old cannons there was basically nothing left. However, it was a lovely place for a panoramic view of the Ruins and the whole of Macau.

We came down from Mount Fortress and headed straight to Koi Kee for its biscuits and other tidbits. I think we took so many samples I was beginning to feel full! After purchasing two big bags worth of goodies, it was lunch time! We spotted a pork burger stall along the way and decided to have pork burgers for lunch. That choice would be my mistake towards the 2nd half of the day but I'll explain later.

There was perpetually a huge crowd around this shop selling pork burgers and Portuguese tarts, but not everyone is buying. Most of them were busy taking photos of the shop and I wondered why. Upon queuing up, I then realised this shop was featured in the popular Korean drama "Boys Before Flowers". There was this scene where the two main characters dropped by and purchase Portuguese tarts from this very stall. No wonder people were taking photos of this place!

{photo credits : Dramabeans}

After a short wait, we got our pork burgers and mango "lo". The pork burger was OK but I was expecting more "oomph!". I enjoyed the drink more as it had Nata de Coco jelly and peach slices inside the mango juice. Nice!

We walked a little more to Grand Lisboa casino hotel. Hubby decided to check out the casino scene for a while, so we hung around the casino for a while but didn't play any games.

About 4pm, we decided we had enough of the city scene, and decided to head to The Venetian Hotel Macao via cab. Upon reaching the hotel, our jaws just dropped. The place was HUGE! Not only that, it was so elaborately decorated! The walls, the pillars, the tiles, everything! Talk about first impression!

As if it wasn't enough, check out the painted ceilings at the lobby and inside the casino. I was just totally in awed with the details, they were so beautiful, so elaborate, so Renaissance!

Even the painted sky at Luca Canal that everyone was talking about looked so real, I'm impressed!

Walking further from The Venetian, we stumbled across The Four Seasons Hotel which was somehow connected to The Venetian via the luxury shops. While The Venetian has the "Wow, look at me!" factor, The Four Seasons Hotel does the opposites - it simply charmed visitors with its class and understated grandeur. I especially loved the lobby, complete with the two grand staircase. This is exactly what I wanted for my dream home :)

I also went a little overboard taking photos of its decorations and furnishing. I just couldn't help it! My favourite got to be the aqua blue sofa and matching table lamp. Perfect.

Remember my mistake of eating pork burgers for lunch? My regret was that we could not eat Macanese food since we ended up in The Venetian, and any attempt to travel back to the city centre may result in additional travel expenses. Morever I don't have any clue what good Macanese restaurant there was out there in Macau. As a result we had dinner in one of the restaurants in The Venetian. Nothing special, a little pricey, a lesson learnt.

We were quite tired around 9 pm, hence we decided to take the chance and hop onto an earlier ferry (our initial departure time was 11pm). Lugging our Koi Kee shopping bags, we took the free shuttle bus from the hotel back to the ferry terminal.

On our way back, I caught a glimpse of the night view of The Venetian and subsequently Sands Casino Hotel. We didn't manage to visit Sands :(

We managed to catch a 9:30pm ferry. After one hour ferry ride and 10 minute MTR journey, we very wearily headed back to the hotel for our much needed rest.

Most people told me one only need a day to cover Macau. Not true, I think. It really depends what one wants to see. We didn't manage to cover the casinos due to lack of time. However, hubby is determined to come back to Macau again. That's good news so I can plan for our next trip better. Will see you again!

See also :

Day 1 - Welcome to HK
Day 2 - Disneyland

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