Just where in the world is Macau?
In Macau Basic Law, it is stipulated that Macau operate with a high degree of autonomy until at least on 2049 (50 years after the transfer)(source: Wikipedia). It means, China’s political and economy system will not be applied to Macau. Macau has its own currency (Macanese Pataca, abbreviated as MOP), although Hong Kong Dollars are widely accepted.
There are two parts of Macau: the old town and the Cotai Strip. The old town where historical buildings are located, the home of the famous ruins of st. Paul, Senado square, and many historical buildings. The Cotai Strip is part of Macau where the luxury hotels and big gambling resorts root. The Macau international airport is located in this Cotai Strip Part of Macau. These two parts are connected by well-built bridge and roads. Both of Macau’s part has its own Harbor.
Few things to know about Macau
- Macau is very well known for its gambling resort, luxury hotels and casinos. It is the most successful gambling capital in the world as it generates three times gambling revenue than Las Vegas from only 49 casinos in Macau (Las Vegas has 135 casinos)
- It’s the second richest territory in the world by GDP (at purchasing power parity) – number one is Qatar – according to International Monetary Fund.
- It’s the most densely populated Region with 55,454 people per square meter as per 2017.
(source: Culture Trip)
How to get to Macau by boat
Macau has its own international Airport. But since I went there from Hong Kong, I used boat instead. There are four Harbour in which boats depart from Hong kong to Macau and the main Harbour is in Sheung Wan (Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal).
I went there one day before to buy the ticket and to familiarize with the harbor direction. When you arrive at the Hong Kong Ferry Terminal, follow the direction and go to the top level where the Ferry Ticket counters are located. There are two ferries that go to Macau. Turbo Jet and Cotai Water Jet. There are also other ferry operators, but these two are the famous one. Turbo Jet separates the counter between advance purchase and same-day purchase.
On Macau itself, there are two harbors. One is located in the old part of the city (Macau Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal), and the other is located on the Cotai Strip Area (namely Macau Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal). The Macau Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal mainly serves Turbo Jet, while the Macau Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal mainly serves Cotai Water Jet. It takes about an hour Ferry ride from Hong Kong to Macau.
The earliest departure from Hong Kong Sheung Wan Ferry Terminal is at 7 am and it departs every 15 minutes. Same as departure from Macau Outer Harbor to Sheung Wan. It costs HKD 346 (weekdays) and HKD 371 (weekend) from Hong Kong to Macau, and it costs HKD 335 (weekdays) and HKD 360 (weekend) from Macau to Hong Kong.
You can read more about the Jet Boat Tariffs in Turbo Jet official website
And richer details about getting to and from Macau here: (http://www.nextstophongkong.com/how-to-get-to-macau/
Departing to Macau
Macau Itinerary: Plan VS Reality
My plan was after arriving at the Macau outer Harbour, I took the one of the complimentary Casino Bus to the Macau Strip Area, and then taking the complimentary bus from one of the casino resort to the Old Macau area. When I read about “how to get around in Macau”, I read that there are public buses in Macau, but we can also get around for free by using Casino Resort free shuttle bus to get around. However, soon after I arrived, I was offered an open-top Hop-on-Hop-Off Bus Tour which I thought was great, since the schedule is already determined and I get hop on and hop off both in cotai area and in Macau’s old town.
But the plan was not going as I expected at all. Why?
First, I thought the open-top bus tour also have the under-deck seating. But it doesn’t have one. All seating is on the top – the “Open-top”, and it was drizzling if not raining once I arrived at Macau. I didn’t enjoy the ride at all although free poncho (plastic rain coat) was distributed for free.
Second, although the departure time for each stop has been set, it has delays up to 15 minutes depends on the traffic.
Although the hop-on hop-off bus stops at both old town and Cotai Strip, I decided to go to Cotai Strip first since I wanted to explore the Macau historic town later in the afternoon in the hope that the rain will stop by then. It didn’t. It was an intermittently drizzling from morning till the afternoon. So, I stayed at the Cotai Strip area since I arrived till the afternoon.
Did I win any? NO! I did not even play at one of those casinos. I simply admired the man-made buildings and architecture and gawking in disbelief how on earth did this area even exists. So, this post will be about my exploration from one resort to another in Macau’s Cotai Strip. Sorry that you will not see any photo on the Ruins of St Paul or Senado Square in this post. Believe me, I was just as devastated (insert crying emoji here).
First Stop: Venetian Macau
There were so many amazing casino resorts in Macau, and I stopped at Venetian Macau first since I was tempted by the replica of the Venetia City inside of the Hotel. Well, it delivers. Like, hundreds fold than what imagined. Although the detail of every edges in the hotel are that of replica and inspired by renaissance architecture, it sure did deliver the element as if I was actually in Europe.
I really love the lobby, how the golden colour seems to wow you endlessly. And then the canal along the shopping arcade. Inside the resorts are hotel rooms, Casinos, shopping arcade (high-end), cafes, restaurant, and many more. Everything inside Venetian screams money and lifestyle. Well, I only enjoyed the architecture and nothing more. Well, except the delicious meal on its food hall.
Second Stop: Parisian Macau
After Parisian Macau and still raining, we did go to The Shoppes at Four seasons, Sheraton Grand Macau, and Holiday Inn Macau. They are all relatively close to each other and are connected to sheltered walkway. This way we did not have to get wet from the rain outside. And after Venetian and Parisian, the other hotel and malls looked almost the same.
Eventually, me and my mom decided to go back to Macau old town anyway. It was already 4 pm in the afternoon. Time went very vast. I waited and waited for the bus but it did not come, and we had to waited until the next time stop (waited for about an hour) before eventually the bus come. At the end of the day, we went straight to the Macau Outer Ferry Terminal and did not go to Ruins of St.Paul and other attractions in Macau Old City. It was still drizzling anyway. We went back to Hong Kong at around 6 pm and arrived at 7 pm in Hong Kong.
Although Macau’s attractions seems very close to each other, those Resorts in Cotai Strip area are something else to explore and took longer time to enjoy. I think it’s best to spend at least three days to explore both parts of Macau leisurely. It surely takes more time if you want to gamble as well. But to learn and enjoy historical Macau and Cotai-strip Macau, three days would do it fine.