Traveling to another country is always a surreal experience to everyone. You can see new places and experience new things which you’ve never seen and done in your own country. Fortunately, Benji and I were finally able to experience that, too. Because last September, we traveled abroad for the first time and the first country we visited is Macau.
At first, we only planned to visit Hong Kong. However, we booked via Cebu Pacific’s promo and the cheapest fare we got is to fly to Macau. I know it’s very near to Hong Kong so I didn’t hesitate to book it. I’ll do a separate blog about Hong Kong so please wait for it. Please note that this blog isn’t fully a travel guide. It’s about our trip.
Macau is special administrative region of China and it’s a 2-hour ride from the Philippines by air. This region is famous for its huge casinos, luxury hotels, spectacular architectures and Western cultural heritage tourism. It’s a small country but you can definitely do a lot of things here. No doubt many people from all over the country love going to Macau.
Macau Masters Hotel
There are many hotels in Macau but most of them are luxurious. You can only find few budget hotels. The cheapest hotel we found during our trip is Macau Masters Hotel. We booked it via Traveloka for Php 2,600 per night. I like this hotel because it’s very near to Senado Square, Ruins of St. Paul, restaurants, and other tourist spots in Macau. The bus stop is just in front of the hotel, too. You can also leave your luggage at their front desk even after checking out.
Check in time is at 3:00 PM but you can also check in late. We arrived there at 12 midnight and we didn’t have a hard time checking in.
How to get there: From Macau International Airport, take MT4 bus or bus 26A and get off at Rua das Lorchas bus stop.
Fare: 6 MOP/person
A Walk From Senado Square to Mount Fortress
We only have 1 day to explore Macau because we had to go to Hong Kong at 4:00 PM so we only visited few places and one of them is Senado Square.
Senado Square (Largo do Senado) is a must-visit in Macau for every tourists. This is a public square and a part of UNESCO Historic Center of Macau World Heritage Site.
We were there at around 9:30 AM and there were still only few people when we got there. It’s also Mid-Autumn Festival at that time that’s why there were many decorations around the square. The square is simple but surrounded by beautiful buildings which are perfect example of Portuguese architecture. The wave-patterned mosaic ground makes this square more beautiful, too.
While walking in Senado Square, you’ll see lots of shopping centers, restaurants and food stalls. Some stores were still closed when we arrived there but after we went back from the Ruins of St. Paul’s, the street became crowded and all stores were already opened. We didn’t have breakfast in the hotel so we bought the Michelin-recommended pepper meatball and it’s really good. I still can remember the taste while writing this blog.
At the end of the paved road, you can see the yellow-painted St. Dominic’s Church (Sto. Domingo Church). Of course, we had to take some pictures in front of it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go inside because it was closed.
After taking some few photos, we walked to north of the church and there we found the most famous landmark in Macau, Ruins of St. Paul’s (Ruínas de S. Paulo). This was once the biggest Catholic church in Asia but it was destroyed by fire in 1835 leaving only its wonderful facade.
There were already hundreds of people when we arrived there. The weather was sunny and hot but me, Benji and all other tourists didn’t mind the heat.
Our last stop was in Mount Fortress (Fortaleza do Monte). This is the historical military centre of Macau. The fort was built between 1617 and 1626 located directly east of the Ruins of St. Paul’s. If you want to see the stunning view of the city, this is one of the best place to visit because this fort was built on top of Mount Hill which is 52 meters above sea level.
We were so thirsty and hungry after we finished exploring these wonderful places. So we went back to Senado Square and bought fruit tea. We also decided to have lunch since it’s already 11:00 AM. After lunch, we went back to the hotel to check out.
After checking out, we finally headed to Macau Tower (Torre de Macau). We took the wrong bus at first but luckily there were Filipinos on the bus and they willingly helped us take the correct bus.
Do not forget to go to Macau Tower whenever you’re in Macau because this place is one of the most important landmark of the city. The 338-metre tall tower was opened in 2001. It has an observation deck which offers a panoramic view of Macau.
You can also try exciting activities here such as bungee jumping, skywalk, skyjump and tower climb. If you want to try these activities, you can buy discounted tickets via Klook. This is where we bought our tickets but we only used the observation lounge on level 58 because we had limited budget and I couldn’t do those activities either because of my heart condition. Still, just looking at the city’s skyline is fascinating. The panoramic view of Macau Peninsula and Taipa, Coloane Islands and even the outlying island of Hong Kong is breathtaking.
How to get there: Take bus numbers 5, 9A, 18B, 18, 23, 26, 32, 73, or N2
Fare: 6 MOP
There’s also free shuttle bus between Studio City, Macau Ferry Terminal, Altira, Macau city centre, Taipa city centre and MGM Cotai
The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Macau
Who wouldn’t miss going to the Venetian Macau especially the Grand Canal Shoppe? This is an upscale shopping mall inside The Venetian Hotel & Casino. It has indoor canals, where you can ride and relax on a traditional gondola boat. It may not be Italy, but you can try out this very Italian experience within the Venetian Hotel.
We went here on the 3rd day as our last destination for our trip before we fly back to the Philippines. This place is insane! It’s inside the hotel but you can enter for free. The moment we entered this hotel, we couldn’t help but drop our jaw because the interior of the hotel is so elegant. We felt like we’re inside a castle.
When we reached the Grand Canal on the 3rd floor, we were surprised with the artificial blue sky ceiling. It was 9:30 PM at that time but because of the ceiling, we thought we’re walking outdoors in daylight. The canal looks fascinating, too. I love how they make the whole environment like Venice, Italy.
If you still have a lot of budget, then you might want to go shopping here, too. Just remember that you won’t find cheap products here because most of the stores sell luxury brands.
Since we’re already on our way home, of course we had to buy egg tart for pasalubong. Lord Stow’s Bakery & Café is home to the original egg tart and luckily they have a branch here in the Venetian. They are baked fresh daily on site and are considered, by many, to be the original and the best. For only 60 MOP, you can already buy 6pcs of egg tarts.
We only had a day tour here and we regret not spending even one night. All of the major hotels here are really magnificent and I hope we’re able to go hotel-hopping. We will come back here and we’ll definitely try to explore Macau more.
How was your trip to Macau? Share your thoughts below!