Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is a former Portuguese colony and was the last remaining European colony in Asia until it was given back to China in 1999. It is bordered by Guangdong Province, China and the South China Sea. Macau is one of the world’s richest cities and is known for its many striking casinos and hotels. Also found in Macau is the Historic Centre of Macau which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Originally, we allotted the third day of our Hong Kong trip to a visit to Hong Kong Ocean Park. However, we wanted to “go to Europe” without leaving Asia. So, we figured that since we were already doing a theme park – Hong Kong Disneyland, might as well let go of Hong Kong Ocean Park and do a Macau day tour instead.
From Golden Crown Guesthouse, we walked to China Ferry Terminal at Canton Road. We entered China Hong Kong City Mall. This mall is directly connected to China Ferry Terminal. We went up to Level 1/F. On this level, ferry ticketing booths, immigration and boarding gates to the ferries are found. We bought 2 adult and 1 child Turbojet tickets for HKD 164/adult (PHP 935/adult) and HKD 149/child (PHP 850/child). A child ticket is HKD 15 less than an adult ticket.
We breezed through immigration and proceeded to wait at the assigned boarding gate. The ferry left ten minutes later than scheduled (forty minutes from the time we bought our tickets). It was a one-hour ride from China Ferry Terminal (Kowloon) to Macau Ferry Terminal (aka Terminal Maritimo).
China Ferry Terminal has ferries to and from Macau that operate from 7:00 am to 23:59 pm. Check travel schedule and fares here: http://www.turbojet.com.hk/en/routing-sailing-schedule/hong-kong-macau/sailing-schedule-fares.aspx For a more detailed description on how to reach China Ferry Terminal from Golden Grown at Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, please read my Golden Crown Guesthouse review here: http://www.mommykay.com/golden-crown-guesthouse-hong-kong/
It was already 12:10 in the afternoon when Rupert, Zuri and I arrived in Macau. Han chose to remain in Hong Kong because she would be spending the weekend in Macau anyway. There are free shuttles from Macau Ferry Terminal to the different Macau hotels/casinos. The first thing we did was to line up for a free shuttle ride to Wynn Hotel. Preferably, we would have wanted to ride a shuttle to Grand Lisboa because Grand Lisboa is closest to Senado Square/Largo do Senado (a ten-minute walk away). However, the free shuttle to Grand Lisboa does not allow children, so the next best option for us was to get a free ride to Wynn Hotel instead.
From Wynn Hotel, we walked to Senado Square. It took us about twenty minutes to get there. Senado Square is part of the Historic Centre of Macau. Scattered around Senado Square, within walking distance, are other interesting spots within this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here’s a list:
Historic Centre of Macau Places of Interest
1. A-Ma Temple
2. Moorish Barracks (Koszary Mauretańskie)
3. Mandarin’s House
4. St. Lawrence’s Church
5. St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church
6. Dom Pedro V Theatre
7. Sir Robert Ho Tung Library
8. St. Augustine’s Church
9. Leal Senado Building
10. Sam Kai Vui Kun (also known as Kuan Tai Temple)
11. Holy House of Mercy (Santa Casa da Misericordia)
12. Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady (also known as Igreja da Se)
13. Lou Kau Mansion
14. St. Dominic’s Church
15. St. Paul’s Ruins
16. Na Tcha Temple
17. Section of the Old City Walls
18. Monte Forte (Monte Fortress)
19. St. Anthony’s Church
20. Casa Garden
21. Old Protestant Cemetery
22. Barra Square
23. Lilau Square
24. St. Augustine’s Square
25. Senado Square (also known as Largo do Senado)
26. St. Dominic’s Square (also known as Largo de Sao Domingos)
27. Cathedral Square (also known as Largo da Se)
28. Company of Jesus Square (Largo da Companhia de Jesus)
29. Camoes Square
30. Guia Fortress (Guia Chapel and Guia Lighthouse)
Due to our limited time, we included in our itinerary only those that are highlighted on the list above. These sites are the ones within easy walking distance from Senado Square.
On our way from Wynn Hotel to Senado Square, we passed by Grand Lisboa.
There were lots of people at Senado Square when we arrived. There were lots of Chinese decorations, too, probably in preparation for the coming Chinese New Year.
On the right side of Senado Square is the Holy House of Mercy.
From Senado Square, we entered the first alley on the left called Rua Sul Do Mercado de Sao Domingos to get to Sam Kai Vui Kun (Kuan Tai Temple). One-minute walk.
From Sam Kai Vui Kun, we walked back to Senado Square. We walked straight along Senado Square (Largo do Senado) until we reached St. Dominic’s Square (Largo de Sao Domingos) and St. Dominic’s Church. Three-minute walk if without a crowd.
Upon exiting St. Dominic’s Church, we turned left to Rua de Sao Domingos and continued walking. Instead of turning left to Rua da Palha and Rua de Sao Paulo (which lead to the Ruins of St. Paul’s), we continued walking in the direction of R. de Sao Domingos until we saw an alley on the right (Tv. do Bpo.). We turned right and walked up this alley (Tv. do Bpo.) until we reached the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady (Igreja da Se) and Cathedral Square (Largo da Se). Three-minute walk if there’s no crowd.
After taking pictures, we walked down another alley (Tv. da Se) which is located right beside Cathedral Square. This led us to Lou Kau Mansion. One-minute walk.
By this time, we were already starving so we decided to have late lunch at Boa Mesa Comida Portuguesa. From Lou Kau Mansion, we walked back to the direction of Cathedral Square (Largo da Se). Before reaching Cathedral Square, we turned right to a side alley which leads to Boa Mesa. One-minute walk.
After a hearty Portuguese meal, we continued our tour of the Historic Centre of Macau. From Boa Mesa, we walked back to St. Dominic’s Square (Largo de Sao Domingos) via Tv. de Sao Domingos. From Largo de Sao Domingos, we turned right to R. de Sao Domingos, then left to R. da Palha to reach R. de Sao Paulo. We continued walking along R. de Sao Paulo to reach Company of Jesus Square and St. Paul’s Ruins.
From St. Paul’s Ruins, we walked to Monte Forte/Fortress. Monte Fortress is just beside St. Paul’s Ruins across Calcada de Sao Paulo.
From Monte Fortress, we walked back to Senado Square by taking this route: Calcada de Sao Paulo -> Company of Jesus Square -> R. de Sao Paulo -> R. da Palha -> R. de Sao Domingos -> Largo de Sao Domingos (St. Dominic’s Square) -> Largo do Senado (Senado Square).
From Senado Square, we walked for ten minutes to Grand Lisboa via Av. de Almeida Ribeiro and Av. do Infante Dom Henrique. There is a taxi stand in front of Grand Lisboa. The queue was long but fast-moving. We queued for about 20 minutes. Then, we took a taxi to The Venetian. This cost us MOP 69 (equivalent to HKD 69 or about PHP 400). 1 Macanese Pataca (MOP) is equivalent to 1 Hong Kong Dollar (HKD). In Macau, HKD is accepted. No need to change your money to MOP.
Our main reason for going to The Venetian was to pretend we were in Italy by trying their Gondola Ride. There are three canals that offer gondola rides: Grand Canal, Marco Polo and San Luca. Among the three, San Luca is the shortest. It was already past 7:00 pm when we arrived and the only one still open for rides was Grand Canal. We bought 1 child and 2 adult tickets at MOP 88/child (= HKD 88 or PHP 502) and MOP 118/adult (= HKD 118 or PHP 673).
Gondola Ride Opening Hours:
Grand Canal 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Marco Polo 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
San Luca 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Gondola Ride Rates (For All Canals):
Adult (per ride): MOP 118 (HKD 118 or PHP 673)
Kid (per ride): MOP 88 (HKD 88 or PHP 502)
Private Gondola (per ride): MOP 472 (HKD 472 or PHP 2,692)
Payment by cash or credit card
After the ride, we bought a souvenir set that includes an 8 x 10 in printed photo, a 6 x 8 in printed photo, an 8 x 10 in 2015 photo calendar, a snow globe with photos and two keychains with photos. All for around MOP 550 (= HKD 550 or PHP 3,137).
After our Gondola ride, we ate dinner at the Venetian food court.
After dinner, we took a free shuttle ride from The Venetian to Macau Ferry Terminal. At the terminal, we bought 1 child and 2 adult ferry tickets to China Ferry Terminal Kowloon. Ferry rates at night are slightly pricier compared to daytime tickets. Check ferry schedule and fare list here: http://www.turbojet.com.hk/en/routing-sailing-schedule/hong-kong-macau/sailing-schedule-fares.aspx Immigration was fast. The ferry left on time.
After an uneventful one-hour ferry ride, we arrived at China Ferry Terminal Kowloon at past 12 midnight. Again, we didn’t have any problems at the immigration counter. We exited through China Hong Kong City Mall and walked to Golden Crown Guesthouse.
Some Useful Tips For a Do-It-Yourself Macau Day Tour:
1. Don’t buy ferry tickets from anyone other than the person behind the ticketing window.
Buy tickets from the ticketing window to make sure the tickets you will get will leave you with enough time to pass through immigration before the ferry leaves. Scalpers will approach you and will try to sell tickets that are more expensive or tickets to ferries that will be leaving so soon you wouldn’t have time to catch your ride. Say no to scalpers.
2. Bring your Passport (with Visa if applicable).
Macau and Hong Kong are two separate Special Administrative Regions. Thus, to leave Hong Kong and enter Macau (and vice versa), you will need to present your passport at immigration counters. Filipinos do not need a visa to enter Hong Kong and Macau.
3. Bring a stroller and a bottle of water.
If you are traveling with a kid, a stroller is a must. You will be walking the whole day. Keep yourself and your kid hydrated.
4. Arm yourself against the weather.
If you are traveling during the hot season, bring an umbrella and apply sunblock. If you are traveling during the cold season like us (February), bring a winter jacket and a scarf. The temperature was 12 degrees Celsius during our trip to Macau. Apply moisturizing lotion to avoid dry and itchy skin.
5. Hong Kong Dollars is accepted in Macau.
Macanese Pataca is the currency of Macau. 1 Macanese Pataca (MOP) is equivalent to 1 Hong Kong Dollar (HKD). HKD is accepted in Macau so there’s no need to change your money to MOP. However, MOP is not accepted in Hong Kong, so if you have some MOP change, use it up in Macau.
6. Don’t book a tour with strangers at Macau Ferry Terminal.
Some people might approach you upon arrival at Macau Ferry Terminal. They might offer a tour of Macau for so and so price. Refuse them. According to locals, this practice is illegal. These people will give you a tour using the free shuttle service provided by the hotels. Why pay for something that is for free? The person who approached us at the terminal was even a Filipino like us. His asking price was HKD 300 (PHP 1,700). Don’t be fooled.
7. Make use of the free shuttle service provided by the hotels/casinos.
There are free shuttle rides to and from Macau Ferry Terminal provided by hotels/casinos. Free shuttle rides will help you save on cash. Grand Lisboa is closest to Senado Square but doesn’t allow children in their shuttle. Wynn Hotel allows children but is a bit farther compared to Grand Lisboa.
8. Research beforehand about which sites you want to visit and plot them on Google maps.
Study the map and plan your route. Keep the information in your gadget, on a small notebook and in your head. This way, even if technology fails for whatever reason during your trip, you will still have the information you need for a more convenient do-it-yourself tour. Ask for directions/help when necessary.
9. Take advantage of the free tastes along R. de Sao Paulo.
The road to St. Paul’s Ruins is called R. de Sao Paulo. This road is lined with stores that sell different Macau goodies. They offer free tastes. Sample Macau’s local eats for free. Buy some yummy Portuguese egg tarts.
10. If you are already too tired, don’t hesitate to ride a taxi.
A taxi ride is not cheap, but it’s also not that expensive. Our taxi ride from Grand Lisboa to The Venetian cost us MOP 69 (= HKD 69 or PHP 400). Macau has designated taxi stands.
That’s our Macau Day Tour experience. We went to Macau on February 5, 2015. For those planning to go to Macau, I hope you found some helpful tips and information from this post.
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Up Next: Hong Kong – Macau 4-Day Trip Expenses For A Family Of Three
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