Asia, Macau, Travel, Wander

Revisiting Macau on Mid-Autumn Festival

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If you’re exhausted with work demands and need a quick getaway to recharge without the hassles of visa application, traveling long hours by plane, boats, and buses, consider going to Hong Kong and Macau. That’s what Jeff and I did a few years ago. With just a weekend bag, we flew to Hong Kong and did a day trip to Macau.

Doing a lot of walking is good in clearing the mind and de-stressing. Luckily, we got a lot of that while learning a bit about Macau’s history and culture. We picked up map from the tourist center and followed the tracks covering Macau’s World Heritage sites. Walking from A-Ma Temple all the way up to the Guia Fortress gave us a good work out and rewarded us with a breathless view.

We were walking until late at night that one of the fortress’ gates was locked up. Turning back was something we weren’t interested in particularly after I heard the croaking of the frogs. I tried to climb up the gates but reached to a point where I realized I couldn’t get through and so going back was the only option.

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taken even before selfies became a hit using our trusted canon powershot back in 2011

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what a view! our patience and endurance rewarded

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A-Ma Temple, one of the oldest and most famous Taoist temples in Macau

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The Casa Garden

Coming Back

Revisiting Macau wasn’t an attempt to check if I’ll get through those gates this time around, especially not after gaining a bit of weight.

I thought it would just make sense to bring the gang there after all we’re already in Hong Kong, so what is another 45 minutes, right?

An awesome tip we have for you guys is to look out for birthday promos. Jeff found us birthday discount ferry tickets from Cotai Water Jet. I’m so lucky to have married such a smart and resourceful guy. We got the tickets at the HK-Macau Ferry Terminal at the Shun Tak Centre. The promo allowed the birthday star and one guest to buy tickets for HKD 208 per person instead of the regular price HKD 345. All we needed to do was to present our passports. That’s a total savings of HKD 822. Amazing, right?

The Ferry Ride: A Crunchy One

Thanks to the bag of chichacorn which kept us distracted from the effects of the dizzying waves, we arrived in Macau in good fashion.

You can jump into a free bus from the ferry terminal to The Venetian or to different hotels. Holiday Inn also offered free shuttle that gets you back to the bus terminal every 30 minutes. No need to spend on taxis and no reason as well to stay in the hotel rooms when you can be out there exploring, dining, shopping, or gambling (which the city is globally known for).

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The Venetian Macau

The only time I was in Vegas was for a few hours stop over on our way to New York back in December so I haven’t had the chance to see their gambling strip. They say though that the Venetian Macau was modelled after the Venetian Las Vegas. Here’s another trivia, it’s also the largest casino in the world and the largest hotel structure in Asia. Three years ago, its owner was placed under investigation by the US government and SEC for possible foreign corrupt practices in Macau.

As we’re not the gambling type, we entertained ourselves by walking around, taking photos, and dining. Most of the shops were also the same as what we have in Manila so it was difficult to find anything worth lugging back. Although we found Shanghai Tang, one of our favourite fashion stores, the prices were not as enticing as the Hong Kong airport outlet store.

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Senado Square at Night

Walking outdoors is definitely fun but there are just days when you’d rather avoid the punishing sun before coming out, and this was one of them. The beauty of coming out that evening is seeing all the lights and fireworks. Senado Square was dressed for the Mid-Autumn Festival. An inflatable version of the A-Ma temple sat on the middle of the square. Children carried their little lanterns. Merchants were full of energy as they made more sales than usual. We walked the narrow streets and corners of the area until we reached the Ruins of St.Paul and from the vistas atop we enjoyed the firework show.

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left: Ruins of St.Paul, the most famous landmark of Macau | right: St.Dominic’s church

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as part of the mid-autumn festival, people made offerings to their ancestors

We let ourselves wander around more seeing the other side of the fortress. When it started to drizzle, we worked our way back to the hotel.

Ending the day with a nice hot bath was definitely a good idea. It would have been even better if we could have gotten some of that coconut juice we had in Temple of Crabs in Hong Kong. Oh well…

Stay curious and travel more,
Chris