We started off day one travelling to the budget terminal to catch a Tiger to Macau. Considering that the flight was at 6, that meant that we had to be there an hour earlier, say 5? Grab a cab at say 4? and wake up at say 3? 3am in the morning, and a zombie started preparing for his visit to the land of the dead...I mean casinos. We called a cab and got to the terminal in time, perhaps a little too early. Getting there early actually meant that you'd get a seat at the back of the plane (the fill up from back to front) and us being one of the earliest, meant that we were the nearest to the rear end.
Not that I am afraid of getting off late, sitting at the back did have a certain perk that we learnt to avoid. You see, in the plane itself, there were only 2 restrooms...one at the front, and one at the back. And considering that some people might get stomach problems after boarding the plane, sitting at the rear end meant that we get what 'Famous Amos' provided.
One thing that really caught my attention though, was the proficiency of the airport staff... not that they were fast in checking us in, but one second she was there giving us our tickets, the next she was there collecting the tickets from us!! Either she has a twin sister working at the same terminal, or she has bionic limbs that could travel faster than we could walk to the gate.
Finally, we were on board and on the way to a well deserved holiday!! 3 days of Blackjack, Roulette and Poker!!! 3 days of Portugese Egg Tarts, Pork Chop Buns and Almond Biscuits!!!
Macau was always an excursion off of Hong Kong; a one day extension and you'd have covered most of the places you'd want to visit. Most people spend like half a day there, unless their motive is to gamble at the casinos. We had 3 days there, so it was a "eh, wat are we going to do next ah?" kinda trip. We booked the Venitian, the new hotel at Taipa that mimicked Venice in Italy. We reached the airport, caught a cab to the Venitian and checked in.
The architecture of the hotel was impressive. Everything seemed to be coated in gold.
One thing we noticed was, in order to get to the rooms, you had to pass the casino. In fact, in order to get anywhere at all, you had to pass the casino!! I guess this is one of their strategies to make people spend more time at the casino. But it sure is irritating when you just want to go to the conceirge and you half to walk pass the casino just to get to them.
Made our way through the casino with our luggage. Wow! At first sight, the rooms were really something. I could've just stayed at the hotel room for 3 days, and that'd make a great holiday!
We asked for twin queen beds... which would be a lot bigger than if we had a single king size. Each room had like 2 TVs! We each took one TV and were on different channels the whole time.
There was a fax, copier and printer with dedicated broadband set on one side of the room. Man, da boss will love this place.
A huge bathroom (well thats normal) with a room catered specifically for...err... its personal.
After lazing around long enough in the hotel room, we decided to have lunch and move out. We opted for a simple lunch at the Festivitia Foodcourt which was at the Grand Canal Shopping Centre connected to the Casino. I tried ordering duck rice, but the lady said they dun sell duck, they only sell goose. If you notice the sky in the picture below, you'll see the same sky at night, cause it's made of canvas.
Okok...enough of the hotel. We had lunch and decided to look around Macau. Macau consists of a few islands connected by man-made bridges. Taipa (where our hotel is) is connected to Macau Peninsula by Macau-Taipa Bridge, Friendship Bridge and Sai Van Bridge. The cable stayed bridges look really impressive.
Travelling in Macau is pretty much by cab or bus. I'm definitely biased in recommending that u take a cab instead of the local transport albeit the price being a lot steeper. We caught a cab to Largo do Senodo, without knowing that it was the Senate Square and walked over to the Ruins of St Paul. The ruins were protected since 2005 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a steel staircase at the back of the facade that allows tourists to climb up to the top. Within the ruins, there is also a crypt and some artifacts.
From the ruins, we made our way to Mont Forte, which was directly opposite the ruins. After looking at some cannons, and some aunties climbing trees for a photograph, we walked back to find our way to Largo Do Senodo. On the way back, we visited 'Choi Heong Yuen' and 'Koi Kei', 2 places famous for their Almond Biscuits.
The shops are full packed with tourists, grabbing whatever biscuits they could get their hands on. It was a little suffocating, but I guess getting the biscuits should be worth it. On a different note, for those on a budget.. buying a softdrink outside costs MOP8 whereas within the shopping area, it can cost up to MOP25 per cup... that is about SGD5 per drink. We also had a portugese egg tart outside Koi Kei. Yumm..
Having done the central area, we decided to move on to the Guia Lighthouse. Nothing much there actually, except that our taxi driver dropped us off at the bottom of the hill and made us walk, whereas we keep watching other cabs drive up to the top. But, it does have a good view of Macau from a high vantage point.
We headed back to the hotel to rest. And then realised that the toilet was stuck and needed plumbing. Can't really blame the hotel though. These things do happen. (Thats what I thought at first).
The next morning, I was looking forward to a good breakfast. The hotel boasted the biggest restaurant in Asia or something. Ya, its kinda big, but the food really suck leh. If you go there, forget about getting breakfast included. You'd do better at McD or Starbucks.
After a half filled breakfast, we headed out to our next destination. We had 2 items on our itenary for the day: Macau Tower and A-Ma Temple.
We paid like MOP60+ per person for entry to Macau Tower. Though we were skeptical that we'd see much from the tower, but being on holiday, we went in anyway. Bought tickets to the observatory for Macau Tower. (Note: You can actually pay MOP460++ for an attempt at the Sky X Dive or something... I think its like bungeeing off the Tower. But seriously, I'm really not that adventurous).
The view from Macau Tower is much much better than that at the Guia lighthouse. Up at the tower, they have a touch screen that allows you to send postcards for free though. I think I sent myself 3 cards.... hehe
At the end of the visit, we went downstairs and had a tea break. I saw the 'chu pa pow' or pork chop bun on the menu. The bun costs only MOP10!! Or SGD2!! Considering that the next cheapest on the menu was like MOP25, this was like cheaper than mineral water! And when it came, it really came with fries and vege on a nice blue plate. Was one of the better things we ate there. Yummm...
We headed off to A-Ma Temple for our last sight seeing destination. A-Ma Temple is a tribute to Goddess A-Ma, who gives her blessings to the fishermen. In Macau, they pray to A-Ma and Guan Yin.
After completing our visit, we headed back to the hotel for some light window shopping. We went to a makeshift St Marks Square and watched some gondolas singing and bringing passengers through the shopping area.
Ended our day with a late in-suite dinner. We were planning to have dinner outside, but the door to our hotel room clouldn't be closed and it took ages for the maintenance guy to arrive. Ended up having Crab Meat with Yee Fu Noodles and Suckling Pig for dinner instead.
The next day, went to the casino to do some donations, then headed to the airport and back to Singapore.