Macau

Last June, my wife and I decided we needed to have some “we” time. No Kids, no agendas, just “we” time. Since it was already June which ruled out trip to the beaches for us since it was rain and typhoon season here in the Philippines. We wanted to visit somewhere urban but relatively cheap and somewhere we haven’t been to. So we decided to visit Macau. Now the big question was what are we going to do in Macau since both of us do not gamble (we are opposed to it). After doing some research, we found out that there were many other things we can do and see in Macau besides the casino. There were shows, the sights of the casino hotels and the old Senado Square which reflected years of Portugese rule in Macao.

Macao, also known as the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China was a former Portugese colony. It was leased by Portugal on 1557 and was handed back over to China on 1999. isIt known as the Las Vegas of Asia because it is now one of the top places to go to for Gambling and Resort tourism. In fact, its gambling revenues is seven times bigger than Las Vegas. Being a Portugese colony for 442 years left its mark in Macau. Street signs and public signs are still in Portugese with English and Chinese translations. Many of the older generation still speak Portugese and you will see lots of Portugese establishments and structures still in Macau.

Many people who visit Hong Kong choose to make a day trip to Macau since it is just a 45 minute ferry ride away and the HK Dollar is accepted everywhere as an alternate currency in Macau. Others choose to cross over via the newly completed bridge which connects HK and Macau. For visitors of both cities it is easy to see that despite their close proximity to each other, there is a stark contrast between both places. Hong Kong is frentic paced and is known for its mixture of urban development and Chinese culture. It offers its visitors the ultimate in retail therapy in Asia. While Macau can feel a bit more laid back and not as urbanized as HK.

Like Hong Kong, Macau has two sides, the old Macau side and the newer reclaimed area where all the newer casinos and resorts can be found. What makes Macau so convenient to travel around are the free shuttle buses provided by all the casinos and resorts. The routes for these covers pretty much everywhere you want to go to, from the airport to the different hotels and other convenient locations near tourists attractions. The only time we had to take a taxi was when we missed the cut off schedule for the last shuttle of the day.

My wife and I stayed at the wonderful Banyan Tree Resort Macau. We were fortunate because we were able to book our room through a heavily discounted promo price. Banyan Tree Macau is part of the 5 hotel cluster inside the Galaxy Macau resort complex. Inside the complex is a massive wave pool complete with sands and the works all designed to simulate a beach front and all these are found in the 2nd floor of the complex. There is a common casino area along with private “members only” casino areas, there are also many luxury shops and restaurants. The same formula can be found in other resorts/hotel complex like the Venetian/Parisian, The Sands, Studio City, City of Dreams, Wynn. No wonder Macau is called the Las Vegas of Asia.

One thing that made our stay there so pleasant was the fact that there are so many Filipinos working in Macau from shop personnel to hotel staff and restaurant staff. This comes as no surprise because Filipinos have the advantage in the hospitality business due to their proficiency in English, their warmt and industriousness. What suprised me was the sheer number of the Filipino population there. According to one of those whom I spoke with, Filipinos comprises almost 40-45% of the staff in the Galaxy Macau complex alone. And when a Filipino staff sees a fellow Pinoy, they engage them in conversation and do their best to make Filipino tourists feel at home.

I am pleasantly suprised at how I enjoyed my short visit to Macau. At first I was wondering what we can do there since we don’t gamble, but for non-casino goers/gamblers like me and my wife, just strolling along and taking in all the sights of the different hotels and resorts and visiting the old Portugese area of Senado Square are enough to fill our short stay there. I would say for those who do not gamble, 3 days in Macau is just about the perfect number of days to take in the different sights and sounds of Macau.

The one show we did catch was the House of the Dancing Water, it is a water-based stage show that’s being held in a specially set up theater area in the City of Dreams Macau. I highly recommend this show as it combines high diving with acrobatics, dance and lights. It’s truly a feast for the eyes and the senses.

Macau is also known for its fusion of Portugese and Chinese cuisine. We didn’t dine at any expensive fancy restaurants and instead we choose small places to get the more authentic feel and taste. One thing for sure is I found the best tasting egg tarts in Macau. I tried the many different brands, with Lord Stow’s being one of the most highly recommended ones and I love them all. 🙂

Given a chance to return, I will want to bring my kids along with me so they too can experience the opulence of Macau. It may not be a place I would want to visit annually but it’s a place that’s nice to visit every couple of years nonetheless. One thing I can say was Macau was a pleasant surprise for me.

For this trip, I travelled really light – camera wise, taking only the Fuji X100F and the Fuji Wide-converter lens, Sony RX100M4 and GoPro Hero 7 Black ( the RX100M4 and the GoPro had been sold) with me. I used the DJI CoPilot Hard drive as my file storage and my 11″ Ipad Pro as my main photo processing platform using Lightroom Mobile CC.

Here are some of the photos I took from the trip. Do check them out, leave me a comment/feedback or two as I love to hear from you all. Thanks and God bless.

Here is where we stayed – Banyan Tree Macau and the Galaxy Macau Complex.

 

Here are the famed Venetian and Parisian Hotels

The House of the Dancing Water 

The older side of Macau + Senado Square

Studio City + Wynn Hotel

Some of the food we had.. 

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