We slept very late the day before to squeeze in all our “things to do” for day one (since we started late) – but, we have to wake up early to catch the 9:00AM Cotai Jet schedule to Macau. Tensions were around when the clock ticked closely to eight and some weren’t even dressed up. Imagine, we were fifteen in the group.
Though the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui was just a walking distance from our hotel, we couldn’t avoid to worry since walking itself eats time, probably too much time. Some of us decided to go ahead and met everyone in the terminal. Well, that wasn’t a leisurely walk for everybody.
We were leaving Hong Kong territory so we underwent another immigration check, but this time, for exit. Though Hong Kong and Macau are both Chinese Special Administrative Regions (SARs), they both have their own immigration policies, etc.
Everybody was at ease when we were settled comfortably inside the Cotai Jet. The navigation time is approximately one hour so we reached Macau at 10 in the morning.
We boarded a shuttle bus to Grand Lisboa, which we pre-determined as the nearest stop to our accommodation in Macau, the San Nam Pan Hotel. Later in our tour, we realized that Grand Emperor’s shuttle is even a closer option. By the way, there are two Grand Lisboa Shuttle buses; one will drop you in front of the old Lisboa and the other will drop you in front of the casino, so minors (below 21 years old) were not allowed to hop on the latter.
The confusion, the photo session, and the leisurely walking (by the rest of the group) costed us much time, that we reach San Nam Pan in few minutes to lunch time. Anyway, that was not worth complaining for a big, energetic, and adventurous group. Everybody was enjoying though (I guess).
The reason why we chose San Nam Pan was either due to the fact that they had Filipino caretakers (which eased the communication hurdles) or because it was suggested by peers who already visited Macau. Nothing fancy here, just enough for a comfortable sleep.
Check in time was 2:00PM and we were early, so we asked if we could leave our baggage so that we can have our lunch and proceed with the first leg of our tour. They allowed but placed our stuff in an unmanned hallway (well, everything was intact when we returned afterwards).
My experience in Macau was a big proof that a large group is hard to manage and not sticking to the plan messes up everything. I will not mention every detail but allow me to tell you one example. While we were settling our bills at San Nam Pan Hotel (yes, they have this pay before you sleep policy), we ask the caretaker, or should I say, the receptionist if she could suggest some good places to eat. Everybody was paying attention when she told us to check on a certain noodle house inside Grand Emperor. She even told us directions, etc. And then, for some reasons, we changed plans and decided to go to Senado Square and look for a place to eat there. Unfortunately, this wasn’t cascaded to everybody or some were just not paying attention.
When we started walking along Avenida De D. Joao IV (where San Nam Pan is located) towards Avenida Do Infante D. Henrique (where Senado Square is), some of us crossed Avenida Do Infante D. Henrique, wherein we were supposed to immediately turn right. So I waved my hand to call them or get their attention. By doing so, I accidentally hit a man in the face (really hard) with my arms. I was so sorry and it was really embarrassing. Good thing that he was in a hurry and did not hit me in return nor called a police, or else, that tour could have turned into a nightmare. And yes, he had not able to hide the disgust before he left. Seeing him proceeding relieved me.
I continued walking to Senado Square (also, Leal Senado) when I saw the group’s directions were finally synchronizing. This time, everybody were busing posing to almost every land marks in the square. In my case, I was trying to make my self busy taking pictures to forget the embarrassment that happened just a while ago.
When we were done with our photo sessions under the heat, we unanimously agreed to find a place to eat. Restaurants within Leal Senado are full including McDonald’s so we look for uncrowded options. While I was astray, they (my companies) found Cafe Quinella in a narrow street right beside the corner of McDonald’s. A friend texted me and I joined them there for our late lunch.
We also tasted the green tea and cream cheese ice cream at Milk Top, which was just few blocks away from Cafe Quinella.
After regaining our energy, we proceed to the Ruins of Saint Paul. Before we reached the site, we passed along the mobbed Rua Mercadores where the shops offered free food tasting.
It was Sunday so there are significant number of tourist proliferating in the area. We took group photos then individual shots in the surroundings of the Ruins. Beside the Ruins is Mount Fortress (officially Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora do Monte de São Paulo a.k.a Fortaleza do Monte) which was built by the Jesuits for military use to repel Dutch invasion in the 16th century. Mount Fortress also served as the first residence of Macau Governors. Nobody in the group was willing to explore the area so I decided to go alone. Old cannons are everywhere. Mount Fortress also gave a 360 degree view of the city – no wonder why it once served as Macau’s prime defense. Sitting atop was a modern Macau Museum which walked me through the history of Macau and the Portuguese influences.
I went back to the hotel to reunite with the group. Along the way, I met the couple Karen and Jeff, who also went astray. By the way, they’re getting married this month end (September 2013). CONGRATULATIONS, guys! You may be “dozen-fruitful”!
Back to the story, we proceeded to Macau Tower after some rest. We didn’t checked the observation deck so we just watched those who did the sky dive and the bungee jump from below. Then we headed to Fisherman’s Wharf by public transport to meet Kuya Lex, another company who also went astray. But before finding Lex, we engaged in a fierce walkathon. We got off in a wrong station so we all walked, except Kuya Lex of course (who’s comfortably waiting in Fisherman’s Wharf), from the significantly distant, Rua de Madrid. We passed and hadn’t able to mind the Statue of Kun Lam and Ecumenical Centre, Macau Science Center, and Macau Museum of Art due to the willingness to end Kuya Lex’s loneliness really soon.
After the unification, we strolled around the Fisherman’s Wharf and took some photos. We then went to the Venetian Macau by boarding the shuttle from the Sands Macao (which is just in front of Fisherman’s Wharf). We were separated again when the remaining shuttle slots were not enough to accommodate all of us, so some were left behind.
‘Twas time to settle the long overdue dinner. The first arrivals (which included me) proceeded to the second level of the Venetian to have our dinner. There was this food court set up in the area.
The night had gone so deep so we did not casino-hop, though I was tempted to visit the neighboring Galaxy Macau and City of Dreams, I just couldn’t leave the group.
We went home (at San Nam Pan Hotel), again, not together and that culminated our tiring Macau tour.
If you want visit Macau and do no plan to stay for a night or just do it a day side trip, check this itinerary and guide.