Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Macau : Frannywanny's Travel Guide

Macau is such a small city with a total of 29.5 km2 land area. Just to put things into perspective, Metro Manila has a total land area of 683.6 km2 and Singapore is just slightly bigger at 710 km2. So in essence, Macau is about the same size of Mandaluyong City (21km2) and San Juan City (7km2) combined. That said, it is indeed possible to tour around this city in a day. However, I recommend that you stay overnight as the night life (light) scene here is really amazing!

With two days in Macau, here are some things that you should not miss:

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1) Senado Square (Largo de Leal Senado)
I've seen a number of Asian soap operas that have been filmed in this iconic square. I'll be honest in saying that I was really expecting a beautiful Spanish-like city square where kids play, people hang out and entertainers do short performances. Somehow, what I saw fell short of my expectations. No, it's not ugly as I truly adored the artsy floor tiles but it was just extremely crowded that got claustrophobic-me a bit stressed out during the short moment that we were there. Still, it's a good place to see and do drop by the big Koi Kei Bakery at the left side of the square to bring home some local treats with you.

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I just have to share this photo that Paul took too. This is when the modern world meets the old. :Look who also made its presence felt in Senado Square. Hello, Green Siren!

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2) St. Dominic Church
Go further in Senado Square and you'll surely see this pretty yellow church. Initially I thought this was the famous St. Paul Ruins then I realized that this looked too new and complete to be called a ruin. For some reason, the church was closed when we got there so we said a little prayer outside and continued our walk to the inner streets behind it.

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3) St Paul Ruins
Remember my trip to Bacolod where I was able to visit The Lacson Ruins? Well here's another one that took my breath away. The beautiful St Paul Ruins stands tall and proud on top of a hill with 66 stone-steps to help you get up close to it faster. Paul and I slowly made our ascend with him taking a million and one shots in almost every angle possible.

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As we got to the top, we enjoyed the cool breeze and the view below was, well, still crowded but nonetheless spectacular.

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4) City of Dreams
From the Macau Peninsula, we visited the Cotai Strip. As mentioned in my previous entry, this is where most of the casinos and big hotels are located. We took the free shuttle service from Hotel Sintra straight to the bus terminal at the basement of the City of Dreams. There are three hotels connected in this complex -- Crown Towers, Hard Rock Hotel and Grand Hyatt Macau. From afar, the three towers looks similar to one another but each one has its own entertainment and retail outlets that you should check out. We also enjoyed watching the digital mermaids at the entrance of the complex. I tell you, everything is just feel so grand and Asian classy in this area.

5) The Venetian Hotel
This is the much-talked about hotel where we're told of their huge suites and a nice mall with their signature gondola ride. The place is really big housing more than 3,000 suite rooms available! I don't really think you can do a full trip around the hotel in just one day. The mall alone will keep you busy for about half a day and there's still the Casino, the expos and the hotel to explore.

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We headed straight to the mall to check out the different shops available. At the center of the mall is a long "stream" or pool where you can hear the gondola man render a number of songs from the classical Italian to give you a feel of Venice to the local's favourite tunes too. Really talented and versatile, these gondola men.

While at The Venetian, do check out if they have any existing shows or exhibits too. Paul and I were so lucky that they were having an Ice World exhibit last year. Imagine being able to get a short feel of Harbin's -4 degrees celsius and seeing the beautiful ice scupltures made by the ice sculptors of Harbin themselves.

It might take a while for us to see the real thing but hey, this wasn't so bad at all. If only I was in the right attire, then I wouldn't be shivering like mad that afternoon. *sigh* Of all days to wear a sleeveless top and ballet flats. 

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6) Macau Tower

If adventure and thrill is your thing, then be sure to visit the Macau Tower for a heart-stopping Bungy Jump. The tower is 338m high and it gives you a beautiful view not only around Macau but in neighboring islands too. Aside from the Bungy Jump, you can also do the Tower Climb or if you'd rather take it easy like me, then there are a number of restaurants to try or just visit the Indoor or Outdoor Observation Deck to still get a good view.

Macau may be a small island but it's bursting with so much energy! What many would think is that you only go to Macau to gamble, there are actually more things you can do and discover that will suit your taste and interest. I can't wait to go back and to get to know Macau even more.

Up Next: Where to find the yummiest Macau Egg Tarts?

Related entries:
Hotel Sintra in Macau
A Lorcha: Famous Portuguese Restaurant

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