When in Macau- A Couple's Travel Guide


Macau, being dubbed as the Las Vegas of Asia, may be underrated by travelers and tourists when it comes to adventure and interesting places to visit. They'd thought that Macau is a place for gambling while sightseeing is just a bonus. During our first trip to Hong Kong years back, I'd thought of including Macau as a side trip to our itinerary, but then i changed my mind thinking that it's just a waste of time to travel into a city where all you can see are huge and twinkling casinos all around. It's something that i am not interested about. But after some time, i thought of visiting Macau on a separate trip just for the sake of adding one new place to my bucket list and now that I've explored Macau, i can say that it is one of the most romantic places for couples.

I am one lucky bella when it comes to scoring seat sales, but i am luckier this time because i was given a complimentary round trip ticket to Macau for two, on my choice of date and so our Macau trip pushed through. Cebu Pacific is just amazing!

So, what could be done in Macau in three (3) days?
For couples like us (yes, it's a date!) who's intent was to relax and to celebrate a special occasion, Macau seemed to be a perfect place. We wanted to just enjoy our time together in a different setting and so far, Macau didn't disappoint us. Three days in Macau is more than enough to cover all the interesting places. In fact, we did our city tour in just one day and was able to go back again into the same places on our last day to take more photos and to shop a little.

Check-in to a nice Hotel

First things first! 
A lover's trip wouldn't be that romantic without having a nice and comfy place to stay for a couple of days. Unlike Hong Kong where you can get to book a nice yet budget friendly hotel, unfortunately, most of the hotels in Macau are expensive. The rates can go up to a high during weekends. In our case, since it's a couple's date, we splurge a little to enjoy and reward ourselves with little luxury. However, we still managed to get it at a lower rate using our Accor Club rewards and privileges. Thanks to my ever generous hubby for taking care of our hotel accommodation. (Will be posting a separate review of Sofitel Ponte 16 Macau on another blog.)

Book a City Tour or Do-it-yourself

I actually booked a City Tour package for this trip. The original plan was to do a DIY tour. I already did some research and planned few months before our trip but then, something came up unexpectedly so we decided to book a tour for my convenience. Hint: there's something in my belly ;)

We left the hotel at around 10 o'clock in the morning on the 2nd day. Our tour started at The Venetian Macau. After Venetian, we were toured around the city riding the coaster pointing us to different places of interest like the Statue of Kun Iam, and the MGM Grand which was just adjacent to each other.

Visit Historical Landmarks and Attractions

Ruins of St. Paul, Na Tcha Temple, Senado Square, A-ma Temple, Macau Tower

All of these places are included in our city tour which i booked directly via Asiatravel.com. I paid HKD $702 (Php 4,600+) for the two of us which includes our transfers to and from the hotel, the buffet lunch, walking tour from Ruins of St. Paul to Senado Square with a tour guide and a quick stop to a souvenir shop. We were then brought to A-ma Temple too, and for our final stop, we visited Macau Tower which includes our admission ticket to the Observatory Deck, plus The Venetian Macau tour earlier. We've covered all these places in less than a day riding a private coaster. For the price i paid for everything, i think it was all worth it because we were after the convenience versus walking and queuing from shuttle to shuttle. It saved us time and energy as well.

Admire the old world charm of Portuguese Buildings

Walking from the Ruins of St. Paul to Senado Square, you'll get to admire the charm of the old city walls and cobblestone pavements. Macau being a Portuguese colony centuries ago, you'll notice that vast majority of the buildings around are European styled and many are protected monuments. One of the charming and interesting places to enjoy walking around and exploring are the villages of Taipa and Coloane where you'll get to see and feel nostalgia in Macau. Coloane is a more laid back option for a walking tour where you can get a glimpse of Macau's real heritage, away from the artificial tourist attractions built around.

Enjoy a Buffet Lunch

While travelling, one will definitely get hungry. We had a short stop over at Golden Dragon Hotel for a lunch buffet. Again, this is included in our itinerary for the city tour. We grab some lunch at the second floor. Honestly, the food selection are minimal, but we do enjoyed their offering of authentic Chinese and Macanese cuisine. However, there's nothing really wow. Taste was average, but nonetheless, we were satisfied. There were a lot of good restos to try in Macau if you are a foodie. Unfortunately, i am not much into food this season so we skipped visiting food stalls and restaurants around.

Climb up at Macau Tower

You have two options here. Either you just stare at the tallest building from afar or climb up to the highest floor and be amazed by all the wonderful sights you can see in a 360 degree view. Or if you are brave enough for some adrenaline pump, try Bungee Jumping, Tower Climb or Sky Walking in the sky of Macau. These extreme activities can be one of the most unforgettable things you can do as a couple when visiting Macau. I would love to try any of those, but with my situation, i still cannot. We had fun looking at the entire city of Macau from the view deck whilst watching some people flying from over the top.

Shop for SHOES

Of all the places we've visited around the city our favorite is the Ruins and the Senado Square. In fact, the following day, we went on a walking tour once again to Senado to check out the pile of shops that sells shoes! My husband is a sucker for rubber shoes and since our hotel is just a 5-10 minutes walk to Senado Square, it became his favorite spot. We were told by a Filipino staff from Sofitel that there are a lot of shoe shops and other shopping stalls along that area. Before the stores opened at around 11am, we were already there and we saw a lot of shoes that are 30-50% lower compared to our local mall prices. Among the favorite brands are Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Jordan, Converse- name it, they have it all at a reasonable price. Some were even on SALE!

Take home some Egg Tarts

There were also thrift stores or bazaars just another block away from the specialty shops at Senado Square where you can buy souvenir shirts and other thrift finds perfect for "pasalubong". I hoarded quite a few shirts as giveaways for our family members and we got it at HKD$ 24 (Php 150) each. The famous Egg Tart is also around every corners for HKD $6 each small pie and its something you shouldn't miss. I swear by to its yummyness! Apart from the egg tarts, another great take home delicacy from Macau is the Almond Cookies sold in boxes. We also dropped by in a souvenir store near the Ruins of St. Paul where a lot of nice display souvenirs, magnets and key chains are available. And what's nice about this shop is they accept different currencies even Philippine Peso!

Go Hotel Hopping

Almost all hotels have casinos, so if you're up for gambling, go ahead. You can actually go from one hotel to another just by riding the free shuttle services they offer. Queuing is necessary though. The following day we went on our own and we took advantage of all those free shuttle services. It was fun, convenient and thrift! We went from one hotel to another and it's a memorable experience for both of us. We got to compare interiors, shops and we got to see the different features each hotel has to offer for guests.

One of our most favorite, which seemed to be a romantic place for couples is the newest in Macau, The Parisian Macau. Among the many interesting hotels and casinos you can visit apart from this and The Venetian is the City of Dreams and Studio City which is almost near to each other in the same area. However, Grand Lisboa, Galaxy Macau and The Wynn Palace is something worth visiting too specially in the evening with all its glitz and glamour.

Watch The House of Dancing Water Show

We went to City of Dreams Macau after our city tour to catch the "House of Dancing Water Show". It's one of the most talked about attraction that one shouldn't miss when in Macau. We booked a ticket ahead to watch this show in the evening and it was worth the price we paid for. It was mesmerizing, i swear! One of the interesting shows to watch too is the House of Magic, which according to fellow Filipinos there is so amazing! Unfortunately, we didn't have much time already on our last day because we need to catch our flight back home on the schedule of the show. Anyhoo, i will be blogging more about the House of Dancing Water show on another post.

Currency and Getting Around in Macau

Getting around Macau is easy. In fact, you can get familiar with the bus routes and shuttle services' pick up and drop off points in just a day. On our third day, we were walking around and travelling like we've been there for a long time. (Advantage of a small city). If you're coming from Hong Kong, almost all hotels offer free shuttle services to and from the Ferry Terminal while only some of the big hotels offers free shuttle service to and from the airport.

We arrived at Macau International Airport at around 10:00 pm and we waited for Bus No.26 going to our hotel. We were booked at Sofitel Ponte 16 Macau and that is the bus route going there. Waiting for the bus was like 30 minutes and i braved the cold evening weather wearing a long dress and a jacket. Lol! But the moment i stepped into the airport i knew it'll be a wonderful trip. Just outside the hotel were fellow Filipinos waiting for the bus to arrive too. Some were from work, while others are tourists like us.

While Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) are widely used in this city, Macanese Pataca (MOP) is the official currency of Macau. If you are from Hong Kong and all you have is HKD, there's no need to change for MOP. Hong Kong Dollars and Macanese Pataca has almost the same value. But when you're out for shopping specially at thrift stores and bazaars, better ask first the vendors if they would accept MOP because mostly would prefer HKD. Most of the goods they sell also comes from Hong Kong and Mainland China. We used MOP the entire trip because we came from the Philippines directly to Macau, so upon arrival at the airport we went to a money changer for a change in currency.

Traveling to Macau from the Philippines

Airfares during on the spot booking and peak seasons may be a bit expensive. The key to scoring seat sales and great deals for a trip abroad, especially Macau, is to book it ahead of time, like 3-6 months before your scheduled trip. One of my favorite airlines that offer affordable airfare is Cebu Pacific. It flies 12 times a week from Manila to Macau with the lowest rates. The best time to visit Macau is during the autumn season which starts from September to December which is usually the peak season. But i would prefer to visit Macau during those cold but not harsh seasons, preferably on winter which officially starts from January to February of the year. Light sweaters and jackets are necessary for the cold months. You may want to check out some travelling style here.

Will be sharing more of our Macau Trip on the next blog! Meanwhile, please do watch a short video of this whole travel thing on my Youtube Channel below. 

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