I just had my 2nd backpacking solo trip to Taiwan and here I am again…
31 days later…
Off to another adventure! Another adventure to be grateful for!
I JUST WANT TO THANK ALL MY FRIENDS WHO GAVE ME ADVICES FOR THIS TRIP! I’M VERY GRATEFUL! 🙂 Could not have done this w/o your help! Thank you for answering all my questions! ♥ THANK YOU! 🙂
TRAVEL DATE: OCT 2014
Macau is my favorite solo travel so far mainly because of 2 things – THE HOUSE OF DANCING WATER SHOW & THE AJ HACKETT BUNGY JUMP EXPERIENCE. 2 experiences that I will forever be grateful for in this lifetime!
MACAU TRAVEL GUIDE
Macau is comparable to Taiwan. There are more Chinese tourists than westerners so locals do not put effort in speaking English. Cantonese is the main language, but I could hear some speaking Mandarin. Before I go to any country, I try to learn basic phrases of their language such as “Thank you”, “Excuse Me”, “Sorry” and “Hello”. This can help me when I am lost and this is also to immerse myself in the culture even just a little bit.
THERE ARE A LOT OF FILIPINOS IN MACAU. Everywhere I go, I could hear them, I could see them. They work at the airport, casinos, macau tower, and many more. They even had empowerment speeches at Senado Square! It was easier asking directions and to have someone take my pictures.
ACCOMMODATION – VILLA UNIVERSAL
Booking your hotel in advance in Macau is A MUST! For my Bangkok & Taiwan solo travels, I booked hostels 1 week before and the cost was very cheap. I assumed that it would be the same case with Macau. I was very wrong! Backpacking hotels or hostels are not common in Macau. Given the casino hotels, people tend to stay there. The supply of backpacking hotels or hostels is not that high compared to countries like Bangkok or Taiwan.
1 week before my travel, I checked the rates, I had no choice but to pay a high price for a low quality accommodation. I booked the cheapest one which also had the worst reviews. I did not want to spend any more than I had to. I already had a bungee jump to pay for. I just endured the bad investment.
I looked for other guest houses or people who rent their homes through AIRBNB (Get ₱1,600 or $32 off your first AIRBNB booking when you sign up through the link!) but the rates similar. As much as I wanted to stay at the Venetian or Galaxy hotels, I would just be gone the whole day touring and would not maximize my investment. Booking Villa Universal was the cost minimizing option.
- centrally located in tourist spots;
- just a 2 minute walk away from Senado square;
- Koi Kei bakery – a pasalubong center is just right in front;
- relatively clean;
- very comfortable bed (I don’t know if this is accurate, my mom said maybe I was just too tired);
- There was hot water, fresh towels, and toiletries;
- owners do not speak English;
- owners and staff are not friendly;
- room smells like SMOKE when I get back from my itineraries;
- room smells like SMOKE when I slept at night;
- other guests are very loud at night talking to each – they stay up until 2 AM just talking (Can you imagine hearing loud noise all night? Noise that you cannot understand! I just prayed a lot and wished for them to stop talking. I wanted to shout at them at one point but I took one long breath and calmed down. I knew confronting wouldn’t be a grateful thing to. So I just stayed patient until I eventually fell asleep);
- Not worth the price
Overall, my advice to you is DO NOT BOOK THIS HOTEL.
Believe it or not, I only spent ₱28 on transportation. It would have been ₱0 if I knew that some casino shuttle buses operated past 10 PM at the airport. Getting around Macau is very easy! Casino hotels provide free shuttle buses. You just have to know the routes, know the hotels near your place and the tourist spots. Some rides that I took:
- Wynn Macau Bus to Macau Ferry Terminal & Int’l Airport
- Galaxy Shuttle Bus to The Venetian
- City of Dreams Bus to The City of Dreams
- City of Dreams Shuttle to The Macau Tower
- Grand Lisboa Shuttle to Lisboa Hotel AND A LOT MORE!
Main points of intersection among all Casino shuttle buses: Macau Ferry Terminal & Taipa Ferry Terminal. Amazing system! 😉 Be smart about the routes and you will pay nothing! You can just get on and get off these casino shuttle buses. No one will ask if you are staying at their hotels.
Riding a taxi is VERY EXPENSIVE. I heard from my friend that it would cost around ₱300 for a 10 minute ride. Be smart about it, research the casino shuttle buses schedule! The buses are very clean, have free wi-fi and YES, THEY ARE FREE!
The ₱28 I spent was for the public bus. Bus system in Macau is very efficient. Check bus routes in tourist maps or websites. Each ride costs 3-4 MOP depending on where you’re going. I saw some passengers use a BUS CARD and just swipe it on an electronic machine. One of the Filipinos who helped me with directions said you can buy that card in any K mart or 7 eleven convenience store.
I bought breakfast at McDonalds, Egg tarts & dairy products from Lord Stow’s, and Cafe Margaret’s, Haagen Dazs Tiramisu Ice Cream & Evian Water and Soda & Pork Chop Bun.
For water, I just got from the casino hotels as they were giving them for free. Coffee was also free at the Galaxy hotel. When I was hungry at times, I would just go to Koi Kei Bakery and snack on the free samples. All their products had small plastic wares of free tastes! Cookies, Pork&Beef Jerky, Pineapple breads!
*TIP: If you’re coming from HK and in Macau for just a day trip, I realized that YOU can pay absolutely NOTHING if you wanted to.
- FREE TRANSPORTATION = Casino Shuttle Buses
- FREE FOOD = Free taste at Senado Square or Koi Kei Bakeries
- FREE WATER/DRINKS = Casinos
- No entrance fees at Casinos/Tourist Sites so you can just take pictures & go.
EXPLORING MACAU (THINGS TO DO IN MACAU)
Senado Square is the main tourist destination. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a very European vibe. From Senado Square, you can find St. Paul’s Ruins, Camoes Garden and a fortress (which is very similar to our Fort Santiago).
These places are really nice, I had a really good stroll in the morning & at night too. In the afternoon, it tends to get PACKED of Chinese tourists. It becomes a Quiapo like environment.
I also went to Macau’s Fisherman Wharf where a Rome-ish vibe can be felt. The place I think is more lively at night just like our Eastwood here in Manila because when I went, there were only a few people, stores were closed and it was very quiet.
All the casinos were the same, each one of them were VERY LUXURIOUS. All are like GRAND MALLS. My favorites are GALAXY HOTEL & THE VENETIAN. The designs are just so amazing.
When I watched the Korean version of Boys over Flowers, I thought the scene where Gu Jun Pyo broke Geum Jan Di’s heart was outside! I did not know The Venetian like scene was inside a mall! It was really cool and amazing! I was really at awe.
I walked around the place thrice because it was really beautiful. If I do not get the chance to go to the real Venetian, at least I experienced it in Macau and I think Macau has done the place justice.
I also went to WYNN MACAU, HOTEL LISBOA, SANDS MACAU, CITY OF DREAMS, STAR WORLD CASINO.
There are a lot of entertainment shows in all casinos but I only watched the popular ones (2 were free and 2 were paid for).
FREE: WYNN MACAU – Tree of Prosperity
This happens every 30 minutes where the ceiling opens up and a series of presentations happen. A tree comes out from below wherein people throw coins that symbolizes richness or something. Nothing really special but very extravagant and it’s free.
FREE: WYNN MACAU – Fountain show
I like this a lot! It’s like the scenes I watch in CSI Las Vegas. A lights & sound fountain show. Very amazing! The show happens every 15 minutes and it lasts for about 2-3 minutes. I watched around 3 in a row and 1 more before I left. They were all different songs. ANG GALING! Seeing the show with the background of Wynn Macau’s, Grand Lisboa’s and Hotel Lisboa’s big lighted signs was very magical.
PAID: CITY OF DREAMS – Dragon Treasures
This costs 50 MOP = ₱250. This show happens every 30 minutes and lasts for about 18 minutes. Everyone enters a dark circular room. When the doors are closed, the whole place becomes a TV. You’re like surrounded in an aquarium. It was very cool! The lights, the sounds, the pictures! If I could just lie down on the floor, I would! But I don’t think it was allowed. I don’t want to say the story of the show for your benefit! Watch it! It takes you on a whole different experience!
PAID: CITY OF DREAMS – The House of Water Dancing Show
THIS IS THE BEST GODDAMN AMAZING INCREDIBLE F****** GREATEST BEST-EST SHOW IN THE WORLD THAT I HAVE SEEN SO FAR!
Some words to describe this show: ABS. SKILL. ABS. TALENT. CREATIVITY. ABS. MUSCLES. SEXY LADIES. HOT MEN. DIVERSITY. STORY. STRENGTH. ENDURANCE. ABS. WATER. STUNTS. ABS. HOT GUYS. ABS. ABS. ABS.
Hahahaha!!!! Best show ever! 90% of the time, naka nga-nga lang ako PROMISE! SOBRANG GALING! This is the only live show that I CRIED! UMIYAK AKO TALAGA! SA SOBRANG GALING NILA! I was privileged to watch amazing, amazing talent! GRABE! NAKAKAIYAK! I CRIED!
I bought the cheapest ticket. BUT IT DOESNT MATTER. The place is circular so the VIEW IS AMAZING IN ALL AREAS. I even got sprayed by water at times, IT WAS SO INTERACTIVE AND FUN! ANG GALING! When you’d think they’d outdone themselves, the cast surprises YOU! UNTIL THE END.
AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING SHOW. WORTH IT! AS IN! SOBRA! ANG GALING TALAGA! SOBRANG GALING! GRABE! ANG GALING TALAGA! I felt very blessed to watch great talent. GREAT EXPERIENCE! Truly worthy of being part of the CITY OF DREAMS!
MACAU TOWER & MACAU AJ HACKETT BUNGY JUMP
For the whole experience, check out this post.
GRATEFUL REALIZATIONS AND TIPS:
- BOOK YOUR HOTEL IN ADVANCE! Be it a month or 2 months before! If you’re a backpacker like me, book in advance to get a good quality hotel at a cheap rate!
- TAKE THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF PICTURES OR VIDEOS. Since I was alone, I usually notice people and the environment. Sometimes tourists do not take time to appreciate the places, experiences and moments that they are in. Some just take pictures or videos and GO to the next destination. Some even take videos or pictures WHILE watching a show! They are watching the show through their cameras! Might as well buy the DVD or something!
- Be smart! If there opportunities that arise wherein you do not have to pay for anything & get a satisfactory result, use it! Research well and travel smart!
MACAU BUDGET GUIDE
|I am very grateful for the money that I paid for these amazing travel blessings (amount is for 1 person):|
|Cebu Pacific Flight||₱3,896.37|
|Accommodation – Villa Universal (3 nights)||₱10,451.76|
|City of Dreams – Dragon Treasures||₱280|
|City of Dreams – Water Show||₱3,334.24|
|Transportation – Bus||₱28|