I know this post is more than a year late, but I’ve been thinking about blogging about my trips. I’ve been so busy ever since I’ve been a corporate slave, but I’m looking forward to a life-changing opportunity this year and I wanted to organize last year’s photos and memories before I move on. So these are the confessions of a first-time traveller abroad. I think I was so helpless and gullible at that time since I practically knew nothing about travelling. I was dependent on my travel buddy from making the itinerary to talking with the locals and deciding where to eat.
It can be pretty cold in January (well, compared to the Philippines) which was actually great because we had to walk a lot. I had to wear two jackets and tights to bear the chilly weather. Dinner was beef noodle soup sold by a Chinese couple from a street cart. Well, I don’t know if they’re a couple… didn’t bother to ask. We headed to the Wynn Macau to catch the fountain show. It starts every 15 minutes from 11:00 AM until midnight. It’s cute with the dancing water, lights and music and all but it’s just another show. But do watch it, it’s free after all. Macau is Asia’s gambling paradise. There’s a casino anywhere you look. The casinos are considered some of the main tourist spots even if you don’t gamble. You can enter and look at their glamorous displays in the lobbies for free. Getting around is really easy too. These big casinos offer free bus rides from one terminal to another for more convenient casino hopping experience. You can use HKD in Macau but Macanese Pataca is not accepted in Hong Kong. So better exchange your pesos to HKD as it is accepted in both. Also, make sure to have coins when riding normal buses. Good thing we met a nice Filipina lady who gave us Patacas to be able to ride our way to the hotel. That ends Day 1.
A trip to Macau is incomplete without visiting Ruínas de São Paulo (Ruins of St. Paul). It’s basically the remaining façade of the original 17th-century Portuguese Jesuit chapel. To get here, we had to walk along Largo de Senado (Senado Square). We actually saved money for breakfast because every store along the way gave us free beef jerky to taste. By the time we got to the top where the ruins were located, we were already full.
The place gets really crowded and a little challenging to get a decent photo without someone photobombing the frame. But it’s really worth the uphill walk because I did feel the East- meets- West vibe: the Western architecture adorned with kitschy Chinese lanterns.
I didn’t know before that Macau had a lot of Portuguese influence or that it was a former colony of Portugal. All the street signs are written in both Chinese and Portuguese. It was actually really helpful because my travel buddy and I speak Spanish and can understand a little bit of Portuguese.
We checked out of the hotel after and met with Father Ed, a priest who has been living in Macau for more than a decade and a friend of my travel buddy. We ate at a Chinese restaurant (forgot the name) and ordered a dangerous amount of food. And can I just say, hands down the best hakao I ever tasted.
After fuelling up with yummy Chinese food, we headed to the Macau Ferry Terminal to reach Hong Kong via turbojet. It was a one-hour woozy trip which costs around 150 HKD (one-way). Since we’re crossing another border, we had to fill out another immigration form upon entering. Too bad, HK and Macau don’t stamp passports anymore. They just give out tiny papers as proof of entry.
It was my first time riding a tram and boy was it fun. We checked into our tiny hostel, Hong Kong Hostel, which I think was made for backpackers. It’s interesting that the hostels are located on the top floors of upscale stores like Burberry, Gucci, etc. We went out again for some shopping and headed to The Victoria Peak to get a spectacular view of the city at night. It’s free to go up there and take pictures or even look through the binoculars.
Communication was quite difficult. We went to a restaurant before going back to the hotel. They had a menu in English but when my friend asked for a spoon and a fork, things got a bit crazy. To cut it short, he had to go to the kitchen and find the utensils himself because they didn’t understand him.
A tiring day, it was.. so I really wanted to hit the sack but my friend wanted to go into
It’s just not my type of nightlife, it’s actually more like this. That ends Day 2.
We had to check out early from the hostel because we had to meet my buddy’s mom in the Tsim Sha Tsui area to have breakfast, and it would be a hassle to go back to Causeway Bay to get our stuff and go to the Hong Kong ferry terminal.
The Avenue of Stars didn’t do much for me. It’s Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I’m not a big fan of Hong Kong cinema, maybe except for Dumplings and Chunking Express. It’s still worth the visit though because of the great view of the harbour and the city skyline. And also, because it’s free.
I was actually more thrilled to visit the H&M store in Tsim Sha Tsui (at that time, there were no H&M stores yet in the Philippines).
I wanted to visit the Hong Kong Space Museum but we had to rush to the terminal or we might miss our flight in Macau. It was a very quick trip to Hong Kong, I wasn’t able to explore it as much as I would have liked to.
We hopped on the ferry back to Macau and proceeded to the Macau Airport to catch our flight back to Manila.
I’ll be making a rundown of this trip in the next post: from accommodation, food and transportation to the must-sees and dos.