Friday, December 18, 2015

Dream Trip to Macau: Day 3

Rise and shine, travel bugs!

Today is gonna be a culture and heritage day where we will walk through the heritage trail of Macau from Ruins of St. Paul to Senado Square right through Mandarin House till Macau Tower. We had an enjoyable "field trip" and hotel hopping yesterday. Hotel lobbies and casinos in Macau indeed had us mindblown. If you are interested, you can read on my winning entry here that contributed to this all expenses paid trip. Be warned that this is a very photo heavy post but you will discover that most tourists don't take such comprehensive path like ours. Hence I would advise you to divide this heritage tour into 2 days.

A quiet spot with an amazing view of the ruins away from overcrowded tourists.

Morning view of Venetian from our window.

Room 1827, we'll be back to pack our stuff after breakfast.

 I was kinda alarmed to see a huge tour group swarming the breakfast hall.

Thank God the waitress showed us a private room. Golden Crown Hotel, you earned a thumbs up from us in this case.

 Instead of buffet, we were given the breakfast set menu. Greedy me prefers unlimited buffet lol.

Hubby ordered eggs with bacon, ham and sausage while I had the macaroni in soup that everyone brags about when visiting Hong Kong. I still don't get what's so delicious about pasta in salty chicken broth that tastes like Maggi sup ayam.

Delighted to have our private breakfast with a view of the port.

About 10am we walked across to the airport to take the first bus to Sheraton, our sponsored hotel. You can see it's the bright green one parked at the end therefore we walked over willingly.

However the driver told us to get off and walk back to the designated shade area. I mean c'mon there's no other passenger besides us and moreover we walked all the way so why can't you just let us put our heavy baggage and sit for a moment.

Anyway, you can read my full review on Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel in the link.

In the heart of the Cotai Strip, the world's largest Sheraton is in prime location for guests to explore the newest gem. The hotel is right across the extravagant Venetian and adjacent to City of Dreams. Sheraton Grand Macao is part of Sands Cotai Central, an enormous complex that houses 2 other hotels; Conrad and Holiday Inn.  It also consists of more than 100 duty free retail stores and 2 casinos.

It was too early to check in so we left our luggage by the counter which you can easily see on your left after entering the lobby. Though there were so many tour groups, the staffs handled the system well. Kudos to the staffs.

Entrance to The Shoppes at Four Seasons Hotel where you can browse more than 160 designer and luxury brands without ever leaving the hotel.

To take a bus towards mainland, we had to cross the road. If you took a bus just outside these Sands complex chances you might go further down to Coloane.

Venetian, we will spend entire day shopping here tomorrow!

To get to Senado Square from Venetian you can take 25X towards Border Gate or 26A towards Bacia Norte.

Remember in the previous post I showed you the gorgeous flower beds in front of the Galaxy sign? The next day they were gone! Seriously the flowers still looked fresh and alive. Sorry I ain't a gardener or botanist so maybe the management have their own reasons to remove those flowers.

Crossed the bridge for the second time.

We got down at Praca Ferreira bus station then walk all the way to Senado Square then up to Ruins of St. Paul and Macau Museum on the hill of the Fortaleza do Monte.

After 20 minutes ride, we stopped at our usual Praca Ferreira Amaral station.

The crowds, the language, the buildings all exactly like Hong Kong.

We wanted to check out Restaurante Escada for lunch later. Heard it's kinda famous for serving authentic Macanese food. You can easily find this staircase on your right when walking from Grand Lisboa to Senado Square.

It is quite pricey though. We deliberately hunted for more affordable option.

Aaah...reached Senado Square after about 5 minutes walk. It was filled with Lunar New Year ambiance.

St. Dominic's Church (玫瑰堂) is a late 16th century Baroque-style church that serves within the Cathedral Parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau. It is situated near the Leal Senado Building. You can spot it directly at Senado Square.

The church was established in 1587 by three Spanish Dominican priests who arrived from Acapulco, Mexico. 

It was closed down in 1834 when monastic orders were dissolved and expropriated to the government, who then converted it into barracks, a stable and an office for public works. However, it later reopened and was given many works of sacred art from other religious orders dissolved back in Portugal. The church underwent renovation in 1997 and a museum was added.

To get to Ruins of St. Paul, walk towards the right when you are facing St. Dominic's church. Then you will see this Lancôme outlet. Turn to the left and just walk straight ahead.

Keep walking and follow the crowd. It might take about 15 minutes or more depending on how attracted you are to the surrounding shops.

You will see this local bakery everywhere in Macau so don't stop if you are in a hurry. We bought our gifts and cookies at Taipa on the last day.

Yes! Finally here at the icon of Macau. Though it's super duper touristy, it's a must go place just to snap a few shots to say you've been to Macau. Ruins of St. Paul's (大三巴牌坊)was originally St. Paul's College and the Church of St. Paul also known as "Mater Dei", a 17th-century Portuguese church dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle. Total time spent here and up the fortress would be 40 minutes.

Built from 1602 to 1640 by the Jesuits, the collegiate was one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia at the time and the royalty of Europe vied with each other to bestow upon the temple the best gifts. With the decline in importance of Macau, the building's fortunes similarly ebbed and it was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon on the 26 January 1835. The Fortaleza do Monte overlooks the ruin.

I can crop out those glaring eyes if I want to but just to show you how exactly it's like to jump in front of the crowd lol.

 Read all about it here.

Sorry for photo spam...

 Pre-wedding photoshoot is very common here.

The ruins were restored by the Macanese government into a museum and the façade is now buttressed with concrete and steel in a way which preserves the aesthetic integrity of the façade. A steel stairway allows tourists to climb up to the top of the façade from the rear. It is customary to throw coins into the top window of the ruins from the stairs for luck.

Museum is free and opens daily except Tuesdays from 9am-6pm.
Found this fella on the way up to the fort. No idea who he is so can someone tell me.

Tiring walk up the hill. It takes only 5 minutes to reach the top.
Plenty of cannon over here. This one aims directly at Grand Lisboa.

Museu de Macau or Macau Museum ( 澳門博物館) is located on the hill of the Fortaleza do Monte, a 16th-century fort. The museum was inaugurated on 18 April 1998. Its total size is about 2,800 m² with around 2,100 m² of exhibition space.

·      Macau Museum entrance fee is MOP15 but you can enter for free every 15th of the month. Opening hours from 10am – 6pm and closed on Mondays.

One final ss shot before going down.

We encountered a very homely cafe on our way down to Senado Square called Tomato House that serves local Portuguese fusion cuisine. It looks authentic enough so we went in for brunch.

We came here for one thing only that is to try a Macanese dish recommended by Hwee Ling from MGTO.

Tadaa! We ordered only one plate of baked bacalhau for a taste test as we intended to have lunch at 黃枝記. 

Bacalhau is the Portuguese word for cod and in a culinary context meaning dried and salted cod. This dish has shredded salted cod with mashed potato as the base. Time spent here was around 40 minutes due to overwhelming customer and long baking time. We saw lots of students too coz the price is very affordable and there's a school nearby.

Bought the Naraya limited edition Chinese New Year bags for mum and myself.

Look what we found! Tbh I intentionally walked to this store.

Hello Kitty Obrigado opened its doors around January 2015. It is a gift shop and cafe. It is operated from 12pm till 8pm daily.

Besides macarons, it also serves cakes, cookies, Portuguese egg tarts and bak kua during CNY.

Senado Square (議事亭前地)  is a paved town square with elongated triangular shaped square that connects Largo do São Domingos at one end and Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro on the other. It covers an area of 3,700 square meter. The square was named after the Leal Senado, a meeting place for the Chinese and Portuguese in the 16th to 18th centuries. The square used to allow traffic but with increasing number of tourists, the entire area was covered by Portuguese pavement in the early 1990s and designated a pedestrian-only zone.

Somewhere at the front of Senado Square is the overrated Wong Chi Kei (黃枝記), a noodle and congee restaurant originated from Hong Kong.

Lunch queue was horrendous. You gotto take number from the counter and wait at least an hour. 

They have illustrated menu as well so choose first while you are waiting.

 We were seated at 2nd floor which is the top floor.

Based on recommendations, we tried shrimp roe noodles, crab porridge and deep fried wonton.

The handmade noodles are springy but overall dish is bit tad dry due to the shrimp roe but we counter it with some soup. This is like wan tan mee back home just without soy sauce.

Crab congee was plain simple but quite tasty. The dishes are normal to me as I always have this kind of meal back home but if you come from the west all these dishes might be something new.

Our fav among the 3 would be the deep fried wonton. Definitely in the yummy list.

Be sure to check out Macau Business Tourism Center strategically located right at the heart of Senado Square to get some brochures and maps that will guide you to explore Macau conveniently. The staffs at the tourism center would also be glad to help you if you have any questions. This center was officially opened on 18 April 2006. It is also the former headquarters of MGTO that sponsored my Dream Trip to Macau. A huge thank you for making my first trip to Macau a memorable one!

 Chinse New Year of red and orange hue stage and display creating a joyous festive ambiance.

Across the road from Senado Square is Instituto Para... well, it is actually Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM). The councils and assemblies of the municipalities of Macau were abolished on 1 January 2002 and their functions transferred to the Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos e Municipais slightly more than 2 years after Macau became a SAR. They had been put in place under the administration of Portugal.

Second part of our heritage trail was a long one starting from Senado Square to vintage street of Rua da Felicidade to Sir Robert Ho Tung library, Dom Pedro V theater, St. Lawrence's church, Lilau Square, Mandarin's house, Moorish Barracks and finally A-Ma temple. It's a handful really so we spent a maximum of 10-20 minutes per location. We started walking to the first point at 2pm and had to reach the temple by 4:30pm because hubby decided to slot in Penha Church and Macau Tower 360 buffet starts at 6:30pm. You can imagine the rush that's why I said earlier should split this to 2 days. Entrance is free for all the points otherwise stated.

Our initial plan was to go to Yee Shun Dairy Company to have the famous steamed milk pudding but we were too full and short of time so we began the second part of heritage tour starting with this gorgeous street. Rua da Felicidade literally translated as Happiness Street. The whole stretch of shop houses painted in red resembles 19th century China.

 Great place for photo shooting.

Sir Robert Ho Tung Library (何東圖書館) is a public library constructed before 1894 and was owned by Dona Carolina Cunha. Later the mansion was purchased by Hong Kong businessman Sir Robert Ho Tung in 1918 as a retreat. After his death in 1955, the building was presented to the Government for conversion to a public library and opened its door to public on 1958.

The garden is absolutely tranquil. Duh, it's a library! Opening hours are 10am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday and 11am to 7pm on Sunday.

Just beside the library is St. Joseph's Seminary and Church (聖若瑟修院及聖堂).The seminary was established in 1728 followed by the church in 1758. I can't remember why we didn't enter but most probably due to the seminary is not open to public.

Next we came up to St. Augustine Square. The background is really pretty as you can see the Victorian-ish building.

St. Augustine's Church (聖奧斯定堂) was built by Italian Augustinian priests in 1958 and 3 years later taken over by Portuguese. It is one of the oldest churches of Macau and also Macau's first church for English Mass. This church maintains the tradition of organizing one of the most popular processions through the city, the Easter Procession. Opening hours from 10am till 6pm daily.

This looks like a part of Dom Pedro from across St. Augustine's. You will feel drawn back to the Portuguese era when you are surrounded by these beautiful well preserved historical buildings.

The Dom Pedro V Theater (伯多祿五世劇院) is one of the first western-style theaters in China. The theater was built in 1860 by local Portuguese to commemorate their reigning king, Peter V. Its current façade was added in 1873.Opening hours are 10am to 6pm daily except Tuesdays.

St. Lawrence's Church (聖老楞佐堂) was built by the Jesuits in the mid-16th century and is one of the 3 oldest churches in Macau. Its present appearance and scale was acquired in 1846. It is a neo-classical structure with subtle Baroque decorative inspirations. Opening hours are 7am - 9pm daily.

Frontal of the church.

The garden is really clean and tidy.

Literally you are not supposed to snap photos in the church but I curi tangkap anyway for the sake of showing my beloved readers.

We walked down to continue our journey. How stunning is the view here! It's probably 3:30pm by now and we are running out of time

Ok, next quick stop was Lilau Square. The only thing nice here is this Mediterranean building.

The ground water of Lilau used to be the main source of natural spring water in Macao. The Portuguese popular phrase “One who drinks from Lilau never forgets Macao” expresses the locals’ nostalgic attachment to Lilau Square. This area corresponds to one of the first Portuguese residential quarters in Macau.

Among existing residential complexes in Macau the Mandarin's House (鄭家大屋) also known as Zheng Guanying's family house is the largest in scale. Zheng Wenrui, the father of Zheng Guanying initiated the building of Mandarin's House. The construction work might have started circa 1869.

We spent like 25-30 minutes here coz the mansion is huge and there's so much rooms to explore. Opening hours from 10am – 6pm daily except Wednesday and entrance is free.

The Mandarin's House occupies a very large area of 4000m2 on which are buildings and open spaces designed in various architectural styles. The entire complex has more than 60 rooms in total.

Since 2002, the government began to conduct step by step conservation work on the Mandarin's House. Rigorous studies were followed by careful restoration work.

After 8 years of continuous efforts, the conservation works are completed, with the basic original image of the complex being presented.

Macau tourism really did a great job in restoring historical buildings.

The downhill slope of Barra Hill and subtle temperature around 18°C makes walking more enjoyable.

Before reaching the temple there's this neo-classical Mogul influenced building. Moorish Barracks (港務局大樓) was constructed in 1874 to accommodate an Indian regiment from Goa appointed to reinforce Macau's police force. Now it serves as the headquarters of the Marine and Water Bureau.

Practically nothing here, just admiring the lamps and a little British India plus Arabian feel. Macau is indeed a blend of various cultures.

Do you know Macau's name is derived from A-Ma Gau which is the name of this temple. A-Ma Temple (媽閣廟) is one of the oldest and most famous Taoist temples in Macau. Built in 1488, the temple is dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen. Opening hours are 7am - 6pm daily.

It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the natives replied "媽閣" (A-Ma-Gau = bay of goddess A-Ma). Hence the Portuguese named the peninsula Macao. But how did this ancient temple built at the first place? According to legend, A-Ma was a poor girl looking for passage to Canton (Guangzhou) but was refused by wealthy junk owners so a fisherman took her on board. A storm wrecked all boats but left only the one A-Ma boarded. Upon arrival at a land now known as Macau, she vanished and reappear as goddess so the fisherman built this temple on the spot she appeared. The festival of A-Ma takes place on the 23rd day of 3rd moon around April or May.

Maritime Museum was originally opened in an old house at the Largo do Pagode da Barra in 1987. Because more space was needed, a new building was built near the old house adjacent to A-Ma temple and it reopened in 1990. The building has four main theme halls: the Maritime Ethnology Exhibition, the Maritime History Exhibition, the Maritime Technology Exhibition, and the Aquarium Gallery. opening hours are from 10am - 6pm daily except Tuesday. Tickets cost MOP10 averagely.

Third and final part of our tour is to walk up steep hill to Penha Church then down to Macau Tower for a buffet with a spectacular view.  The journey of dragging my sore feet up 3rd highest hill of Macau took an agonizing 20 minutes. It isn't that high if you view from ground but it's the circular road that made it long.

We eventually reached the top at 4:50pm. Here's the million dollar view of tower and bridge.

You can see signs of sun setting. The view is truly amazing right? I guess it's worth the climb.

Chapel of Our Lady Penha (西望洋聖堂) was founded in 1622 by the crew and passengers of a ship which narrowly escaped capture by Dutch. The chapel served a a point of pilgrimage for sailors embarking on hazardous voyage. The chapel today dates back to 1837 when it was completely rebuilt along with the Bishop's Palace. It is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.

A hot spot for bridal photo shoot besides Ruins of St. Paul's.

We only spent like 15 minutes here then walked downhill effortlessly.

You can see the church on top of the hill. Quite a low peak but walking up is tiring.

Coincidentally the sun sets right between the two towers.

Pre-wedding shooting again. I agree the lake is really beautiful.

It's not in the picture but we saw quite a number of visitors bungee jump.

Ah, finally! We arrived right on time. Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Center (澳門旅遊塔會展娛樂中心) was officially opened in 2001. On a visit to Auckland, Hong Kong casino billionaire Stanley Ho Hung-Sun was so impressed by the Sky Tower that he commissioned a similar one to be built in Macau. The tower measures 338 meters in height from ground level to the highest point.

The mall looked disturbingly empty. I prefer the luxury mall at Taipei 101 but the best and most happening still goes to our dear KLCC.

The tower consists of n observation deck with panoramic views, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and the Skywalk X, a thrilling walking tour around the outer rim. At 233 meters, the Macau Tower's tethered "skyjump" and Bungee jump by AJ Hackett from the tower's outer rim. It is the highest commercial skyjump in the world.

Opening hours of the tower is from 10am till 9pm. Tickets to observation lounge at level 58 is priced at MOP135 per adult. If you purchase the buffet lunch (MOP278), tea(178) or dinner (MOP480), entrance to observatory is included. But my ticket is printed $0.0 coz it's sponsored!!! So grateful to MGTO.

Wow! I can't handle the thrill but it sure looks fun. Skywalk is priced at MOP788 per person and operation from 11am - 7:30pm (10pm on weekends). Learn more about the adventures offered by Macau Tower here.

Editing by hubby to look like what we saw in real life. Awesome view!

The scene is so fantastic we wished we had arrived early when the sun still shining bright.

Glass floor experience is enough for me. I chickened out from the activities.

Around 7pm or so we left the deck for buffet dinner. Unfortunately the lift does not take you directly from the observatory at level 58 to 360° Café at level 60. We had to go down then take another lift to the cafe. 

Please see Macau Tower 360° Café buffet review for more info and photos.

Seafood counter with generous servings of prawn, shellfish, scallop, oyster, salmon and many more.

My fav counter of all...dessert!

And yes they have 2 counters to satisfy your cravings.

I had like 4 rounds with heaps of food on my plate.

I would recommend to anyone visiting Macau to try this buffet. The food is good but not great however you should come and dine with a stunning view just because.

Trying to act like in a commercial. My arms were stretched out coz I was holding my phone for lighting.

Here's the view outside that we surely can't get enough. 

A little bragging here but it's very important which you will not find this info elsewhere. We went down around 9pm to catch a bus but when we waited and waited for either number 26, 32 or MT4 (only these goes to Cotai strip) none came. Asking around didn't help coz everyone ain't local. Then we realized there is another bus stop at the side of the tower. So if your destination isn't on the peninsula do not wait for bus in front of tower entrance. You must walk to your left and you will see a small bus stop in front of a tunnel entrance. The bus only comes every 20-30 minute so be patient. Yeah, we should have called a cab but it was damn expensive.

We collected or luggage and headed to the humongous check in lobby of Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel. We were so tired that we leave the photo taking for the next day. Please get ready some cash of about MOP500 or more for deposit which will be returned upon checkout. Otherwise just swipe your credit card. If you are interested to stay in this 4.5 star hotel do look at Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel review for more info, rates and pictures.

 Thank you Sheraton for the shopping vouchers and cutie bear in traditional Portuguese costume.

My Deluxe King room was aesthetically pleasing and comfortable with all expected amenities of a 4.5 star hotel. I love the playful splash of colour in the carpet which cut the corporate vibe. Overall the interior perfectly fits the tropical Amazonian theme.

Exquisite bathroom me likey...

Luxurious bedding to snuggle in after a long exhausting day. Time for me to drift into Dreamland covered by fluffy clouds of the comforter. See you on Day 4, our final full day in Macau.

Watch a summary of my trip if you wanna skip reading the crap above. Enjoy...
 For full details on itinerary and budget of this trip, please click HERE


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