When In Manila’s Quick Guide to Macau
When Annalyn and I got married, we had a short gap between semesters to have our honeymoon. It was a brief shindig, a three-day, two-night trip to Macau, so we had to make the most of our visit. Searching online for places to go, watching re-runs of Anthony Bourdain on places to eat, frequenting Agoda to book the cheapest deals, excited is an understatement to us going abroad for the first time as a couple.
Needless to say, travel shows and sites cannot prepare you for the predominantly Cantonese speaking populace who will NOT understand a single thing you say. All your preparation will come to naught once you realize that the universal language to save you from being trapped and lost and utterly confused in a country that doesn’t speak your language is still you making turo-turo to a map that you acquired in the airport or hotel.
So, as a fan of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover (something I professed long ago in this AWESOME guide to Camiguin), here is a quick guide care of our honeymoon adventures and misadventures so you DON’T have to be lost in Macau.
Going to Macau
There are two primary means to reach Macau: By plane or by ferry.
If proceeding directly to Macau, international trips from Manila, Philippines to Macau fly nonstop, with Cebu Pacific providing 41% of these commercial flights. The plane lands at the Macau International Airport, where you DON’T have to hail a cab as there are shuttle buses who will take you to your hotel for free. Walk towards the north exit of the airport and the fleet of shuttle buses will be waiting for you in the parking lot.
Even if you are not staying in a hotel (or you plan to go some place else before checking into your hotel), you can hitch a ride in one of the buses: you just have to know which route is closest to your destination. The reason for this is because all major hotels in Macau also have casinos, so even if you’re not staying with them, they would accommodate you supposing that you would spend a buck or two in their casino.
For those who choose to visit Macau via Hong Kong, the Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal is the main entry point via ferry. The terminal is right beside the Macau Grand Prix race track and museum. Like the airport, complimentary shuttle rides to your hotel are available a few steps from the terminal exit.
Where to Stay – Cotai Strip
Even on a budget, the Cotai Strip is the best place to stay primarily for its ease of access and entertainment value. The Venetian, Galaxy and Banyan Tree, City of Dreams, and Sands Cotai Central offer the newest, most luxurious rooms in all of Macau. We booked our two-night stay in Sheraton Macao Hotel (part of the Sands Cotai Central complex) via Agoda for less than 5,000 pesos a night. We even enjoyed a complimentary room upgrade because we signed up for their rewards program! The shops, casinos, and attractions in the hotel malls will make any foodie, shopper, tourist go “WOW!” with the wide range of selections conveniently located within the sprawling compounds consisting the Strip.
In terms of ease of access, Galaxy Macau boasts of the most extensive shuttle service, bringing in the tourists from the Macau International Airport and Macau Ferry Terminal, linking with other hotels like Venetian Macau, City of Dreams, and StarWorld Hotel, and bringing you to the top tourist destinations via San Ma Lo (for Senado Square) and Old Taipa Village. And if you prefer walking, Taipa Village is actually right across the Galaxy.
Finally, the hotels along The Strip are sufficiently staffed with Filipino employees, so you can ask around on how to get to places and better plan your activities during your stay.