Love Macau for it’s rich culture and heritage but you just gotta love Macau once you find out you can wander around without even spending a penny. Macau is small in terms of landmass and that is the only thing I know much of Macau aside from the glitz and glamour of it’s casinos trail. So I got worried on how to get around the area given very limited time of 1 day and being able to cover all the main attractions. But research and googling really pays, this is how I found out about the word HOTEL HOPPING from travel blog posts. So I dig deeper to plan which will be my 1st stop until I get to my last stop.
One thing you should be aware of is that Macau is divided into 4 parts – the Macau Peninsula on one island and Taipa, Coloane and the 4th land which has been reclaimed as land and was given the name of Cotai.
MACAU PENINSULA-St. Paul’s Cathedral, Senado Square, Wynn Hotel, Grand Lisboa Hotel
COLOANE– Fernando’s Restaurant and mostly colonial house
COTAI– The Venetian, Galaxy Hotel, City of Dreams (3 famous chain of hotel casinos)
So the challenge is not to spend anything for transportation except for the fare from Hong Kong to Macau by ferry. Since I will be arriving in Macau from Hong Kong with my big backpack-so my first moved is how to leave my heavy backpack so it will be easy for me to roam around. I have read somewhere that it is possible to leave your luggage/bags in the West Lobby of the Venetian Hotel which is not only limited to hotel guests.
If I am not mistaken all major hotels in Macau provides free shuttle buses from their hotels to the airport (or ferry terminals) or sometimes the your hotel will have free shuttle to some of the nearby attractions. It is totally legit to hop onto any shuttle buses even if you do not stay at their hotels as the shuttle buses are a mean to attract people to the casinos in their hotels, hence they are open to the public and not restricted to hotel guests only.
HOP ON AND HOP OFF
I arrived in Macau Ferry Terminal at around 9 am- though there are several free shuttle buses that greeted just outside the ferry terminal- I decided to do a short 5 minute walk from the ferry to Macau Fisherman’s Wharf (my 1st stop). I still have my backpack with me I went around Macau Fisherman’s Wharf so it was kinda hard to move freely and take photos-it took me more than an hour walking on almost all exit points though the place seems rundown and abandoned or maybe I just arrived early that all stores still closed.
Past 10 am when I decided to leave Macau Fisherman’s Wharf and walk across the street to Sands Hotel Casino. This is where I will take my 1st free shuttle bus to get to my next destination (Venetian Hotel).
NOTE: From Macau Fisherman’s Wharf you can also take a walk back to Macau Ferry Terminal and take the shuttle from Grand Lisboa, Emperor Hotel, Venetian or even shuttle to the airport or border. The key to making your hotel hopping experience successful is plan your route efficiently.
1ST Stop The Sands Hotel and Casino
View of Sands Hotel from Macau Ferry Terminal
When I reached the lobby of Sands Hotel there are Chinese Mainlander’s who are waiting in line for the shuttle to Venetian Hotel. They have this big luggage’s which I am no used to anymore (allergic sa bag na de gulong). Made some research about the hotel and only says that there is nothing to see inside so I didn’t bother at all to get inside. The 1st shuttle to Venetian Hotel is scheduled to leave at 10:30 am-minutes passed and the tourists starts to flocks also waiting for the shuttle bus- lucky I was in the 1st 15 person in line so when the shuttle arrived I was able to go on board right away.
At the lobby of Sands Hotel Casino
Venetian Hotel is in Cotai district which is another island- getting here will take around 15-25 minutes but you wont get bored cause of the different other attractions that you will pass by like the Macau Tower, Macau Bridge, KunLam Statue and many more.
inside the free shuttle bus
The shuttle bus is comfortable and air conditioned and some of the hotel shuttle even have free wi-fi on board. You can sit back and relax while passing through the historic streets of Macau.
2ND Stop The Venetian Hotel and Casino
Venetian Hotel and Casino
Minutes passed and we arrived at the Venetian Hotel-the shuttle will embark on the West Lobby of the hotel where you can see other shuttle buses en route to other destinations/attractions.
West Lobby of Venetian Hotel
Feeling lost after getting out of the shuttle bus- I find myself going inside the main entrance door at the West Lobby to find the leave baggage section, then I saw some tourist heading to the far left side of the entrance. I fall in line and waited for my turn to be assisted by the baggage counter guy-the guys who assisted me is a Filipino and you will find more of them once you explore the hotel. He then too my bag and gave me a baggage claim stub- I have to thanked him cause at first I though he will ask me I am a hotel guest and I will say NO, he will answer back to me that only hotel guests are allowed. Lucky enough I was able to leave my backpack that easy cause I cant bare the weight of my backpack.
inside the Venetian Hotel
Gondola Ride inside Venetian Hotel
The hotel is HUGE that 2 hours is not enough to cover all sections of the hotel. I even got lost on my out of the hotel- Aside from the amazing interior and design of the hotel you can also find branded stores/shops, fast foods and casino. We will dedicate another post for Venetian Hotel only in the next days but anyways after almost 3 hours I decided to move to the next hotel. So much to see and to do in this hotel but I have to keep moving cause I still have lots of attractions unmarked in my itinerary.
West Lobby Shuttle Bus Waiting Area
At times, the queue can get so long just waiting for the shuttle buses. Thankfully, the shuttle buses are pretty frequent hence making the waiting time short.
3RD Stop Galaxy Hotel and Casino
Shining Shimmering Galaxy Hotel
I traced back the way to the West Lobby of the Venetian Hotel and decided to get my feet on the move under the bright sunny sky.
NOTE: You have the option to take the shuttle from Venetian to either Galaxy or City Of Dreams Hotel if you don’t feel like getting tan. The 3 big hotel casinos in Cotai has free shuttle providing service to each hotel.
the gigantic Wishing Crystals at the lobby of the hotel
these numerous colored shards reach into the air to bestow multiple blessings upon visitors. Wave your hands by the crystals – and watch them pulse with light and music!
4TH Stop City of Dreams Hotel and Casino
City of Dreams is composed of the Crown, Hard Rock and Grand Hyatt hotels. Grand Hyatt is by far the largest hotel, made up of two towers holding almost 800 rooms. The other two hotels are half the size and neither exceed 330 rooms. Truly one of a kind, there’s no other place in Macau that moves quite like the City of Dreams.
another 3 chain of hotels
the Vquarium at the lobby of City of Dreams Hotel
It is said that in a magical water world the sea creatures and good fortune flow all around you while virtual mermaids swim up to perform a water dance and to wish you good luck. The mermaids pop out of the screen and moves from different directions giving you a warm welcome. There are also other sea creatures in the huge LED screen dancing with the fake mermaid-it was impressive to the point that I got fooled it was a real aquarium.
Dragon’s Treasure Show
The ‘Dragon’s Treasure’ tells the story of the Dragon Pearl and its mysterious powers as experienced by each of the four Dragon Kings, who lead you on an amazing adventure through their magical kingdoms- the show last approximately 15 minute multimedia performance. Your senses will sure be overloaded with thrill and excitement as the shows offers explosive visuals and sounds as well as exciting sensory effects. I though it was FREE at first but it is not-I paid 50 MOP to watch the show which turns out to be SUPER WORTH IT.
City of Dreams has mermaids, dragons, creatures of the sea, and Chairman Mao’s jacket too. You can walk around as well to shop, eat and enjoy the hotels interior from outside and inside.
5TH Stop Hard Rock Cafe Hotel
entrance to Hard Rock Hotel
some memento framed and hanged at the wall lobby
at the lobby of Hard Rock Hotel
It is right at the center of CITY of DREAMS, the Cafe reflets the luxurious and exciting facilities of this state-of-the-art Casino and Entertainment complex. the Cafe is decorated with amazing memorabilia from Rock’n’Roll greats such as The Who and KISS, younger Rock Ambassadors such as Wes Borland (Limp Biskit) to Regional Iconic Artists such as Paul Wong or Jay Chou. If you are already inside City of Dreams then it is impossible for you not to came across this hotel cause it is just adjacent to it.
6TH Grand Lisboa Hotel
From City Of Dreams I took a walk back to Venetian Hotel as I have to board to one of the shuttle again West Lobby going to Galaxy Hotel. Once arrived in Galaxy Hotel look for the shuttle bus going to San Malo which is located in Macau Peninsula. There were many tourist heading to San Malo so the 1st shuttle wasn’t able to accommodate me then I waited for the next one until eventually find my comfort seat inside the shuttle. You will be dropped in a unfamiliar place but don’t be alarmed just follow the tourist trail cause most often than not they will be heading to either Senado Square or to the chain of casinos in Macau Peninsula. If still in doubt just look up and loo for the tall pineapple colorful building of Grand Lisboa Hotel. Before I went to Grand Lisboa Hotel I had to make short visit to Senado Square and St. Paul Ruins for the heritage site walk and the Macau treats taste taste (beef jerky and macau egg tart) Grand Lisboa is just 5 minute walk from Senado Square- you will not get lost again if you follow the trail of tourist and the shape of Grand Lisboa Hotel.
The Grand Lisboa, shaped like a giant golden lotus flower coming alive with it’s blend of colours at night. It’s casino offers 800 mass gaming tables and 1000 slot machines it can easily accommodate more than a 1000 visitors at one time. At night, the base is a kaleidoscope of colours thanks to 1.2 million light emitting diodes (LEDs) on its surface.
the Pineapple shaped Grand Lisboa Hotel
a closer look to Grand Lisboa Hotel
The owner, Dr. Ho, was advised by a fengshui expert that the location and architectural design would loose money, unless he made revisions to change the fengshui energy. So Dr. Ho made the necessary changes, and had the top of the building designed to be like a bottle neck, so money comes in, but cannot come out easily. It was supposed to look like feather plumes”
I find the display of lights quite spectacular and very unique – it keeps changing in colours and designs.
interesting artifacts and carvings shown at the lobby of hotel
The “must-see” items are the fine displays of carvings on mammoth tusks! One carving was that of the Monkey King with his entourage of monkeys. The other carving was that of the Great Wall of China. Did not spend much here as the sun starts to come down and I still have Wynn Hotel to explore plus the 3 free shows I have to catch up. My Ipad battery charge is close to shutting down including my DSLR camera but I am still thankful I was able to take some photos before it shutdown on me.
lobby of Grand Lisboa Hotel
Cross the street from Grand Lisboa Hotel and you will get pass Casino Lisboa another casino – you can stop for a moment and take a photo but may opt to not go inside. Don’t confuse Casino Lisboa with Grand Lisboa as these are 2 totally different casino.It is also owned by the same company as Grand Lisboa is consider to be the granddaddy of casinos in Macau. The Grand Lisboa is an extension to the Casino Lisboa and is located right next to it.
7TH Wynn Hotel
It’s bronze exterior is the first Las Vegas style integrated resort in Asia. Aside from casino, they also have designer shops like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Hermes to name a few, spa and a ‘Performance Lake’. In terms of showmanship WYNN HOTEL can captivate you because of the million dollar shows they put up to showcase visitors that they should be watch.
Wynn Performance Lake
Arabian nights at the lobby of hotel
When I saw this I suddenly felt like I was in one of the premier hotel in Dubai-blamed it to the camel and the Arabic theme. I didn’t have the chance to get closer cause I think the pool is only for guest so I took the photo of this me while I was behind the glass.
Tree of Prosperity in Wynn Hotel
The Tree of Prosperity performance is a choreographic masterpiece of sculptural patterns, music, video and light. The centrepiece, which fills the atrium, depicts Chinese and Western astrological symbols rising from the floor in a climactic finale that transforms the tree into the vibrant colours of the four seasons. The shows runs daily from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. (per hour) and will last for like 7 minutes.
Dragon of Fortune
The Dragon – emerging from a rolling mist and rising to a height of 28 feet – features an animated head complete with glowing eyes and smoke billowing from its nostrils. The beautiful Lotus Blossom opens some 12 feet in diameter to produce an awe-inspiring crystal light effect. Shows runs daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. (per hour) and show last for around 4 minutes.
8TH Star World Hotel
It is strategically located in the heart of Macau’s dynamic gaming and entertainment hub on the Macau Peninsula. Opened in 2006, StarWorld Hotel is GEG’s first 5-star hotel and casino flagship property. Having won numerous awards and recognitions, this 39-storey property offers “one-stop” access to world-class entertainment and hotel accommodation.
my final stop for the day
on my way to Star World Hotel from Wynn Hotel
Star World offers free and frequent shuttle bus services to and from the Galaxy Macau located in Cotai. I am literally in full motion as I started to rush because I have to be in the airport on or before 8 pm for my 10 pm flight back to KL. So from Star World Hotel i took the shuttle bus to Galaxy Hotel back in Cotai- I didn’t have the chance at all to explore even the lobby of Star World Hotel cause I was so worried about the time but if you have the gutts you can take a 15-20 minutes walk from Star World to MGM GRAND Hotel for photo ops. In no time I arrived in Galaxy Hotel and from there I asked the hotel attendant for the shuttle to Venetian Macau cause my feet starts to get sores from countless walks I did for the day. I was fast enough to board on the shuttle to Venetian then come claimed my backpack at the West Lobby (fix my things, grab my passport and documents and freshen up). I walked fast heading to the main entrance of the hotel facing City of Dreams where I will take the shuttle to Macau Airport. Took awhile for the shuttle to arrive and good thing there is not much tourist so at around 8:30 PM I reached Macau Airport for my flight at 10 PM.
Overall it was a pleasant experience-it was my 1st time to have try the hotel hopping and I can highly recommend it to travelers who will plan to visit the vibrant city of Macau. For a whole day itinerary you can actually do the hotel hopping and on the next day you can try to do the heritage visit. There are lots of Hotel Casino’s in Macau which cannot be cover in just 1 day so you have to narrow down your options. By doing this you will be able to save alot in terms of budget and will also help you improve your ability to maneuver around. If you have very tight budget you can survive Macau with the your accommodation and 2 meals in a day as your only expenses.
-Do your research-it really pays that you have the right information before coming to a new place
-Narrow down the hotel choice- given 1 day to cover all Macau Sites is suicide you need to atleast stay for 2 days or so.
-Check the Hotel website for the most updated shuttle schedule and the shuttle interval so that way you can manage your time wisely.
-Try not to spend much time in each hotel specially if you have 4-6 hotels jotted down in your itinerary.
-Plan your route- this includes deciding on your first hotel stop and how to get to next hotel until your last stop which can be ferry terminal,airport or your booked accomodation.
-Ignore the touts outside the ferry terminal- provided you do your research then you dont have to be worry. Some of the touts you will encounter are fellow Filipinos working in Macau. There is nothing wrong with trying to help your kababayan but just be cautious cause sometime the people that will put you in worst situation are your unexpected people around you.
-Maximize all the free freebies you can get in the hotel like water ans some snacks sometime.
-Sign up for the casino membership card for free and if your lucky some of the hotels provide a complimentary starter amount of 50-100 MOP you can use to play.