While my first-time bungy jump was clearly the highlight of my Macau trip, another reason why this trip was extra special was because this is my first time to travel out of the country on my own. I think the reason I wasn’t as nervous about the jump was because my mind was also occupied with thoughts of not getting lost, all the new sights and generally staying safe and taking care of myself.
After winning the free jump courtesy of AomenTV, I had made arrangements to go to Macau from Dec 9-11 (download a copy of my Macau itinerary here). See, I wanted to do the jump this year, because I was worried that if I let it sit for so long, I may chicken out of the jump completely.
I had arrived at the Hotel Royal (I booked through Agoda and got a good deal, so you may want to try that if you want to book this hotel) late Sunday night, around 11 PM, and after checking in, I immediately zonked off. I woke up at 8:30 AM on Jump Day. I need not hurry. The hotel had a shuttle that goes to the Macau Tower at 11 AM, so I had more than enough time to prepare. It is odd how incredibly calm I was. I took my time prepping for the day and at around 10 AM I went down to the hotel’s lobby.
Since I arrived pretty late the night before, I had not gotten my bearings yet. I talked to the concierge to book a space on the shuttle and at the same time get directions. The concierge was Filipino, too (as were the front desk staff and some bellboys), and he gave me very clear instructions, drawing on my map as I requested. He also gave me some tips and other sights I may want to check out while I’m there.
Armed with my map, I followed the concierge’s directions and saw the marker he indicated that will be my guide for my trip to Senado Square later. I took note of the route that I will be taking to go back to the hotel after the planned exploration later. I also found a small restaurant that served local food where I had breakfast. I got back to the hotel in time for the shuttle to Macau Tower for my jump.
I thought the bungy jump experience deserved its own post, so click on over to that post to read about it. It was an amazing experience, to say the least, one that I would hopefully get to try again. Still exhilarated from the jump, I took a cab from the Macau Tower to Senado Square (around 20HKD). I remember the concierge telling me and writing it in my map earlier “Say ‘San Ma Lo,’” in case the cab driver doesn’t understand English.
Senado Square, or Largo do Senado in Portugese (streets and landmarks are labeled in Portugese in Macau), is a beautiful paved area surrounded by the Leal Senado, the General Post Office and the St. Dominic’s Church. The square is also part of UNESCO World Heritage Site “Historic Center of Macau.” The square served as my jump off to exploring the various sites around Macau.
The square is lined with shops and restaurants and branched off to other smaller streets and alleys that offered even more shops and restaurants. I followed the signs on the square—and the crowd—until I found the Ruins of St. Paul.
The Ruins of St. Paul (Ruínas de São Paulo) is one of Macau’s most famous landmarks. The ruins show the façade of the Cathedral of St. Paul, which was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon in 1835.
Exploring Macau involves a lot of walking and that day, from the Ruins, I also explored the area going to and from the Camoes Garden and even found my way to the A-Ma Temple, a good 30-minutes walk away from Senado Square. It was pretty far and I had to check my map several times to make sure I didn’t miss a turn.
I honestly, didn’t mind all the walking. I thought it was a good way to get to know the city and I did everything very leisurely. Between today and tomorrow, I thought I had enough time for exploration.
After checking out the area near the A-Ma Temple, I headed back towards Av. Almeida Ribeiro, which was the road directly in front of Senado Square, and followed it all the way to the Grand Lisboa hotel. You won’t have trouble finding the Grand Lisboa, shaped a bit like a pineapple, it is one of the more famous landmarks in Macau and it is huge, which meant you can see it all the way from Senado Square.
I went inside the Grand Lisboa Hotel and made my way downstairs to the basement parking where their shuttles were located. I then took the free shuttle going to the ferry terminal. Gathering tips from friends who have been to Macau and various blogs, I knew that there were shuttles from different casinos that would take me to Macau’s Ferry Terminal, and from the ferry terminal, I could take other shuttles heading to other hotels in the city or in the Taipa area. On my first day, I just wanted to see where the terminal was located and to visit the Fisherman’s Wharf which was a 5-10 minute walk from the Ferry terminal.
Macau Fisherman’s Wharf is a theme park complex with various restaurants, shops, a hotel and a casino. I didn’t do much here, just walked around and took a few pictures. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I went here, so I won’t say I was let down, but I wasn’t impressed with the place either. After going around the Fisherman’s Wharf, I headed back to the Ferry Terminal and rode the shuttle back to the Grand Lisboa. From the Grand Lisboa, I traced my steps back to Senado Square and to the marker the concierge showed me earlier, stopping for dinner before going back to the hotel to rest.
It was such a full day of exploration and I was so tired, but it was also such a great, full day. I decided to reward myself with a bath before going to bed. Tomorrow’s another day.
This post is a 3-parter. Please check out the other parts by clicking on the links below: