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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Dreamy Macau

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Where old and new coexist in perfect balance

As I sat on the weathered steps of the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, I was mesmerized by the rich cultural blend that is Macau. Our guide,   Joao Sales   from the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), got my attention when he pointed out the Na Tcha Temple, a small sanctuary nestled among the ancient stones behind the cathedral.

“Macau is a city of contrasts,” Joao explained. “Old and new coexist here in harmony.”

I couldn’t help but agree as I looked around at the bustling cityscape before me. On one side, the towering skyscrapers of the Cotai Strip glittered under the midday sun. On the other, the charming streets of Old Macau exuded a timeless elegance.

Macau’s Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral

“You know, Macau is not just about gambling, it’s fast becoming an entertainment and gastronomical destination, too,” Joao added.  

Macau has transcended its reputation as a gambling haven, emerging as a multifaceted destination that tantalizes the senses. From world-class shows to a culinary landscape that excites taste buds, Macau redefines itself as a hub for entertainment enthusiasts and epicurean adventurers.

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Our journey began upon arrival at the Macau International Airport, where we were warmly welcomed by Joao. It was almost 10:00 p.m. We proceeded directly to Galaxy Resorts for a traditional Chinese supper.

Enjoy the challenge of ‘TeamLab SuperNature’ three-dimensional spaces located at the Macau Venetian

After our satisfying meal, we checked into our luxurious home for four days, the Andaz Hotel. The hotel’s elegant ambiance and impeccable service provided the perfect prelude to our Macau escapades.

The morning unfolded with a walking tour of Old Macau, starting at the Lou Lim Iok Garden and ending at Senado Square. Along the way, we ventured into the St. Lazaro Quarters, Se Cathedral, and Lau Kao Mansion, each steeped in architectural splendor and cultural significance.

Senado Square, a vibrant hub of activity, beckoned us with its historic buildings, art galleries, museums, and spiritual sanctuaries. We took time to wander through this colorful plaza, absorbing its unique charm.

The water show at Performance Lake at Wynn Palace

Lunchtime brought us to Portocal Restaurant at Senado Square, where we savored a delectable set lunch. Our afternoon continued with a pleasant walk to St. Joseph’s Church, where we admired the sacred relic bone of the arm of Saint Francis Xavier.

Ascending the Macau Tower, we encountered HJ Hackett and his team of extreme sports enthusiasts. The braver souls from our group, seeking an adrenaline rush, tested their limits with the Sky Walk – an exhilarating activity that involves walking around the tower’s observatory, 233 meters high, offering breathtaking views of the city below.

As the sun began to set, we embarked on a magical walk from Monte Fort to the Ruins of St. Paul’s. The highlight of the evening was a delightful dinner at Vic’s Restaurant, where Chef   Martinho Moniz, a culinary ambassador of traditional Portuguese cuisine, delighted us with his authentic creations.

Parisian Eiffel Tower’s Panoramic Terrace offers unparalleled, breathtaking views

Our third day started with a visit to the Lisboa Palace Hotel, where we marveled at the Secret Garden and the fashionable Karl Lagerfeld Hotel – the only hotel in the world that was wholly designed by the late   Karl Lagerfeld. It boasts an awe-inspiring design that seamlessly marries Eastern and Western aesthetics. The room’s décor seamlessly blended Lagerfeld’s signature style with a touch of Macau’s rich heritage.

Next, we ventured to the Macau Airborne Center at Lisboeta Hotel, which boasts a vertical wind tunnel for aspiring skydivers. Under the watchful eyes of experienced instructors, participants can learn the fundamentals of bodyflight, mimicking the exhilarating maneuvers of skydiving in a safe and controlled environment.  

Whether you’re a seasoned skydiver seeking to refine your skills or a curious novice eager to experience the thrill of flight, the Macau Airborne Center offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you soaring with newfound confidence and an insatiable desire to conquer the skies.

The author tries GoAirborne Indoor Skydiving for the first tiQCme

Litoral Restaurant on Taipa Island awaited us for lunch, where we reveled in the flavors of Macanese cuisine. Born from the fusion of Chinese and Portuguese culinary influences, “Macanese cuisine is a testament to Macau’s unique cultural heritage,” according to Joao.

Taipa Village, with its charming ambiance and blend of Chinese and European characteristics, was our next quick stop. And as dusk approached, we made our way to Coloane Village, a tranquil fishing village.

Our dinner at Ng Tim’s “Dai Pai Dong” Restaurant in Coloane Island introduced us to Cantonese cuisine – authentic comfort food such as winter Clay Pot Rice, Black pepper deep-fried beef noodles, “Drunken Sauna Shrimps,” and the king of roasted meats, the mouthwatering “Roasted Goose.”

Skywalk X is a walking tour around the outer rim of the Macau Tower

Our final day commenced with a visit to the Macau Grand Prix Museum, tracing the history of the longest nonstop-running Grand Prix in the world. The museum pays tribute to racing legends including Arsenio “Dodjie” Hidalgo Laurel, a Filipino racing star who left an indelible mark on the Macau Grand Prix.

The next pit stop was the Macau Parisian Hotel, where the Parisian Eiffel Tower’s Panoramic Terrace beckons with breathtaking views. We then delved into the interactive world of “TeamLab SuperNature” at the Macau Venetian, where three-dimensional spaces challenge our perceptions and ignite our imaginations.

Macau Grand Prix Museum pays tribute to racing legends like Filipino racer Arsenio ‘Dodjie’ Hidalgo Laurel

We then proceeded to MGM Cotai to immerse ourselves in the Qin Dynasty Imperial Carpet Exhibition, followed by the mesmerizing Sea Odyssey Show. Lunch at Hao Guo Chinese restaurant at MGM introduced us to Cantonese Dim Sum, a culinary tradition that has graced Chinese tables for centuries.

The day concluded with a cable car ride following a dinner co-hosted by Wynn Palace at Fontana Restaurant, known for its fine dining and international buffet.

Media members get an exclusive preview of the unique experiences awaiting tourists in Macau

From its rich cultural heritage to its vibrant entertainment scene, Macau has truly captivated our senses and left us yearning for more. And with Cebu Pacific offering daily flights to Macau, we knew that returning to this vibrant destination was just two hours away.

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