During my recent Asia trip, I took a ferry to Macau with a company called TurboJet after landing in Hong Kong International Airport. I got to Macau during the evening and didn’t have much time to explore, but I did go out exploring. This is not a compressive guide to Macau or anything and it’s just my observations of my short time being there. Here are 10 things I learned from my recent trip to Macau.
1. My checked bag transferred seamlessly to the ferry – I flew from Taipei to Hong Kong and I had bought a ticket on the TurboJet ferry to Macau. I checked in a bag (I usually never do) so I didn’t know if I had to clear HKG customs to pick up my bag and then head to the ferry. Luckily there was clear signage during transiting at Hong Kong airport with signs leading to the Ferry. I exchanged my TurboJet printed online confirmation for a paper ticket and was asked if I had checked a bag. I said yes, and they scanned the bag tag and informed me that the bag will be automatically transferred to the ferry. I was absolutely amazed and remained in the transit area of HKG airport the whole time.
2. Portuguese is the official language in Macau – It’s absolutely amazing to see signage around Macau written in Portuguese, Chinese, and English. I asked my taxi driver if he spoke Portuguese and he started talking to me in Portuguese. That was awesome hearing an Asian person speaking Portuguese.
3. Prostitutes are everywhere – Prostitutes seem to come out at night in Macau. There were a bunch of them standing near the Venetian hotel trying to get my attention. I made a video on how desperate these girls are.
4. Too much rain – Since Macau has a sub-tropical climate, it was raining with 98% humidity. I’m not a big fan of rain and most of the time, it spoils my vacation.
5. The TurboJet isn’t for the faint of heart – Traveling via ferry is what most people do to get to Macau and it takes one hour from HKG airport. The TurboJet travels super-fast and I saw some people get sea sick. There is a barf bag in the back of every seat pocket and I saw several people using them. I couldn’t imagine taking the ferry often as I would get seasick. I was a little dizzy and disoriented myself by the end of the ride, but it quickly disappeared.
6. Coloane is a very serene place – I opted to stay at the Westin Macau Resort which was located in Coloane, South of Taipa in Macau. The main reason was due to it being a Starwood property and there was cash and points availability. It’s a short 5 minute cab ride to the Cotai Strip (think Las Vegas Strip).
7. Hong Kong Dollars are accepted in Macau – Macau has an official currency called the MOP which is close to the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), but HKD are widely accepted. In fact, HKD is the preferred currency as you will need Hong Kong Dollars for taxis and casinos.
8. The Portuguese Egg Tart is amazing – So the Chinese have egg tarts, but the Portuguese do it better. They both look similar, but the Portuguese Egg Tart has a creme brulee texture which is absolutely delicious.
9. Cotai Strip is not the same as the Las Vegas Strip – The main drag in Macau is the Cotai Strip which is supposed to be the Las Vegas Strip of Macau. Well, it really isn’t like that at all. It’s basically a street with a cluster of hotel casinos such as the Conrad, Venetian, Sheraton, Hard Rock, and the City of Dreams. There weren’t many people out at all which was quite weird. Everyone was just inside the casino. I was basically the only tourist standing outside the Cotai Strip along with the taxi cabs. It definitely didn’t have the Las Vegas Strip vibe feel to it.
10. High Minimum for Table Games – Most of the tables games I saw at the Venetian were Baccarat and that seemed like the most popular game. You won’t find $5 USD blackjack tables here in Macau. The minimum bet at a blackjack table is $500 HKD ~ $64 USD. The maximum bet I saw was 1.5 million HKD ~ $193,506 USD. The most affordable casino game is the 5 cent slot machine. The most affordable table game is the $300 HKD ~ $38 USD roulette table. Macau is serious about their casino gaming and it attracts high rollers from all over the world.