After just have 4 hours of sleep, I got up at 6:30am, packed my bag, cleared the house and got into a taxi for the airport. As it was very early in the morning, there was no traffic at all. I reached Don Mueang International Airport at 7:30am. This was when I realized that I had arrived way too early for my 10:10am flight. Checking in was a breeze as I just scanned the barcode of a print out and my passport. As I was only going for one night, I did not have anything to check. I only brought a small backpack with a change of clothes. I did my tax refunds and headed through security. Then I found myself in the terminal with almost 3 hours to kill and nothing to do.
There were not a lot of food options at the airport and I was running on a budget, so I decided to go to McDonalds to get some breakfast. The breakfast sausage burger and the hashbrowns tasted really good, but the coffee they served was just horrible. I actually had to put some sugar in it to make it taste better and I never put sugar in my coffee.
As the boredom started to drain the battery of my phone. I sat next to a wall socket and charged my phone while waiting for time to pass. The airport was unnecessarily cold and I did not bring a sweater to keep warm. After two slow hours, boarding time finally arrived. However, I had to wait for another 20 minutes before the announcement for boarding was called. Ever after we got on the plane, we had to sit on the tarmac for a while as the plane was still taking on fuel. We eventually took off 20 minutes late.
I had a whole row to myself which was a bonus as there was no leg room on this low budget flight. After eating the pre-ordered meal, I went straight to sleep. It was a short 2.5 hour flight and soon it was time to land.
My first impressions of Macau, seeing it from the air, was not that great. It did not look like a highly developed region, but instead it seemed like another sort of run down city. There were a few hotels that stood out to be quite new looking, but generally I was not impressed by it.
My parents had already arrived on an earlier flight to Beijing and were waiting for me at the terminal. We had a hotel booked on Macau Island. The hotel was small and was tucked away in the alleyway, but it was very clean and had all the facilities that we needed.
We had a very early start to the day and still haven’t had any food yet. After resting for a bit, we headed out in search of food. We found a small restaurant on the main road that looked nice and walked inside. They were serving noodles and other cantonese food, which was what we wanted. My dad ordered the Pork Chop Bun, which is a traditional macanese dish and that was delicious. It was basically just a pork burger, but the pork was a steak instead of minced meat.
As it was already 3pm, we decided to go somewhere a bit far away so we have the full day to visit the sites that are closer to our hotel. The only place of interest to us was the Venetian Hotel which is located on Cotai Island. The Venetian is an iconic landmark in Macau as it is a very grand hotel with a special Venice theme. We asked around and realized that the easiest and cheapest way to get to the hotel was to take the public bus. As that was the only bus going in that direction, there were a lot of tourists waiting for it. Luckily, we got in line pretty early so we were able to make it on the bus.
It was a relatively short bus ride as Macau is a really small place. We got off at the Cotai Strip and there it was, the Galaxy and Venetian standing side by side. They were very grand looking hotels with a very Vegas feel to it. But there were still a lot of construction going and the streets themselves did not look very grand. This again was the feel that I got from Macau when I first landed.
Walking into the Venetian Hotel made me feel like I was in another city. Everything was very bright and grand with the shiny marble floors and freezing air conditioning. It had a very wide corridor with a lot of different shops at the side. We walked around and found ourselves in front of the Casino. We knew my brother was too young, so my dad and I decided to go in to check it out. But I was stopped by the bouncers at the door, who asked me for my ID. That was when we saw the sign that I must be 21 in order to gamble. So the planned changed for my parents to check it out inside while my brother and I waited outside. Luckily there was an escalator near by, so we were able to ride the escalator and get a peek into what the casino floor looked like.
After we headed upstairs towards the Canals. The hotel had a whole floor where it looks just like the canals in Venice. The ceilings were painted in blue with puffy clouds, giving it a feeling that the ceiling was taller than it actually is. The architecture around the canals were very Italian with each having a small shop selling luxury brands. Inside the canals were gondola with gondoliers rowing them. The whole scene made you feel like you were actually in Venice.
It was also at this hotel that we realized that Macau is actually a very expensive place to live. We stopped at a McDonald’s to have a rest and get some water, of which we found that a bottle costs 18 Macau Dollars. That is around $2.25 USD or 78 Thai baht. With that much money in Thailand I can buy a dozen bottles of water! But looking at the price in USD, it does not actually seem that expensive because I have had to buy water at the cost of $3 or sometimes even $4 USD before. But Macau in itself is still a very expensive place.
We had a quick dinner at the food court in the Venetian. It was around 60 Macau Dollars, which is pretty cheap for Macau standards. We had a quick and simple dinner as we were going to watch Shrek The Musical as the traveling tour was performing at the Venetian. The tickets were surprisingly not that expensive for a Broadway show with the cheapest seats being less than $25 USD. My parents sat at the back seats because they didn’t feel inclined to sit up front while my brother and I bought a little more expensive tickets so sit closer to the stage. The musical was great and it told the first Shrek movie. The Broadway cast were very professional and the set was beautifully designed. Overall, I enjoyed the show every much.
We took a taxi back to our hotel that night and went straight to sleep. It had been a long day for everyone and we had an even longer day tomorrow.