17 October 2011

Macau – Beyond the Glitzy Casinos [Part Three]

AirAsia Social Media team

By AirAsia Social Media team

In Part 1 of my journey to Macau, I’ve described Macau with 3 items – Casino, Portugese egg tarts, Ruins of St. Paul’s. Now at the end of my Macau experience, here’s what I would describe Macau in one sentence - historical, cultural and FUN!

How can a historical and cultural place be fun? Yes, I discovered Macau can be fun too when I visited the Macau Science Center, Grand Prix Museum, Wine Museum, the glitzy casinos (yes, after all it is one of Macau’s signature side) and the awesomelicious food (how can I not highlight it *wink*)

Upon landing in Macau, I met up with a friend, Wendy who knows Macau like the back of her palm (lucky me!) and she asked me “Are you ready to check out the local scene?”

“Yes! Bring it on!”, was my instant reply to her.

So we headed to a place called Three Lamps District (三盞燈) – when she told me the name in Chinese, I almost went “Huh? Three Lamps??” You will find out shortly why it is named so. This area is like a hidden gem from tourists where it is packed with rows and rows of shops of all sorts – clothes, accessories and street food (which are so yummilicious!!). It is also the best place to experience and see the authentic Macau’s day-to-day life.

If you look at the picture below, you will know why it is called “Three Lamps District” :-)


Clockwise from top left : The district is named after these lamps, fresh flowers in one of the shops, one of the streets in Three Lamps District, handphone accesories shop.

From Three Lamps District, we headed to Grand Prix Museum & Wine Museum and on the way, we passed by one of the most popular markets in Macau – Red Market. Built in 1930s, the three-storey high market are named after the red brick which were used in its construction. The market was still operating when I passed by – was so tempted to go in and peek but my friend doesn’t like the fishy smell :-( Yes, this market sells fish, poultry, meat, vegetables, fresh fruits and flowers.

Now, if you are wondering why the next attraction I visited is called GP & Wine Museum, the reason is simple – both museums are located right opposite each other on the same floor!

Oh, I almost forgot – the entrance to both museums are free-of-charge until 31 December 2011. Yes, you didn’t read it wrong, it is FREE-OF-CHARGE! If you would like to enjoy a wine-tasting experience, you only need to pay MOP$10 (only for visitors above 18) and whether you are a wine lover or not, I do recommend this experience because the taste of the Portugal wine is really good (sorry, not a wine expert, wouldn’t want to use the wrong words to describe it).

We visited the Grand Prix Museum first because I’m a GP enthusiast. Hehe! For those of you who do not know, Macau is famous for its annual Macau Grand Prix Formula Three, traditionally regarded as the first major step for future F1 champions and many world champions. Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher are among the few who raced in Macau GP 3 prior to carving their names in Formula 1.

If you are a GP enthusiast like me, then don’t miss out on this museum because it has an array of car displays, films of famous races, assorted memorabilia, photos that tell the history of Macau GP. There is a simulator that you can play for free – so why not give it a try? :-)


Clockwise from top left: Entrance to Grand Prix Museum & Wine Museum, car displays inside the GP Museum, a history of wine and the wine collections – as old as 1815!

The Wine Museum is one-of-a-kind in Asia and whether you are a wine lover or not, this museum is worth a visit as it illustrates the history of wine, including original Portuguese wine presses and houses 1115 wine marks, where out of the amount, there are 359 collection wines that date back to as far as the 18th century! Can you imagine how much the oldest wine in the museum Porto 1815 would cost? I can’t imagine!

We went for the wine tasting and although I am not a wine lover myself, I’ve got to say, the wine is good! So good that I was tempted to buy 2 bottles of Portugal wine from the wine shop. Not only was is good, it was relatively cheap – about MYR 40 only! I would estimate a similarly good wine back home would easily cost more than MYR 100? You will be able to find many wine shops around Macau, however some of the wines are solely available in the museum only.

When I reached the Macau Science Center, the initial plan was to catch the 2D movie of “Kaluoka’hina, The Enchanted Reef” in the 3D Dome but I missed out on the timing. Hence, I decided to catch the next available 3D show entitled “Natural Selection” which tells the story of how young Charles Darwin and his journey in discovering the mystery of evolution. A truly fascinating 3D show! It only costed about MOP 45 – the structure of the theater is in dome form which gives a whole new different experience.

After the 3D Dome show, I headed to Gallery 2 where an exhibition on Leonardo Da Vinci’s scientific conceptions was being held (lucky for me ‘cos I’m big fan!). Known as the greatest inventor, artist and scientist of all time, “The Scientific Conceptions of Leonardo Da Vinci 500 Years and Beyond” showcased 81 items based on Leonardo’s drawings and concepts on war machines, hydraulics, flight, mechanics and artwork! It was very interesting as some of the concepts are being adapted in modern days.


From left : Jack the RoboThespian, a diver conception which was adopted into the modern day scuba diver design, a replica of the famous Mona Lisa painting

I visited the center with a friend, and she almost had to drag me out from the Da Vinci exhibition because we were running out of time to visit the rest of the place. En route to the galleries, we stopped to meet “Jack”.

“Jack” the RoboThespian was the star of the Macau Pavilion during the 2010 Shanghai Expo where he greeted us and gave a short introduction of the galleries in the exhibition center. It consists of 14 galleries – Space Science Gallery, Gallery 2 for Special Exhibitions, Fun Science Gallery, Children Science Gallery, Science Express Gallery, Gallery 6 (Special Exhibitions), Robotic Gallery, Science Exploration Gallery, Earth Gallery, Meteorology Gallery, Eco Conversation Gallery, Sport Health Gallery, Sport Challenge Gallery and Food Science Gallery.

If you want to explore this center in fully, do allocate a minimum of 3-4 hours unless you wish to be like me who visited all the galleries in full speed – we check out 10 galleries in a speedy 15 minutes! Why 15 minutes? Because the public announcement said the center will be closing in 15 minutes!!!

T_T

Despite the short time visiting the galleries, the place was awesome – not only that was it educational, it was fun with all the interactive exhibits that made learning science even more fun than it already is! Whether you liked science or not, Macao Science Center is the perfect place to visit, whether with your special one, family, friends or kids.


Clockwise from top left: Space Science Gallery, Robotic Gallery, Eco Conversation Gallery, Food Science Gallery

Of course, my trip to Macau would not have been complete without a visit to its glitzy casinos, after all Macau is also known as “Monte Carlo of the Orient”. Now, if you think that casinos are all about gambling and nothing much to see, you are in for a big surprise when you visit the casinos in Macau – like me!

I visited MGM Grand Macau, Galaxy Macau, Wynn Macau and of course the most famous one of all – the world’s biggest casino The Venetian Macao. Almost all the casinos in Macau have its tourist attractions, for example, the Tree of Prosperity in Wynn Macau has over 2,000 branches and 98, 000 leaves composing of 24-karat gold and brass leaves. Together with the Dragon of Fortune (also in Wynn Macau), both are choreographic masterpieces of the amazing Sculpture, Music and Light show.


Clockwise from top left : The water fountain show in front of Wynn Casino, the Dragon of Fortune in Wynn Casino, 3D model display of Galaxy Casino, interior of The Venetian Macao

The most amazing one of all though, had to be The Venetian Macao. Not only because it is the world’s biggest casino but its realistic in-door blue sky, marble floors, elaborate murals, Italian architecture, statues and fountains will transfer you to Venice – that’s really how it felt like!

I also tasted the yummilicious Portuguese egg tarts among many other good food – I think it is quite hard to get bad food in Macau actually. Check out my photos @ (fb album url) to see what other yummilicious items I ate :-P

Of course, I ended my Macau journey by sending a postcard back home at the Macau General Post Office. Do you have such a travel habit too? :-)

Want to see photos of my Part 3? Check it out here : http://on.fb.me/nE7Ru5

Whether you are a history buff, food buff or photography buff (or luxury shopping – I have never visited so many luxury branded shops at one go in my life other than here!) – Macau is the place that you should put on top of your traveling list so you can fully discover the beauty of Macau and to appreciate the historical side of this country. A day trip will not do it justice so I would recommend a minimum stay of 3 to 4 days. You won’t regret it!

That wraps up my journey in Macau! Check out Part 1 and Part 2 @ and book AirAsia low fares to Macau at http://www.airasia.com now for your very own Macau adventures! :-D

Cheers,
Swee Ping (AirAsia Social Media Team)