Arrival Macau : MGM & Lisboa Casinos
Trip Start Dec 28, 2011
10Trip End Dec 31, 2011
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The terminal was beside and I went up to the departure level to buy my tickets. It was confusing as to where to get the tickets. There were many travel agent offices which I thought would be selling the tickets at markup prices.
I then found a counter with a large macau sign and a long queue. I stood in line and when my turn came she told me a return ticket was $410 HKD ($48) while my guide book said it should be $150 each way and cheaper for a return.
So I went to the counter next door which didnt have many people in line. He was selling a return for $330 HKD but a 12pm sailing time instead of the next one at 11.30am. While I was in line at the first counter he was selling for the 11.30 but now they had sold out.
I decided to walk around as the more expensive $410 counter was still selling for the 11.30am so tickets must have been allocated seperately to each agent. At the end of the hall were two travel agents with nobody in line. They told me a return was $320 for the 11.30 sailing ($38). So this was cheaper than the other two agents and for the next sailing.
I asked if it was the same boat and why their ticket was cheaper and nobody was buying here. I dont think they really understood what I meant but I guess its a good idea to shop around at all the travel agents and dont look for the biggest queue as they are all selling the same ticket for the same boat.
When boarding the boat they put a sticker on your ticket with the seat number. Mine was 26B and they told me to go to the window. Excitedly I sat by the window. Then a guy came over with 26A and said his was the window seat but I insisted no it was mine. After I realized it made sense A was the window and I was the aisle so I asked if he wanted to change back but he said it was ok even though it was my mistake.
The boat was lightweight and moved very fast compared to regular ferries. As it was passenger only with no cars it can move at higher speeds, so no standing outside on deck is allowed. Also it bobs much more on the surface like a speedboat as there is no weight to anchor it down.
When we came into dock the most ridiculous ordeal was about to begin. Everyone from the boat was herded into three long aisles seperated by metal railings. We were held there as cattle waiting for the queues to the immigration lines to subside. As they did they would open one pen and release one herd of cattle for the immigration line up.
Standing in line there were more boats arriving and being herded into the pens again. It took one hour to clear immigration, the longest process I have had in a long time. I dont think this passenger terminal is equipped to handle the volume of passengers arriving every thirty minutes. Ferries are arriving from kowloon, hong kong island, and mainland china.
Now I wanted to get away from the terminal and start exploring but when you exit its even more confusing as the road is a highway and nowhere to cross or walk. There was an underpass to the car park and waiting free coaches to take you to the casinos. Just to get me out of there I jumped on the next one leaving which was the the MGM casino.
It was a short ride and I took a brief look inside. The main atrium had elaborate european architecture. I walked around the casino briefly. There was a long indoor shopping area with designer goods. I exited to the street where I was able to see the Macau Tower and the Lisboa Casino shaped like a fountain.
I walked in the direction of the Lisboa Casino as that would take me into town. There was another casino facing it which had a water fountain show which I only caught the tail end of. Again trying to cross the street it was more like a highway so quite difficult.
Now the real part of macau began and it had a very european feel from my trip to spain with the same road layout. I needed something to eat so stopped at a mcdonalds for a meal for $27 ($3.50). Prices are in Macau dollars which is on par with hong kong dollars and they will take hong kong money. Unfortunately they will give you change in macau money so now I had $3 in macau coins to get rid of before I left.