Air Asia was running a low fare promo back in July, with fares from LCCT, Kuala Lumpur to Macau from RM30 onwards (of course, you can NEVER believe the fare advertised, as they exclude the fuel surcharge and airport tax ... gimmicky & misleading, as usual). But still, total two-way fare including everything amounted to RM350 per person only. Yup, dirt cheap for a 4 hours flight in a cramped-to-the-maximum cabin, with leg space smaller than most express buses. But I ain't complaining, as back then RM350 can probably get you on a domestic flight only.
From Ipoh to LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) we departed on a Yoyo Express Bus from Bercham, Ipoh, directly to our destination. RM42 for one-way, but RM80 for two-ways. Arriving roughly 2 hours before flight departure, we had lunch at LCCT's Food Garden, a food court serving reasonably-priced dishes. A plate of nasi lemak with sambal anchovies, and fried chicken cost RM5.50 only. A steal, considering this being airport food after all.
Air Asia expanded their in-flight menu, but the cheapest food (eg. roti canai, roti jala) will set you back at RM5-6 each, while nasi lemak, nasi briyani and nasi goreng will cost you RM8-9. And the cheapest drink being a bottle of mineral water for RM4 doesn't help much either, as you're restricted from carrying your own bottle of water on board.
Anyway, one major advantage of taking Air Asia flights (other than the price) is punctuality. Credit must be given where it's due, and Air Asia earned its stripes as their flights are seldom delayed. Ours arrived exactly as scheduled, at around 5.30pm in Macau International Airport. I expected cloudy and rainy weather as it's autumn after all. But was dismayed to notice the hazy surrounding, and hot & humid weather.
Forlorn weather aside, the extremely rude custom officer (a plump Chinese guy wearing specs by the name of Chong) was disheartening, evoking anger at the most inappropriate time. But of course, no one's gonna spoil MY getaway, and I retaliated sarcastically. =P
Then things started to get worse. Realizing we did not have any small change for bus fare, we decided to change some notes at the Foreign Exchange counter, but failed. The moderately rude lady flicked us off. The bank was closed (it was 6pm, after all). I approached the information counter, but the generally rude lady was happily chatting on the phone. Fortunately, a friendlier-than-the-others lady manning a tour booth was kind enough to change some coins for us. Thank goodness ... Remember, GET SOME SMALL CHANGE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE IN MACAU, IF YOU PLAN TO TAKE THE BUS.
Then we took the Airport Bus (AP1) to the ferry terminal for MOP$3.30 (RM1.50) each + MOP$3.00 (RM1.35) for each baggage you're carrying. At the ferry terminal, we changed to bus number 3 (or 3A) to Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro (known as Sun Ma Lou in Chinese), one of the main road in Macau peninsula.
We booked our 'hotel' online before we embarked on our journey. Hotels in Macau are pretty pricey, and the cheaper ones either you've to book through phone, or walk-in, as they do not cater to internet booking. But San Va Hospideria at Rua de Felicidade was different. The rate was cheap, at only MOP$120/room for two (non-peak period), but we paid MOP$220 (RM99) as that weekend was Mid-Autumn Festival, therefore an additional MOP$100 was required as surcharge. Still cheap, right?
But beware ... if you're going during summer, or hot weather, be prepared to sweat it out. The place was hot, humid & stuffy, but clean and screamed nostalgia in every sense of the word. No attached bathrooms, but instead two shared bathrooms for all the occupants. And you get free-flow supply of drinking water. Had it not been the extremely hot condition, we wouldn't have lamented and suffered for 2 nights straight.
Cheong Kei Noodles at No. 68, Rua de Felicidade
After a soothing, cold shower, we went for a late dinner downstairs. Cheong Kei Noodles is situated a few shops away from our San Va Hotel, and was our stop for dinner.
Clockwise from top left : Har Ji Meen (Dry Shrimp Roe Noodles), Sui Kow Meen (Noodles with Dumplings), Mace Balls Noodles, and Beef Brisket Noodles
All's forgiven when the dinner passed with flying colours. Somehow the noodles served in Hong Kong and Macau is slightly different from our wantan noodles. Thinner strands, but springy (QQ) texture scored well in our books. But the portion at Cheong Kei was surprisingly small, in comparison to most of Hong Kong's offerings. Their signature dish? The Har Ji Meen and their Mace Balls (Ling Yu). Total = MOP$63 (RM28.35).
Notice the Haagen Dazs outlet? Their ice-cream is nearly double the price of M'sia's ...
As it was the night before Mid-Autumn Festival (the 15th of the 8th month in Lunar calendar), we strolled around Largo de Senado, or Senado Square, savouring the sights, and embraced the sea of people hanging around the area. But the hotter than Malaysian weather was unforgiving. So, we went for desserts at Leitaria I Son, or Yishun Milk Company, as it is widely recognized in Hong Kong.
Double Steamed Milk Custard with Red Beans (MOP$18/RM8.10)
Yishun is famous for its long,long standing history of serving 'Siong Pei Lai', or Double Steamed Milk Custard, a delicacy loved by the Chinese in Hong Kong and Macau. Why we do not have one here in Malaysia? I still do not know. But Yishun's steamed milk and egg custards are in a class of their own. Very smooth, you can have them cold or hot. A MUST-TRY in Macau.
One thing to notice though, if you're preparing to share the food, you're in for a shock. Those not ordering anything will have to pay a minimal sum (around MOP$10) for taking up their seats. The 4 of us were forced to order at least 3 items. Not only inMacau, but in most cafe and restaurants in Hong Kong as well. Guess space's a highly prized possession?
The long, and deserted path back to our 'ovens' ...
After supper, we were trudging along the path back to San Va, braving the heat and the fatigue ... Til the morning comes, Good Night ....