Friday, June 24, 2016

[Bali, Indonesia 2014] Luwak Coffee Plantation

Photo By: Elin Chow

Driving down the road from the rice terraces of Tegalalang, we stopped at Luwak Coffee Plantation where we have the opportunity to sample a great variety of local teas and coffees, including the highly prized Luwak coffee (also known as Kopi Luwak).

We met up with a local guide who walked through a lush tropical garden where we were shown the various types of herbs and plants that are used to make the various types of coffees and teas. The guide was very friendly and patient, explaining to us the Luwak coffee making process.

Luwak coffee is one of the most expensive coffee in the world with retail prices reaching US$700 per kilogram. Luwak (or Asian Palm Civet) is a small nocturnal mongoose like animal native to Southeast Asia. Part of their diet consists of coffee cherries which they unable to digest and are passed out in their droppings. Luwak coffee is made from the undigested coffee bean excreted by Luwaks. The droppings are collected, cleaned, roasted and brewed for coffee.

Luwak coffee is known for its nice, smooth and less acidic taste. Its rarity and unusual process made it the most expensive coffee in the world. However, little did people know that behind the most expensive coffee in the world lies horrific animal cruelty. 

Near the entrance of the plantation, there were several small cages where a few Luwaks were kept. The Luwaks certainly does not look happy at all. 

Luwak coffee has become hugely popular worldwide, which lead to a spike of animal cruelty as the demand of coffee beans increase. As a result, many of the plantations in Bali are keeping the Luwaks in cages to ensure a high and reliable supply of Luwak coffee beans, which in turn, threaten the wild population of the animal.

A normal diet of a Luwak would consists of fruits and some other small animals like birds, reptiles and insects. Apparently, coffee cherries only made up a small percentage of its diet. However, captive luwak are fed a diet solely of coffee cherries, which caused health problems due to unbalanced diet and limited space. 

Luwaks are nocturnal animals that sleep during the day and wake up at night. However, captive Luwaks are mostly kept in cages under the broad daylight, causing them unable to rest during the day. As a result, captive Luwaks are often often malnourished, suffering from fur loss, blood in their faeces, stress of being caged and shorter lifespan.

We were led to a small sampling area where we were offered free samples of 8 different coffees and teas. If I did not remember wrongly, there was Lemon Tea, Ginger Tea, Ginger Coffee, Ginseng Coffee, Bali Coffee, Chocolate Coffee, Vanilla Coffee and Coconut Coffee. 

I actually find the coffees a little too sweet for my liking. But I do like the Ginger Tea very much. Of course, Luwak coffee is not included in this sampling. A sample of Luwak coffee costs 50,000 IDR (about MYR 15), which was a little bit too expensive for a small cup of coffee. 

The sitting area offers a nice view of the surrounding lush greenery and rice terraces. Visitors can enjoy sample of many varieties of coffees while taking in the beautiful scenery.  A perfect place to relax and unwind.
There was a little shop next to the sampling area for visitors to buy the coffees and teas. But do not worry as the guide will not pressure you to buy anything. Out of curiosity, we bought a bottle of Luwak coffee home to try. At that time, we were not aware that our innocent purchase actually supported such animal cruelty. We definitely will never buy this coffee if we have known about the ugly truth behind Luwak coffee then.

Although there are many companies in the market that have stated that their Luwak coffee is 100% genuine and wild, it is almost impossible to tell whether the coffee that you are buying comes from captive or wild Luwaks. I would not encourage anyone to even consider buying this coffee. We should not supporting such an unethical industry. Continuous demand will only encourage people to capture and abuse more Luwaks. Apparently, Luwak coffee is a highly lucrative business and everyone will want a hand of it. 

I will urge everyone to stop buying these extremely rare and so called ''luxury'' coffee. If luwak coffee are really rare, I believe the government will limit the amount of coffee each person can buy. But you can still visit a Luwak Coffee Plantation in Bali. Most of them offer a good selection of other coffees and teas that are worth trying!

If you are interested to know more about our trip, you may want to check out our 6D5N Bali Trip Itinerary + Overview for the list of attractions that we had visited during our 6 days in Bali. Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for the latest updates on my 6 days adventures in Bali! You might also want to check My Wanderlust page for some of my other travel adventures.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

[Macau, Hong Kong 2016] How I Spent 2 Days in Macau

Photo By: Elin Chow

We stayed in Macau for two nights, at Galaxy Hotel Macau. Initially, we thought that two days will be a little short to see the entire city, but after two days in Macau, we felt that we had seen everything. There was nothing much to do or see except to gamble all day, eat and drink. To be frank, I was disappointed.

Macau is best known globally as the "Las Vegas of Asia".  Majority of the visitors are from Mainland China and Hong Kong, who visited Macau just to gamble and nothing else. Most people would visit Macau as a day or overnight trip from nearby Hong Kong or Mainland China. So when I told the people around me that I would be visiting Macau for 5 days 4 nights, they were surprised. Most of them told me that 2 days will be enough to see Macau, and more than two days is just too many. It is a small city that does not offer much interesting activities to do.

Eventually, we changed our plans and decided to allocate two days of our trip to Hong Kong and another two days to Macau. The reason behind our decision was due to the ridiculously high hotel rates in Macau during the weekend. Hotel rates generally doubled during the weekend and we had difficulty finding a nice room that was within our budget. So Hong Kong was the best choice we had.

How To Get Around Macau

Most hotel-casino in Macau offer free shuttle bus services, so it was very easy to get to get around the city. Simply hop on and off the complimentary shuttle buses operated by the casinos to get to most of the major casinos and into town.

We also used the taxi twice during our stay in Macau and I must say that we had bad experience on both occasions. The first experience was taking the taxi from Macau International Airport to Taipa Outer Ferry Terminal. The interior of the car was very filthy and the seats were ripped and worn. The driver drove rather recklessly and pull a long black face throughout the ride.

The second experience was taking the taxi from our hotel to the airport. It was too early and there was no shuttle bus to the airport, so we have no choice but to take the taxi.

We approached one of the taxi driver and he asked us our destination. He refused to drive us when we told him we wanted to go to the airport. We did not expected that at all.

Another driver agreed to take us but asked for HKD 50 when the trip only costed HKD 25 by the meter. Even so, we still paid because we were rushing for our flight.

Giant Rubber Duck

We were 'lucky' to see the world famous giant rubber duck, which just so happened to be sailing in Macau from 29th April to 27th May 2016

We did not expected that, so we were very surprised and excited when the adorable yellow duck suddenly appeared in front of our eyes!

Kun Lam Statue

Standing at a height of 20 metres and made up of 50 bronze castings, the Kun Lam Statue is one of the most recognized landmark in Macau.

Located next to Macau waterfront, the statue is dedicated to Kun Lam, the goddess of mercy in Chinese Buddhism, and at its base is a lotus-shaped dome that houses the Kun Lam Ecumenical Center. Visitors can visit the Kun Lam Ecumenical Center for a small exhibition and learn some educational literature about Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

Macau Tower

Standing at an impressive height of 338 meters, the Macau Tower is an iconic landmark of Macau.

The Outdoor Observation Deck located on level 61, at the height of 223 meters, offers a panoramic view of the city. It is one of the best place in Macau to watch the sunrise in the morning or the spectacular night view of Macau after dark.

One of the popular activity to do at Macau Tower is bungee jumping. At the height of 233 meters, the bungee jump is the highest commercial sky jump in the world, and the second highest commercial decelerator descent facility in the world.

We did not try bungee jumping at Macau Tower because we did not have time for that. But even if we had, my husband probably would not want to. Hopefully, I can convince him to do it with me some day.

Casino Hopping

Gambling tourism is Macau's biggest source of revenue, making up about 50% of the economy. There are thirty three casinos in Macau, of which, the biggest is "The Venetian Macau". Most of the casinos in Macau accept Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) and Macau Pataca (MOP), but HKD are normally preferred. There is a minimum age requirement of 18 for foreign visitors and 21 for all locals in all casinos.

A trip to Macau is never complete without visiting a few of its famous casinos. During our two days stay in Macau, we managed to visit three of them - Galaxy Macau, City of Dreams and The Venetian.

Galaxy Macau

After showering and eating, we headed downstairs to the casino floor of Galaxy Macau. The casino was massive, with over 600 gaming tables and 1,200 slot machines and other electronic gaming machines. Walking down the casino, we realized that table minimums are ridiculously high, starting in the range of HKD 300 (about RM 150). In the main floors of the big casinos, minimums can rise as high as HKD 3,000 (about RM 1,500) per bet. Slot and electronic machines are similarly expensive, starting at HKD 50 (about RM 25) per bet or even higher. Although there were a few HKD 200 minimum tables, they can be hard to find. Most of the bigger casinos offer very few low stake tables, so people with small budgets may find they cannot spend much time playing in the casinos.

Most of the casinos across the city offer similar games as Galaxy Macau, with Baccarat being the most popular game. Just simply walk through any casino in Macau and you will find the vast majority of the tables will be Baccarat. Occasionally, you will find one or two big crowds gathered around a 'lucky table'.

On our first night, we encountered a lady who was on a winning streak. She was having 15 straight player wins at the Baccarat table, which drew a huge crowds. Before we realized it, there were over 20 people gathering around the table when there was probably only six before, and more were trying to squeeze themselves in. Everyone around us was pushing through the masses, fighting to lay their bets for the next round. The atmosphere around that table instantly became electric.

If you stand long enough to watch the many Chinese gamblers who have played at the Baccarat table, you will notice that most of the players tend to squeeze the cards tightly between their fingers, slowly peeked at the cards before throwing them back to the dealers. Some players will even blow at the cards, hoping to 'blow' away the bad numbers. But of course, that would not happen. I actually find these actions very annoying, but it seems that the casinos do not mind at all even when the cards are creased till they were unusable anymore.

We did not bet on that lady that night. If we had bet on her, we might have won thousands. But we hesitated because we were intimidated by the high minimums. We actually felt poor as other people walk around us with huge stashes of cash in their hands. Furthermore, my husband and I are not gamblers and it is not always a MUST for us to bet when we visit a casino. So we did not have a huge budget to gamble because we did not expect the minimums to be so high.

As word spreads, more and more people began to gather at the table and eventually, we did not even have a place to stand. So we left, feeling extremely stupid for not joining in.

We visited the Galaxy Macau casino on the next night again and decided to try our luck this time. Instead of table games, we played at electronic Baccarat machines because the minimums are lower. It was HKD 50 per bet, which was still considered expensive if you compared to the Genting Highlands casino in Malaysia. Playing at the electronic Baccarat machines does not higher our chance to win. We lost about HKD 600 in just a few hours.

City of Dreams

Besides Galaxy Macau casino, we also visited the casino at City of Dreams.

We did not initially intended to visit the City of Dreams. The shuttle bus to City of Dreams just happen to arrive at the bus station while we were waiting for the shuttle bus to the Venetian Macau. Since the bus arrived, we decided to visit City of Dreams and take a look at the casino.

A giant lion statue stands proudly near the entrance of City of Dreams, welcoming guests on their arrival. Entering the complex of City of Dreams, we were greeted by the Vquarium (Virtual Aquarium) - a huge LED projector screen displaying a virtual underwater world with fish and mermaid. Measuring nearly 61 feet (19m) wide and 22 (6.7m) feet tall, the Vquarium is one of the main attraction of City of Dreams.

Located just beside the casino, mesmerizing mermaids will appear out of nowhere to perform a water dance and to wish visitors good luck before vanishing again. Some people told us that you actually have to lucky in order to see the mermaid because it do not appear all the time. But we got to see the mermaid twice while we were there. Can we consider ourselves lucky?

Located directly opposite the Venetian Macau, the massive complex of City of Dreams house a mega-casino, a hotel, a luxury retail space featuring over 200 shops and entertainment and dining facilities. The 420,000 square feet casino features 450 gaming tables and 1,514 slot machines and other electronic gaming machines.

Venetian Macau

We did not stay long at the casino, because as I said, we did not intend to visit City of Dreams in the first place.

The Venetian Macau is located directly opposite of Galaxy Macau. Featuring 540,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 500 gaming tables and over 2,000 slot machines and electronic gaming machines, the Venetian Macau is known to be the largest casino in the world.

Our first priority was the Grand Canal Shoppes so we did not spend much time in the casino. To get to the Grand Canal Shoppes, take the escalator to the third floor. Twice the size of Las Vegas Canal Shoppes, the Grand Canal Shoppes in Venetian Macau is the largest indoor shopping mall in Macau with more than 350 retail stores.

Upon stepping into that area, it is impossible not to notice the bright blue sky. The ceilings are decorated to represent a clouded blue sky and it looks so amazingly realistic that you could not believe that the sky was actually unreal. Under the control of a computer, the artificial blue sky can produce sunrise and sunset. It is said that the purpose of the artifical blue sky is to 'trick' visitors that the time is still early, hoping that they will stay longer to shop.

Designed to resemble the canals in Venice, visitors can take gondolas ride through the Venice-style streets.

Be prepared to do lots of walking as the complex is really huge. As we strolled down the shopping areas, we noticed that most of the stores are rather empty. Most of the people visiting do not have much interest in shopping. Although everything is duty free, branded goods are still branded; they are extremely expensive. Sometimes, I really wonder how the shops survive.

While the shopping areas are empty, the casinos are constantly crowded with people. This is also why I said that most people visit Macau just to gamble. Most of them only shop after they have won some money from the casinos as to reward themselves.

I did not managed to take any photos in the casinos because I am not allowed to. Photography is strictly prohibited in all Macau casinos. Smoking is also not allowed in the mass gambling floors of all casinos. This is due to a partial smoking ban introduced by the Government of Macau in 2013, which is a good news for non smokers. But smokers can still smoke while they are in the casinos. Most of the casinos have separate smoking areas or physical partitions on the gaming floors for smokers to take a puff.

Most of the casinos also provide free bottled mineral water, coffee, tea and even juice. There are casino attendants walking around with the refreshment trolley. Do not hesitant to take as many as you want if you see them.

I have not been to Las Vegas, so I do not know which place have the better casinos. But hopefully, I will have the chance to visit one day. Among the three casinos that I had visited in Macau, Galaxy Macau is still my favorite.

San Ma Lo

From Galaxy Macau, we took advantage of the free shuttle bus service to San Ma Lo, an older district of Macau. The queue was very long and we waited for about 45 minutes to board the shuttle bus.

As the shuttle bus drove into San Ma Lo, you will get to see a completely different side of Macau. It is here that you will to see and experience the true Macau. Occasionally, you will see older men playing chess or taking a leisurely walk in parks. Busy streets with cars honking and locals rushing to and from work.

The shuttle bus stopped right in front of Metropole Hotel, which was located just a 5 minutes walk away from Largo Do Senado (Senado Square). From afar, we caught a glimpse of the tower of Grand Lisboa, one of the famous landmark in Macau. 

Standing at 47 floor, 261 metres tall, the Grand Lisboa is the tallest building in Macau. The exterior of the building is very attractive and eye-catching, where the reflective gold tower sits atop a dome-shaped structure. While we were walking to Senado Square, I told my husband that if we had a chance to visit Macau again, I would like to stay in Grand Lisboa. The thought of staying in one of its room excites me very much.

It was a hot and humid day, so it was not really a pleasant walk. The streets are narrow and crowded with people. After a 5 minutes walk, we finally arrived at Senado Square.

Macau was previously a Portuguese settlement and many of the buildings around the Senado Square were deeply influenced by the Portuguese style. There is a saying that goes "If you have not been to Senado Square, you have not been to Macau".  That was also why we have put Senado Square on our must visit list.

Senado Square is an elongated triangular shaped town square and is part of UNESCO Historic Center of Macau. The long street starts from Leal Senado Building and ends at Ruins of St Paul Cathedral, another famous landmark of Macau.

In the center of the square is a fountain. This is also where a statue of a Portuguese soldier named Mesquita originally stands. He was known to be responsible for the death of many Chinese soldiers during the hostilities with Qing Dynasty. The statue was destroyed and replaced by the fountain after Macau was returned to China in late 1999.

We walked across the wave patterned mosaic floor of Senado Square. The streets around Senado Square is full of historical colonial building with Portuguese influences, housing small boutiques and shops selling local snacks and souvenirs.

Located in the heart of Senado Square, you will find the St. Domingo's Church, a 16th century Baroque-style church established by three Spanish Dominican priests, who arrived from Acapulco, Mexico. Built in 1587, the church was listed one of the 29 sites that form the UNESCO Historic Center of Macau World Heritage.

The church is opened to the public with a sacred museum featuring treasured religious relics, church regalia and sculptures. We did not enter the church because we do not have any interest in history.

 Ruins of St Paul's Cathedral

At the end of the street, we reached the Ruins of St Paul's Cathedral.

Declared as an UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005, Ruins of St Paul Cathedral is a must-see in Macau. Located just a 10 minutes walk from Senado Square, the Ruins of St Paul is worth a visit to get a picture if you are in the area.

Sitting atop sixty six granite stairs, the Ruins of St Paul Cathedral is probably the most crowded place in Macau.

St Paul's Cathedral was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon in 1835 and only the front wall, facade and granite stairs of the church remains.

Being one of the major tourist attraction in Macau, the Ruins of St Paul is undoubtedly a must-visit. However, I have a feeling that we were visiting just for the sake of visiting a famous landmark in Macau. It was not really an interesting place.

Koi Kei Bakery

We visited one of the Koi Kei branches nearby the Ruins of St Paul. Koi Kei Bakery is one of the most popular place to buy traditional Macau and Chinese style snacks in Macau and bring them home as souvenirs. It is almost 'mandatory' for any visitors to visit Koi Kei Bakery every time they visit Macau.

Koi Kei Bakery offers samples of almost everything in the store for tasting. Visitors will get to sample every of their offerings before purchase. 

Portuguese Egg Tarts

The Portuguese egg tarts is one of the famous local specialties to try when you are visiting Macau.

Macau egg tarts are different from the Cantonese egg tarts. You can easily find these egg tarts everywhere in Macau. I bought one from Koi Kei Bakery for HKD 9 to try.  Portuguese egg tart has a buttery flaky pastry shell, rich custard filling and creme brulee top. It was incredibly delicious. I recommend eating the egg tart right out of the oven when they are still piping hot. A define must-try!

Almond Cookies

Almond cookies is another popular local snack to try in Macau. The streets leading to Ruins of St Paul is lined with dozens of stores selling different flavor of almond biscuits. Most of the stores provide free samples of their almond cookies so that you can try before buying.

One of the famous places to buy almond cookies is Koi Kei Bakery. Their almond cookies are handmade in small batches and freshly baked on the premises to ensure its freshness. I happen to witness how the cookies are made when I visited one of its stores located around the Ruins of St Paul.

Koi Kei's almond cookies are made from a mixture of flour, sugar, mung bean and grounded almonds. The mixture are pressed into a long wooden mold and slapped upside down to release the individual cookies.

Curry Fish Balls & Beef Offal

Walking into a small side alley near the Ruins of St Paul, we stopped by Jia Hua Snack for a quick bite.

Jia Hua Snack is famous for its curry fish balls and beef offal. The fish balls and beef offal are cooked and served in curry sauce.

We bought a small bowl of fish balls and beef offal and started munching away. It was very tasty, filling and cheap. The fish balls are covered in so much sauce that we could not tell what it was supposed to be.

Pork Chop Bun

The Pork Chop Bun is another well-known specialties of Macau.

A traditional pork chop bun only consists a piece of pork chop and a bun without additional ingredients like lettuce or cucumber.

We tried the pork chop bun from one of the restaurant in Galaxy Macau.The bun was extremely crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Pork chop is well-marinated and fried to a golden brown. But unlike the traditional pork chop bun, this one comes with lettuce. It was delicious.

Well, this was basically how we spent our two days in Macau. There is nothing bad about Macau and we enjoyed ourselves.But it just did not amaze us. Macau was a boring city with nothing much to do besides gambling. It was not as glamorous or glitzy as we had expected.

Of course, we are always happy to visit some place new. But sometimes, some places just unimpressive. Macau is not bad, but it was not awesome either. Will I visit Macau again? Well, probably, but purely for the luxury hotel experience we have enjoyed in the city. We might 'lock' ourselves in our hotel room the next time if we have the chance to visit Macau again.

Be sure to follow me on my Facebook or Twitter to get the latest updates on my Macau trip! Also, do not forget to share my blog posts with your family and friends if you find them helpful. In the meantime, you might also want to check My Wanderlust page for some of my other travel adventures.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

[Macau, Hong Kong 2016] Galaxy Macau

Photo By: Elin Chow
Official Website: Galaxy Macau

Opened in May 2011, the vast Galaxy Macau complex is a fully integrated world class resort, offering a plethora of luxurious 5-star accommodations, dining and entertainment options.

Galaxy Macau initially started with just three hotel brands - the Singapore operated 254 suites Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, Japanese owned 410 rooms Okura Hotels and Resorts and of course, the 1,500 rooms five-star Galaxy Hotel Macau.

In 2015, three new hotels brands were added to its collection  - The Ritz Carlton Macau, JW Marriot Macau and Broadway Hotel, making it the largest resort complex facility in Macau. The 250 suites Ritz Carlton Macau is its first all-suite hotel property in the world and the JW Marriot Macau is the largest hotel of its brand in Asia with 1,000 rooms. Designed for family travelers, the new Broadway Hotel is connected through a link bridge from Galaxy Macau, offering 320 rooms.

With six world-class hotel brands under its collection, the Galaxy Macau offers close to 4,000 rooms, suites and villas in total, bringing guests a diverse range of lavish hospitality experience!

Upon arriving at Taipa Outer Ferry Terminal. we boarded the complimentary shuttle bus to Galaxy Macau. The shuttle bus dropped us off at the main lobby Galaxy Hotel Macau.

Set in a sprawling white-and-gold complex of low-rises and high-rises towers, the palatial structure of Galaxy Macau is definitely built to impress. The massive structure consists of two linear form of twin towers, each with a large central spine and smaller spines on each end. Located atop the two towers are six cupolas covered by 24-carats gold leaf, four of which measured 15 meters and the other two measured 24 meters in height. The amount of gold leaf used to cover the cupolas would be enough to cover 87 football pitches.

For afar, the golden cupolas of Galaxy Macau gleams brightly under the sunny blue sky. With gold plated windows, the shimmering gold complex was incredibly mesmerizing, making it one of the most recognized landmark on Macau skyline.

The cupolas feature a nightly laser light show named Galaxy Laserama - an outdoor light show claimed to be the largest in the world and is visible across Macau. The show starts at 7.15 pm to 10.45 pm every night, projecting laser beam into the sky every 15 minutes. But unfortunately, we did not get to watch the show because we spent most of nights trying our luck at the casino.

The minute you stepped into the complex of Galaxy Macau, the VIP treatment begins. Dragging our luggage behind, we enter through a massive lobby featuring the Fortune Diamond as its centrepiece.

The Fortune Diamond show is undoubtedly, one of the most stunning feature in Galaxy Macau. As the music begins, a 3 metres tall gigantic neon diamond gradually rise behind a water curtain with flashing color lights right under the crystal chandeliers. While in the air, the diamond spins and sparkles like the roulette table, symbolizing abounding prosperity and good fortune. The show is free and is presented every half an hour in the hotel lobby of Galaxy Macau.

The entire complex of Galaxy Macau is beautifully furnished, strikingly grand and delightedly spacious. As I walked into the hotel lobby, I felt under-dressed, wearing a denim shirt and shorts with a pair of sneakers, and I told my husband that we had made the right choice. Now I believe why people always say that first impression really matters.

 The Promenade shopping centre features over 200 luxury and high-street lifestyle retail brands including 30 first-to-Macau brands such as Alexander McQueen, Georg Jensen, Delvaux, Harry Winston, Maje, Moncler, Mulberry, Proenza Schouler, Roger Viver, Sandro and many more.

Other than that, the Promenade also offer over 120 restaurants, bars and lounges, including eight Michelin standard restaurants. Covered by 22,600 square-meters Italian marble, the ultra-luxurious interior offers an incredibly luxury experience in Macau

A security deposit of HKD 1000 per night is required upon arrival for incidentals. The deposit is fully refundable upon check-out and can be pay by either cash or credit card. However, we were told that the refund will take approximately two weeks to process, which we felt was a little too long. Even so, we still opted to pay by credit card because this will enable us to make use of the hotel's express check-out service at the end of our stay. The express check-out service allowed us to check out of our room, and return the keys, without having to queue or wait. All we need to do is to drop our room key card into the check-out box and we were good to go.

After confirming our booking and made the payment for the security deposit, we collected our room card keys and proceeded straight to our room located on the 32th floor. Access to floors is via room card operated lifts. Guests will need their room key card to access the lifts.

The lift lobby at the ground level is decorated with crystal-trimmed chandeliers, giving the space an elegant and luxurious atmosphere.

While walking to our room,  we noticed that there was a vending machine and ice cubes dispensing machine on each floor. Guests can purchase drinks and snacks from the vending machine or get some free ice from the ice cubes dispensing machine at any time of the day. Prices are a little steep but expected, especially in such a touristy place like this.

Unlike most other hotels we had stayed in, the Galaxy Hotel Macau does not provide "Do Not Disturb" or "Please Make Up My Room"door hangers. Instead, the hotel had electronic buttons on the wall for "Do Not Disturb" and "Please Make Up My Room". When pressed, a red or green light will be lit up outside the door of the room to communicate with the housekeeping staffs. For guests who do not want anyone to disturb them, please press the red button, and if room cleaning service is needed, please press the green button.

Measuring 44 square meters in size, the Galaxy room is lavishly furnished with carpeted flooring and best-in-class amenities. The luxurious and spacious room is equipped with a king sized bed, a private en-suite bathroom, built-in closet, a small seating area and a complimentary mini bar. Modernly decorated, the room can sleep up to 3 persons and is perfect for couples or a small family looking for a cozy stay.

The bed and pillows were very clean and comfortable. We enjoyed good nights of sleep throughout our stay.

The room features high ceiling and large floor to ceiling window, boasting stunning views of either the city or the resort and giving the room an abundance of natural light.

Other in-room amenities also includes a 42-inch flat screen TV with cable channels and pay-per view movies, as well as connectivity options for personal devices. Free unlimited WiFi is also available throughout the entire Galaxy Macau complex.

Other than that, the room is equipped with AM/FM radio, alarm clock and multiple power points by the desk and bed - just great for those who have lots of gadgets to charge.

In addition to that, the room also features a complimentary fully-stocked mini bar.

The Mini bar is stocked with 2 cans of beers, 4 cans of soft drinks, a small can of Pringles and a cup noodles. These items are complimentary per stay. Guests can enjoy the first round of drinks for free but will be charge for any replenishment for any of these items.

The room also comes with complimentary 4 bottles of mineral water replenished daily. Basic coffee and tea making facilities are provided in the room as well. There is also an ice bucket for guests to get ice from the ice dispensing machine.

In the cabinet, guests will find sets of glasses and a wine opener.

The room has an open-plan bathroom, right next to the bed, enclosed by a large glass window diving the bathroom and bedroom that left the shower in full view.

I love the wooden sliding door that separate the bedroom and bathroom. However, there was no lock on the door, which I did not mind since I am sharing the room with my husband. I would mind if I am sharing the room with someone who I am not romantically-involved with.

The fully fitted marble bathroom is spotlessly clean and beautifully furnished with tempered glass counter top.

Luxuriously decorated, the spacious bathroom features a separate stone walk-in shower, a bathtub and toilet cubicle.

There were sufficient towels provided for every guests as well. The towels were very thick, soft and clean.

The bathroom also have an adjustable wall mounted magnifying mirror for applying makeup or shaving. There was even an electronic weighing machine for guests to keep track of their weight while on a holiday.

The bathroom is stocked with a generous amount of toiletries. Range of toiletries provided includes shower caps, combs, cotton buds and pads, sewing kits, shaving kits, disposable toothbrush and small tubes of Colgate toothpaste.

Apart from that, the bathroom is also equipped with shampoo, hair conditioner, shower gel and body lotion, which will be replenished daily.

I am surprised that the hotel even provides a bath loofah for the purpose of exfoliating! 

The room features a large built-in wardrobe, offering ample of storage for our clothes and bags. Other room amenities also includes hair dryer, in-room safe box and bath robes. 

Open from 8 am to 10 pm daily, the Grand Resort deck is a perfect area for families with young children to enjoy a fun day together. Now a magnificent 75,000 square meters in size, the Grand Resort deck boasts a 350 tonnes white sand beach and 4,000 square meter wave pool, making it the largest rooftop wave pool in the world.

Access to the Grand Resort deck is restricted exclusively to hotel guests staying at one of the six hotels in Galaxy Macau. The hotel staffs will ask for your room number upon reaching the entrance of the Grand Resort deck. You will only be allowed to enter the area after they confirmed your details. 

Besides that, there are five other pools across the three hotels surrounded by tropical gardens, private cabanas and traditional Japanese tea pavilions, including three sizable Jacuzzi. The Grand Resort deck features a 575 meters long sky-top Adventure Rapids, which is also the longest sky top aquatic adventure river ride in the world. Other water features also includes an exciting water park with exhilarating water slides, beach lagoons, white water rapids, waterfalls and a kidz Island with 300 meters of water-based fun specially catered for younger kids.

With a wide variety of things to do for both kids and adults, the Grand Resort deck is great place to relax, enjoy the summer sun and have fun. 

The complex of Galaxy Macau becomes even more stunning at night when it is beautifully illuminated after dark.

The Galaxy Macau's casino is expansive. It is divided into five areas with over 600 gaming tables and 1,200 slots machines and other electronic gaming machines. The casino is accessible without charge and there is a minimum age requirement of 21 for all visitors. Only Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) and Macau Patacas (MOP) are accepted, but guests can exchange money either at the casino's counters or nearby banks.

Besides the Fortune Diamond, the wishing crystals housed at crystal lobby is another attraction of Galaxy Macau. Stepping into the crystal lobby, visitors will be greeted  a series of colorful giant crystals that floats above a shimmering pool. The crystals have adopted advanced motion sensor technology that triggers special visual effects when guests walk near to the crystals. Symbols of good luck will flash from the crystals and reflect in the water below when all the crystals are activated.

Exiting from the Crystal Lobby, guests will find the free shuttle buses provided by Galaxy Macau.

The Galaxy Macau free shuttle buses will get you to most of the major casinos and into town. However, do expected long queues, especially in the morning. Most of the buses offer free WiFi on board so that we can stay connected at all times.

Breakfast is not included in the room rate and is available at a charge. Buffet breakfast is served at Festiva restaurant located on the ground floor from 7 am to 10 am daily. The restaurant is very spacious and has an ability to accommodate 380 persons. Tables are very big and well spaced, offering a good level of privacy and space.

The buffet breakfast at Festiva restaurant offers a wide variety of Asian specialties and international cuisines. The restaurant served the standard breakfast fare like any other hotels - scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages , potatoes, congee, varieties of bread for toasting, cereals, dim sums and fruits. It was satisfying, but choices are a little bit limited. We actually have a higher expectation, so we were disappointed.

Overall, we have a wonderful time staying at Galaxy Hotel Macau. This is by far, the best hotel experience we ever had. We were deeply impressed with the excellent service and hospitality offered by the Galaxy Macau.The staffs were very friendly and always greeted us with a smile whenever they see us. Most of the staffs spoke fluent English, Mandarin and Cantonese, so we did not have much problem communicating with them.

The hotel offer everything you will need for a comfortable stay. Enjoy, relax and be pampered by lavish hospitality and amazing facilities. Guests who stayed at Galaxy Hotel Macau will basically get the best of both worlds -  plenty of family bonding time with your kids and quality alone time with your other half. I would recommend this hotel to anyone looking for quality accommodation and service in Macau.

Price wise, the room was actually a little bit too expensive for our budget, but worth every penny. The hotel has far exceeded our expectation in many ways! For anyone who are interested to book this hotel for your trip to Macau, I would advise you to avoid staying on a weekend. This is because most of the hotel prices in Macau doubled during the weekend or even get fully booked, which also explained why we decided to visit Hong Kong on our first and second nights of our trip even though we flew in to Macau.

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