Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cambodia Visa / Immigration Scams Continue

Its been long since we started reading and hearing about visa or immigration scams in Cambodia. These scams were run by Cambodian government officials with or without the help of some private parties like road transport operators (including Mekong Express) or others whereby tourists entering or leaving Cambodia through land borders were conned in to or even forced to shell out extra sums of money for a visa or even an immigration stamp. Not much seems to have changed since then because I personally experienced something similar in the year 2014 when I went to Cambodia. A friend of mine from India who visited Cambodia in 2015 too has reported some bad experiences due to the misconduct of Cambodian visa/immigration officials. I am writing this post because I  feel that my fellow tourists visiting Cambodia need to be prepared for this kind of things even though it is obvious that any real change in the situation on the ground there will come only when the corrupt Cambodian officials themselves have a change of heart. Keep reading...

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Michael Jackson Experience at Ponte 16 Macau

Even today, one of the attractions listed in Macau tourist guides is the 'MJ Gallery' at Ponte 16. Here, a collection of over 40 iconic items in MJ's career including the renowned white rhinestone glove were on display. Sadly, the gallery is no longer open and in its place a new '3D' attraction is on the way. But that does not mean that Ponte 16 has completely abandoned Michael Jackson. What can still be found there is an MJ Cafe that housed MJ Gallery and an MJ Gallery Gift Shop. Ponte 16's casino has an MJ surprise too (Ponte 16 is an integrated casino-hotel resort close to Senado Square in Macau. Hotel Sofitel, a part of this resort, is a really nice hotel). Keep reading for more...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Bus Routes from Geylang Road to Tourist Places in Singapore

The public bus stop outside Lorong 10, opposite Mohd Salleh Mosque, on Geylang Road (turn left after coming out from Lorong 10) is really valuable from a tourist's point of view. From this bus stop, one can get buses to several important places in Singapore that most tourists like to visit. There are always passengers, both local and tourists, waiting at this bus stop and as such all the buses stop here. This is important because some public buses do not stop at their designated bus stops when there is no passenger in the bus who wants to alight at that bus stop. In such a case the bus driver will decide not to stop the bus at that bus stop unless some waiting passengers at the bus stop waive their hands to signal the driver to stop the bus. Most of the tourists do not know this and hence will see their bus pass them by without stopping. My hotel on Lorong 10, Fragrance Sapphire, gave me this really helpful list of bus route numbers along with the destinations that can be boarded from Lorong 10 bus stop. There are 25 destinations on this list out of which 16 destinations are connected via the Lorong 10 bus stop. This bus stop is not accessible to wheelchair users. The other nine destinations are connected via another nearby bus stop (which unfortunately I was not able to locate) on Sims Drive (Bus Stop A). Still, if the Fragrance Hotel list says that there is a bus stop on Sims Drive, then it must be there. Next time, I will try harder to locate it. Keep reading for the list...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Two Essential Macau Tourist Maps

Once you land in Macau, either at the airport or one of the two ferry terminals, you will find tourist maps and other printed material meant for tourists everywhere. Some of those are really useful too. And then there are two maps that are absolutely essential if you wish to make the most of your holiday in Macau. These are: 1) Macau Government Tourist Office's 'Step Out, Walking Tour Routes' and 2) Macau Government Tourist Office's 'Macau Tourist Map'. Let us talk about the 'Tourist Map' first. When there are several other Macau tourist maps available, why only select the Tourist Office's map? There are two main reasons: One, this map is choke full of information that a tourist can really use in Macau. Two, this map has no advertisements which means that the information given in this map is not commercially motivated. Keep reading...

Lou Lim Iok (Ieoc) Garden Macau

Jardim Lou Lim Ieoc or Lou Lim Iok Garden is one of the best free tourist attractions in Macau. This Chinese Suzhou-Style garden is so beautiful that it has been called a little pocket of surprise in Macau. Its beauty also lies in the fact that apart from being a tourist attraction, Jardim Lou Lim Ieoc is a part of the local life in its neighbourhood. Local residents come to garden to take their walks, to exercise, to play a Chinese board game with their friends or just to have a quiet time in this haven of peace. There is a long history of transformation of Jardim Lou Lim Ieoc to the present day leisure garden. It all began in the year 1870 when a wealthy Chinese merchant Lou Wah Siu bought this site. It was a vegetable garden then. The merchant's son Lou Lim Ieoc decided to turn the vegetable garden into a 'Suzhou-Style' garden. An architect named 'Liu Jiliu' is said to have been commissioned for the job. Keep reading...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Macau Ferry Terminal: Terminal Maritimo De Passageiros Do Porto Exterior

Macau Ferry Terminal is Macau's main ferry terminal from where one can catch a ferry to Hong Kong (Sheung Wan and Kowloon), Hong Kong International Airport, and China (Shenzhen, Shekou, Guangzhou). This ferry terminal, officially called Maritime Terminal Outer Harbour, is located close to Macau Fisherman's Wharf & Sands Macau. Most of Macau's hotels and casinos operate free shuttle buses to and from Macau Ferry Terminal. Some ferries arrive and depart at night so there are shuttle bus services even at night. Public Buses in Macau connect Macau Ferry Terminal to most parts of Macau. The public buses going towards the terminal will have the words "Terminal Maritimo" displayed in front of them. Bus route numbers that connect the terminal are 1A, 3, 3A, 10, 10A, 10B, 10X, 12, 28A, 28B, 28BX, 32, AP1, and N1A. Keep reading for more...

A Trip to Coloane Village in Macau

Coloane village is the place to get a glimpse of Macau's real heritage, away from the artificial tourist attractions built around or promoted to support Macau's casino industry. In fact, Coloane is even better than Taipa Village (Rua Do Cunha) where one gets to see more of shops than anything else. An afternoon spent roaming the streets of Coloane will leave you with a sense of accomplishment and as a bonus you will get to taste Macau's real egg tart fresh from the oven. To make the most of your trip to Coloane, get a hold of Macau Tourism's 'Step Out Guide' or download the 'Step Out' Smart Phone App. The best way to get here is via a Macau public bus. You may like to do a part of the trip using a free Macau shuttle bus and a part via a Macau public bus. In this page you will find essential information to do this trip on your own. Keep reading...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Giant Panda Pavilion Macau: Parque De Seac Pai Van

Meeting the Giant Panda in Macau can be fun and it costs almost nothing. As an added bonus, if you wish to have it, you get to ride in a Macau public bus. The public bus that takes you to Parque De Seac Pai Van can also take you further to Coloane village. And it better do because only after you take a walk on the streets of Coloane you will realise how much injustice the artificial attractions created around the casinos have done to the real heritage of Macau. Coming back to the Giant Panda, a visit to the Giant Panda Pavilion will be a nice and important stop if you have not seen a real Panda before. Plus, the Parque De Seac Pai Van has more to offer than just the Giant Panda. Keep reading for how to get there and what to expect...

A Simple Guide to Using Public Buses in Macau

If in the unlikely event that you are not able to find a free shuttle bus in Macau to go where you want to go, the next bus thing to hop on is a public buses. Its a good place to warn you that hiring a taxi in Macau is expensive even if the taxi driver likes you and decides not to cheat you. So, if there is no free shuttle, look for a public bus. Public buses in Macau are run by three different companies but that mumbo jumbo is irrelevant to you. All that you need to do is find a public bus stand nearby and study the route charts on display at the bus stand. You will see a picture of a sample route chart below. Fares for the bus journey are fixed depending on where you board the bus. You may choose to pay in cash (exact change is better because no change will be returned by the driver. Fares that I saw in March 2015 were in the range of 2.00 MOP to 6.00 MOP for most trips but the actual fares are like 3.20 MOP, 2.80 MOP and that makes using a prepaid debit card (MacauPass) to pay for bus fares a better option. There are no conductors so the fare needs to be dropped in cash in box kept near the driver or tapped on a pad with a MacauPass. Keep reading for that...
Blog by: Narinder Singh