A lot of new players are planning to head to Macau for this season of the MPC and I thought I will give you a heads up as to what’s in store . I will try and cover all the basic information and tips to help you guys .
Getting there: I am sure most of you are either flying out from Mumbai or Delhi directly to Hong Kong . In Hong Kong you DO NOT have to go through immigration. All you need to do is keep your Check in Baggage tag (From India) safe. Once you land in Hong Kong , you need to find the Ferry counter to Macau. (This is inside the airport). Once you land you will see multiple sign boards which will lead you to the ferry counter. At the Ferry counter you need to Show your passport and Baggage tag from India and they will issue you a ticket to Macau and a new baggage tag to collect your luggage in Macau. So once you check in your baggage in India you don’t take it till you reach Macau. The ferry staff transfers the luggage for you. You don’t have to worry about your luggage at all because if your luggage is missing they would let you know before you board the ferry. If they let you board that means your luggage is safe. Don’t panic like I did.
Foreign Exchange: Do not carry INR to Macau as no one will exchange INR. If you can get HKD or USD you are good to go. The Hong Kong airport gives you terrible exchange rates . So if you are only carrying USD to Macau, just change very little ( say 100 USD) at the airport. The ferry counter at the airport gives you a standard rate (1 USD: 7.5 HKD) to buy the ticket and you can pay by USD for the ferry. U only need enough HKD for the Taxi ride to your hotel and a Sim card if you need one. All other currency conversions can be done at the casino and most casinos give you a decent rate.
Sim Card : There are Sim card and recharge card vending machines at the ferry terminal and you can get one very easily. In my experience CTS is the best there. Recharge for HKD 200 and you can use HKD 100 for a 3g plan which gives you 1 gb for 30 days. The 3g is very very fast and really good. U also get free minutes to call other Macau numbers as well. So just get the numbers for all your Indian friends and you can get your job done for free. If I am not wrong you get 100 free minutes.
Taxi: Taxis are everywhere in Macau. Just come out to the Lobby of your hotel and you will have a taxi stand. Communicating with the taxi driver is an issue in Macau. At your hotel, ask the front desk to write down where you want to go in Cantonese and show it to the Taxi driver. This works all the time. Its not al all expensive and most drivers are friendly. Expect no conversation as most of them don’t speak English.
Hotel : Most hotels will ask you for a security deposit when you check in and most of them don’t take USD. So u need to have HKD for this. If the hotel you have booked has a casino in it you don’t have to worry and the casino cage will exchange USD. If your hotel does not have a casino then you will have to exchange USD at the ferry terminal. (I have never done it. But I am sure there must be a few foreign exchange counters there).
PS live Macau : Be ready to be swept off your feet. PokerStars Macau has this effect on people. They are extremely professional and the setting is going to be world class. There are 2 ways to buy in to the events. U can buy in directly through the PokerStars client using USD or you can pay HKD at the registration counter. PokerStars does not accept USD for direct cash buy ins. So you might have to carry the buy in in HKD. If you have registered on PokerStars all you have to do is go the registration counter and ask for your receipt (which is also your seating card) and find your seat. The PokerStars staff is always there if you cant find your table. Always remember to carry your Passport for Identification while registering for the tournament.
Food: I know we love our food. For the first timers, don’t go to Macau expecting Indian style Chinese food. You will be disappointed. Most Indian players end up eating at the McDonald’s or Pizza places in Macau.
My Recommendation: Although a little expensive the Spice garden at Galaxy Macau (next to the food court) is very good. They have all your regular Indian curries, rotis, and little lebanese food etc.
Aruna’s Kitchen is also pretty good. They have 2 restaurants in the Macau side next to the sands casino and the Rio and one at the Holiday inn food court. People staying in Holiday inn or the Sheraton just need to go to the Food court on the 3 rd floor to find this place.
Venetian has an Indian food joint in their food court too. For HKD 125 you get a Thali. Although it sounds expensive when converted to Indian rupees, I think its decent value for money.
In the Macau side there are a few great Portuguese restaurants which are great too.
Party: As an Indian the first place any of you will go out to Party is Going to be D2. This place has a HKD 100 cover that can get you a couple of bottles of beer. They have good music and is till open till 5 or 6 AM. Try not to spend too much money.
Club Cubic: Rated one of the best clubs in the world with the best DJ’s playing round the year. I think everyone should try it at least once. Its right in City of Dreams, So easy access. weeeeee..
Shopping: Macau has a lot of shopping and it is generally expensive. If you chose the malls , you can get a sales person who speaks English. However if you go to the Roadside shops (My favourite) you will not find a lot of English speaking salesmen. So make a Chinese friend and take him along.
This is all I can think of right now, If you have a question feel free to PM me on Facebook or post a comment… Good luck …