January 27, 2017

Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Macau Giant Panda Pavilion

Well, this is a super overdue post. I was thinking if I should write about my Hong Kong-Macau trip back in October of 2016; I kept procrastinating and then one day I decided “Ok, let’s share it anyway”. This trip is also my birthday gift to myself, I was supposed to go to Bangkok and Cambodia after my best friend’s wedding but that got postponed later this year so my college friends and I decided to just go with another college friend to her family trip to HK. This trip was a bit impulsive and expensive since we booked our flights only one month before the trip date, and you know how airline charges can be very steep especially when the holidays are approaching.

During our flight, there’s a massive typhoon happening in the Philippines and is on its way to Hong Kong too. Our flight was delayed for an hour (though not a surprising thing with Cebu Pacific) and it was drizzling too when we got to Hong Kong. Our trip was 5 days and 4 nights, but we kind of lost a day because of the typhoon. In Hong Kong, when there’s a big storm, almost all of Hong Kong is shut down so you can’t do anything really. The only places that are open are 24-7 convenience stores.


But all in all, it was a very nice trip; especially that I got to do my very first trip out of the country with my best college friends (I was supposed to go to HK back in 2011 but that got cancelled because of some unfortunate events). We’ve been planning a trip together but only that this time around that we finally got to do it. It was almost a decade in the making but was a memorable one especially that I got to spend it with people that meant a lot to me.


I will try my best to recall what transpired during this trip; the places that we went to, the experiences that we had, the things that we did etc. Though I might do blog posts that have more photos than words in it. This will probably be more like a photo diary and sharing of experience than reviews or how-to’s.

What is black and white and cute all over? I think you got it right! Pandas!!! I'm a big fan of pandas, I think they're the most adorable animals in the world (well next to miniature poodles of course). I've been dying to see one in person and when I decided to take that trip to HK and Macau, by hook or by crook, I made a promise I'll visit them. Unfortunately, the panda in Hong Kong Ocean Park died weeks or months before we went on that trip. Also, tickets to Ocean park was quite expensive. So my plan B was to go to the Macau where they also care for pandas. 

On the 15th anniversary of Macao’s return to the motherland China, President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, during his visit to Macao met with the Chief Executive of Macao, Chui Sai On, and said that the Central Government decided to offer a new pair of giant pandas to Macao.  President Xi also expressed that he hoped the giant pandas would grow healthily in Macao and bring joy to the Macao people. The two pandas were originally named “Shurong” and “Yalin”, but the Macao residents named them “Kai Kai” and “Xin Xin”. Upon arrival of “Kai Kai” and “Xin Xin” at Macao, they were isolated in the Oscar Farm for quarantine. Meanwhile, they started to adapt to the climate, food and the systematized operation in Macao. After the quarantine, “Kai Kai” and “Xin Xin” will officially reside in Macao Giant Panda Pavilion, and will meet Macao residents and tourists and shoulder their responsibility as animal conservation ambassadors.

My friend who is equally obsessed with pandas agreed that when we visit Macau, the Macao Giant Panda Pavilion will be our priority destination. On the morning of our fourth day we boarded a ferry to Macau. After getting cleared from the immigration at the Macau Ferry Station, we boarded a free bus ride to Venetian Macau and ask around on how to get to the panda zoo. This is where it got all tricky and hard, the map we took at the ferry station was no help at all and most locals don't speak or understand English. We were told to walk to Galaxy Macau and right across the street is where we can take public bus no. 25 or 26 and tell the driver that we will get off to where the panda zoo is. It took us a few good minutes before Bus 26 arrived. We showed the driver our map and pointed on the part where the panda picture is and he just nodded. Good thing that there was a Filipino woman in the same bus we were on and she told us what stop we will be getting off. I suggest you open your google map on your smart phone so you'll see where you are. 

After passing thru all the hotels, casinos, etc., the Bus No. 26 will head to the Coloane district, if your google map shows you that you're near Seac Pai Van Park along Estrada de Seac Pai Van, look out for the red building on your right and press the bus stop button before a couple of blocks before you reach that building, because if you press later, the driver won't stop and you will have to get off at the next bus stop. I think this bus stop is called Coloane Quarry Bus Stop. After we got off the bus, we took the over pass to cross the street because the zoo is on the left side and then we walked towards it. It's a quite a walk but we were so excited to see the pandas so we didn't mind. I forgot how much we  paid for the bus, but you must give the exact fare because they won't give you change, though you can use either Macau  Patacas or Hong Kong dollars. 

When we got there, we went inside the gift shop and paid 10 Patacas (1.25 US Dollar or 0.97 Hong Kong Dollar). You can pay in HK dollar if you don't have Patacas. We were told that it was lunch break so we had to wait until after that before we can get inside the viewing area and see the pandas. So my friend and I just roamed around and checked all the other animals in the zoo.

One of the guards told us though that one of the pandas died, who was left was just Xin-Xin, a female panda with round face, short limbs and chubby body. But there are two baby pandas that were born here too. Unfortunately they are not old enough to be exhibited. 

When the guard announced that lunch break was over, we, together with the other tourists formed a line and entered the viewing area. There is no petting zoo here though, unlike in Chengdu. You can only see the pandas through a glass wall. Xin Xin was eating bamboo at that time. She wasn't feeling all too playful. She walked around a bit and we finally got to see her kinda up-close. It was one of the best feelings in the world to finally get to see a panda in real life even though she was a quite far. 

After she ate bamboo, she went to this make-shift bed made of wood and just laid there while her tail moved, probably her way of lulling herself to sleep. We stayed for around 30 minutes waiting for her to roam around, but we thought she didn't feel like doing so. We then decided it was time to go. We still have to go to Parisian Macau to see the Eiffel Tower replica. 

But before leaving the Giant Panda Pavilion, we went to the gift shop and bought some souvenirs. I got me a ref magnet and a bag tag. There are quite a few stuffs in there but none appealed to me much than the magnet and bag tag. 

I know some of you will think I am over reacting, but seeing the panda in person was quite life changing for me. I've been a fan of these cute animals ever since so I find it an achievement to finally get to see one in person. A bucket list crossed out, definitely. But, it's still in my bucket list to go to Chengdu in China where the main Panda Conservation Research Facility is.  I think there's a petting zoo there and I want to see those cute baby pandas in real life. Heck, I even want to volunteer as a panda keeper there and play with pandas all day everyday. Well, I'm crossing my fingers. 

Macau Giant Panda Pavilion
Seac Pai Van Park, Estrada de Seac Pai Van, 
Coloane, Macau
Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed on Mondays, admission at 6 intervals per day
Contact No: (853) 2833-7676
Website: www.macaupanda.org.mo
Read more about my Hong-Kong and Macau trip here:
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: My Two Cents
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Accommodation in Causeway Way via Airbnb
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Delicious Kitchen
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Macau Giant Panda Pavilion
Hong Kong-Macau 2016 Travel Diary: Eiffel Tower at Parisian Macau

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