Sagar Dev Lakhe, founder and Chairman of Sagar Group of Companies, a group of IT-focused enterprises, is a frequent traveller. His business is established abroad and thus, it often requires him to travel to various destinations. Lakhe sat down with Tamish Giri of New Business to reminisce his memorable trip to Macau.
In October 2007, my wife and I went on a holiday to Macau; I had only travelled abroad five times at that point. I spoke to people who described Macau as a hustling, bustling hub, similar to Las Vegas. They even referred to it as ‘mini Las Vegas’ and said it was famous for gambling and partying.
I remember first seeing the city in a commercial on TV and I imagined it would be a blend of western and Chinese cultures. However, upon arrival, we discovered the city distinctly emanated an European essence, particularly, the French Riviera. It was tidy with a well-constructed landscape, which was mesmerising. We later discovered it was a Portuguese territory until 1999, precisely why it was interspersed with European influences. Macau’s giant casinos and malls on the Cotai Strip, which joins the islands of Taipa and Coloane, have earned it the nickname, “Las Vegas of Asia.” One of the city’s more striking landmarks was the 338m-tall Macau Tower, with sweeping city views.
A Decadent Trip
I wanted to experience the lifestyle of celebrities even if for a fleeting moment. It was one reason I had planned the trip. My friend’s description of the city had created an ostentatious image in my mind. When I got there, it was not quite what I expected but the architecture of the city left an impact on my mind.
The Hustle and Bustle
We started our trip from Hong Kong; we spent three days travelling across the city. However, our plans for Macau did not go as expected. At first, we had hoped that entry to Macau would not be an issue. However, since we had a green passport, securing a tourist visa proved to be a challenge. We had to wait for a while, however, we ultimately convinced the immigration officer to grant us the visa. It was a tiring experience because we had already received the approval from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu and clarified our purpose of visiting the country. I wonder if they grant Nepalese citizens a tourist visa in Macau at this time.
Best Part of the Trip
The ferry trip was a new experience for me, it was a special ride. Likewise, seeing people bungee jumping from the Macau tower was another remarkable adventure. We also went on a rollercoaster ride during our trip, which I loved the most. There are many memorable moments attached to this trip and but to be specific, the ambience of the city and our rollercoaster ride were the most significant moments. The landscape, community and culture are unique and add further shine to the already joyous ambience.
Business Vs Pleasure
Majority of my tours abroad are generally for business, I usually carve out some time and go sightseeing during such trips. The trip to Macau however, was purely for a holiday purpose. I don’t think I had gone abroad for a holiday before Macau.
Prior to travelling to Macau, I had thought Bangkok to have the finest hospitality among all the places I had visited. However, upon our visit to Macau, we found that it offered the warmest welcome of all. It amazed me; we did not imagine the Chinese to be so overwhelmingly hospitable. Tourism and casino business is the backbone of Macau’s economy so the city energetically welcomes all with its unforgettable service. You cannot compare the hospitality of Macau with any other place.
Ideal Time to travel
I usually travel to places during the off-season. From a tourist’s viewpoint, the month of October and November is the best time to travel to Macau. For Nepalis in particular, this period coincides with the Dashain and Tihar holidays, so it is an ideal time for them. From a climate point of view, the weather across Chinese cities is pleasant during this period. People might have their own preferable time to travel but I suggest them to go in October or November.
Travelling abroad can be a hectic job in the absence of good planning. While planning a trip, wise selection of an airliner is crucial. We assume expensive airlines offer better service but that is not necessarily the case. Further, choosing the right seats is equally important. I have found many Nepali passengers being careless in seat selection. They depend on travel agencies for the seat which is not the right way to go about it. The agencies do not inform you about the seats in detail. I also suggest people get the mileage plan number of the flight tickets compulsorily, it is important.