Macau and its mix of Chinese architecture and colonial charm
Located only 1-hour ferry from Hong Kong across the Pearl River Delta, Macau is a small peninsula of 560,000 inhabitants, a Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China and one of the oldest European settlements in the Orient. Macau is a cultural melting pot of Chinese architecture and colonial charm that retains influences of its time as a Portuguese territory, but nowadays it’s most known for the casinos and extravagant shopping malls that have given it the nickname ‘Las Vegas of Asia’. Despite that, it’s still interesting to spend here a couple of days exploring its old history and Heritage sites.
Top 10 in Macau:
1) Discovering the Old District
The most famous spot is the ruins of St. Paul, a 16th-century complex originally including St. Paul’s College and the Cathedral of St. Paul, destroyed by fire in 1835. Nowadays the only remaining remembrance is the facade of the old Cathedral that functions symbolically as an altar to the city. This site was officially inscribed in the World Heritage List in 2005. Other interesting spots are the Church of St Anthony, one of the oldest churches in Macau, the Old city wall ruins, a surviving segment of the city’s defensive structures built as early as 1569, the Senado square, urban centre for centuries and still the most popular venue for public events and celebrations.
2) Macau Temples
Macau is full of beautiful temples and you can see a different kind of structure as Buddhist, Taoist and also folk faith with Buddha, Na Tcha, Tin Hau and many others. Once a small fishing village, the city hosts different religious faiths, so it’s also interesting to discover its religious side.
3) Skyline view
Macau Tower is one of the world’s tallest observation towers with its 338 meters and it is the best place for a 360° view of the city. Once got the top, you can experience the Skywalk and take a stroll around the outer perimeter that encircles the tower.
If you are curious about Macau and its 400 years history, don’t miss the several museums throughout the city. The most visited is around the Museum of Macau where you can learn more about the history, culture and development of the city.
5) Try your luck at a casino
If you are interested to gamble or not that’s not important because it is an “amazing show” so, if you are in Macau, you must do this experience. The “Las Vagas of the Far East” boasts more than 30 casinos located on the Macau Peninsula and Taipa Island and most of them are inside world-class hotels. Once there, you will get why gambling tourism is the city’s biggest source.
6) Taste local food
Macau cuisine is intermixed with Portuguese, South Asian and Chinese flavours so don’t miss this opportunity and taste the local dishes like the egg tarts, the pork chop buns and serradura, the Bacalhau fried rice, the Arroz de Marisco, the prawn roe noodles or the crab congee.
7) Enjoy the nature
Full of beautiful spots, Macau offers different places for enjoying nature like the Hac Sa Beach (black sand in Cantonese), a natural area 1,350 meters long and a popular location for water sports and star-gazing.
8) Live the Gran Prix race
Amazing street race circuit, Macau Grand Prix has been around for over 60 years and every November you can enjoy the festival atmosphere, whether or not you are a motor enthusiastic, don’t miss it.
9) Walk along the Love Lane
The “Travessa da Paixao” or “Love Lane” is situated between Rua da San Paulo and Rua da Ressurreicao and it is 50 meters long. The meaning was intended to express the passion of Christ but a mistake in translation has led to this humble laneway becoming a popular place for couple and movies shoots.
10) Buy a souvenir
Before leaving Macau, don’t forget to go to Rua do Cunha, a street located in Taipa and known as the “street food” by locals, where you can find some typical souvenirs for your family and friends as cakes, almond cookies, beef and pork jerky, egg rolls and much more.
Tips: Once you arrived at Macau International Airport, even though you’ll find taxis and public buses, the most convenient way to travel to your hotel is to take complimentary shuttle buses. Go toward the north exit of the airport and walk out into the parking lot (Buses depart every 15-20 minutes between 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m). For more info about the timetable and cost, please check Macau International Airport.
Where to sleep: I recommend you to look for your hotel in Taipa (Old Macau). There are many hotels and you can find a price to fit your pocket. Moreover, Taipa is the best area where to start your trip visiting Macau. We booked our accommodation with Booking.com, alternatively, you can also find good deals with Hostelworld.com or Hotels.com.
Travel insurance: we never leave without insurance since it’s the most important thing when travelling. We got our comprehensive protection with Worldnomads;
Travel to Macau from Hong Kong
If you want to reach Macau from Hong Kong, don’t worry because it is very easy and well served. You can choose among different services.
Turbojet from Hong Kong: Boats leave Hong Kong every 15 mins between 07:00 – 00:00 (for more info click here).
Sky Shuttle from Hong Kong: Helicopters leave Hong Kong every 30 mins between 09:00 – 23:00 (for more info click here).
By plane: You’ll find a free shuttle bus service from the airport in Taipa that runs every 15 minutes between 11:00 – 21:00 to various casinos around Macau; Alternatively, you can catch a taxi or a public bus.