Macau Tourist Travel Guide
It’s not just gambling that makes Macau popular on a global level. Beautifully tucked away on the banks of the Pearl River Delta in southern China, the city of Macau is absolutely a storehouse of multiple attractions that even the most jaded traveler in the world would love to explore. Whether you’re a history buff, a culture enthusiast, an adventure freak or a foodie, you’ll find Macau to be simply amazing.
What’s truly unique about Macau is that it offers you a heady combination of three different cultures – Chinese, Western and Portuguese. Comprised of the Macau Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane islands, the city is today flocked by hundreds of thousands of tourists from every nook and cranny of the world. On the basis of its innumerable travel attractions (including UNESCO World Heritage Sites) and tons of activities to do, Macau is fast emerging as a tourist destination of the international standard.
Of course, casinos in Macau continue to attract one and all not just from across China but from all around. Most of these casinos are lined up along the waterfront on the southern side of the Macau Peninsula. It’s because of these countless casinos that Macau boasts of gambling as its biggest industry. Many of the city’s casinos serve as landmarks.
Here are some interesting facts about Macau –
> The word ‘Macau’ means ‘harbor gate’.
> It’s from where Chinese slaves were once trafficked to Portugal.
> It was leased by Portuguese as a trading center in 1557.
> It’s China’s only city where gambling is permissible.
> 95% of the city’s total population consists of Chinese.
> It has the highest population density.
> It’s home to 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
> 50% of its revenue is generated from gambling.
Macau has lots of interesting things for you to explore, enjoy and remember for life. If all of this sounds exciting, you wouldn’t want to miss a trip to this city. May be, you’re already planning one!
Macau – What to See (Sightseeing)
It’s an absolute pleasure to feast upon the sights that Macau has to offer. Whether you wish to take a dip into age-old history, soak up spiritual charm or check out modern-day marvels, the city of Macau can easily keep you occupied for at least a couple of days. There are UNESCO World Heritage sites, museums, temples, churches, gardens and fortresses to see in the city. And there’s a lot more!
Given below are some of the key highlights that you should never miss during your holidays in the city –
Ruins of St Paul
One of the biggest crowd-pullers in the city, the Ruins of St Paul is what’s left of a beautifully designed church belonging to the early 17th century. The structure was built in wood, with a stony façade that was added some time later. The church was badly damaged in the year 1835 when it caught fire. Today, you’ll see only a façade and a stairway at the front as you visit here. But you’ll surely feel the grandeur it had once been.
It’s so much more than just a tower! Don’t be surprised to know that it has the eminence of being the world’s 10th tallest sightseeing tower, taller than the Eiffel Tower located in Paris. The wonderful structure soars up to a height of around 1,109 feet from ground level.
While visiting the tower, you can indulge in a host of activities like sightseeing (enjoy a panoramic view from above 764 feet), mast climb, skywalk, and buggy jump. In addition to these, the Macau Tower features a movie theatre, a conference center and gaming at the Tiger Slots. Plus, you can enjoy some time shopping on the ground level as well. All in all, the tower is one great place which really makes you feel you’re in Macau.
Visiting Time: 10:00 am – 21:00 pm
Visiting Days: Weekdays
Address: Largo da Torre de Macau
Tel: (853) 2893 3339
Fax: (853) 2896 0103
Bus Routes: 9A, 18, 23, 26, 32, MT4
Macau Maritime Museum
It’s just the perfect place to be if you plan to dig out the maritime history of the city of Macau. Initially (1987), the museum was set up in an old house. Later, when the need for expansion was felt, a new building was constructed for the museum. The new building, which stands beside the A-ma temple, was opened for visitors in 1990.
The museum building features four theme halls –
- Maritime Ethnology Exhibition: Located below ground, this theme hall depicts the cultural traditions and techniques Macau fishermen use. Modeled fishing vessels, fishing technique demonstrations, fishing implements are the major attractions of the hall.
- Maritime History Exhibition: For those who love exploring history, this is the place to be. In this theme hall, you’ll experience the multiple facets of the Portuguese and the Chinese maritime history. A realistic model of a ‘Nau do Trato’, a type of merchant frigate used for Macau-Japan life-threatening trade voyages, is a major attraction here.
- Maritime Technology Exhibition: This theme hall is located on the top floor of the museum building. Here, you’ll be able to soak up the view of the Guia lighthouse. Apart from a wonderful display of nautical instruments, the hall features centuries-old equipment like telescopes, mariner’s compass, octants and sextants among others.
- Aquarium Gallery: This gallery presents four aquariums that are a pleasure to watch. Each of the aquariums is unique in itself. For example, the first aquarium is an exhibit of riverbed and fresh water while the second one displays harbor fish. One of the major attractions of this gallery is an assemblage of shells procured from different parts of the world.
Visiting Time: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Visiting Days: Throughout the week (except Tuesdays)
Address: 1 Largo do Pagode da Barra, Macau
Phone:+853 2859 5481
[Note: Sale of tickets closes at 5:30 pm. Children below 10 years and adults over 65 years of age can enjoy access to the museum free of charge.]
Monte Forte and Museum of Macau
Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Monte Forte along with the Museum of Macau attracts a large number of visitors from all over. From upon the top battlements here, you can enjoy a heart-stirring view of the sunset and the gleaming casino lights dispersed all around. Constructed by the Jesuits between 1617 and 1626, the Monte Fort was used as soldier quarters. The top battlements of the fort sheltered huge cannons. Until the year 1965, the fort served as a military base. Today, it stands in the form of a museum which is a window to the Portuguese culture.
Camoes Garden and Grotto
While on a sightseeing tour, you can never afford to forget visiting the multiple wonderfully laid-out gardens in Macau. The Camoes Garden, of course, is one of the most visited gardens in the city. During the 18th century, this is the place where the Chairman of the British East India Company used to reside. Earlier known as Casa Garden, it’s today home to an art gallery and the Old Protestant Cemetery. You’ll find the graves of many merchants and missionaries in this flower-laden cemetery. After the British left, the Portuguese owner of the land got a grotto built here around a bust of Luís de Camões, a well-known national poet of Portugal.
Visiting Time: 6:00 am – 10:00 pm
Address: Praca de Luis de Camoes, Macau
Phone:+853 2839 9317
There are four public squares in the city of Macau, and the Senado Square is one of them. Extending over an area of around 3,700 sq meters, it occupies a central position in the Macau Peninsula. Since it’s now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s gained even more popularity with both national and international tourists. Social events and celebrations are an everyday affair at the Senado Square. If you want to experience the Mediterranean atmosphere, you must pay a visit to this place.
Moreover, the Senado Square remains beautifully surrounded with shopping centers and Chinese restaurants. If you wish to see this place in its full grandeur and pomp, you should try to come here during the Chinese Spring Festival or Christmas. Attractive displays of fireworks and traditional dance performances like Lion and Dragon will fascinate you to no end.
Address: Largo do Senado, Macau
Bus Route: 3, 3A, 4, 8A, 10, 10A, 11, 18, 19, 21A, 26A, 33
Covering an area of more than 111,500 sq meters, the Fisherman’s Wharf has carved its own unique place in the tourism industry of Macau. Though it’s widely popular as a theme park, it’s a lot more than just that. Even if you’re looking for a wonderful dining experience or spending time shopping or entertaining yourself, this place is for you. The architecture of this famous travel attraction follows the style of Euro-American fisherman’s wharf, hence the name. It took around five years to complete this large project. It was in 2006 that this place was opened for public access.
It has three major sections –
- Dynasty Wharf: This is where you’ll enjoy viewing Chinese towers that copy the Tang style.
- East Meets West: There’s a lot to see here including man-made volcano, Greek architecture, an ancient battleship, a Roman amphitheater etc. The place is so named because it presents a fascinating combination of the Oriental traditions and the Western design.
- Legend Wharf: This a great place to feel relaxed and refreshed. Here, you can indulge in a number of recreational activities including high tech gaming, water sports and video gaming.
The Fisherman’s Wharf continues to get better, and better. A large sum of money is still being invested to turn this complex into one of the most sought-after destinations for public entertainment.
Visiting Time: 24 Hours
Entry Fee: Free
Tel: (853) 8299 3300
Fax: (853) 8299 3581
Bus routes nearby: 3A, 8, 10A, 12, N2
Taipa Village and Taipa Street Food
Though the Taipa village isn’t untouched by urbanization, it’s still among one of those places where you can experience the age-old charm of Macau. Located very close to the Macau Peninsula, it’s a place where you’d surely like to take a stroll along the streets lined with buildings of the colonial era. There are also many baroque churches, temples and some laid-back settlements to remind you of the bygone times. The village occupies a wonderful position on an island called by the same name.
In addition to all these, Taipa is a food lover’s retreat. There are many eateries where you can savor delectable Cantonese, Macanese and Portuguese delicacies. The Taipa Food Street is much popular for offering a wide variety of lip-smacking food items.
While traveling to the Taipa Village, you must visit –
> Taipa-Houses Museum
> Church of Our Lady of Carmel
> Pak Tai Temple
> Taipa Flee Market
Many state-of-the-art hotels, a university, a stadium and an airport lend a modernistic touch to the village.
Hacsa Beach and Bay
A visit to the Hacsa beach in Macau is a high recommend because it promises you scenic beauty and a genuine taste of adventure. It’s not usually crowded so allows you to spend some time in solitude. Surfing is something that attracts a lot of travelers and adventure lovers to this place. The secluded beach lies on the southeastern side of the Coloane Island.
Macau – What to Do (Activities)
A Portuguese colony in the past, Macau remains dispersed with innumerable places to see, right from one corner to the other. But the city doesn’t only promise you a great sightseeing experience. It’s also a nice haven for enjoying activities that would remain in your memories for a long time to come. Whether you want to spend some time reconnecting with nature or feel that adrenaline rush, Macau is ready to amaze you. Even if you’re traveling with family and kids, you’ll find enough things to do.
Given below are some of the most popular, fun-filled and exciting activities that you shouldn’t forget to enjoy when in Macau –
Climbing at Macau Tower
Shopping In Macau
Beautifully located on the banks of the Pearl River Delta in southern China, Macau has to offer something for everyone. But for shoppers, it feels like a paradise. During your holidays in the city, that’s aptly termed as Asia’s Las Vegas, you should never forget to go on a shopping spree. You’ll find a wide range of items to take home with joy and pride – fashionable clothing, jewelry items, electronic gadgets, pottery and Chinese antiques. A trip to Macau has simply no meaning if you return home without buying anything.
If it’s your first time in Macau as a traveler, you may need some advice on where exactly to go shopping. But keep in mind that most of the worth-visiting shopping centers or malls of Macau are located in casinos themselves. So, if you visit a great casino, you’ll most probably be visiting a shopping center as well. So, be shopping-ready in advance!
Here’s a list of the popular shopping malls in Macau –
For shoppers looking for luxury goods, jewelry items and antiques, the Grand Canal is just the right place to be. Extending over a huge area of one million square feet, this shopping mall is one of the most visited in the city of Macau. There are 350 shops here, each featuring high quality and branded items that you would love to buy. The Grand Canal is located in Venetian Macao, which is a 39-story high luxury hotel and casino resort.
This is a shopping mall well-known for designer clothing. Constructed by the Wynn Casino Resort Corporation, this shopping center is a major crowd puller because it features an array of luxurious clothing items from such popular brands as Dior, Gucci, Prada, Armani etc.
As soon as you have set foot on the soil of Macau, you can’t wait to head straight to the Sands Cotai Central (a casino resort lying on the Cotai Strip in Macau), which presents a world-class shopping experience in combination with a wonderful choice of hotels, stunning entertainment facilities and an unforgettable dining experience. To enjoy luxury shopping to the fullest, the Shoppes offers you the Shoppes at Four Seasons, the Shoppes at Venetian and the Shoppes at Cotai Central.
Among all the shopping centers in Macau, New Yaohan (previously known as Yaohan) is extremely popular because it’s a great place to buy a variety of electronic items. Owned by the parent company Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM), New Yaohan is a frequent haunt of travelers and shoppers from all around the city and outside. Apart from electronic gadgets, New Yaohan also features cosmetics, clothing, children’s wear, stationary and fashionable clothes. The shopping center occupies a position opposite to the Ferry Terminal in Macau.
One Central Macau
A regular haunt of luxury shoppers from all over, the One Central Macau complex extends over an area of 200,000 sq ft. No matter which international luxury brand is your favorite, this mall is fully geared up to cater to your shopping needs. The architectural elegance of the complex is also a pleasure to watch, and remember.
Macau Fisherman’s Wharf
The architecture of this place will quickly remind you of the design on which the Fisherman’s Wharf of United States and Europes have been modeled. For anyone traveling to Macau and interested in buying fashionable clothes, jewelry items and souvenirs, Macau Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the biggest attractions.
For luxury shoppers, the Galaxy Macau is a great destination. The East and the West Promenades at this place feature a wide range of luxurious items from some of the most coveted international brands. The shopping mall is located at Cotai, Macau.
Rua de S. Paulo
A visit to this place serves you one more wonderful purpose than shopping – exploration of historical Macau on foot. While you take a stroll through the street soaking up the culture and the history of the city, you can also buy a range of furniture and antique items. If you wish to buy attractive souvenirs to carry back home, you must come here.
This shopping center is located in the city center of Macau. It’s a place where you’ll have the pleasure of exploring the artistic brilliance exhibited by the city’s local artists. If you’re in search of souvenirs that speak volumes about the local culture and heritage of Macau, you should never forget to pay a visit to this art gallery and shop.
Another frequent haunt of shoppers from all around the world in Macau, the Red Market derives its name from a number of red-brick buildings, built by the Portuguese in the 20th century. If you move a little ahead of the Red Market along Av. De Horta e Costa, you’ll come across the Three Lamps District. Here, you’ll find innumerable shops selling a range of jewelry items, clothes, shoes and electronic gadgets among others.
[Local Shopping: The Macau Creations and the Red Market, mentioned above, are perfect locations to indulge in local shopping. A bazaar held in the Taipa Village from 11:00 am till 8:00 pm is also a must-visit, if you’re planning to buy Macau-made items of handicraft, clothes, souvenirs etc. Pawnshops are also quite ubiquitous in Macau, particularly those that are located close to the Lisboa Casino. Whichever local items catch your attention, always remember to bargain as much as possible to get the best deals.]