1. Try your luck out by gambling at the Venetian, MGM Grand, Sands Casino, and many other enormous and fun gambling venues offering poker, slot machines, video gambling, blackjack, baccarat, and every other game imaginable. Macau is not called the “Las Vegas of the East” for nothing. Even most small hotels have machines and tables available for playing at any time of day.
2. Visit the Canidrome, the only greyhound racing stadium in all of Asia, and have fun betting on which dog will win the races. About 300 dogs race every day, and the minimum betting amount is 10 Macanese patacas, or about 1 dollar and twenty five cents.
3. Ascend and bungee jump 223 meters (732 feet) off the Macau Tower. This is one of the world’s highest bungee jumping experiences, and the sensation of falling at up to 200 kilometers per hour is incomparable to any other high.
4. Check out the Mau Giant Panda Pavilion, one of the most popular and fun parts of the Seac Pai Van Park. Here, two giant pandas named Kai Kai and Xin Xin welcome visitors every day. They live in a 3000 square meter enclosure with outdoor and indoor facilities, and admission costs only 10 patacas. Children 12 and under and seniors 65 and over can get in for free.
5. The Ruins of St. Paul’s are the most distinctive and memorable structures that represent Macau to the world. Anyone who comes to Macau must visit them. The Church of Mater Dei and St. Paul’s College were constructed between 1602 and 1640 and were mostly burned down in 1835. The remnants still stand and boast Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite architecture styles, along with biblical images, Chinese characers, Japanese chrysanthemums, the statues of Jesuit saints, Chinese lions, and mannerist art. This is a stunning blend of Eastern and Western art and culture, and is wistful suggestion of what once was and what might have been had not most of it been destroyed.
6. Just above the Ruins of St. Paul’s is the Fortaleza do Monte, which is part of the Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fortaleza sits atop a hill and features tree-lined parks and paths, a series of stone walls, streets, and buildings, and cannons lining the walls that used to defend the city from foreign invaders. There is also the Museum of Macau and the former residence of the Governors of Macau to see on the hill. See Macau’s skyscrapers and neighborhoods from the peak of the hill, and you will feel like you’re on top of the world.
7. If you’re tired of gambling, browse the many high-end shops and restaurants located in the major casinos, which give the shopping centers and casinos in Las Vegas a run for their money. Any store you can think of, including clothing boutiques, jewelers, outdoor retailers, candy shops, and arts and crafts operate in the casino complexes.
8. Looking like a picturesque street in Amsterdam, Macau Fisherman’s Wharf is an enormous theme park that provides visitors with over 150 restaurants, shops, casinos, hotels, a replica volcano, forts, a convention center, and water shows. A day spent here is a day well spent.
9. The Historic Centre of Macau includes over twenty churches, parks, and museums that give the best of Macau’s unique bicultural heritage. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that can occupy visitors for at least a couple days of exploring. Check out private homes, cemeteries, fortresses, churches, temples, and commercial streets in the heart of Macau.
10. History and politics devotees should check out the Leal Senado Building, where Macau’s colonial government used to convene. It is a stately white building featuring Portuguese art and architecture, and now is the headquarters of the Institute of Civic and Municipal Affairs that governs Macau.
11. Designed by Chinese American architect I.M. Pei, the Macau Science Center juts out along the ocean, and is easily visible to people taking ferries, cars, and trains. Its unique silver conical shape resembles a seashell and contains fourteen galleries, a planetarium, and a theater playing Omnimax movies. This landmark will delight many science fans of all ages.
12. Visit the freguesias, or districts of Macau, and marvel at the efficient and ubiquitous rail network that connects all of Macau, spanning land and sea. Tickets are very cheap and transport is fast, so exploring all of Macau is not difficult.
13. Relax in the Jardim Municipal da Montanha Russa, a park located on a hill that offers a terrific view of the city. The park has a diverse botanical collection, interesting statues, and a go-kart track for children.
14. The main dish of Macau is minchi, which is minced meat with potato cubes and rice. It is simple and sublime, and exhibits the marriage of Portuguese and Chinese cuisine and culture. Order it in many restaurants across Macau.
15. Eat soft and scrumptious Portuguese egg tarts from any of the countless vendors and restaurants located around the city. This treat was invented and introduced by Portuguese explorers, and is now synonymous with Macanese cuisine. A cup of crumbly dough surrounds a slightly sweet egg custard and sugar center. They are ideally eaten hot and are absolutely delicious.
16. For fans of cars and racing, the Grand Prix Museum is a terrific fit. Check out rare cars, outfits, and records, and learn about racing history here.
17. Tour the city on cycle rickshaws, an increasingly rare form of relaxing transportation. Guides will peddle and drive you around while explaining the history and significance of places throughout Macau. For just $200, you can have a guide accompany and inform you for several hours.
18. In Senado Square is the Holy House of Mercy of Macau, a former hospital, refuge, and charity home. It is constructed in detailed and immaculate Portuguese style and is a place of worship and aid.
19. Take in the European architecture and the bustling crowds at Senado Square. There are few places like this; the bright colonial buildings are gorgeous and make you think you are in Madrid or Lisbon, but the exquisite Chinese signs and temples blend seamlessly and create a rare multicultural environment.
20. Oenophiles ought to pay a visit to the Wine Museum, which offers free admission and a variety of exhibits on the history and making of wine. Tools, techniques, photographs, and videos are included to provide education on viniculture, and for some fees, visitors can sample and purchase over 50 selections of wine.
21. Go bowling at the Macau East Asian Games Dome in Cotai, which is a state-of-the-art sports facility that bowlers will be very impressed with.
22. The Rua da Tercena is a century-old street ideal for exploring and shopping. It has a fascinating blend of Portuguese and Chinese architecture, colorful buildings, and rare products on sale. You can get a great sense of what living in Macau is like by walking through the streets and letting your whims take you wherever you want to go. Find traditional Chinese artworks, handmade food, and raucous flea markets in this area of town.
23. Visit the Sun Yat Sen Memorial House, where Sun and his family lived and worked. It is a three story mansion that exhibits many of Sun’s personal items, such as papers, clothes, books, photographs, and speeches, and teaches visitors many intriguing facts about Chinese history.
24. Walk along the Old City Walls of Macau, which were built during the 16th and 17th centuries to protect Macau. Only a few sections are still left. They are built from clay, rock, oyster shells, and sand, and are definitely worth a look.
25. Stop at the Dom Pedro V Theater, one of the earliest European-style theaters built in Asia where plays and musicals were performed.
26. Climb up to the highest point in Macau, Guia Hill, and take a trip to the Guia Fortress that was constructed during the 17th century to watch over the city and make sure that the Dutch would not invade again. A lighthouse to guide ships and a chapel are also located nearby.
27. Wait for and watch the lotus flower lights for the Casino Lisboa to bloom as the sun sets every day. This is one of the hallmark sights of Macau.
28. Enjoy a world-class show at any of the casinos at prices far cheaper than those offered at Las Vegas. Singers, dancers, and magicians are always performing in Macau, and tickets and plentiful and affordable.
29. Stroll through the Casa Garden and walk through the Old Protestant Cemetery to pay your respects to late residents of Macau.
30. Learn about the lives of wealthy Portuguese residents in Macau by visiting their homes at the Taipa Houses-Museum on the north side of the island of Taipa. The houses were built in 1921 and have lots of interesting relics and objects that bring to life what life was like many decades ago.
31. Remember Portuguese rule as you visit Victory Garden, a small park built to commemorate Portugal’s victory over the Netherlands in 1622.
32. Enjoy modern art sculptures and statues situated alongside flowers and trees at the Garden of the Arts.
33. Sink your teeth into a delicious and distinctive Macanese pork chop bun. This sandwich features fried pork between slices of sweet round bread. It is easily found in Macau’s restaurants and is very filling.
34. Macanese bakeries are known for offering lots of great cookies, pastries, bread, and other baked goods. There are also a lot of free samples for the taking, some try them and see which ones you would like to buy.
35. Go fishing along the pristine Pacific coast. You can cast your lines on the beach or join a fishing tour that will take you far on the ocean for deep sea fishing.
36. Sample some of Macau’s fine beef jerky, which was introduced and pioneered by Portuguese settlers. Free samples are available in many stores.
37. The Mandarin’s House is a massive private residence that was built around 1869 for a wealthy Chinese merchant family. It gives a glimpse at what life was like for a prosperous family during the late 19th century in China, and it is an extraordinarily large home, containing over 60 rooms and covering approximately 4000 square meters. Admission is free.
38. Walk along Cotai Strip, which hums with activity and business of the casinos with no end. Similar to the Las Vegas Strip, this avenue has seductive neon signs, festive bars, and casinos constantly beckoning you to come in and play.
39. Hunt for bargains on rare and antique items in the famous pawn shops and curio dealers throughout Macau.
40. Take the ferry, which shuffles frequently several times a day between mainland China and Macau. This crossing lets you see much of Macau from a ship, and the sights are beautiful. Make sure to bring a camera.
41. For those interested in outdoor activities, go for a swim or sunbathe on Macau’s two main beaches, Hac Sa and Cheoc Van. Thanks to Macau’s warm and humid climate throughout the year, it is always a good day to head to the beach.
42. Drink some great Portuguese wine while having a meal in Macau, and make sure to try Macau beer, a pale lager sold in almost all bars, stores, and restaurants of Macau.
43. Take a walk and chill with some books in the Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, a former private mansion that is now a public library. Named after businessman and philanthropist Robert Ho Tung, its architecture and design is spacious and wealthy.
44. Go to the Lotus Square and marvel at the bronze sculpture Lotus Flower In Full Bloom, which lights up at night. The lotus is the symbol of Macau and appears on the Macanese flag.
45. Thirsty travelers should buy a fruit smoothie or bubble tea, which can be served either hot or cold. These drinks are very refreshing and are available in pretty much every neighborhood of Macau.
46. Check out the Museum of Taipa and Coloane, which details the earliest human settlements on the islands, the fishing industry prevalent on the islands, and the colonization and eventual independence of Macau.
47. See and photograph the elegant sculptures of men, women, saints, gods, and goddesses around town. It is interesting to note that statues of Buddhist deities have European designs, as a testament to the cultural blending present throughout all of Macau.
48. Take a break in Sun Yat Sen Park, an urban park named after physician and political reformer Dr. Sun Yat Sen. He helped overthrow the Qing imperial dynasty and found the Republic of China, and the park includes forests, playgrounds, swimming pools, an aviary, flower gardens, sports fields, and greenhouses.
49. Explore and read the beautifully engraved and painted tombstones in the cemeteries of Macau, which reveal a lot about the history of the city and its important residents.
50. For tourists interested in culture and religion, the A-Ma Cultural Village is worth checking out. It is devoted to the worship of A-Ma, Tin Hau, or Mazu, a Chinese goddess who is particularly worshipped in southern China, Southeast Asia, and Taiwan. This temple complex comprises a bell tower, drum tower, marble altar, museum, stores, park, and the world’s tallest statue of the goddess.
51. To get away from hectic city life for a while, go hiking or cycling on the islands of Taipa or Coloane, which are easily accessible by ferries.
52. Get some last minute shopping done at Macau International Airport on the island of Taipa, and take in the splendid views of the Pacific Ocean from the airport.
WHEN TO VISIT Macau
The best time to visit Macau is in autumn (September – December). You’ll find bright skies and cool temperature. During these months it’s also very rare to have typhoons. In fact, these months boast the most days without rain or typhoons. December is a peak travel time, so expect higher prices during this month. Spring in Macau (March to May) you’ll find an oceanic monsoon climate with a mild March, Rainy April and humid and wet May. May the wettest month of the year. Summer in Macau (June – August) is generally hot and you’ll find the temperature in the mid to high 80’s. It will also tend to be humid with summer showers, typhoons and occasional thunderstorms. Winter (Jan to February) is mild with temperatures in the mid 60’s.
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Traveling To Macau Soon? Here are a few tips:
Where to stay: Macau has a wide range of hotels, from budget to one of the most expensive hotels in the world! If you want to go lux, then you must check out The 13, Macau which is said to be the most expensive hotel ever built. For a luxuury hotel that won’t break the bank, I recommend the Ritz-Carlton. For a mid-level hotel, I suggest the Conrad Macao Cotai Central, which is currently the #1 hotel on Tripadvisor. Finally, for a budget hotel, try the Emperor Hotel. You can also check HotelsCombined for the best Macau Hotel Rates.
What to pack: The temperatures each season vary, but even in winter, it can be warm and you should always prepare for rain. You will want a waterproof outer layer, rain jacket, and travel umbrella. You’ll also want a good pair of walking shoes (I love Keen). If you are visiting in Winter, you’ll want to pack layers including a light sweater or scarf.
6 Indispensable Items to Pack for a Trip to Macau
- Get the Hong Kong & Macau Travel Guide from Rough Guides.
- Bring a good quality mirrorless camera for getting those beautiful Macau landscape and skyline shots. I use the Sony Alpha a6000 .
- Most seasons are hot in Macau, so make sure to bring Neutrogena Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 45
- A great crossbody travel bag. Crossbody bags prevent theft and are much easier for you to access.
- Don’t forget sunglasses for the beautiful sunny days. A.J. Morgan Unisex Sunglasses are a great choice and very affordable!
- Water shoes are a great item to pack for any beach vacation. They take up little room when packing and great if you end up at a beach that is rocky or with very hot sand, such as the black sand beach, Hac Sa.
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