Macau is a beautiful place where you can see and experience Portuguese influences everywhere you go. All their addresses and street names are in Portuguese by the way, so this is where your wifi really comes in handy (if not be prepared to get lost). We hardly planned any itinerary so what you see here is all via the google-while-we-travel mentality. Exploring Macau in a day is possible, so follow me to Macau now!
How to get to Macau from Hong Kong
Tickets usually run out quite fast, especially during weekend mornings, so head down to the Hong Kong – Macau Ferry Terminal earlier to get your tickets! There will be many travel agencies over there, so look through the plans and packages that they offer and get the ones that suit you the best!
Go for Turbojet as we have heard good reviews about them and how they are safer. Indeed, though economy, the seats and the interior of the ferry is better than we expected! It takes about an hour to get to Macau. Under harsh weather conditions, the journey might be longer and intensive rocking should be expected, so do prepare some pills before hand if you have motion sickness.
Hong Kong – Macau Ferry Terminal
Nearest MTR: Sheung Wan Station (Exit D)
Near IFC Towers in the Shun Tak Center
1. Having an eye-opener at luxurious Venetian Macao and Casino-Visiting
You can take a free shuttle bus to Venetian Macao. Just look out for the signs that are heading towards the Casino.
Since Venetian Macao is very much well-known for their World’s largest Casino and extensively luxurious setting, we had to give it a visit no matter what. The minute we stepped foot into Venetian Macau, we went ‘wow’ to almost every single corner placed before me. The ceilings are covered with ‘daylight’ backdrops, and it really felt like not an hour has passed, so that people can eat more, shop longer and gamble more. Nevertheless, the atmosphere feels rather special, like you’ve been transported to Venice or Las Vegas.
2. Experiencing local life at Taipa Village (Villa Da Taipa)
After visiting Venetian Macao and having our lunch, we took a quick walk over to Taipa Village (Villa Da Taipa) which took around 10 minutes, towards the directions of Galaxy. Use google maps, it is more straightforward that way! It was a Sunday when we headed down to Macau, so most of the shops were closed at Taipa Village. It was rather quiet with almost no sights of locals along the streets. So if you are hoping to catch a glimpse of some local activities and atmosphere, head over on a weekday instead.
3. Visit Pek Tai Temple
We visited one of the old temples in Taipa Village for one of these iconic photographs and to feel the spiritual heartbeat of this town. There’s Pek Tai Temple, and also the more popular Mazu Temple.
4. Visit Museum of Taipa and Coloane History
Spot the striking tiffany green Portuguese building for the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History which was built in the 1920s. There are a total of nine galleries in the museum. It has two storeys, though not a big museum, which exhibits ancient archaeological findings from the excavations held on Macau’s two islands: Taipa and Coloane, artifacts, and historical objects. However, when we were there on Sunday, we didn’t had to pay for the museum fee, so maybe it is free on Sunday too!
Address: Rua Correida da Silva Taipa
Opening Hours: Daily from 10am-6pm
Fees: $5 for Adults, $2 for students (Free for kids and senior citizens above 65)
5. Photographing along the Portugal-inspired streets
Since Macau was a colony of the Portuguese empire back in history, everywhere you go is littered with tiled streets, buildings design, street names and potted plants hanging from the street lamps. All of these proved that Portuguese influences are still prominent today. What’s fascinating is the fact that history still impacts or shapes how a country or town lives today (so take your history lesson seriously).
6. Witnessing a wedding outside Our Lady of Carmel church
While on our way up to the top of Taipa Village before heading down for the food street, a line of wedding cars decorated with ribbons and flowers zoomed past us, with metal tin cans attached to the back of the cars, being pulled along the roads, producing clanking celebratory noises as they zoom past.
7. Satisfy your taste buds at Rua Do Cunha food street
The authentic Portuguese egg-tarts are a must-try if you are in Macau! Rua Do Cunha is a narrow street that sells many local food that you have to try! If you have hands to spare, you have to buy back some of their local delicacies from Koi Kei Bakery, a famous branch in Macau that sells all the food that you need to buy back for your loved ones. Ranging from almond cakes, to egg rolls, crunchy peanut candies, beef and pork jerky and more.
8. Exploring Senado Square
At the entrance of Senado square, where we witnessed a political demonstration. But besides that, you get to have a feel of the hustle and bustle of Macau, where people hang out along the streets, gathering around the fountain. If you happen to drop by in the evening or night, you’ll get to see brightly lit up buildings and tiled streets.
9. Visiting Historical Churches
Again, Catholicism is one of Portugal’s rich contribution to Macau, and these historical churches that lived till today are evidences that the Portuguese’s influences are still alive in the local’s lives. We visited St. Dominic’s Church, which is one of the three oldest churches in Macau. There are more around Senado Square and around Macau, so do a little exploration if you want to learn more about the cultural and religious life of the locals in Macau.
10. Visting the iconic landmark of Macau: Ruins of St. Paul
Ruins of St. Paul’s became of the the popular landmarks of Macau. The facade was originally part of the Church of Mater Dei. As you can see, it is flooded with many tourists and locals (maybe because it is a Sunday), so don’t expect to take perfect OOTDs or photographs without being photobombed by passersby. Head to the underground section where you get to see more artifacts and archeological findings from the past that came with the Ruins of St Paul’s.
11. Have a Bird’s eye view of Macau from Monte Fort
Monte Fort is the oldest military forts in Macau, and it is just on the right side of the Ruins of St. Paul’s. Take a small hike up the steep stone steps and you can find Museum of Macau (Musee De Macau) right at the top, surrounded by barracks and canons. Take a peep down, and you can see a landscape view of Macau across you.
12. Exploring Macau Fisherman’s Wharf
Since it is getting late, we quickly cabbed to Macau Fisherman’s Wharf for a quick exploration. If you are wondering, it is the largest leisure and themed entertainment complex in Macau. However, when we were there, most of the restaurants and shops were closed, so we could only entertain ourselves to the photogenic and beautiful infrastructures on the outside. Most people came for just the photos, so if you are not interested in taking such photographs, don’t bother coming as the rest of the shops and restaurants aren’t very interesting. Most of the architecture reminds me of the Ancient Roman Colosseum in Rome, just that this one’s a little more man-made. The Wharf is also a 10-15 minutes walk from the Ferry Terminal just in case you want to head back to Hong Kong.
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