Travel Tips: Visiting Macau, China

Macau Travel Tips

Visiting Macau, China

Macau is a fascinating location for a holiday. Both modern and historic, it features a wealth of cultural attractions which will fascinate you every moment you are there. The historical core can be found north of Avenida Almeida Ribeiro which is surrounded on all sides by an array of European buildings.

Visiting Macau, China photo by @haru_pic via Unsplash
Visiting Macau, China photo by @haru_pic via Unsplash

You will find many of Macao’s interesting sites situated in this area as well as in the southern headland. Parks, churches, temples, casinos, shops – no matter what you’re looking for, you will find it all here in the stunning city of Macao.

Ruins of Sao Paulo Cathedral

Ruins of St.Paul - Cebu Pacific Cebu-Macau Flight
Ruins of St.Paul – Cebu Pacific Cebu-Macau Flight

Sao Paula is perhaps Macao’s number one tourist attraction. This ornamentally carved church was first built in 1602 and claimed to be the most beautiful Christian church to ever be constructed in Asia. The entire church, apart from the façade, was totally destroyed in 1835 due to a great fire. What was once the crypt and nave have now become an interesting museum dedicated to the Christian faith with many details about the church and its design. The church is also the home of the bones of those who followed St Frances Xavier. Once you have finished visiting the church, you will find an old temple to the side which is built into what were the old town’s walls.

Museu de Macau

The Macau Museum
The Macau Museum

If you climb up the tree-covered hill, you can pay a visit to the Fortaleza do Monte. This fortress was built during the 17th century and a walk around the ramparts will conjure up visions of when the Portuguese repelled the Dutch with their huge cannons in 1622. The Museo de Macao can also be found here, which takes you on a fascinating journey on the history, culture, and traditions of Macau.

Jardim Luis de Camoes

Jardim Luis de Camoes
Jardim Luis de Camoes

This shady park is home to numerous trees, ferns and, since its China, lots of granite boulders. When the days get hot, this park offers shady relief. It also gives visitors the chance to visit the grotto constructed for Luis de Camoes, a 16th-century Portuguese poet who was exiled here for a time. In addition, the Old Protestant Cemetery can be found here.

Leal Senado Building

Macao Edificio do Leal Senado by WiNG via Wikipedia CC
Macao Edificio do Leal Senado By WiNG – Own work, CC BY 3.0

The Leal Senada is thought to be the most outstanding Portuguese building in Macao. Blue and white Portuguese tiles grace the inner courtyard walls, and the staircase located in the courtyard is still used by the government even today. When it was created, the citizens of Macao would come here to debate a wide variety of issues. You are welcome to pay a visit to the public library, located next to the chamber, where 15th and 16th-century books still line the shelves today.

Guia Hill

The Guia Fortress photo by J Patrick Fisher via Wikipedia CC
The Guia Fortress By J. Patrick Fischer – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

If you are looking for fabulous views of Macao and the surrounding areas of China, then take a walk up to Guia Hill. This leafy and breezy park is home to the 17th century Guia Fortress whose iconic white-washed lighthouse was only added within the last century but is the oldest on the Chinese shorelines. There is also a Chinese Christian chapel where you can gaze upon some beautiful paintings.

Kun Iam Temple

Kun Iam Temple by Marius Hoch via Wikipedia CC
Kun Iam Temple By Marius Hoch – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The 400-year-old Kun Iam Temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy but it is its political history which also draws visitors to its doors. This was the place where China and the USA signed their very first trade treaty together and the table upon which they signed it on is still here. The main temple hall can be reached by a flight of stairs within the complex itself, and there are many small shrines dotted around. Visitors still flock here today to worship Kun Iam herself, offering sticks of incense in front of her statue as well as the statues of the 18 arhats (Buddhist saints).

The southern headland

South of Almeida Ribeiro is a strip of hilly land where an intricate knot of tight lanes, colonial mansions, and lovely gardens call home. Teatro Dom Pedro V, constructed in 1873, is a popular tourist attraction. Peppermint in color, it makes for interesting viewing and a picture spot.

The Dom Pedro V Theatre by Diego Delso via Wikimedia CC
The Dom Pedro V Theatre By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0

The original residential area is Largo do lilau. This square is extraordinarily pretty with fig trees and a spring. This spring is said to be able to give longevity to those who drink its waters. The surrounding buildings are at least 100 years old but the most important building in the area is the A-Ma Temple, which parts of it are thought to be at least 600 years old. The temple is dedicated to the goddess A-Ma, who is known as Tin Hau in Hong Kong.

Pousada De Sao Tiago
Pousada De Sao Tiago

On the tip of the southern headlong peninsular is the Pousada de Sao Tiago. This is a hotel but it was created into one through the 17th-century fortress, Fortaleza de Barra, built by the Portuguese. As soon as you step through the main entrance, you will see a stone tunnel where water runs freely. The views of the ocean are simply breathtaking from the veranda café.

Head to the Avenida da Republica, lined with shady trees, and you will find the old seafront promenade and the Macao Tower which stretches into the sky to a height of 338 meters. If you come here at night you will be dazzled by the multicolored skyline which could rival Hong Kong’s.

Cotai

Cotai Macau by Doraemon.tvb via Wikipedia CC
Cotai Macau by Doraemon.tvb via Wikipedia CC

The Cotai district was created by filling in all the mudflats, reeds and sea lines and offers visitors a unique experience. Here you will find the Venetian resort complex with a life scale reproduction of St Mark’s Square and the largest casino in the world. 850 game tables, 4100 slot machines as well as a permanent Cirque de Soleil are all here for your entertainment.

Coloane

Sunset in Coloane
Sunset in Coloane

Coloane is an area of Macao where you can truly relax – most of the kit is made up of soft sandy beaches, colonial architecture, and shady, pleasant parkland. There is a beautiful white marble statue of the goddess A-Ma in the Parque de Seac Pai Van. Measuring 19.99 meters high, it is the tallest anywhere in the world.

The best beach can be found at Hac Sa. The sand may be black due to its volcanic nature but it’s soft and there are many cafes, restaurants, bars, etc in the vicinity.

Taipa

Beautifully painted building in Taipa Macau
Beautifully painted building in Taipa Macau

You may think that Taipa may be a bit over-developed for tourists (with the international airport, racecourse, stadium, and university), but head to the east and you will discover Taipa Village. This is an extraordinarily pretty little place – it has a colonial promenade, a market square which is partly covered by a dragon wall and peppermint colored mansions which house the Taipa House Museum.

Macau Travel Tips
Macau Travel Tips

Arriving in Macau

Ferries depart from Hong Kong at the Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal which can be found on Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Ferries depart twice an hour from 7am to midnight. Ferries from the Shun Tak Centre in Central leave up to four times an hour from 6.40am to midnight. The journey takes about an hour and will cost around HK$171 to HK$211 each way depending on the day and time of sailing.

Ferries depart from Shenzhen, China from the Shekou airport three times a day at 10am, 2pm and 6.30pm. The journey takes around 80 minutes and costs ¥210 ~ ¥380 each way.

Macau Travel and Tour Packages

Searching for the best hotels and affordable flights? Check out our complete list of affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new tourist attractions in Macau, China? Please follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, and TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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