Macau is one of the two Special Administrative Districts (another one is Hong Kong), locates on the west bank of the Pearl River Delta. This coastal city consists of Macau Peninsula, Taipa Island (Dangzai Island), Coloane Island and Lk Taipa Island City. Macau covers an area of 32.8 square meters with population up to 549,200, which make it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Meanwhile, Macau is one of the World’s four Las Vegas. Macau has developed in the past industries such as textiles, electronics and toys, while today has built up world class tourism industry with a wide choice of hotels, resorts, MICE facilities, restaurants and casinos. The economy grew rapidly and listed Macau one of the top affluent cities.
In the 16th century, China gave Portugal the right to settle in Macau in exchange for clearing the area of pirates. Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. It was also the last; pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999, ending over 400 years of Portuguese administration.
Like any port city, Macau has always had brothels and some rather dangerous bars catering to seamen. Like many other places, it has also had organised crime; in the 1990s there were gang wars sometimes involving automatic weapons in the streets. However, after the 1999 Chinese takeover the gangs were rather firmly crushed and today Macau is no more hazardous than any other major tourist destination.
Inner Harbour dock of Macau Peninsula is used by the Macau coastal land cargo, fishing boats and ferry. As for the outer harbor transport, Macau mainly uses the Macau Ferry Terminal and Nine Bay Port. There is 24-hour opening jet boats via Hong Kong to Macau which spends only 1 hour and costs weekday fare of 150 yuan.
Macau Light Rail (Subway): The center sections of the construction of Macau Taipa light rail broke ground on February 26, 2012, marking the light rail construction project in Macau was officially launched. After the completion of the Macau light rail, Macau tourists can spend one hour to reach Guangzhou.
The buses between the Macau Peninsula and Taipa Island are 11,22,28 A, 30, 33 and there are a total of six routes to the airport including 34; 26,36, MT1, MT2, N2 and AP1. The buses 21A, 25,26,26 A and 50 come and go Macau, Taipa and Coloane. In addition, there are a lot of buses shuttling in the streets of Macau City.
Macau’s taxi has black body and creamy yellow roof. Depart Price (first 1500 meters) charges MOP 12 yuan, after that MOP 1.5 yuan per 200 meters; stop waiting for customers charges MOP 1.5 yuan per minute; large luggage charges MOP 5 yuan.
Macau now has two companies operating mini jeep travel service; each vehicle can carry four people and costs 450 yuan on weekdays and 500 yuan at weekend. Generally the fees are calculated from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m..
Manpower Tricycle is a distinctive vehicle in Macau; also it is a very good tourist transport. You can take one to roam the South Bay and West Bay area to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. Usually hour package fare is MOP 150 yuan.
If you want a relaxed manner to roam Macau, cycling is a good choice. In the urban Taipa Island, you can rent bikes. It needs to be noted that the bridge linked Macau and Taipa is prohibited to ride a bike.
The Ruins of St Paul’s was originally built in 17th century, it was destroyed by fire in 1835. What remains till today is the facade of the Church & St Paul’s college.
Nowadays, the facade of the Ruins of St. Paul’s functions symbolically as an altar to the city.
Arrival method : 3, 3X, 4, 6A, 8A, 18A, 19, 26A, 33, N1A
Senado Square has been Macau’s urban centre for centuries & still a popular venue for celebrations. It is paved with a wave-patterned mosaic colored stones created by the Portuguese.
The square is surrounded by beautiful pastel coloured neo-classical buildings with the former Senate building just opposite the fountain.
Arrival method: 3, 3X, 4, 6A, 8A, 18A, 19, 26A, 33, N1A
Macau’s name is derived from A-Ma-Gau or Place of A-Ma and this temple dedicated to the seafarers’ goddess dates from the early 16th century.
The A-Ma Temple was constructed during the Ming Dynasty to commemorate Mazu, the sea goddess. According to legend, A-Ma, a poor girl looking for passage to Canton, was refused by the wealthy junk owners but a lowly fisherman took her on board. A storm blew up and wrecked all but the boat carrying the girl. On arrival in Macau she vanished, to reappear as a goddess, on the spot where the fishermen built her temple.
Opening Hours : 7am to 6pm.
Arrival method: Barra Square : 1, 2, 5, 6B, 10, 10A, 11, 18, 21A, 26, 28B, 55, MT4, N3
Macau Tower is 338 metres in height and offers visitors a splendid panoramic views all over Macao and much of the Pearl River Delta from its observation deck and revolving restaurant, at the 223-metre level.
Arrival method : 9A, 18, 23, 26, 32, 73
Guia Fortress was initially designed to defend Macau from attacks from the sea, but because of its position overlooking the entire city, its chief value has been as an observation post.
The lighthouse stands at 91 meters tall, and has a light visible for some 20 miles in clear weather conditions. The Guia Fortress was a restricted military area until 1976 when it opened as a major tourist attraction.
Opening Hours : Daily 10am to 5.30pm
Arrival method : 2, 2A, 6A, 12, 17, 18, 18A, 19, 22, 23, 25, 25X, 32, 56
Venetian Macau is one of the world largest casino & hotel with all 3,000 of its room are suites, each with more than 70 sqm of space and lavish Italian marble bathrooms.
Experience shopping with over 350 international shops, be dazzled by the street performers, or take a ride on an authentic Venetian gondola, all at the resort.
The Parisian Macau on the other hand is the latest new shopping mall, hotel, casino and has its own Eiffel Tower.
Free Shuttle to Venetian Macau :
Free transfer from Macau International Airport, Taipa Ferry Terminal, Lotus Border and Sands Macau.
Named after Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha, Rua du Cunha is a narrow pedestrian street offering a variety of delicious local food. The short alley offers some of the famous Macau eatery shops such as Lord Stow, Gelatina Mok Yi Kei, Seng Cheong Crab Porridge and many more.
It is also just a short 10 to 15 mins walk from Venetian to Rua dun Cunha.
Travessa da Paixão is also known as Love Lane with a history of 80 years. The buildings are artfully painted making it a nice photo taking spots among tourists. It is just located beside Ruin’s of St Paul’s.
This statue is dedicated to Goddess of Mercy. It is 20 meters tall and made of special bronze. The dome shape base like a lotus flower, is an ecumenical centre where information is available on Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
Opening Hours : 10am to 6pm. Closed on Friday.
Bus Routes : 10A, 17, 30X
The St Dominic Church was founded in 1587 by three Spanish Dominican priests who originally came from Acapulco in Mexico. This is the place where the first Portuguese newspaper was published in China.
The bell tower, at the back of the building is converted into a small Museum of Sacred Art with a collection of around 300 artifacts.
Opening hours : Daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Arrival method : 3, 3X, 4, 6A, 8A, 18A, 19, 26A, 33, N1A
Galaxy Macau is one of the top resort destination in Macau with more than 2,200 rooms, suites and villas from Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, Okura Hotels & Resorts, and Galaxy Hotel.
Facilities include a selection of more than 50 food and beverage outlets, distinctive retail shopping; lush oasis gardens covering 52,000 square meters, and the world’s largest Skytop Wave Pool covering 4,000 square meters and featuring a 350-ton white sand beach.
Free Shuttle to Galaxy Macau :
Free transfer from StarWorld Hotel, Macau Ferry Terminal, Macau International Airport, Taipa Ferry Terminal, Lotus Border and Broadway Macau
Macao Giant Panda Pavilion comprises two 330m2 indoor activity quarters and a 600m2 outdoor yard for the inhabitation of the giant pandas and a 900m2 indoor exhibit area.
Two viewing paths of different elevations align along the front edge of the fan-layout indoor activity area, accessible to two streams of visitors.
Please purchase tickets in advance due to the limited number of admission.
Opening Hours : 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays, admission at 6 intervals per day.
Admission : MOP10
Arrival method : 15, 21A, 25, 26, 26A, 50, N3
Gambling is Macau’s biggest industry and busloads arrive daily from mainland China to try their luck. In addition, many Hong Kongers arrive on weekends with the same aim. For decades, the Casino Lisboa was the largest and most famous, a landmark well-known to people outside Macau, but many more casinos have sprung up. Nevertheless, the original Casino Lisboa is still worth a visit as its halls contain many original antiques on display from the private collection of gambling tycoon Stanley Ho.
Another popular form of gambling in Macau is greyhound racing, where people bet on dogs in the same way that many people in other countries bet on horses. The minimum bet is 10 patacas and payouts can be made in both Macanese Patacas and Hong Kong Dollars.
Canidrome is your spot for great Greyhound racing. It is on Avenida General Castelo Branco. Greyhound races are held at Canidrome on Monday, Thursday and Friday plus weekends – racing starts at 7:45PM with 16 races each night.
MOP10 admission fee (redeemable when betting) to get in. Box seats are MOP80 for non-peak days and MOP120 for weekends and holidays. There is off-track-betting available for Canidrome at Jai-Alai Palace, Hotel Lisboa and Kam Pek Casino.
The City of Dreams in Cotai hosts The House of Dancing Water, the world’s most expensive theatre show, costing US$250 million to produce. The stage holds five Olympic swimming pools worth of water, and ushers give the front few rows of the audience towels.
At a height of 233m, the bungy jump from Macau tower, maintained and operated by A.J. Hackett is the second highest in the world. Along with the bungy, one can also try the Sky jump, that is somewhat like a jump but is more protected and doesn’t involve a free fall, and a sky walk, that is a protected on a platform running around the circumference of the floor. Bouldering and sport climbing activities are also conducted at the tower’s base. See the Macau Peninsula page for details.
Hac Sa beach
Macau’s two beaches – Hac Sa and Cheoc Van – are on the southern side of Coloane island. They are very popular and are frequented by locals and visitors, especially at the weekend.
Besides beaches, there are several public swimming pools all over Macau. All high-end hotels also have swimming pools.
There are opportunities for hiking and cycling on the relatively rural islands of Taipa and Coloane. In Taipa, the two hills Taipa Grande and Taipa Pequena are the two main spots for Hiking Trails, while a cycling track is available near Ocean Gardens and Avenida dos Jogos da Ásia Oriental da Taipa.
In Coloane, the area is much more rural and is harder to be spotted. The area in Coloane is also more mountainous, creating more opportunities for hiking.
A list of the hiking and cycling paths is available at the IACM website.
There is a bowling centre of international standard which was constructed in 2005 for the East Asian Games at the Macau Dome in Cotai area. There is also a bowling alley in Macau near the Camoes Garden/Protestant cemetery.
Macau is famous for excellent restaurants, unique cuisine and mellow bars. Above all, the city is famous for two cuisines: Portuguese and Macanese.
Portuguese food (cozinha portuguesa), brought in by its Portuguese colonizers, is hearty, salty, straightforward fare. While many restaurants claim to serve the stuff, fully authentic fare is mostly limited to a few high-end restaurants, especially the cluster at the southwestern tip of the Peninsula. Typical Portuguese dishes include:
pato de cabidela (bloody duck), a stew of chicken with blood and herbs, served with rice; sounds and looks somewhat scary, but it’s excellent when well done
bacalhau (salted cod), traditionally served with potatoes and veggies
caldo verde, a soup of potato, chopped kale and chouriço sausage
feijoada (kidney-bean stew), a Brazilian staple common in Macau as well
pastéis de nata (egg tarts), crispy and flaky on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside
Macanese food (comida de Macau) was created when Portuguese and Chinese influences were mixed together with spices brought from Africa and South-East Asia by traders, and many restaurants advertising “Portuguese” food in fact serve up mostly Macanese dishes. Seafood and barbecue specialist Fernando’s on Coloane’s Hac Sa Beach is probably the best-known Macanese restaurant.
almond cookies. Dry Chinese-style cookies flavoured with almond. Macau’s top souvenir, they’re compact, durable and hence sold pretty much everywhere.
galinha à africana (African-style chicken). Barbecued chicken coated in spicy piri-piri sauce.
galinha à portuguesa (Portuguese-style chicken). Chicken in a coconutty curry; despite the name, this is not a Portuguese dish at all, but a purely Macanese invention.
pork chop bun. The Macanese version of a hamburger, the name pretty much says it all: it’s a slice of freshly fried pork (often with a few chunks of bone left) with a dash of pepper placed inside a freshly baked bun.
beef jerky. More moist and fresh than typical jerky, and quite delicious. Easily found on the street leading up to the Ruins of St. Paul, where vendors will push free samples at you as you walk by with great enthusiasm. Be sure to try them all before choosing the one you like best!
The bulk of Macau’s hotels are on the Peninsula, although there are also many options – including high-end ones – on Taipa and, increasingly, the Cotai Strip, which is challenging the Peninsula to become Macau’s premier casino area. Coloane, which offers fewer and much quieter options, has accommodation ranging from the famous Pousada de Coloane to Macau’s two beach-side youth hostels.
Hotel rates are most expensive on Friday and Saturday nights, because demand is higher with tourists coming to Macau to gamble over the weekend. Try to make a booking through a travel agent, even if for the same day, as the rates can be substantially lower than walk-in rates. If you are coming from Hong Kong, book through an agent at the Shun Tak ferry pier for the best deals. Getting a package deal including return ferry tickets gives you the best price.
In the Inner Harbour area, many of the pensions and cheap hotels are also the place of business for many of the mainland Chinese prostitutes that work in Macau, and most hotel “saunas” are in fact thinly disguised brothels.
Quite frankly, the shopping options in Macau don’t hold a candle to Hong Kong. While the newer megacasinos have introduced Macau to the joys of sterile franchise-filled malls, the city center streets around the older casinos are still a bizarre monoculture of ridiculously expensive watch, jewelry and Chinese medicine shops (with an emphasis on herbal Viagra-type cures), all aimed squarely at liberating lucky gamblers from their winnings. Finding tasteful souvenirs can thus be surprisingly challenging, although the touristy streets between Largo do Senado and the ruins of St. Paul’s do have a scattering of antique shops.
Bargaining in the small shops can be done, but usually working on the principle of the shopkeeper quoting a price, the buyer making “hmmm” sounds and the shopkeeper lowering the price a bit. A full-fledged haggling match is quite rare, as most antique shops sell precisely the same thing at precisely the same prices.
There are many pawnshops, especially along Av de Almeida Ribeiro in the center of town, where losing gamblers sell their cameras and Rolexes to finance the trip home or a return to the tables. For buyers, prices are usually not particularly good, but if you know the merchandise and are prepared to bargain there are some good deals.Share this tour
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