Macau, a special administrative region of China, has made its mark on the tourist map because of its glamour and an interesting mix of varied cultures thriving here harmoniously. For over 300 years, it was a Portuguese colony, reason why you’ll come across cobbled plazas, age-old churches, colonial houses, old citadels and Portuguese street names. Today, Macau beckons millions of tourists from mainland China, Hong Kong and neighbouring countries because of gaming tourism. What I like about Macau is, the attractions are walking distance of each other especially in the old district. Don’t miss walking around here at night to witness its grandeur. Here are some of the top tourist spots in Macau to help you organise your trip.
MACAU TOP TOURIST SPOTS
1. SENADO SQUARE
If you want to explore the Old Town Macau, you better start at Senado Square. There are many buses that alight at Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro where you can start your walking tour. This place is where you’ll find most heritage buildings, churches and dirt cheap traditional food in Macau. Senado Square is an ancient plaza since the Ming Dynasty fronting the Leal Senado Building. It is part of the Historic Center of Macau, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fountain crowns its center where a statue of the Portuguese soldier named Mesquita once stood. But because he was responsible for the deaths of many Chinese soldiers during the Qing Dynasty, it was destroyed by the Chinese citizens and then replaced with “The Fountain”. I really like walking around this place because it is dappled with colorful age-old houses and building, including the beautiful Macau General Post Office. Senado Square witnessed many important events in Macau. Don’t miss the yellow-painted St. Dominic’s Church, as well as Macau Cathedral located nearby. Just follow the signs.
Entrance Fee: FREE
Open Hours: 24 hours, but shops closes around 9:00 PM
Address: Largo de Senado, Macau
How to get there: Ride any of the following buses: 3, 3X, 4,6A,8A,18A,19,26A,33 or N1A to Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro and walk from there. You may also ride bus 2,5,16 or 28 B to Avenida da Praia Grande. Alternatively, you can take the free shuttle bus to Grand Lisboa and walk down Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro to reach Senado Square.
Nearby Tourist Spots: St. Dominic Church, Macau Cathedral, Camoes Garden, Lou Kau Mansion, Grand Lisboa, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Macau Museum, Ruins of St. Paul, Monte Fortress
2. RUINS OF ST.PAUL’S CHURCH
A mere mention of Macau connotes images of St.Paul’s Church Ruins, the most photographed and visited tourist spot here. About a 10-minute walk from Senado Square, you’ll reach its iconic 5-tiered façade. Originally called Mater Dei, its architecture is a blend of Asian and European influence. It was constructed by Japanese and Chinese artisans who escaped persecutions from their country. But the original wood church located on this hill was built by the Jesuits but it was burned down sometime in 1835. The original Mater Dei was surrounded by a wall. Only one door survived and can be found near the Na Tcha Temple.
Beside the Ruins of St. Paul’s Church, you’ll see a stair leading to the Monte Fortress and Macau Museum. Don’t miss it!
There are also several shops and stores down the stairs of the church façade. The food and the drinks are really good here. We tried the Portuguese tart and it is really good! If you want to stay on a budget in Macau Island, this is where you should eat.
Entrance Fee: FREE for the façade of the Church of Mater Dei but there’s admission for the following:
Ruins of St Paul: Open Hours: Daily 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (no admission after 5:30 PM)
Sacred Art Museum & Crypt: Daily 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (no admission after 5:30 PM) except Tuesday 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM only
Address: Santo Antonio, Macau
How to get to St,Paul’s Church Ruins: Board any of the following buses to Camoes Square: 8A, 18A, 18B, 18, 19 or 26. If you are already in Senado Square, just follow the sign to Ruins of St. Paul’s Church.
Nearby Tourist Attractions: Macau Museum, Monte Fortress, St. Dominic Church, Macau Cathedral, Camoes Garden, Senado Square, Lou Kau Mansion, Grand Lisboa, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church
3. MONTE FORTRESS
The Fortress of Our Lady of the Mount of St. Paul, also known as Monte Fortress, is also part of the Historic Center of Macau, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the historical center of Macau military. Climb up the stairs to get a panoramic view of Macau Island. Monte Fortress has a pleasant garden peppered with some trees and old canons. This is where you’ll find the Macau Museum too. Entrance is free. If you go there early in the morning you’ll chance upon some elders exercising and practicing tai chi.
Entrance Fee: FREE
Open Hours: Daily 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Address: R. do Monte, Macau
How to get to Monte Fortress: Board any of the following buses to Hospital Kiang Wu: 8A, 17, 18 A, 18, 18B, 19 or 26. If you are in Senado Square follow the sign to St. Paul Ruins, the fortress is beside it.
Nearby Points of Interests: Macau Museum, Ruins of St. Paul, St. Dominic Church, Macau Cathedral, Camoes Garden, Senado Square, Lou Kau Mansion, Grand Lisboa, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church
4. MACAU MUSEUM
The Museum of Macau is sitting on Monte Fortress. It showcases the history of Macau as well as the different nationalities thriving here over the years.
The Macau Museum
Entrance Fee: (adult) MOP 15/PHP 99/HKD 14/USD 2/EURO 2/SGD 2/MYR 7
(children under 12 years old and seniors over 65 years old) FREE
Open Hours: Daily except Monday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM (ticket counter closes at 5:30 PM)
Address: No.112 Praceta do Museu de Macau
How to get to Macau Museum: Take any of the following buses: Bus 2,3,3A,4,5,6,7,8A,10,10A,11,17,18,21A or 26. Once you are in Senado Square, just follow the sign to Ruins of St. Paul’s, Macau Museum is beside it (on Monte fortress).
Nearby Tourist Attractions: Ruins of St. Paul, St. Dominic Church, Macau Cathedral, Camoes Garden, Lou Kau Mansion, Grand Lisboa, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Senado Square
5. MACAU TOWER
Inspired by his visit in New Zealand, Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho Hung-Sun wanted to build a similar tower to Auckland’s Sky Tower in Macau. So, he commissioned an architect to build one. The tower itself is used for broadcasting and telecommunications and is about 338 meters high with an observation deck offering a panoramic view of Macau. There are also many adventure activities to try here such as the famous bungee jump in Macau, which is the highest commercial sky jump in the world, and the skywalk.
Entrance Fee: FREE for cinema, shopping mall and restaurants.
MOP 145/PHP 954/HKD 140/USD 18/EURO 15/SGD 24/MYR 72 for observation lounge and adventure deck.
Open Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM ,Weekend – Holiday – 9:00 AM -9:00 PM
Address: Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment, Macau
How to get to Macau Tower: Take a taxi to Macau Tower or ride any of the following buses: 9A, 18,21, 23,32 and 26.
Nearby Tourist Attractions: Macau Bridge
Things to do in Macau Tower:
Macau Tower Observation Deck: RESERVE HERE
Macau Tower Tea Delights and Sky-High Views: RESERVE HERE
Lunch Buffet: RESERVE HERE
Macau Tower Dinner Buffet: RESERVE HERE
Macau Tower Skywalk: RESERVE HERE
Macau Tower Bungee Jump: RESERVE HERE
Macau Tower Sky jump: RESERVE HERE
Macau Tower Climb: RESERVE HERE
6. TAIPA VILLAGE
7. MACAU LUXURY HOTELS
Macau’s biggest revenue comes from gaming tourism. In fact, its income is higher than that of Las Vegas. It has long been legal in this region since 1850 when the Portuguese leaders legalized it. Today, many tourists visit Macau because of the dazzling luxury hotels that has become an attraction in itself. Don’t miss the Parisian Macao, Studio City, The Venetian Macau Resort and the Wynn Palace in Cotai.
Entrance Fee: FREE
Open hours: 24 hours
How to get there: You can ride the free hotel shuttle or city bus from Macau International Airport, Macau Ferry Terminal and Taipa Ferry Terminal.
8. GOLDEN REEL FERRIS WHEEL
This is Studios City Macau’s latest attractions. The Golden Reel is the world’s highest figure-8 Ferris wheel. It’s inspired by Hollywood tale of 2 asteroids dashing through Studio City’s 2 art deco hotel tower. The Golden Reel has 17 themed-cabins, and each cabin can accommodate up to 10 people each.
Entrance Fee: MOP 103/PHP 552/HKD 100/USD 12.75/SGD 17.39/MYR 52
Open Hours: Monday – Friday 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Address: Estr.do Istmo, Macau (It’s on Studio City Macau)
How to get to Golden Reel Ferris Wheel: Take the free hotel shuttle bus to Studio City Macau from Macau International Airport, Macau Ferry Terminal, Taipa Ferry Terminal and other resorts.
Nearby Tourist Attractions: Parisian Macau, Studio City Macau
9. GONDOLA RIDE AT VENETIAN MACAU
One of the famous activities for tourists in Macau is the gondola ride at the Venetian. You can ride a real gondola while the gondolier serenade you during your ride through the Marco Polo, San Luca and Grand Canals of Shoppes at Venetian. I like our gondola experience here because of the gondolier’s beautiful voice. In fact, I like it better than my expensive gondola ride in Venice, Italy because our gondolier there is so strict and unfriendly. I recommend you try it in Macau, you can book discounted tickets below.
Fee: MOP 914/PHP 914/HKD 138/USD 17.09/EURO 97/SGD 23.35/MYR 56
Open Hours: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM (last redemption 8:45 PM)
Address: Estrada da Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperanca, Macau
How to get to Gondola Ride in Venetian: Board the free hotel shuttle to Venetian Macau from Macau International Airport, Macau Ferry Terminal, Taipa Ferry Terminal and other hotels.
10. Macau Shows
Many luxury hotels in Macau offer shows that you can watch for free or with a fee. The top Macau shows according to TripAdvisor are: The House of Dancing Water in City Dreams, Dream Works Experience at Cotai Strip Resort, Performance Lake at Wynn Palace and Tree of Prosperity at Wynn Palace. You can book discounted tickets below for some Macau shows:
The House of Dancing Water: RESERVE HERE
Batman Dark Flight: RESERVE HERE
Monkey King China Show: RESERVE HERE
Hengquin Theatre Ocean Kingdom Macau: RESERVE HERE
TIP: If you want to save on entrance fees to Hong Kong and Macau’s top tourist attractions, you can avail of the iVenture Card. This includes discounts to Ngong Ping 360, Noah’s Ark, Ocean Park, Sky100 Observation Deck, Macau Tower, and more!
11. A-MA TEMPLE
Dedicated to the Chinese sea-goddess Mazu, A-ma Temple is one of the oldest temples in Macau built sometime in 1488.
Entrance Fee: FREE
Open Hours: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Address: Largo de Barra, Macau
How to get to A-Ma Temple: Take bus 6,8, 9 or 28 B
12. MACAU FISHERMAN’S WHARF
I was pretty excited to visit here because of the photos I’ve seen on Facebook. But to be honest, it’s quite disappointing. Fisherman’s Wharf is promoted as a theme park but it’s quite deserted when we arrived here. The place is actually a collection of restaurants, high-end shops and bars that are set in Arabian Nights and Renaissance-era Europe. There are some rides here for children, but it’s almost empty. If you decide to visit, you can go there to dine as it has a good selection of international restaurants serving American, Thai and Indian food.
Entrance Fee: FREE
Open Hours: 24 hours
Address: Avenue Dr.Sun Yat-Sen, Macau
How to get there: Ride bus No. 1A, 3, 3A, 8, 10, 10A, 10B, 17, 28A, 28B, 28 BX, 28C or 32.
Alternatively, you may also take the shuttle to Hotel Sands Macau or shuttle buses to Macau Fisherman’s Wharf from downtown Macau.
Philippine Passport Holders are entitled to a 30-day visa-free entry to Macau. Make sure that your passport is still valid (at least 6 months before it expires). Note that Macau won’t stamp your passport if you are a Filipino, but the Immigration Officer will insert a small paper that will serve as your entry-stamp. Don’t lose it.
Singapore: 30 days visa-free
Malaysia: 30 days visa-free
United States: 30 days visa-free
European Union: 90 days visa-free
You can check Macau’s visa requirements HERE for other countries.
Macau is composed of 3 regions, but because of the reclamation of the area between Taipa and Coloane, there’s now a 4th region called Cotai.
Macau Peninsula : This the main city center where the old town is located. This is where you can find Senado Square, the Ruins of St. Paul’s Church, Macau Museum, Monte Fort, Dominic Church, Macau Tower and some luxury hotels like Wynn Palace, Hotel Lisboa and Sands Macau.
Taipa: If you want to witness the beautifully-preserved Macanese architecture, this is the place to be. Head to Taipa Village.
Cotai: The reclaimed area between Taipa and Coloane is now known as Cotai. This is home to the new luxury hotels and gaming centers in Macau.
Colane: Hemmed in by colonial villages (Coloane Village) and Macau’s beaches like Cheoc Van Beach (Bamboo Bay) and Hac Sa Beach (Black Sand Beach), next to it is the Ha Sac Reservoir Country Park.
IMPORTANT: You can use your Hong Kong Dollars in Macau. The rate is almost the same: 1 MOP = 0.97 HKD.
HOW TO GET TO MACAU
Manila to Macau
If you are coming from Manila or Cebu, many airlines fly non-stop to Macau (Macau International Airport) daily. But, Philippine Airlines is a good option since the it comes with a 20 kg checked-in baggage aside from the 7kg hand-carry. You can book here: www.philippineairlines.com
Hong Kong to Macau
Macau is accessible from Hong Kong, so consider adding Hong Kong on your itinerary. There are several local airlines flying between the 2 regions. You can do the following :
- Philippines → Macau → Hong Kong → Philippines: Fly to Macau and cross to Hong Kong, then exit in Hong Kong back to the Philippines or whatever your home country is. Or you can fly to most popular mode of transportation here is the ferry, see details below.
- Philippines → Hong Kong → Macau→ Philippines: Fly to Hong Kong then cross to Macau, then fly out back to the Philippines or whatever your country is.
If you want to avail of Macau Airport Lounge: RESERVE HERE
Because Macau is about an hour away from Hong Kong by ferry, many tourists usually do a Macua-Hong Kong trip or Hong Kong-Macau trip. The most cost-efficient mode of transportation is by ferry.
HONG KONG FERRY TERMINAL :
In Hong Kong, there are 3 ferry terminals where you can board a ferry to Macau:
1. Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal (Sheung Wan Terminal): This is where we took the ferry to Macau. It is located on the 3rd floor of Shuntak Tak Center in Hong Kong.
How to get there: Take MTR to Sheung Wan and take Exit D. Proceed to the ferry terminal on the 3rd floor.
2. China Ferry Terminal: This is beside Harbour City Mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.
How to get there: Take MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui Station and take Exit A1.
3. Sky Pier: If you want to go straight to Macau the moment you arrive in Hong Kong, you can go straight to Sky Pier.
How to get there: Go to Hong Kong International Airport.
TIP: Avoid crossing to/from Hong Kong and Macau during weekends and holidays, it’s too crowded.
MACAU FERRY TERMINAL:
Take note that there are 2 ferry terminals in Macau for trips to/from Hong Kong:
1. Macau Ferry Terminal : This is located in Outer Harbour at Macau mainland, close to the city center.
How to get there: Take the free hotel shuttle bus to Macau Ferry Terminal (Outer Harbour). Ride public bus 3,10A, 12 and 28 A.
2. Taipa Terminal (Cotai Ferry Terminal): This is near Macau International Airport.
Fare: MOP 160/PHP 1,053/HKD 155/USD 20/EURO 17/SGD 27/MYR 80 to MOP 327/PHP 2,152/HKD 316/USD 40/EURO 35/SGD 55/MYR 163
Travel time: Approximately 1 hour
Departures: Every 30 minutes from 7:00 AM – 1:00 AM (from Macau) and 7:00 AM – 11:30 PM (from Hong Kong).
You can book discounted ferry tickets below:
- Hong Kong Macau ferry Terminal (Shuntak Center) to Taipa Ferry Terminal : RESERVE HERE
- Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal (Shuntak center) to Outer Harbour Terminal: RESERVE HERE
- Hong Kong Airport to Macau Outer Harbour Terminal and vice versa : RESERVE HERE
If you need a roundtrip ferry ticket between Hong Kong and Macau, you can book below:
Macau and Hong Kong Wi-Fi: RESERVE HERE
Macau Simcard: RESERVE HERE
TIP: If you have an Iventure Card Hong Kong and Macau Pass, you can get 15% off your Cotai water jet ferry tickets.
HOW TO BOARD THE FERRY IN MACAU AND HONG KONG :
1.Purchase or redeem your ferry ticket at the ticketing counter of the ferry terminal.
2.Walk to the Check-in Gate.
3.Proceed to the Immigration Counter for clearance.
4.Go to Seat Allocation Counter for your seat assignment. You will be provided a number, which is your set number. Don’t forget this!
- Ride the ferry. That’s it!
- Each passenger is allowed 1 piece of luggage for up to 20kg. There’s a fee for excess baggage.
- Arrive at least an hour at the ferry terminal before your departure time.
GETTING AROUND MACAU
Whether you are arriving in Macau International Airport, Taipa Terminal (Cotai Terminal) or Macau Ferry Terminal, you can any of the following transportation to get to your hotel or your destination:
- FREE Hotel Shuttle Bus : Luxury hotels in Macau have free shuttle buses, you can ride even if you are not booked in that hotel. If your hotel doesn’t have a free shuttle bus, you can ride the shuttle bus of the nearest hotel to your hotel.
2. Public Bus: You can consult Google as it will give you the bus number you should take, the bus route, the bus stop and estimated travel time. Public buses are also available in Macau, you can ride them at Macau Airport, Taipa Terminal (Cotai Terminal) and Macau Ferry Terminal.
Make sure if you will pay the bus fare by cash, have exact coins with you as the driver doesn’t give change. You can also buy a prepaid smart card called Macau Pass (similar to the Octopus Card of Hong Kong) to pay for your bus fares. When riding the bus, take the front door and when getting off, take the rear door.
For your reference, here’s the list of bus fares in Macau:
Within Macau Peninsula : MOP 3.20/PHP 21/HKD 3/USD 0.39/EURO 0.34/SGD 0.54/MYR 1.60
Within Taipa (includes Taipa Village): MOP 2.80/PHP 18/HKD 3/USD 0.34/EURO 0.30/SGD 0.47/MYR 1.40
Within Coloane: MOP 2.80/PHP 18/HKD 3/USD 0.34/EURO 0.30/SGD 0.47/MYR 1.40
Macau Peninsula to Coloane and back: MOP 5/PHP 33/HKD 5/USD 0.62/EURO 0.53/SGD 0.84/MYR 3
Taipa to Coloane Village: MOP 3.20/PHP 21/HKD 3/USD 0.39/EURO 0.34/SGD 0.54/MYR 1.60
Macau Peninsula to Taipa and back: MOP 4.20/PHP 28/HKD 4/USD 0.52/EURO 0.44/SGD 0.71/MYR 2
Macau Peninsula to Hac Sa Beach and back: MOP 6.40/PHP 42/HKD 6/USD 0.79/EURO 0.68/SGD 1/MYR 3
Taipa to Hac Sa Beach or Ka Ho: MOP 3.60/PHP 24/HKD 3/USD 0.44/EURO 0.38/SGD 0.61/MYR 2
3. By Taxi: We took a taxi in Macau because we were in a hurry, we were going to miss our ferry. If you’re going to ride the taxi at the ferry terminal taxi stand or Macau Airport Taxi stand, there’s an addition MOP 5 charge. Here’s the standard taxi fare:
First 1,600 meters: MOP 19
Every 240 meters: MOP 2
WHERE TO STAY IN MACAU:
Because I’m in Macau, known for its glitz and lavishness, I opted for a luxurious stay. I stayed in Ascott Macau, a luxurious business hotel in the Dynasty District of Macau Peninsula. The location is pretty convenient as it is walking distance to some famous attractions in the city, about 20-minute walk. The room I got is the Executive Suites, pretty spacious and a beautiful blend of contemporary flair and glam. It’s perfect for couples or family who wants to enjoy a convenient vacation in Macau. Its opulence is unpretentious, not too glaring for the eye, which makes it more elegant. It is also quiet, you will be assured of a relaxing stay. But if you want to see Macau Peninsula at night and enjoy the glitz of other big luxury establishments it’s just across the street.
No. 339 R.Cidade de Braga, Nape, Macau, Macau City, Macau
MACAU BUDGET HOTELS (under PHP 3,500)
But of course, if you want to stay on a budget, fret not as there are budget hotels in Macau too, especially in Macau Peninsula where the Old town Macau is located. Also, if you are looking for budget hotels in Taipa, which is near Cotai (where most of the new gaming hotels are located), see the hotels with Taipa address below.
IMPORTANT: To check the room rates, once you click the link, you can change the date to your preferred date/s of stay in the selected hotel then hit “Search”.
Macau Masters Hotel
162 Rua das lorchas, Macau City, Macau
5 Footway Inn
No. 8 Rua de Constantino Brito, Macau City
Asia Boutique Inn
Rua Correia Da Silva No.146, Taipa, Macau
Home of Macau
3/F, 4 QunXing New Street, Macau City, Macau
Towns Well Hotel
No 6-6A Calcada das Verdades, Macau City
About the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.
For advertisements, sponsorship and partnerships, you may reach her at gaelhilotinblog (at) gmail (dot) com.
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