With the countless of integrated resorts and casinos in Macau, the country is naturally and inevitably deemed as Las Vegas of the East. And that image overshadows a lot of what others that the country has to offer.
Though small, stretching across a small land area of only 29.5km2, there are one too many things that you can see and do altogether in Macau. From history to culture, to art and food, you name it all! Here’s my compilation of 10 things to do in Macau!
1. A-Ma Temple 媽祖閣
Kick off your trip to Macau with a visit to A-Ma Temple, to ask for a blessing or even just start off your adventures at the place where it was said that the country was named after.
When the Portuguese sailors first arrived at the coast just outside the temple and asked for the name of the peninsula, the natives replied “媽閣” (Maa Gok), making the Portuguese assume that that is the name of the peninsula and deriving at naming the peninsula “Macao” thereafter.
Read more about A-Ma Temple here…
2. Senado Square 議事亭前地
While the square has served its purpose as a civic hub for centuries, it is now paved and pedestrianized, complete with a fountain, shopping streets, cafes and space for public events like Feast of Drunken Dragon. Aside from being a popular meeting spot for locals and tourists alike, it is strategically located among numerous attractions of Macau!
Check out more on Senado Square and the other attractions around it here…
3. Ruins of St. Paul’s 大三巴牌坊
One of the hottest tourist spot on the island of Macau, and of walking distance from Senado Square, has got to be the Ruins of St. Paul’s! And it is so hot that it almost seem like you haven’t been to Macau if you haven’t got a picture with this UNESCO World Heritage Site after your trip!
The crowd at the Ruins of St. Paul’s can get really rowdy during the day and if that annoys you as much as I do, you should totally revisit the place again at night to have a more intimate time with the ruins.
Read more about Ruins of St. Paul’s here…
4. History, Culture and Art
Although Macau is pretty much a gambling city in everyone’s eyes, you shouldn’t hide out in the air-conditioned vicinities of a casino all day! Take a walk outside, explore the streets or spend an afternoon in a museum and soak up in the rich history of Macau!
For a start, drop by Museum of Macau 澳門博物, the one stop destination to learn all about the rich history, traditions and diverse cultures from the former Portuguese colony to Special Administrative Region of People’s Republic of China.
More on the Museum of Macau here…
Observe the significant influence of the Portuguese cultures starting right from the facade of the traditional Guangdong residences to the interiors at Mandarin House 鄭家大屋. Read more about it here…
The area around Lilau Square 亞婆井前地 is one of the first Portuguese residential quarters in Macau. And there is a popular Portuguese phrase that expresses the local’s nostalgic attachment to the square. Find out how the saying goes here…
And in terms of residential areas, the houses in Taipa Village has got quite a lot of influence from the Portuguese, in terms of architecture and interiors too! Check out more pictures of Taipa Houses Museum here…
Or you could take a walk down Avenida De Cinco De Outubro and the other streets of the sleepy village of Coloane for a more authentic feel of Macau! Read more on Coloane Village here…
And not forgetting that every now and then, there are notable art-related exhibitions and events within the vicinity of St. Lazarus District that all the art junkies out there should look out for when traveling to Macau.
Read about St. Lazarus District and Tap Seac Square here…
Anyway, aside from the museums, restored buildings or preserved districts, the streets of Macau holds much of their history and cultural remains if you look closely enough. And I am really so surprised when I find it so tough to come up with a quick summary of the noteworthy places. It sure seems like Macau has so so much to offer!
Find out more on what else you can find in Macau here…
5. City Views of Macau
Unknowingly, the places of interests in Macau are great vantage points that offers panoramic views of the city and a great chance for you to feel like you are on top of the world. Well, that wee bit at least!
View from Sofitel at Ponte 16… See more shots here!
6. Bungy Jump with AJ Hackett
And speaking of the Macau Tower 澳門旅遊塔會展娛樂中心…. !
The observatory deck on Level 58 not only offers you the breathtaking and vast aerial view of the peninsula of Macau and the Taipa island, it has reinforced glass panels on the floor that allows a clear view of what’s *gasps* 58 floors down! Very much breathtaking too. Haha!
And I don’t just list Macau Tower just to encourage you to go up to the observatory decks for the views or have a high tea session only! I think everyone should challenge themselves to one of the activities if your body and soul allows!
And of course, I do practice what I preach! I took on my virgin bungy jump right there at Macau Tower in year 2013. It takes 1% guts and 99% insanity to take on one of the world’s tallest bungy jumps in the world for my first ever attempt at bungy jumping! Read about my experience with AJ Hackett here!
7. The House of Dancing Water 水舞間
With a massive crew of a total of 80 performers from 25 nations, from acrobats and gymnasts to divers, if this isn’t spectacular, I don’t know what else is! Do consider catching the show and experience it for yourself! Read more about The House of Dancing Water here…
8. Grab a Pork Chop burger 豬扒包!
With the countless of integrated resorts located in Macau that houses big names in the food industry and the influx of other cuisines and influences, it is inevitable that simple local street fare like the pork chop burger gets overshadowed!
While beautifully styled and shot dishes on the menus can get really enticing, I don’t think you should miss a chance to grab yourself a pork chop burger while you are in Macau!
These are the two pork chop burgers that I had tried during my two visits to Macau. I, for that matter, preferred the ones from Bao Fu Curry! You can read my write up here to find out why…
9. Portuguese egg tarts!
Head on down to the southern end of Macau and visit Lord Stow’s original store for your Portuguese egg tarts fix, fresh out of the oven!
Of course, you can surely get Portuguese egg tarts anywhere else aside from Macau or Lord Stow’s for instance. And aside from the egg tarts being exactly how my taste palates prefers, I am very sold to the fact that I am eating it fresh out of the oven off a 30-year-old store in the sleepy village of Coloane.
Read more about Lord Stow’s here…
10. Have a curry-licious supper!
Thanks to numerous attractions, things to see and do, and the fact that casinos in Macau operates around the clock, Macau is almost a city that doesn’t sleep too. So of course, the last thing I am listing here in my compilation has definitely got to be the suggestion to grab supper (every night if you want) in Macau!
Well, I do not live in Macau to have explored every street and corner to be able to point out a popular supper joint but taking a look at places near Senado Square, there are places like Sam Un Loja De Canja 三元粥品專家 that serves up yummy meatballs porridge way passed the midnight mark on the clock or Loja de Doces Hang Heung Un 杏香园 with an elaborate menu of health benefits packed desserts to pick from.
Or you can enjoy Curry fish balls 咖哩魚蛋, yet another popular street food in Macau, at the following locations…
Located on Travessa Da Sao Domingos (More directions here…), this curry fish balls joint is popular with locals and tourists alike! You pick out your choices from a wide array of complements aside from fish balls and get the stall tender to blanch it for you before adding their specialty curry sauce over to make up your supper. You can also opt for noodles if you are hungry rather than peckish!
Yep this is the second time I mentioned Bao Fu Curry in this post and I am probably doing it because I realized that the taste and flavor of the curry served as Bao Fu Curry resembles those served at Heng You or vice versa. A robust taste and flavor of spices combined together that I really appreciate! 🙂
More posts from Macau March 2014 Travelogue series: