Just an hour away from Hong Kong by ferry, Macau is another special administrative region of China. The influences of its former Portuguese colonial masters have been successfully weaved into its Chinese heritage, as seen in its buildings, food, and tradition. Because of the presence of many casinos and high-end shopping centers in such a small peninsula, Macau earned the nickname ‘Las Vegas of Asia.’
But there is more to Macau than gambling until the wee hours. Here are seven awesome things you can do in this wonderful destination.
Munch on Portuguese egg tart
The Portuguese egg tart wouldn’t be Macau’s most famous food for nothing. Consisting of a flaky outer shell and a rich, creamy egg custard filling, this pastry is found everywhere, and can be eaten while strolling around the city. Price per piece varies, depending on where they are sold. Koi Kei Bakery, which has branches all over Macau, sells them at HKD $9 each. Of course, you won’t settle at eating just one.
Visit the Ruins of St. Paul at night
Anyone who includes the Ruins of St. Paul in their itinerary would usually visit it during the day, but why not check it out after sunset? The church’s front façade and grand stone stairs have a different charm when the sun goes down and the city lights are turned on. There’s a slight disadvantage though – the nearby Monte Fort and Macau Museum closes at 6:00 p.m., but you can always come back the next day and marvel on its daytime beauty.
Admission is free!
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How to get there: Take the No. 3, 3A, 4, 8A, 10, 10A, 11, 18, 19, 21A, 26A, 33 buses to Senado Square. Once there, just follow the signs to Ruins of St. Paul. If you are coming from Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16, walk along Av. de Almeida Ribeiro until you reach Senado Square.
View Senado Square from Leal Senado building
Should you have time to come back to Ruins of St. Paul and Senado Square the following day, make sure to drop by the Leal Senado building right across the square. Its windows on the second floor offer an amazing view of Senado Square and neighboring structures. You may also check out the courtyard garden, as well as the ceremonial meeting room that leads to an elaborate library.
Admission is free!
Take advantage of the casinos’ free shuttles
Just because you aren’t interested in trying your luck in the slot machines doesn’t mean you can no longer avail of the free shuttles provided by the casinos. Whether coming from the Macau Maritime Terminal, Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal, or Macau International Airport, you can ride any of the shuttle buses that wait for arriving guests.
Each casino shuttle has an assigned parking space; just choose where you want to go and hop on. The bus leaves once it is full, but don’t worry if you can’t make it on the first bus as another one would arrive in 5-20 minutes, depending on the hotel you want to visit.
Walk around Old Taipa Village
Before the huge hotels and casinos started sprouting like mushrooms in Macau, Taipa Island had narrow lanes and alleys and colored colonial houses. All these can be found in the Old Taipa Village, one of the two traditional ‘villages’ that still exist in the peninsula.
Just a stone’s throw away from The Venetian Macao, this tourist attraction is also the home to the Taipa Houses Museum, Rua Do Cunha, Our Lady of Carmel Church, and Carmel Garden.
Admission is free!
Address: Avenida da Praia, Macau
How to get there: The best way to get to Old Taipa Village is to walk from The Venetian Macao. Exit at the hotel’s West Lobby, then turn right towards the escalator. Once you are on the other side, you will see a moving walkway or walkalator that will take you directly to the village. Just follow the signs to the specific area you want to go to.
Go back in time in the Fisherman’s Wharf
Want to see The Colosseum but can’t afford to go to Rome? Then visit its replica in the Fisherman’s Wharf. Located across Sands Macao and near Macau Maritime Terminal, this 111,500 –square meter theme park is divided into three sections: Dynasty Wharf, East Meets West, and Legend Wharf. It also offers a wide array of shopping centers and restaurants, making it the perfect location for your Instagram-worthy photos.
Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Fisherman’s Wharf.
Admission is free!
How to get there: Take bus no. 1A, 3, 3A, 8, 10, 10A, 10B, 17, 28A, 28B, 28BX, 28C or 32, and get off at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf. If you are coming from Sands Macao, just cross the street and viola, you’re there!
Appreciate architecture by church hopping
The Ruins of St. Paul isn’t the only church worth visiting in Macau. In fact, there are numerous houses of worship that are closely located to each other.
Start your church architecture appreciation in St. Dominic’s Church along Largo de Sao Domingos, a few steps away from Ruins of St. Paul. Make your way towards Senado Square, cross the street, and then walk along Calcada do Tronco Velho. There you will see St. Augustine’s Church, followed by St. Joseph’s Church along R. do Seminario, and by St. Lawrence’s Church in R. de Sao Lourenco.
Don’t let the casinos and high-end hotels stop you from visiting Macau. There are a lot of tourist attractions that you can check out without burning a hole in your pocket. If you plan to visit Hong Kong, allot at least a day for a Macau tour. You’ll never regret it!
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