Best Things To Do In Macau – Commonly referred to as the “Vegas of China”, Macau is a city that’s no stranger to glitz, glamour, and gambling. What most travelers don’t know, however, is that Macau isn’t just all about placing bets and winning big. Due to the fact that the city was a Portuguese colony for three centuries, there’s plenty of mixed cultural and historical aspects that make the city unique and interesting to explore. You can see Chinese temples that were built over Portuguese tiles, streets that are filled with different languages, and food stands that serve two vastly different cuisine side by side, such as sum yuen and tapas.
The heritage architecture right next to temples and shrines creates a vastly unique and dynamic atmosphere that’s hard to find anywhere else. You can visit ruins, museums, food stalls, landmarks, temples, shrines, and other historic sights during the day and then party the night away at one of the many hotels, bars, and casinos found throughout the city. To get the best views of the city, head to Macau Tower, the tallest and most iconic landmark around. Take a look at the area and see what strikes your fancy – there’s sure to be at least a few things that do!
It can be hard deciding where to prioritize your time while visiting Macau, but lucky enough you’ve come across this article! For the best tips on how to get to Macau, where to stay, and what to do while exploring the city, read on and get a better sense of how to plan your next trip!
How to get to Macau from Hong Kong?
There are two main ways to get from Hong Kong to Macau: by bridge or by boat. Utilizing the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, or HZMB, buses and private cars can drive on a 39-kilometer bridge-tunnel system that contains three cable-stayed bridges, two artificial islands, and one undersea tunnel. Visitors can choose from cross-boarder buses, HZMB shuttle buses, or rented cars or limousines. Buses are on a pretty regular schedule that can be looked up online, and limousines have to be booked ahead of time. The bridge is open 24-hours a day, though bus prices are higher from midnight to six in the morning.
If you feel that traveling across a stretch of water by wheeled-vehicle isn’t exciting enough, there are also ferry options available. There are three terminals to choose from in Hong Kong: China Ferry Terminal, Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, and Sky Pier. While the first two are easy to access, Sky Pier is only accessible to tourists that arrive in the Hong Kong International Airport. Ferries typically take around one hour to reach Macau, though some are faster than others. Reaching speeds up to 50 knots, be advised that you may experience symptoms of seasickness and should bring proper medication if you’re prone to such sickness.
If you’re looking for a great deal on ferry tickets as well as an enjoyable ride, click here to book your tickets online.
Where to stay?
Macau Guesthouse – Home of Macau
Home of Macau is said to be one of the best guesthouses in Macau that offers spacious yet simple accommodations. The guesthouse is located right in the middle of all the action, and is conveniently close to both of Macau’s ferry terminals. Every guest room features a flat-screen TV, microwave, kettle, private bathroom with shower and tub, air conditioning, and free WiFi. The prices are great, the staff are amazing hosts, and guests are overall very satisfied with their stay!
Why Guests Love It: Guests are taken by the colorful and bright decor, but also enjoy the simplistic room decorations and accents. Many rooms feature gorgeous views of nearby landmarks, and all rooms are kept clean and tidy by the staff. With a nearby bus stop guests were pleased at how easy it was to navigate the city, and being right next to Senado Square was definitely a plus! Overall, guests are raving about how great the placement of the guesthouse is and how much of a bargain the price is per night!
Book It Now: Home of Macau
Macau Hotel – Altira Macau
Situated right in the heart of Taipa, this lovely hotel is both contemporary and modern, with sleek and stylish decorations as well as carpet flooring. Rooms are fitted with flat-screen satellite TVs, iPod docks, ironing facilities, sofa seating areas, kettles, minibars, en-suite bathrooms, hairdryers, bathrobes, and free toiletries.
The 24-hour front desk is always available to help with any needs of their guests, such as laundry, luggage, or child care services. As far as facilities go, the Altira Macau has a sauna, fitness center, spa and wellness center, indoor pool, VIP rooms, restaurants, and bars.
Why Guests Love It: Guests are always pleased to have so many amenities at their disposal, and having food and drink on-site is definitely a plus! Service is king here, and guests never forget how helpful and friendly staff are day after day. The scenery, lighting, and spacious aspects of the rooms keep visitors coming back for more! All in all, it’s hard to pick just one thing that Makes Altira Macau wonderful since it’s got so many amazing aspects!
Book It Now: Altira Macau
Macau Resort – The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central
Offering luxury and serenity to its guests, The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central Resort is one of the most elegant and decadent resorts to be found in Macau. Featuring more facilities than a single person can use in just a day, there’s no shortage of relaxing and convenient activities to be done at the resort. The rooms are soundproof and air-conditioned, as well as lavishly appointed with amenities. You’ll be hard pressed to want for anything while staying at this resort!
Why Guests Love It: Guest experiences are always excellent here, and it’s no surprise considering how expansive the property is. No description can do the resort justice, as it’s a sight that needs to be seen and experience to be truly appreciated! Guest thoroughly enjoy the on-site access to services that many can’t offer – such as hair styling, cutting, and coloring and manicure and pedicure services!
Book It Now: The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central
For more options about accommodation in Macau, feel free to check out this blog post: Best Hotels in Macau.
Things to do in Macau #1 – The Top Three Casinos
It’d be a shame to visit the Vegas of China and not even visit a casino (or two)! The top three casinos to visit in Macau are undoubtably the Grand Lisboa, The Venetian Casino, and Galaxy! There are plenty other casinos to visit in Macau, but these three are truly the Crown Jewels when it comes to high-class experiences, fun, and excitement. Not only the the casinos fun and exciting on the inside, they’re also beautiful and spectacular to view at night from the outside! Lit up with thousands of lights it’s not hard to understand why so many travelers stop to take photos of these gorgeous casinos!
If you prefer to visit the casinos during the day, you can enhance your experience to The Venetian Macau by booking a gondola ride here.
Things to do in Macau #2 – Senado Square
Also called Largo do Senado, this public square is one of the four largest squares in Macau and was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as part of the Historic Center of Macau. The square features a large and lovely fountain, which leads many locals to simply call the area “the Fountain”. After the authorities hired Portuguese experts in the early 1990s to pave the square with wave-patterned mosaics of colored stones, the square has only grown in popularity amongst tourist and remains one of the most visited places in Macau! Come see the square for yourself to truly understand this beautiful piece of art!
Activity #3 – Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Center
Standing at 338-meters tall, the Macau Tower is one of the most interesting and exciting places to visit during a trip to Macau! Take a 60 second ride up 223-meters in one of the express elevators to be greeted with 360º views on the level 58 Observation Lounge. You can enjoy a coffee and snack at the on-site cafe while you take in the beautiful sights of Macau. Feel free to head up to level 61 for an outdoor Skywalk or Bungy Jump on the Adventure Deck if you’re feeling brave enough! Be sure to check out the best deals for the Macau Tower Bungy Jump here.
What to do in Macau #4 – Ruins of St. Paul’s
Standing across from the Mount Fortress and Macau Museum are the remains of the greatest church in Macau. All that remain to this day are the front facade and the grand stone stairs, but they’re more than enough for visitors and guests to appreciate the beauty of the building that once stood from 1580 until 1835. Once the biggest Catholic Church in East Asia, St. Paul is now just a historical sight that allows a peak at the past and a glimpse into the future.
What to do in Macau #5 – A-Ma Temple
Head over to the southeast area of the Macau Peninsula to explore the oldest temple, A-Ma. Constructed during the Ming Dynasty in 1488, this historic and spiritual place of worship remains one of the three famous Buddha halls in Macau today. There are six major areas to the temple that are guarded by stone lions and make up a series of Chinese treasure of classical architecture. If you happen to be passing through around the time of the Chinese New Year, you’ll see plenty of disciples gathering to pay their respects, burn incense, and pray for good fortunes.
Activity #6 – Taipa Houses Museum
Once claimed as a top eight scene of Macao for architectural beauty and value, the Taipa Houses Museum features five beautiful green houses that showcase traditional Portuguese architecture. The five houses, which are museums in their own right, are called the Macanese Living Museum, the Exhibitions Gallery, the Creative Casa, the Nostalgic House, and the House Of Reception. Explore these fascinating houses and learn a bit about Portuguese influence in Macau!
Things to do in Macau #7 – Cotai Strip
Almost the same as the Vegas Strip, the Cotai Strip features the biggest casinos, grandest hotels, and best clubs Macao has to offer! More gambling is done on this single stretch of road than anywhere else in the world, which is probably why you’ll see less people enjoying a leisurely stroll down the street than inside the casinos! Though the casinos are the main attraction, visitors can also enjoy plenty of shopping and dining there as well!
What to do in Macau #8 – Mandarin’s House
In the past it was the residence and family home of a theoretician and reformist named Zheng Guanying; today it is the largest family residential complex still standing in Macau. The house was left behind when family members began to travel oversees, and at one point in time it had over 300 tenants! Through mistreatment and overcrowding the building was abandoned and renovated, and now remains to showcase Western-Chinese architectural fusion!
Activity #9 – The House Of Dancing Water Show
Take a load off and enjoy one of Macau’s best shows, The House of Dancing Water! Featuring the world’s largest water extravaganza of pool-based performances, this amazing show will leave you speechless with the sheer amount of water, performers, and breathtaking spectacles! Follow a tale of love and villainy as you watch some of the most unbelievable performances and displays of acrobatic grace anyone has ever seen! This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that shouldn’t be missed! For the best ticket prices around, book here.
Things to do in Macau #10 – Hac Sa Beach
Get some sand and sun during your time in the city at the largest natural beach to be found in Macau! One of the few real public beaches in the area, this yellow and black sand beach provides and amazing view of natural scenery, as well as a great place to swim and relax! Even during the busy summer seasons the beach never feels crowded, and a quick trip to this quiet, calm area is always a welcome break from the noise and bustle of the city!
Though many only see Macau as a place to head off to in search of riches from lucky streaks while gambling, the city has so much more to offer tourists and visitors! There are more spiritual and natural sites to see in Macau than can be visited in a day, as well as plenty of local attractions that will have you planning your next trip to the city before you’ve even left! Whether you think you’re lucky or not, everyone wins big in terms of experiences on trips to Macau!
PS: More articles about China are available here: China Travel Blog.