Macau is the closest destination to Hong Kong and a great place for a day trip or a weekend break away from HK. An ex-Portuguese colony it has a similar status as a special administration region of China as does Hong Kong, but with a distinct cultural and historical heritage that makes it a different experience for the visitor.

Summary

  • A great place for a day or weekend trip, take a fast ferry to reach it in one hour
  • A mixture of Portuguese influence gives a different flavour to visiting HK.
  • Visit churches, temples and museums
  • Eat the food
  • While famous for casinos you can easily ignore them if you wish

 

Content

 

What Is Macau

Macau is a city to the west of Hong Kong across the Pearl River delta. Accessible via ferry it is a favourite place for both Hong Kong residents and tourists to take a day trip or spend a weekend.

Macau skyline at nightJust as Hong Kong blends traditional and modern Chinese society with historic British Colonial heritage so in Macau the historical influence of the Portuguese colonial period is readily visible in architecture, customs, food and language.

Portuguese pavements in Macau's central Santo Square

Rich traditions of hospitality, dining and entertainment combined with a presence of world-class five-star resorts make the city an attractive destination for visitors from other parts of China.

Quite streets of old Chinese shops in Macau

Historial precedents mean that Macau is the only city in China where casinos are permitted.

 

Because Macau has it’s own immigration controls you will at least need a passport or other travel document to visit. Holders of some passports may need additional visas beyond that required for Hong Kong.

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Where Is Macau

With the centre of Macau located 65km (about 40 miles) to the west of Central Hong Kong, the city is located across the Pearl River delta. Bordering on the Chinese city of Zhuhai in the province of Guangdong it is a city with a mainland area and two major islands. These islands of Coloane and Tapia are now fully integrated into the city by three bridges, The two islands are also joined by a causeway. This causeway is called the Cotai Strip is the home to several major hotel and entertainment resorts.

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Why Visit Macau

Macau offers some great sights, attractions, entertainment and dining options that are not available in Hong Kong. Some of these are modern attractions while many others are based on the history of the city and its involvement with the Portuguese.

Arriving in Macau from Hong Kong via ferry you can immediately see the differences as you leave the terminal building. You only need to look up at the pastel-painted Guia Lighthouse on the hill that overlooks the outer harbour to feel the Portuguese influence.

Once in the city, the traces of the history are visible everywhere from the Portuguese pavement tiled central square through to the European styled post office building.  The traditional dishes served in local restaurants also blend Asian and European influences.

As well as those historical and traditional attractions the development of luxury resorts and casinos means that there are entertainment and accommodation options that rival and in some ways exceed those of Hong Kong.

While the city is small and not often used as a base for a vacation, it does make an excellent day or weekend outing from Hong Kong.

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How Long To Visit Macau

At only 30 square kilometres the city is tiny compared to the almost 3 thousand square kilometres of Hong Kong, but despite that, there is a lot to see in both the densely built-up city area, and in the more rural outer island of Taipa.

Day trips to Macau from Hong Kong are popular but somewhat rushed and don’t let you see a full range of the experiences on offer. A long weekend, at least overnight or possibly two nights would mean a much better understanding of the flavour of the city.

 

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Where To Visit In Macau

Depending on your area of interests there are many different parts of Macau which deserve your attention. There are a few essential sights which every visitor to Macau should see. From the historic Senado Square and the Ruins of St Paul to the viewpoint of the Macau Tower and the fake European corridors of The Venetian Macao.

Here is a selection of things to see which could form a great starting point.  Try selecting one item from each category to get an overview and take it from there.

Portuguese history

The rich connection between Macau and Portugal is reflected in the many European style buildings in the city. Although Hong Kong also has its share of British style buildings the ones in Macau add another level of difference in their age, styling and preservation.  While Macau has also modernised it has not done so in the same way as Hong Kong and this has lead to arguably some more interesting historical relics of the colonial era.

  • The Ruins of St Paul – That picture-postcard image of Macau is well worth the very short walk needed to see it. Visit not so much for the ruins as for the abandoned facade of a church. In great condition and standing tall at the summit of a wide flight of stairs it is as impressive in person as it is in pictures.  Two minutes walk from Senado Square.
  • Senado Square – The historic heart of the city it features the Portuguese Pavement pattern of waves in this pedestrian area. And is a great people watching spot as well as a hub for reaching other destinations such as St Paul and seeing the Post Office building or the historic Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau building across the road after which it is named.
  • Macao Post Office – One of the most elegant examples of Portuguese colonial architecture, this working post office is on the corner of Senado Square and worth a look around even if you are not a philatelist. The fact that it is airconditioned and dry makes it an attractive stop on a hot day as well!
  • Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau building – just across the road from the Post Office this drab looking colonial building still houses government offices, but also offers a great example of a period interior courtyard and traditional staircases. Art exhibitions are often held here, and the tranquil atmosphere inside is a great contrast to the busy street outside.
  • Guia Lighthouse and Fort – Seated on the southwestern height of the Guia Hill which overlooks the outer harbour this European style lighthouse was built in 1864 beside the much older chapel, which is tiny, and fort which are from the 17th century. The whole complex is fascinating though harder than you might imagine to reach.  Either take a taxi half way and then have a steep uphill walk, or take the Chong San Tram (really a cable car) from the Jardim Da Flora at the north side of the hill to the top, then walk along the top. A great viewpoint and garden walk for the family with kids.
  • Fortaleza do Monte – This 17th-century fort is mostly occupied by the very interesting Museum of Macau, but the rooftop gardens with canons and beautiful views over the city make it a great place just to stop and enjoy the sunset.

Chinese history

  • A-ma Temple – The temple after which Macau was named.
  • Mandarin’s House – A restored traditional Chinese style house is great for a walk around to see how the well to do merchant of a hundred years ago would have lived

Sightseeing

  • Macau Tower – This tall observation tower gives a great view over the city and features of the city. Home also to a revolving restaurant at 338 m (1,109 ft).
  • Fisherman’s Wharf – A touristy dining district with entertainment this open-air plaza has everything from a mock volcano to a pool.
  • Kun Iam Statue – This 20m-tall statue of Guanyin on a lotus seat was built by the Portuguese government in 1997 and rivals St Paul’s as a symbol of Macau.

Museums

  • Museum of Macau – Substantial and centrally located museum gives a great overview of the city.
  • Communications Museum – A somewhat obscure museum run by the post office and covers everything from stamps to telephone systems. Great if you have kids.
  • Taipa Houses–Museum – A collection of historic buildings in a quiet part of Taipa. Relaxing.
  • Grand Prix Museum and Macau Wine Museum – Located in the same building these two small museums are exactly what they say. While each may be worth less than an hour, together they give a nice insight into what makes Macau special.
  • Maritime Museum – Located next to the A-Ma Temple this is a no-brainer visit.  Watch out for the fascinating display of wooden oar sawing.
  • Fire Services Museum – A surprise in a backstreet this little museum holds historic wonders that will impress your kids who want to grow up to be firefighters!

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Macao Government Tourist Office

Tourism is a well-respected industry in Macau, and there are plenty of facilities to support both in offices within the city and online.

They have also established two small offices in Hong Kong, one at the airport in the arrivals hall, and another in Shun Tak Center from which the ferries to Macao depart.  Either one will provide you with plenty of information to prepare your trip.

Visit their website at http://en.macaotourism.gov.mo/

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Turbojet

The TurboJet is the name of the ferry service that runs from the ferry terminal in Hong Kong to Macau.  Departing from the Shun Tak Centre in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island the ferries are high-speed vessels that operate continuously throughout the day and take just an hour to make the trip.

"Taipa" JetFoil setting off from Shun Tak Centre Macau Ferry Terminal in Hong KongTickets for the ride can be purchased online directly from the company, from travel agents, or by walking up to the counters at the pier.  Each ticket is for a particular sailing but if you turn up early then you can queue in a waiting area for any empty seats on an earlier sailing. Alternatively, you can board a ferry in Hong Kong by paying with an Octopus Card, though this is not accepted for the return journey. For that, you will need a Macau Pass which is the Macanese equivalent of Octopus.

The company operates a wide variety of different types of boat, but they are all very high speed and can manage the trip in the same amount of time.  Most of the modern ones are catamaran but the oldest are single hull JetFoil ships which seem to “fly” just above the water, though actually they are supported by hidden wing-like hydrofoils under the water.

Prices depend upon the time of day and day of the week.  Weekends and nights are a little more expensive.  There is also a “Super” class which gets you a slightly more comfortable seat on the ferry, a snack on board and priority boarding and then departing on arrival.

Economy tickets start at HK$171 for a single daytime weekday sailing, while the most expensive option is a “Super” class night sailing for HK$391.  The return tickets are a little cheaper at about $10 off, and if you are entitled to a senior or a child ticket then this is another $18 discount.

All boats now offer free Wifi services in all cabins on the Hong Kong to Macau route, though this is based on a mobile phone set on the boat so the connection is not always so good.

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Cotai Water Jet

The alternative to the established turbojet ferry company is the Cotai Water Jet which offers a very similar service that runs from the same pier in Hong Kong, but at the Macau end of the journey, it stops at the Taipa Ferry Terminal.

Cotai Ferry in Victoria Harbour with ICC in the backgroundThis terminal is much closer to the major new resorts of Macau including the Venetian, Wynn Sands and MGM Grand.  There are complimentary shuttle buses from the ferry pier to these resorts and the trip is very short.  If you are staying in one of those resorts then taking this ferry will be more convenient.

The company has a large fleet of ferries with 14 different boats in use at any one time.  This allows

A large fleet of identical catamaran ferries painted a deep blue run a service around the clock.

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Ferry From Hong Kong To Macau

There are four routes of ferries from Hong Kong to Macau:

  • Departing from the Shun Tak Centre Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong island. These ferries go either to the Outer Harbour Terminal in Macau or to the Cotai Strip Terminal.  Both the TurboJet and Cotai ferry companies operate out of the Shun Tak centre terminal
  • From the Hong Kong China City pier in Kowloon operated by TurboJet only.
  • From the Hong Kong International Airport SkyPier. Ferries from the airport go only to the Outer Harbour Terminal in Macau and only run 4 or 5 times a day.  This service is provided both by the TurboJet company and the Cotai Water Jet Ferry.
  • And finally, for those in the New Territories, there is a service from Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal operated by TurobJet and offering a paid shuttle bus to the HK International Aiport.

By far the most frequent is that service from the Shun Tak Centre where TurobJet alone runs a boat every 15 minutes during daytime, which added to the 36 per day sailings of Cotai Jet Ferries means there is a plentiful capacity.  Night services are more limited but still run about once per hour.

The second most frequent is the Kowloon service which runs 15 boats during the day, but does not include a night service.

By contrast, the services from the airport and from Tuen Mun are very limited.  The only use for the airport service is if you are landing in Hong Kong and wish to transit directly to Macau, without ever going through immigration into HK.

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Gambling In Macau

Together with Hong Kong the city of Macau is the only part of China where commercial gambling is permitted.  But unlike Hong Kong where it is a strictly controlled monopoly of the Jockey Club, in Macau casinos have long been allowed to operate.

Before China resumed control of Macau it already had a reputation as a gambling destination in Asia and this has been allowed to continue and even develop with the construction of a range of large resorts which include casinos.

International name brands such as MGM Grand, Wynn and The Venetian have added to the venerable Lisboa Hotel Casino and smaller brand names such as the HK based Lan Kwai Fong Casino.

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Taipa

Macau consists of the mainland of Macau, and two islands of which Taipa is the largest.  The smaller Coloane island is now physically connected by landfill to the larger but they are still considered “islands” locally.

On Taipa you will find many of the major attractions of Macau including the Macau Tower, the Taipa Houses Museum and major resorts such as The Venetian and The Parisian.  Taipa is also the location of the Macau International airport, which has a runway extending out into the Pearl River Delta.

Access to and from Taipa is via one of several bridges, the “new” or Amizade or the “old” Governor Nobre de Carvalho/Macau-Taipa Bridge are the typical choices.  There is also a new Sai Van Bridge which has an enclosed lower deck and so is used during bad weather when the other bridges must close.

A taxi ride from the ferry terminal in the Outer Harbour to a destination on Taipa such as the Taipa Houses Museum takes only 15 minutes and is the best way to get back and forth.

The district of Taipa Village contains some of the key historic sights and also plenty of things to eat, buy and just see.  A slightly more relaxed attitude to life is obvious on Taipa, though not quite as laid-back as Coloane.

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Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal

The Ferry Terminal is in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island in the Shun Tak Building. Just a few minutes walk from the Central business district, Star Ferry and other major transport hubs such as the Airport Express Station.

Macau Ferry Terminal at Shun Tak Centre in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island

An old building which has been modernised it can be a little difficult to navigate at first and if you haven’t used the terminal before it would be best to enter it via the Central walkway system which takes you directly onto the 1st floor.

There are shopping and dining options within the building that make it a popular arcade even for those not using the ferry terminal facilities. This can cause it to be crowded as well and you’ll find difficulty getting a seat at the small Starbucks for example.

Shun Tak Centre has two towers and two walkways that lead out to the piers which are parallel to the coast.  Access to ferries is via these walkways where you go through HK Immigration and then into a waiting hall before boarding your ferry.

For those with an unlimited budget, the building also holds the helicopter landing platform for the sky taxi service which takes you to Macau in only 15 minutes.

As the ferries are much more frequent from this terminal it is the preferred one instead of the Kowloon or Tuen Wan terminals, though if you happen to be staying right close to one of those then, of course, that may be a better choice in your particular situation.

 

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Historic Centre Of Macau

Many of the most interesting sights to be seen in Macau are located in a concentrated part of the city known as the Historic Centre.

Portuguese pavement tile pattern in Sando Square in Macau's Historic Centre

Just steps away from the Portuguese Pavement of the Senado Square are found many interesting sights and they are easily reachable on foot.

Roughly located around pedestrial square this includes major attractions such as

  • Ruins of St Pauls
  • Macao Museum
  • Macau Post Office Building
  • Fortaleza do Monte
  • Na Tcha Temple
  • and many others

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Ruins of St. Paul’s

The ultimate picture-postcard symbol of Macau, this intricately decorated historic ruin is located on a small hill just five minutes walk from Senado Square.

The Ruin's of St Paul's Cathedral in Macau

Although the church, built in 1640, was never more than a parish church it is commonly referred to as “St Paul’s Cathedral” by the residents of Macau.  The steps leading up from the historic centre of Macau to the ruins give a great perspective of the building and ample chance for great photographs.

If you can get a viewpoint that avoids the large crowds which collect on the steps then you can get some classic postcard images with the ruins in the background.

Get closer to the ruins and see the many carved figures on the facade including this rather dramatic skeleton which, luckily, is high up on the building and so won’t scare the children!

Skeleton Carving on the Ruins of St Paul's, Macau

Behind the prominent upright part of the ruins are a collection of displays showing in-situ the remains of the other parts of the church. The crypt, some walls and other artefacts and be visited.

There are no entrance fees to view the ruins.

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Macau A-Ma Temple

Venerated as the namesake of Macau itself this temple is dedicated to the Taoist goddess Mazu.

Located near the Maritime Museum of Macau on the south-west coast of the mainland of Macau, it is a popular destination for Chinese visitors to Macau who would like to perform worship there.

A Ma Temple Macau

A typical Taoist temple structure it consists of the main building holding the altar and several smaller outbuildings.

Nearby vendors sell incense and other offers that worshipers offer up to Mazu.

 

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Senado Square

The historic square at the centre of the historic Macau is a pedestrian precinct paved with traditional Portuguese Pavement.

Senado Square, Macau

Unlike most squares in European cities which are mostly at least rectangular this “square” is not at all square but rather is a long thin triangle, more of a wide street than a piazza.  Overlooked on one long side by the Holy House of Mercy of Macau there are commercial buildings on the opposite side.

Restaurants, shops and government buildings are located around the square. Most tourists will enjoy the views of the historic buildings and walk into the Post Office of Macau, or cross the road into the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau building.

 

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How To Get To Macau From Hong Kong

Frequent ferries ply the route from HK to Macau and back again.  The TurobJet and Coatai Water jet services run every few minutes during the day so it is quite possible to simply turn up at the pier and buy a ticket.

There will be some waiting time during busy parts of the day though so most people buy a ticket in advance.

Tickets can be purchased at the counters, online from the ferry company websites, or via various third parties such as the HK based Klook.com which offers tickets for the next day online for only HK$160.

Note that most online vendors are issuing “vouchers” which you then need to exchange for a ticket.  So allow time at the pier to do that exchange.

Your options to consider are:

  • Which pier to depart from: The Shun Tak Centre pier on Hong Kong island is the best option unless you are located in Tuen Mun or right beside the Kowloon pier
  • Which ferry company to take: TurboJet is best for day trips, but if you are going to one of the resorts on the Coatai trip then the Cotai Water Jet wins
  • Where to by tickets: Online from the ferry companies website is safest, though turning up at the pier during an off-peak period and buying a ticket.
  • When to buy your tickets: There is no need to buy a ticket until just before your trip. With so many sailings there are always seats available so you can stay flexible in your schedule by not buying too far in advance.  Book 24 hours in advance is fine.

There is one other option: The Helicopter

The Sky Shuttle company also offers a helicopter ride which is a fast and thrilling, but expensive, way to make the trip. At only 12 minutes flight time the trip is very short but costs HK$4,300.  It is not much of a sightseeing opportunity either as the majority of the time is over water with no real view of anything.

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Day Trip To Macau From Hong Kong

Macau makes a great day-trip from Hong Kong.  If you are staying in a Hong Kong hotel then it is quite possible to take an early ferry to Macau for a short excursion.

Here is a suggested itinerary presuming you are going to arrive in mid-morning, say before 10 am.

  1. Arrive at the Outer Harbour ferry terminal
  2. Outside take a black taxi cab and ask for the Guia Lighthouse. Although you can see the lighthouse from the taxi stand, not every taxi driver will be familiar with the route so ask first.
  3. The cab will drop you in a quiet sloping street you have to walk up for 10 minutes uphill. Do this part early before it becomes too hot.
  4. Spend 30 minutes to an hour exploring the historic lighthouse and chapel and great views over the city.
  5. Walk north along the hilltop to the very modern cable car terminus
  6. Take the cable car down into the city and see close-up the roofs of the local buildings
  7. Perhaps go into the “Jardim Da Flora” park at the base of the hill; right beside the exit of the lower cable car terminus
  8. Walk south along Av. de Sidonio Pais
  9. Stop to view the Dr Sun Yat Sen Memorial House
  10. Then go on to the Macau Central Public LIbrary. View the impressive courtyard of Portuguese Pavement and the architectural exterior.
  11. Walk on another 10 minutes to the Ruins of St Paul’s
  12. After 15 minutes taking picture-postcards
  13. Walk downhill through the maze of shopping streets lined with fake antique shops towards the Senado Square. Stop in one of the traditional cafes on the way for an authentic Macau style lunch.
  14. After lunch in the heat of the day is a good time to go into the air-conditioned Museum of Macau. Walk back from the square to about 10 minutes to the museum.
  15. After spending an hour or two in the museum exit and go up the escalators to the “roof” which is the lawn of the ruins of Monte Fort where you see the historic canons and enjoy some great views.
  16. Leave the fort and get a taxi to the Macau Tower.
  17. Enjoy the views of the tower then either eat the nice, though not exceptional, buffet dinner at the tower, or take a taxi from the tower to one of the great Macanese restaurants such as: A Lorcha, Antonio Macau or Boa Mesa.
  18. Taxi back to the ferry terminal and a late ferry returning to Hong Kong

As long as you are taking a ferry by midnight there should be no issue on returning.  Only after that time does the ferries start to get less frequent and if you are really a night owl and try to turn at about 2 am then you may have to wait a while for a seat

 

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The Top Temples In Macau

Just as Hong Kong merges traditional Chinese temples with colonial and modern British influences, so in Macau there is a strong foundation of Chinese worship which is beside the Portuguese historical context.

The temples of Macau are similar to those in HK in that they are either Taoist or Buhdist and worship variest deities that were significant when both cities were fishing communities.  So worship and offerings for good luck, calm seas and the like are important.

Daily worship continues to be held at most temples but some are more traditional and interesting to visit than others.  For the visitors to Macau the top temples would be:

  1. A-Ma Temple – after which Macau is named.  Located right across from the Macau Maritime Museum it’s coastal position reflects its importance to the seafaring fisherfolk of ancient Macanese people.
  2. Kun Iam Temple – a 13th-century Buddhist temple
  3. Na Tcha Temple – This Taoist temple is small but historic and is located just behind the Ruin of St Paul’s and adjacent to the old city wall
  4. Sam Kai Vui Kun – Located near  Senado Square this small temple has the grey brickwork and relief roof decorations typical of Chinese temples.

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Legend Of A-Ma: How Macau Got Its Name

According to tradition, the name “Macau” is a total misunderstanding.

When the first Europeans to arrive on the shores of Macau they landed near the temple of A-Ma.  This already old and venerated temple was of such importance that the area around it was named after it.

So when asked what the name of the area was the locals said it was the Bay of A-Ma. Or phonetically “A ma gau”.  Dropping the first “a” sound this was taken up as “ma gau” and quickly corrupted to “ma cau” and hence the current name.

Whether this is true or not the tradition has stuck and no doubt increases the feeling in Macau that A-Ma is their patron, and is whey there is an A-Ma Goddess Statue in Coloane, as well as the A-Ma Cultural village and of course the original A-Ma temple which started it all.

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Why Is Macau Less Well-Known Than Hong Kong?

As colonies of European countries both Macau and Hong Kong have long histories as places of east-meets-west cross-over.

Indeed Macau was founded as a European city in 1557 by the Portuguese, almost three hundred years before the 1842 foundation of Hong Kong as a British colonial outpost.

Yet Hong Kong morphed into a world financial centre while Macau remained something of a backwater, perhaps as Portuguese global influence waned.

In the 80’s and 90’s the common thought of Macau by Hongkongers was that it was a slightly backward cousin, a place visited only for the casinos or the Portuguese food.

the last 20 years it has invested heavily in tourism and regained much of its lost visibility.  Today it is a major destination for visitors from the rest of China, but still few visitors from the west would plan a vacation simply in Macau.

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Is Macau Worth Visiting?

Yes, certainly.  Or we wouldn’t be writing this article!

Visitors to Hong Kong who are spending more than 4 or 5 days in HK should certainly consider spending one of those days on a daytrip to Macau to see some very different influences.

Longer term residents in HK often consider Macau a great place for a weekend break or something in between a stay-cation and flying to a neighbouring country.  It is far enough away to feel “different” yet close enough for the convenience of travel, and language for Cantonese speakers, to make it appealing.

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What Are Some Must Visit Places In Macau?

  • The Ruins of St Paul’s – for the postcard pictures
  • A-ma Temple (Unless you have already seen plenty of Chinese temples)
  • Senado Square – for its centricity
  • Macau Tower – for the view
  • Macau Museum and Fort Monte – A great packed museum, centrally located beside St Paul’s and the fort

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What Is The Best Resort In Macau With Kids?

Despite having casinos all the resorts have plenty of facilities to entertain the kids.  However, some have rather more facilities than others.  Notable are the indoor playrooms which provide a safe and exciting outlet for children to be found at:

  • The Venetian
  • JW Marriott
  • Hard Rock Hotel

 

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What Is The Cheapest Way To Get To Macau From Hong Kong?

Taking a ferry and booking directly from the ferry company will get you the best combin ation of price and convenience.

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What Are Fun Things To Do In Macau For A Weekend?

With a weekend in Macau, there is plenty of time to explore different attractions and styles of activities.

  • If you have a head for heights then the Skywalk at Macau might test your nerve.  Or just stay inside and enjoy the view or the buffet dinner.

Visit one of the many unusual museums in Macau.  While the major museums are great there are many smaller ones with their own appeal

  • Communications Museum – run by the postal and telephone authority this has great interactive displays for the technically inclined and is visited more by local children on school outings than by tourists
  • The Mandarin’s House – A museum that is also a house, this restore original traditional mansion gives a great insight into the daily life of one of the wealthy Chinese officials of early colonial times.

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What Is Macau Famous For?

  • Historic relics of the Portuguese colonial days such as the Ruins of St Paul’s and Senando Square
  • Local food specialities including sweet egg tarts, preserved meats (Macau style pork jerky) and almond biscuits
  • Portuguese restaurants serving salt fish and other traditional southern European and African delights
  • Grand hotels and resorts
  • Gambling and casinos

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How Reliable Is Public Transportation In Macau?

Transport in Macau is both simpler and more difficult than that in Hong Kong.

Most visitors will take only taxis to get around Macau, and these are perfectly reliable. Occasionally a taxi-driver may not be familiar with an out-of-the-way destination, but a quick trip to Google Maps typically solves that.

Locals in Macau make great use of buses, but as with most cities including Hong Kong the bus system is a little difficult to understand. There is an app created by the Transport Bureau of Macau which can assist and you should certainly install this on your phone before visiting macau.

There is no mass transit or underground railway in Macau though a driver-less Light rail system is under construction.

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What Is So Special About The Venetian Macau?

On the one hand, it is a very strange idea indeed.  A duplicate of a duplicate of an Italian city.  The first level duplicate is The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.  Then the Macanese Venetian is a duplicate of that.

Duplicating famous landmarks and destinations is not a new idea.  For miniature villages in English theme parks to large replicas of the Eiffel Tower in Tokyo, the idea of taking something we all recognise in a photograph and bringing it to, at least partial, life in 3D is a common one.

Where The Venetian is different is the blending of this Italian themed nostalgia with an actual working first class resort hotel.  Much of the resort is merely a Venice-themed resort, with no attempt to actually duplicate the famous Italian city.

Only the facade, with its bell tower and replication of the Doge’s Palace on St Mark’s Square, and the shopping areas with the very small version of a canal with Venetian gondolas, are really trying to look like Venice.

Inside the hotel are restaurants, miles of impressive corridors, and large rooms that are all “suites”. While in no way subtle, discreet or quiet the resulting experience is a very comfortable one that makes for a great couple or family holiday location.

 

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Can I Enter Macau With A Hong Kong Visa?

Hong Kong and Macau visas are not related, and having an HK visa does not grant access to Macau.  The majority of people do not need a visa for a short trip of a few days to Macau. However, there are a few exceptions including but not limited to Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Chinese nationals who do not normally live in Macau also need special permission or “two way permit”.

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Macau Tower: How To Dinner There?

The Macau Tower offers great views over the city from the observation platform and Sky Walk.

There are also a number of dining options within the tower that cover the range from coffee bar to fine dining.  The highlight for the visitor to the Macau Tower is the combination of an Interinatal and Macanese buffet in a revolving restaurant near the top of the tower.

  • 360° Café
  • Lua Azul
  • Café on 4
  • Tromba Rija
  • Patisserie
  • Singing Bean Express

Only the 360 Cafe offers the revolving buffet view of the city.

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What Is The Best Way To Travel To Macau From Hong Kong?

Ferries are the only practical way for most people.

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What Are Some Differences Between Hong Kong and Macao?

Taxis are black instead of Red in the city centre.

Food influences from Portugal are everywhere from fine dining to cheap cafes.

The pace of life is a little slower.

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What Are The Best Little Known Facts About Macau?

  • As a gambling center, Macau is actually bigger than Las Vagas, at least in terms of cash handled at casinos.
  • As a colony of Portugal for 442 years, it was both the first, and the last, European colonial settlement in China.
  • Portuguese is still an official language.

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