Macau (“Makao“) is a small peninsula at the bottom side of China which is known for its rich culture – a blend of Portuguese and Chinese. It is only an hour away from Hong Kong if you take a ferry, so most of the Hong Kong tourists tend to insert a one-day tour to Macau. And this article will help you get the most of Macau attractions in just a day of tour.
Hong Kong to Macau ferries operate for almost 24 hours. By the way, Macau has two ferry terminals: Macau Ferry Terminal and Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal. Macau ferry terminal is solely operated by the TurboJet while the Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal is dominated by the CotaiJet.
If you want to experience the beauty of Hong Kong and Macau skyline, we recommend that you take a 16-minute helicopter ride through Sky Shuttle, the only company that operates this kind of service from Hongkong to Macau. The Sky Shuttle operates from 10am to 11pm and the price starts from $4,800 HKD.
Macau is so small that a one-day tour is more than enough for most visitors. However, due to a very small number of people who speak English in the area and too many tiny streets that lead to almost nowhere, most tourists in Macau easily gets lost and would spend the rest of the day finding their way back to the ferry terminal to catch their ferry bound to Hong Kong. For this reason, we decided to create this article to help those who are planning to take a little side trip and experience Macau at its finest.
And here it is – your one day Macau Travel Guide.
Take a free shuttle bus to Wynn Hotel.
Upon arrival at Macau Ferry Terminal or Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal, various hotels and casinos in Macau offer a free bus transport to their establishment. Most shuttle buses operate from 10am to 11pm. If you have your own itineraries and travel guides, you can use these services for your convenience.
But for the purpose of this article, let us take a free shuttle bus to Wynn Hotel. It has an international reputation for great customer service and luxurious casino and hotel facilities. Wynn Macau is also visited by tourists for its 10-minute Dragon and Golden Tree Show which starts from 10am to 12mn at 30-minutes interval. As you have seen it in many Macau tourism promotions, Wynn Hotel’s very famous dancing water show is also a must-see. The synchronized water and light show starts from 10am to 10pm, every 15 minutes. These shows have informally become one of the celebrated attractions in Macau.
Beside Wynn Macau, there are also other casinos and hotels around the area like Starworld Casino, L’Arc Hotel and Casino, MGM Macau, Hotel Lisboa and Grand Lisboa. You can also conveniently take a quick tour around these hotels and casinos. Each of them offers various attractions for tourists, too. There is this grandiose aquarium of beautiful fishes at MGM; the beautiful sculptures of angels, horses and all other creatures at the facade of the L’Arc Hotel and Casino; and the collection of beautiful jades and antiques by Mr. Stanley Ho at Hotel Lisboa.
A stroll along Macau City road and a taste of Macau’s famous Portuguese Egg Tart.
After those gigantic hotels and casinos, our next stop is going to be Macau’s busiest and very well-known street – Infante Henrique. This is like a miniature of the Hong Kong’s streets but unlike any other ordinary street, this one is magical. I personally did not imagine that I can find beauty in a busy street amidst a traffic jam. You can stand at an intersection of the highway, close your eyes, and you can imagine the fast moving world mysteriously change its pace in a slow-motion. Could anybody explain that?
As we move along, let us drop by a small store which is listed in every “Must Go Place in Macau” articles – the very renowned Margaret’s Cafe e Nata. If ever you are wondering what is in this store, it is the best seller delicacy – Macau’s Portuguese Egg Tart. I assure you, this delectable Portuguese egg tart is worth the long wait in queue.
Aside from that oh-so-good egg tart, you can also explore other restaurants around the vicinity. You can see different kinds of chinese food here and there. There is a well-known diner just opposite Maragaret’s Cafe e Nata, across the ICBC bank, and that’s Chan Kong Kei. They offer their famous gastronomic delight – pork, duck and chicken cooked in Chinese style. Sik Fahn La! (Cantonese for “Let’s Eat”).
Senado Square, Leal Senado Building, Macau Postal Office and legendary Macau Baroque Buildings
Our next destination is one of Macau’s pride – the crowded and bustling Senado Square. This Heritage Site is also known as San Malou. Back in the old days, Senado Square serves as a meeting place for the residents in Macau, like a plaza. In this area, you can notice stunning Portuguese architectures – a proof of how a place will look like when the West meets the East.
While you are at the Senado Square, you can conveniently swing by Leal Senado Building and Macau Postal Office.
Leal Senado building used to be the seat of Portuguese Macau Government during the Portuguese sovereignty over Macau. The entrance is for free. Inside the establishment, you will see a small library of collection of books of Macau’s laws and statutes. On the second floor, you can sit, relax and enjoy a small peaceful garden. On a personal note, sitting on a bench therein while watching a small water fountain highlighted by gorgeous flowers is a perfect escape from the busy streets of Macau.
Macau Post Office is almost a century old, thus this magnificently designed building is worth a photograph. Great news for those who love to collect stamps! There is variety of collection of stamps inside the post office! There is so much beauty in this building, but the only thing that took my breath away is this striking view of a clock that seems to guard the rapidly growing City of Macau.
Churches in Macau
Just near Senado Square, there are churches that you can visit: the St. Augustine Church, St. Dominic’s Church, and the Cathedral.
St. Augustine Church is considered to be the parochial church of a number of Filipinos who live in Macau. It is located at the top of the hill behind the Leal Senado building. The church is usually jam-packed during Saturdays and Sundays masses because of the growing Filipino community in the city. Around the St. Augustine Church, you can also drop by a library, which houses the sweet smell of leather-bound tomes of Macau’s literary antiques. Book lovers just got to love that ‘oh so good’ mysterious library scent while rummaging through the stacks.
St Dominic’s Church is not your just-another-church-around-the-corner. It was included as one of the cultural heritage sites here in Macau. Aside from its enigmatic church design, it also has a museum of relics and paintings.
Read More: St. Dominic’s Church: A Must Visit in Macau
Lastly, the Macau Cathedral Church has a typical neoclassical style and is one of the architectural statement in Macau. It is exquisitely located at the top of a hill when you pass through a small street beside McDonald’s in the Senado Square.
Macau Shopping Avenue, the Free Taste of Macau’s Delicacies and The Ruin’s of St. Pauls
If you are looking for something to bring home for your folks, from souvenirs, branded clothes and latest gadgets, you can find a very active shopping avenue right at the juncture of Senado Square and Ruins of St Pauls. My favourite spot is a little crowded street where every stall offers a free taste of their specialties! From meat jerkies to cookies, you cannot just pass this street without having one!
If there is only one reason why people visit Macau, it is because they want to see the iconic Ruins of St. Paul’s. This over-a-hundred-year-old facade has become the famous tourist attraction in Macau. If you ask some locals, the walls of this church mirror a thousand stories of faith and valour and how it stood the test of time. It has also become the symbol of Macau. So when you visit, you can forget everything else in your itinerary except the Ruins of St Paul’s. Don’t forget to take your best selfie!
The Ruins of St Pauls is more than just an attraction. It serves as a museum of the rich culture and history of Macau. Inside the Ruins, is a small museum that is open to public. At the left side of the facade, you will be able to see a small temple. At the right side of the Ruins of St Pauls, across the park, are the Macau Museum and the great Macau Fortress which offers a 360-degree-view of Macau City. So, that’s Portuguese culture, Chinese Culture and Macau History in one place! For some, a visit at Ruin’s of St. Paul’s is enough for the day, but let me tell you, we’re just half way of our Macau experience.
Read More: Attraction Nearby Ruin’s of St. Pauls
Ama Temple and A Glimpse of Macau Tower
Now, from the Senado Square, let us leisurely walk back to Grand Lisboa. Opposite that, you will find a series of bus stations. Look for the colour “blue” station or the “B” station. Then, take either bus number 32 or 9A. The fare is $3.20 MOP, and get off to our next destination, the stately Macau Tower!
Macau Tower is one of the highest bungee jumping station all-over-the-world. If you don’t have enough courage to jump, then the 360 degree viewing is more than enough. The entrance is $30 HKD.
After the breathtaking view of the city from Macau Tower, our next and final stop will be the historical Ama Temple. This is initially where Macau took its name. This place is where the original port was located. It is also included in the list as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ama Temple was built in 1488 and is one of the oldest Taoist Temples in China. In getting to Ama Temple from Macau Tower, we take bus number 18 and get off at the last station (Barra Bus Terminal) and just across the street, there lies the Ama Temple. The fare is $3.20 MOP (HKD is also accepted).
Entering through a gateway, you will experience a creeping sense of transformation of faith. Though it is usually crowded and takes a long queue for picture taking, Ama Temple is worth a stopover. Some believed that this temple brings good luck in health, wealth and relationships. My mother even believed that I got a job here in Macau because it was revealed by the fate reader at the temple.
There are series of pavilions at the Ama Temple. The upper part of the temple has a big stone with a Chinese Character engraved on it. Outside the temple, there is a museum of ancient maritime culture of Macau. There is a dragon boat and a man-made river which is like a miniature of those scenes that you can see in the Chinese movies.
By now, you should have almost toured Macau in just a couple of hours. These are just recommendation that we think you should consider and prioritize in your very short trip to this amazing city. Apart from the list above, some tourist attractions in Macau like the Guia Hill, Lou Lim Ioc garden, the Fisherman’s Wharf, the hotel and casinos in the Taipa side (Venetian Hotel, Galaxy Hotel, Hard Rock, City of Dreams), Taipa Village and many more are also must-sees. Don’t be limited by the list and recommendations that every travel guide would provide you. Always remember that the most wonderful thing about travelling is discovering and immersing yourself in the place. Perhaps go beyond the checklist on the brochures and bring home as much good memories as you can!