Macau Tour – How To See China’s Most Atmospheric City In A Day!
A Macau walking tour is the best way to explore the place at your own pace. It’s easy to walk, full of fun and covers the gems of Macau sightseeing. You’re going to see from historical landmarks to contemporary Vegas style casinos.
Even you have only half a day, you would be able to do a walking tour and get the best out of Macau sightseeing. This is among the best organized tours in the world, which will definitely give you great memories of a lifetime!
Macau Walking Tour From Hong Kong
Many tourists who visit Hong Kong take a day tour to neighboring Macau, and while this history-rich town justifies more than just a day, you can still see its major places of interest on a day-long tour.
This article will guide you how to build an itinerary for a successful Macau tour of only one day…
First and foremost, to ensure your day long Macau tour is truly enjoyable, you have to get up early and catch a ferry that leaves Hong Kong at 7am or even earlier… The ferry-trip takes an hour and there’s absolutely no point for you to start your Macau tour after 8am, if you are planning to return to Hong Kong at the end of the same day…
Outside Macau Ferry Terminal, there is a bus stop from which you can travel to your first destination: Senado Square (Largo do Senado) – The heart of Macau town and a convenient starting point to the UNESCO’s declared Macau World Heritage Trail.
Just like most of Macau’s old streets, this large piazza is notable for its Portuguese style cobblestone paving, featuring patterns of black-and-white waves. Around the square, there are some nice local cafés, where you can start your morning, as well as a small market, tucked in the small alleys behind the square, where you can buy export surpluses and factory outlet stuff at a steal of a price…
More importantly, however, some of Macau’s most exciting heritage sites are located just a short stroll from Senado Square, including…
- Museum of Macau is built into a hill and occupies most of what used to be Macau’s strongest fort, hundreds of years ago. It’s not a very big museum by international standards, but it does have some very nice exhibits that tell the story of this charming town in an interesting way…
- Ruins of St. Paul’s: The only remain of what was once Asia’s largest Catholic church, is an impressive 16th century facade, featuring intricate reliefs and sculptures.
- Santo Domingo Church is an 1828 Baroque-Filipino style church, housing a tiny museum, where you can see precious historical objects, related to the history of the Roman Catholic church in Asia.
- Lou Kau Mansion: A beautiful 19th century courtyard-house that used to serve as the residence of one of the city’s richest Chinese merchants.
- The Cathedral
- The Holy House of Mercy: Another important historical building, with a small museum in it.
From Senado Square, you can easily walk southwest, along the UNESCO declared Macau World Heritage Trail, passing through some of the city’s most interesting heritage gems, like picturesque Rua da Felicidade, where a famous scene of the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Doom” was shot, St. Augustine’s Square (Largo de Santo Agostinho), where China’s first western style theatre is found, St. Joseph’s Church, with its fabulous baroque architecture, St. Lawrence’s Church (which is one of Macau’s three oldest churches), Lilau Square, where Macau’s only source of freshwater used to be, the Moorish Barracks… and onwards, to A-Ma Temple and Macau Maritime Museum.
There are some great Portuguese-Macanese restaurants around A-Ma Temple and Macau Maritime Museum, like A Lorcha and Restaurante Litoral, so try not to nibble too much on the way…
It will probably be late afternoon by the time you complete your “historic city walk”. From here, you have a few options:
- You can catch a cab to Macau Tower, one of the world’s tallest free standing towers and a great spot to enjoy a sunset-cocktail while watching how the night slowly covers the city and Macau’s extravagant neon signs glow in a thousand colors…
- From here, you can drive across the bridge to Taipa Island and onwards, to Cotai, where the world’s largest casino is located, at the Venetian. Visiting this colossal casino is exciting, even if you are not a gambler, and what’s more, you can enjoy some great shopping, dining and gondola riding at the adjacent Venice-themed mall, called the Grand Canal shoppes.
- Taipa Village, just a short way from the Venetian, is where the original community of Taipa Island started from… Strolling through the stone paved alleys of this old town has its own magical charm, and you can pop into one of the homey restaurants and enjoy a fantastic Portuguese-Macanese feast…
Traveling back to Hong Kong is as easy as ABC. If you wind up your day at the Venetian, simply take one of their free shuttles to Taipa Island’s Temporary Ferry Terminal where you can board the CotaiJet, but if you are around Macau Town (or the tower) traveling via Macau Ferry Terminal is likely to make more sense.
In any case, ferries run between Macau and Hong Kong 24/7 so you can take you time and enjoy Macau’s nightlife without pressure.
Macau Walking Tour Golden Route
Everything started at Senado Square, with neighborhood Leal Senado, central fountain, Holy House of Mercy and Central Post Office. The route has two parts, both interesting and fun.
Here’s the routing and major points of interest of this 2-hour walking tour which I’ve recently walked through.
- 17:15 – General Post Office
- Senado Square
- Ruins of St. Paul’s
- Mount Fortress
- Walk back to Central Post Office on the same route
- Walk along Av. Almeida to Hotel Lisboa
- Cross the road to Wynn
- 19:15 – Dinner at Star World Hotel
Even if you’re travelling solo, two hours would include setting up of tripod to take photos for yourself and walk in a very leisure pace. The time you spend will largely depend on your walking speed and how you want to explore the points of interest. On the way to Ruins of St. Paul’s there are many souvenir shops offering free tasting. It’s going to be a very interesting walk. Avenida Almeida is the downtown of Macau where you’ll see tourists around you and all kind of shops.
If time permits, I would highly recommend your exploring the following Macau heritages along the way.
Macau Walking Tour – Coloane Village
The old Coloane Village looks like one of these places where time has stood still, featuring a labyrinth of narrow alleys, lined by small Chinese temples and old courtyard houses, where lifestyle is still mellow and drowsy, just like it used to be more than a hundred years ago…
Drop off the bus at the Village Square and take a minute walk to the seaside promenade. On your right hand side you will see Lord Stow’s Bakery: A local “institution”, which made a name for itself as the best place in Macau for Portuguese egg-tarts (Pastéis de nata)… Lord Stow’s also run a proper café, just a few steps from there, where you can seat comfortably and enjoy these mouthwatering pastries with a decent cup of coffee, or a luscious sandwich.
Turn left as soon as you reach the esplanade and walk along it for a couple of minutes, till you get to a small cobblestone paved piazza, where the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier stands. This historic chapel houses some ancient Catholic relics that are well worth seeing.
As soon as you walk out of the chapel, turn left to the alley and on the fourth alley turn left again, to Travessa do Pagode, where you can visit a small Chinese temple that was built in honor of Kun Iam (The Chinese goddess of mercy) and became popular thanks to its beautiful moon-gate, which makes a nice photo backdrop.
Turn right to Rua do Estaleiro and left to Travessa da Republica, which will take you to Tin Hau Temple. The temple, which was built in 1677, is Coloane Island’s most ancient temple and, as can be expected from a community of fishermen, it is dedicated to Tin Hau, the mythological protector of seafarers (Who is better known locally as A-Ma).
Walk back the same way you came, turn left to Rua do Estaleiro and proceed along it to the end, where a small and colorful Chinese temple can be seen. Dedicated to Tam Kong, the Taoist protector of fishermen and sailors, the temple contains some beautiful pieces of art, including an ancient model of a boat, made from whalebone.
From here, walk back along the sea, through Avenida de Cinco de Outubro, pass the piazza and Lord Stow’s Café, to the village’s northernmost end. A minute after passing the famous café you will arrive at another tiny Chinese temple, called Sam Seng Temple, which can be noticed only thanks to the stone lions who guard its gate.
The street will then lead you to an almost deserted pier, surrounded by stilt houses, where local fishermen still salt-dry their catch the traditional way and sell them from open racks…
A short stroll will take you back to the Village Square, where you can board the bus and move onwards.
Macau Walking Tour – Must See Points of Interest
Ruins of St. Paul’s – The number one Macau landmark, originally St. Paul’s College and the Cathedral of St. Paul, a 17th-century Portuguese cathedral.
Mount Fortress – Built in conjunction with the Jesuits from 1617 to 1626, this was the city’s principal military defence structure, and was crucial in successfully holding off the attempted Dutch invasion of Macau in 1622. A good place to have a panoramic view of Macau.
**Can take lift from Macau Museum as a fast track to Mount Fortress. But you have to pay entrance fee to visit the Macau Museum first.
Macau Walking Tour – Optional Points of Interest
Museum of The Holy House of Mercy – right next to General Post Office at Senado Square. A very classic Portuguese white building built in 1569 on the orders of the Bishop of Macao. Even the building itself is such beautiful place worth visiting. It was a medical clinic and several other social welfare structures in early Macau. It later served as an orphanage and refuge for widows of sailors lost at sea. Entrance fee MOP 5.
Na Tcha Temple and Section of the Old City Walls A small traditional Chinese temple standing in between the Old City Walls and The Ruins of St Paul’s. Built in 1888, this temple is dedicated to the worship of Na Tcha. Spend a few minutes there and get a sense of Macau’s multicultural identity and religious freedom.
Macau Museum – in between the Ruins of St. Paul’s and Mount Fortress – must see if you want to know everything about Macau.
Done With Walking? How About Locating The Best Macanese Food In Macau To Feel Your Energy Again?
While Macau is mostly known as “the Vegas of the orient”, and an increasing number of tourists flock in droves to its gaudy and ostentatious casinos, it’s important to remember that the city also has a special “culinary attraction”: That is the unique Macanese cuisine which developed during hundreds of years of Portuguese colonialism, and combines the classics of Portuguese cooking, with Chinese influences…
Here are some of the best restaurants in Macau, where you can enjoy fabulous Macanese and Portuguese food.
- A Lorcha, near A-Ma Temple and Macau Maritime Museum, is one of Macau’s most notable culinary icons, serving what is described by many as the “best Portuguese food outside Portugal”… With nice and simple Portuguese decor, and friendly staff, this relatively small restaurant renders a somewhat homey ambience and, most importantly, some outstandingly delicious Portuguese-Macanese food, both seafood and meat… Among the signature dishes you can find names like Chourico assado (char-grilled Portuguese chorizo), Bacalhau com natas (bacalhau with potato in cream sauce) and Pan-fried clams with garlic, just to name a few… Don’t be afraid to order something new, there is very little chance for you to go wrong.
- Restaurante Fernando (or Fernando’s as it is more commonly known) is another one of Macau’s gastronomic emblems. Nestled on Coloane Island’s Hac sa Beach, one of Macau’s greenest and most peaceful corners, Fernando features a rustic-homey ambience that contributes a lot to the lovely dining experience, with simple bamboo furniture and an exquisite alfresco dining area, covered with shrubs… Portuguese style BBQs (both meat and seafood) are Fernando’s main draw, and so is the freshly baked Portuguese bread, but frankly speaking, everything on the menu is good! Next to the restaurant, there is a nice outdoor bar where you can have a drink before or after dinner… And here is a small tip: Try to avoid weekends, as Fernando’s don’t accept early bookings and the restaurant can get jam packed…
- For a sumptuous and atmospheric dinner that revives the charm of colonial Macau, very few restaurants can compete with Clube Militar. Occupying a neo-classical 1870s building that once housed a club for colonial army officers, right next to the legendary Lisboa, Clube Militar features an uber-elegant decor, with polished wood floor and crisp-white tablecloths… Portuguese classics dominate the menu and during lunch they serve a buffet, so you can try different things…
- Fat Siu Lau: Tucked on picturesque Rua de Felicidade, just a short stroll from Senado square, this is possibly Macau’s oldest existing restaurant, with an impressive record of more than 100 years… Homey and unpretentious Macanese cuisine is what this restaurant is all about, and their good-old favorites, like Roasted Pigeon and African Chicken attract customers from far and wide…
- Amagao: Serving what some gourmands consider to be the best Portuguese-Macanese food in Macau, this lilliput-size “private-kitchen” is probably one of Taipa Island’s best kept secrets… Tucked in a small lane, just a minute walk from Taipa Village’s main street, Rua Cunha, it is open only for dinner and you must book well in advance if you want to get a table… Moreover, you have to discuss your dinner with the chef-owner, as he buys the fresh ingredients especially for you… Chicken specialties are the main thing here, particularly the Galinha à Portuguesa (Portuguese style chicken), but everything else is just as good…
Enjoy your Macau walking tours!
Visit the Trip and Tour category to explore more travel tours, tour companies and adventure trips available which fit your interests!