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I wanted to visit a place with dazzling lights, vibrant nightlife, and luxurious hotels but also someplace with a rich culture, unique architecture and ancient temples. That’s when I found the perfect place – Macao.
It is a city and special administrative region of China in the western Pearl River Delta by the South China Sea. With an area of 12.7 sq mi, it is the most densely populated region in the world filled with striking landmarks that are sure to leave you in awe.
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Its giant casinos and malls have earned it the nickname, “Las Vegas of Asia.” And it is the only place in China where you can legally gamble.
Macao is the perfect blend where East meets West in a spectacular fusion of culture and excitement. With a history as a Portuguese colony, Macao boasts a unique blend of European and Chinese influences that are evident in its architecture, cuisine, and lively traditions. Whether you’re a history buff, a culinary artist, or a thrill-seeker, Macao has something for everyone.
This is the ONLY 2-day guide you’ll need for a memorable and incredible trip to Macao.
Day 1: Unveiling the Rich History of Macao
Start your day by having a wonderful breakfast buffet. Hotel breakfast buffets are usually included in Macao stays and you don’t want to miss out on those. I was staying at The Londoner Macao and enjoyed the most luxurious and widespread buffet in their exclusive club, The Residence.
Post a filling breakfast, let’s embark on a historical expedition and visit the iconic landmarks of Macao.
Guia Fortress (Chapel and Lighthouse): Guia Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and stands on Guia Hill, offering a breathtaking panoramic view of Macao and the surrounding areas. The fortress is a well-preserved example of military architecture from the 17th century.
The Guia Chapel, constructed in 1622, is one of the oldest churches in Macao and was a place of worship for Portuguese sailors and soldiers. The lighthouse situated near the fortress and chapel, was built in 1865.
It stands as one of the oldest lighthouses in Asia and is an iconic symbol of Macao’s maritime heritage. As you walk up the hilly path, you can see the locals jogging and exercising.
Macao Museum showcases the history and multicultural heritage of Macao. It’s fascinating to see how the city developed over a hundred years. There’s an exhibition area displaying Macao’s traditional culture, folk entertainment and it’s unique architectural style. You can also walk up to the top floor to see the Monte Fort and Cannons, another popular historic attraction.
The Ruins of St. Paul’s:
This is one of the most visited attractions in Macao. In 1835, a fire broke out and destroyed the greater part of the church and its adjacent structures, leaving only the facade intact which has become a symbol of Macao and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you look closely, you can see the Christian religious symbols, such as saints and angels, alongside oriental designs, it’s a captivating mix of Western and Chinese culture.
Just below the steps of The Ruins of St. Paul’s is the famous Senado Square, renowned for its Portuguese-inspired architecture and a wide range of shops, boutiques, and restaurants. This is the best spot to explore a variety of local and international stores.
As you walk down the square, be sure to grab a Lemon Iced Tea to beat the heat in Macao and then try Macao’s famous Almond Cookies and head over to Ginja do Senado to enjoy a unique Portuguese sweet cheery liquor drink. A worthy souvenir to take back home and share with your friends and family.
Have lunch at one of the locally renowned restaurants in Senado Square. Mariazinha for Portuguese cuisine, Dumpling Town for the best dumplings in town.
Post lunch, go to Coloane Village, the laid-back area of Macao to appreciate the peace and tranquillity of the Macao shoreline life.
Tam Kung Temple:
This temple is dedicated to Tam Kung, a Taoist god of seafarers. It has traditional Chinese architecture and beautiful intricate carvings with vibrant murals and sculptures. Visit this temple to seek blessings for good fortune and well-being.
Chapel of St. Francis Xavier:
Built in 1928, this chapel follows the Baroque style and is painted with a pastel yellow and white facade with oval windows and a bell tower. It stands behind the monument commemorating the local victory over pirates in 1910. It’s a peaceful place to pray and there are local restaurants serving great seafood around the chapel.
Portuguese Egg Tarts:
Time to have the best Egg tarts in all of Macao. I highly recommend trying at least one. They are buttery, crumbly and the custard is creamy, sweet and slightly caramelized. Lord Stow’s Bakery, opened in 1989, is the flagship store and has gained tremendous popularity as people queue outside to try their famous egg tarts. One is never enough.
Take an evening stroll along Coloane’s waterfront promenade, and let the sea breeze blow all your worries away.
End the day by having dinner at Churchill’s Table (famous for their desserts) or Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill (famous for their meat) in The Londoner.
Then walk outside to see the spectacular half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower in The Parisian Macao and enjoy the Grand Illumination Show as the tower lights up and illuminates the night sky in a dazzling display of colours. A sight to treasure.
You can also try your luck at the largest casino in Macao – The Venetian Macao and explore their wide array of gambling options and slot machines.
Day 2: Contemporary Vibes, Thrill Seekers & Art Lovers
Your trip is incomplete if you don’t visit this temple. This is not only the oldest temple in Macao but also the oldest building. Its history dates back to the early 16th century. It is dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess Mazu.
The temple consists of several pavilions, prayer halls, and courtyards, connected by winding paths and stone steps. Many devotees come here to pay their respects and seek blessings. There’s a divine sense of spirituality in the air.
The best spot to get panoramic views of the Macao Peninsula. It’s a prominent landmark and one of the tallest freestanding towers in the world. Skywalk X is an adventurous activity where you can walk along the narrow outer edge of the Macao Tower. It’s perfect for thrill-seekers and I assure you will have an adrenaline-pumping experience.
Lunch at Taipa Village:
Taipa Village is the perfect place for food-lovers and there’s something for every taste bud. Must try Goa Nights for Indian food, El Gaucho Macau for meat fans and Portugália for Portuguese food.
Another attraction you shouldn’t miss, especially if you are an art lover is teamlab SuperNature at The Venetian Macao. Explore a massive, three-dimensional interactive space centred around beautiful and enthralling artwork. The Floating Flower Garden, Valley of Flowers and Massless Clouds are among the best immersive exhibits in the world and will surely charm your wits.
Shopping at Shoppes:
Looking for the best duty-free luxury shopping experience? Sands Shoppes Macao is the largest one in Macao. You can shop the best brands and designs while walking through the streets of Venice, Paris and London. Be ready to click plenty Instagram-worthy pictures.
End the day by listening to live Jazz music at Macao’s finest bar destination, The St. Regis Bar. Try their famed cocktails, beverages and delicious dinner menu. It’s the finest way to bid Adieu to the lovely city of Macao.
Where to Stay:
The best hotels in Macao for a luxurious and memorable stay are The Londoner Macao, The Venetian Macao, Conrad Macao, Sheraton Grand Macao, The Parisian Macao and Sofitel Macao. I personally recommend The Londoner or The Venetian.
How to Get There:
The best way to get to Macao is via the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge which is the longest sea crossing link in the world. It only takes 45 minutes and you can enjoy the scenic views along the route. Another way is taking the ferry from Hong Kong Airport, which takes around an hour.
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Author Bio: Pooja Amrtikar is a travel writer and Instagram content creator with a passion for exploring the world and sharing her experiences. Born with a love for adventure, she has made it her goal to traverse diverse landscapes, immerse herself in different cultures and uncover hidden gems along the way. Through her writing, Pooja aims to not only provide helpful tips and travel ideas for wanderlust souls but also motivate them to appreciate and admire the cultural tapestry of each location.