Macau Travel Guide – Things to do in Macau | Hong Kong Pass

Dubbed the "Las Vegas of the East" there's more to Macau than just casinos and high-rise hotels. From historic landmarks and beautiful beaches to the best Macanese food, discover things to do in Macau with our travel guide.

One of the most interesting destinations in Asia, Macau was a Portuguese colony and one of the first ports in Asia for Portuguese merchants and missionaries in the 16th century before reinventing itself as the Las Vegas of the East and Asia’s gambling capital. A small territory – Macau is divided up into four districts: the original city, (former island of) Taipa, the Cotai Strip and Coloane. Travel across the city and you’ll find a mix of old and new, from colonial Mediterranean-style architecture to glitzy casinos, peaceful beaches and bustling streets.

Getting to Macau

Many Hong Kongers will pop over to Macau for a day trip or weekend city break thanks to the fast and convenient HK-Macau ferry. With a sailing duration of only one hour, it’s the best way to get from city to city. The comfortable and modern Cotai Jet operates 86 sailings per day from 8:30am to 1:00am, bringing visitors from the centre of Hong Kong into Macau’s newest Taipa ferry pier. A mere stone’s throw from the Cotai Strip, home to some of Macau’s main casinos, hotels and entertainment venues and Taipa village, a beautiful neighbourhood full of local restaurants and shops.

Macau bus tour

As a smaller territory, it’s very easy to explore Macau in a day and a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour is the best way to get to know the city. Board an open-top bus and discover over 100 famous Macau landmarks from the ruins of St. Paul and A-Ma Temple to Senado Square, Taipa village and more. With 10 stops along the route, it’s easy to hop off, explore and hop back on again.

The beginning pick-up point is located at the Macau Ferry Terminal, so if you’re getting the Cotai Jet into Taipa Ferry Terminal, it’s very easy to get a taxi to the pick-up point (approximately HK$65). Alternatively, hop on one of the many free hotel shuttles from Taipa Ferry Terminal to one of the major Cotai Strip hotels, then transfer to one of the free shuttles going to the Macau Ferry Terminal – no need to have a hotel booking nor make a reservation!

What to see in Macau

It’s easy to assume that Macau is only about the casinos, but with a rich and eclectic history, there’s plenty to explore across the city that goes beyond the Cotai Strip. Head to dizzying new heights with a visit to city’s tallest building, the Macau Tower. Standing 338m high, the tower offers unparalleled panoramic view of the city and out to the Pearl River Delta. Thrill-seekers can walk around the outer rim of the tower or dive off the tower on the highest commercial skyjump bungee in the world.

Much like New York’s Times Square or London’s Trafalgar Square, Macau’s Senado Square is the symbolic heart of Macau. Part of the UNESCO Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site, its mosaic paved streets and pastel-coloured colonial buildings make it a unique and picturesque hotspot. Here you’ll also find a mix of retail shops, restaurants, traditional cafes, wet markets and bustling side streets.

Wander down a few streets and you’ll find Macau’s most famous landmark, St. Paul’s ruins. Built in the early 1600s by Jesuits, St. Paul’s church was destroyed by a fire during a typhoon in 1835, it’s stone façade is all that remains.

Built in 1488, A-Ma Temple is also one of the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Historic Centre of Macau. Dedicated to Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, the temple is an historic and cultural must-visit when in Macau. Entry is free, with a number of donation boxes around the premises. Across the road you’ll find the Macau Maritime Museum, built upon the site where the Portuguese first landed on Macau in 1553, it offers a fascinating look into Macau’s seafaring history.

Close to the Cotai Ferry Terminal and Cotai Strip is Taipa Village. A former island, Taipa makes up one of Macau’s four districts and still retains its charming, rustic and historic feel. Wander the village’s alleyways and discover traditional shops, beautiful colonial villas, churches, temples, snack stalls and restaurants. Pop into the free Museum of Taipa and Coloane History, a small museum housed in a beautiful turquoise colonial building, it is home to artefacts found during archaeological excavations of the region.

Go a little off the beaten track and head over to Coloane to experience a different side to Macau. The most southerly part of the city, you won’t find any casinos or skyscrapers here, instead walk along the area’s popular beaches such as Hac Sa Beach or Cheoc Van Bay, discover the traditional Coloane Village and relax over a meal at the famous Fernando restaurant – a Macanese institution.

What to eat in Macau

Macau is a popular destination for food-lovers, the mix of Chinese, Portuguese and Macanese heritage means that Macau’s food scene is eclectic and extensive. From morning to night there’s plenty of delicious dishes to try. For food on the go, don’t miss street snacks such as the iconic Pork Chop Bun and Pork Jerky or sweet treats like flaky Almond Biscuits, indulgent Golden Egg Biscuits and Lord Stow’s famous Macanese baked Egg Tarts.

If you’re planning a sit-down meal, don’t miss local dishes such as Minchi, African Chicken, Bacalhao (salted cod), steamed crab and Caldo Verde at local restaurants such as A Perisquiera, A Lorcha, Antonio’s and Fernando.

With so much to see and do in Macau it’s easy to have a busy full-day of exploring, sightseeing, eating and drinking. Get there early and use our handy Macau travel guide to discover this unique and eclectic city.