Macau is a special administrative district of China which was under Portuguese rule until recently. Today it is a popular tourist destination where the ancient traditions of the Chinese and the ways of the Portuguese all meld together to form an interesting combination of customs, cuisines and cultures.
Macau is easily reached from Hong Kong. Ferries are available quite often and you can hop onto Macau in about an hour or so. Macau is fine to visit all through the year excluding the months from July – September when typhoons are commonplace.
Tips for travel to Macau
Despite its glamourous image Macau is also a relatively safe place to travel. However, as with any tourist spot, it pays to use your common sense. People are friendly and courteous enough but be wary of scam artists, unscrupulous taxi drivers and pickpockets. Also be informed about local customs and behave accordingly. The Chinese New Year is one of the most popular festivals in Macau and it is celebrated with much pomp and fanfare.
Since Macau thrives on tourism, English is widely spoken in areas where tourists frequent. In other parts of Macau, Cantonese is widely spoken. It is quite easy to get a tourist visa to Macau. In fact citizens of several countries can actually enter Macau visa-free and yet others (with a handful of exceptions) can avail the visa on arrival facility.
Macau is not a particularly large place and it is really nice to discover it by foot. Alternatively you could also just get onto one of the free shuttles that are offered by the casinos. Keep in mind that although food is relatively cheap in Macau, it is not truly a budget destination.
Here is a list of the top 5 things to do in Macau:
- Visit the casinos: Macau is fondly referred to as the ‘Vegas Of Asia’. True to its nickname, a number of grand and glitzy casinos operate in Macau. Although, of late, many popular casinos are said to be facing a loss of income due to competing casinos opening up at nearby Cotai, you will nevertheless simply be dazzled at the stunning and spectacular casinos at Macau.
Macau has a bustling nightlife and no matter what sort of entertainment you crave for, you will find it for sure over there. Macau goes to sleep rather late. So roam around its streets and hop from one casino to the next all night long to soak up and revel in the heady atmosphere. Be sure to dress up as best as you can and prepare to have limitless fun!
Of course, as with casinos all over the world, the Macau casinos too have age restrictions so they are not a family-friendly option if you are travelling with small kids.
- Drop Into Senado Square: Senado Square is a testimony to a bygone era. It is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site and will literally take you back in time with its’ charming colonial style buildings. This place is highly recommended indeed. It is a popular place and is always full of energy and life.
- Taipa Village: quaint and beautiful, Taipa Village is a must-see in Macau. Chock-a-block with small, narrow lanes filled with old shops and houses, this place will definitely capture your attention. You can indulge in some shopping and also treat your taste buds to the local fare. Choose from any one of the many little restaurants lining the streets of this village. Don’t forget to try some delicious egg tarts and a hot, steaming bowl of crab congee!
- Pay A Visit To The Ruins Of St. Paul: If you are a fan of history, then you should check out the ruins of St. Paul without fail. You will certainly be impressed, whether you choose to visit it by day or at night. This is a standard fixture in any tour itinerary of Macau and has good reason to be!
What was originally the Church of Mater Dei and St.Paul’s College is today only a striking stone façade with a series of steps leading up to it. There is something very haunting about visiting ruins and the ruins of St.Paul are no exception. It is one of the iconic landmarks of Macau, one whose image you will carry in your mind for years to come. The added bonus? This is a free to visit attraction.
- Go Up The Macau Tower: While many of the above mentioned spots are old and historic, the Macau Tower is a recent development. Just as the Burj Khalifa is synonymous with Dubai, the Eiffel Tower is synonymous with Paris and the Empire State Building is synonymous with New York, so is the awe inspiring Macau Tower synonymous to Macau! Needless to say, the view is absolutely fantastic.
If you are into adventure sports then Macau Tower will give you enough adrenalin rush to last a lifetime. With a plethora of exciting activities to choose from, Macau Tower is the adrenalin junkie’s dream come true! Whether you want to sky dive, bungee jump, practice sky walking or put your Spiderman skills to the test by actually climbing the tower, Macau Tower offers it all!
The tower is open from 10 AM till 9 PM on weekdays and 9 AM – 9 PM on weekends. Tickets cost about 17 USD for adults, 8 USD for kids and senior citizens. VIP packages and tickets for adventure activities are separate.
Apart from these places, there are also other nice spots to visit in Macau depending on your budget and time. Fisherman’s Wharf, A Ma Temple and Kun Lam Statue to name a few.
If you are wondering where to head over for your next vacation, don’t hesitate to choose Macau. It is one of the hot and happening places in South-East Asia. There are several travel agents who offer many different tour packages to Macau which you can customize according to your requirements. You will surely enjoy yourself and have a whale of a time! Bon voyage!