Travelers visiting Hong Kong for even as long as a month can easily pack their days full and still not see everything the city has to offer. However, try to clear a day in your schedule to pop on the ferry and head over to Macau for a day of sightseeing. A day trip to Macau is the best way to see both of these very unique spots in Asia.
Macau, along with Hong Kong, is one of the two Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China. Macau is often considered the Las Vegas of the Orient with its numerous casinos, many of them identical to those found in the America’s “Sin City.”
Interestingly Macau is the oldest European settlement in Asia and has a number of historic sights to visit aside from its glamorous and glitzy casino side. The former Portuguese colony is only an hour away on the Jetfoil or catamaran, making a Hong Kong to Macau day trip one of the most popular ways to explore Macau.
Wondering what there is to see in Macau? Here’s a look at some of Macau’s highlights.
Largo do Senado
Largo do Senado, Senado Square, or the Square of the Senate, was once the Portuguese center of the city. It very much reflects colonial Portuguese influences and many remark this area is like the Mediterranean in Asia. This area is paved in traditional Portuguese pavement and is enclosed by St. Dominic’s Church, the General Post Office and Leal Senado (the Portuguese seat of Macau’s government). Many of the main historical sights are around Largo do Senado, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Historic Center of Macau.”
Ruins of St. Paul
The Ruins of St. Paul is one of the most photographed spots in Macau. Originally part of a 16th-century complex that included St. Paul’s College and the Cathedral of St. Paul, today the ruins are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Macau.
A-Ma Temple is one of the oldest and most famous Taoist temples. Located on the southwest tip of the Macau Peninsula, A-Ma Temple is dedicated to Matsu (or Mazu), the goddess of fishermen. The temple was constructed in 1488 during the Ming Dynasty and existed before the city of Macau came to be.
Macau is home to several large car and motorcycle racing events, including the Macau Grand Prix and the Guia Race of Macau. The Guia Circuit started in the 1950’s and began as an amateur racing event for locals and saw the addition of the motorcycle track in the 1960’s. The circuit is unique for its combination of both car and motorcycle races held in the same weekend.
Be sure to check out the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Centre, often referred to as just “Macau Tower.” It’s 338 meters (1,109 feet) tall and features an observation deck with restaurants, shopping, and theaters. For the truly adventurous, check out Skywalk X (walking tour around the outer rim) and “Skyjump” – bungee jumping from the tower’s outer rim.
The Cotai Strip is the main strip of hotels and casinos in the Cotai section of Macau. The well-known Las Vegas Sands Corporation is the one behind the project, designed to create an area that strongly resembles the Las Vegas Strip. Properties include The Venetian Macao, Sands Cotai Central, Four Seasons Macau, Macao, Macau Galaxy, and more.