10 Things to do in Macau

By Elizabeth May
Posted at 25/07/2014

One of the two special administrative regions of China, Macau is located on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, across from Hong Kong to the east.  The economy here is heavily dependent upon gambling and tourism.  It was a former Portuguese colony, and was administered by Portugal until 1999, when it was the last remaining European colony in Asia.

In 2002, it became one of the world’s richest cities, and by 2006 one of the world’s largest gambling centers.  One other interesting fact is that Macau has the world’s 2nd highest life expectancy.  I wonder what they’re eating or doing to acquire such a ranking?  Lets find out! 

 

  1. Coloane
    The island of Coloane, which used to be a salt making area when it was a Portuguese colony, has 2 famous beaches.  Hac Sa is the largest of the two, and is a natural, black sand beach. The other, more beautiful beach worth checking out, is Choec van, the ‘bamboo bay’ beach. This island is also a gorgeous place to take a walk and soak in the sights.  The narrow lanes with pastel colored houses and shops are an absolute delight to the senses.  See if you can find the pretty little chapel of St. Francis. 
     
  2. Hotel Pousada de Mong-Há
    Set amidst the grounds of an ancient fortress, surrounded by early Buddhist temples, this is a hotel where you can enjoy luxury, leisure, and great service in a very exclusive environment.  This hotel only has 16 rooms and 4 suites, so make sure to book your room in advance!  It is equipped with modern facilities, and a perfect venue for small corporate events.  They are not only a hotel, but an educational institution, providing information on the culture and traditions of Macau.  You must also try the IFT Educational Restaurant, which is a fusion of Portuguese and Macanese cuisine, and should also be accompanied by a glass of wine from their international selection.
    www.macauhotel.org/pousada_de_mong_ha  
     
  3. The Grand Canal Shoppes
    Get your fashion fix here at the shops of the Grand Canal.  It’s apparent that you don’t have to travel to Europe to get a taste of Venice.  There are innumerable shops, restaurants, boutiques, cafés, bars and other forms of entertainment, like taking a gondola ride!  They call this place the Las Vegas of the Far East, enough said.
    www.macau.com/shopping/?p=1292  
     
  4. Taipa Village
    This offers a great counter to all of the glitz and glamour of Macau’s Cotai Strip.  Although it used to be a bit more off the beaten path, recent development on the island has caused an influx of tourism and infrastructure, so although it’s not as quiet as it used to be, it’s still worth a visit.  Here you will find wonderful traditional craft shops, narrow streets and pastel colored colonial houses from the early 20th century.  They have been restored and preserved to portray the original style of living.  There are several restaurants and bars around the area.  Just take a walk and see what you can find.
     
  5. Lord Stow’s Bakery
    Eating in the hotels can be quite expensive, and you’ll need to treat yourself to some good eats while you’re out exploring, and Lord Stow’s Bakery presents the perfect option.   They are the creator of the Egg Tart in Macau (Portuguese inspired), and they are absolutely amazing.  Indulge your gustatory sense, for it will not be disappointed.  Here they use only the freshest, healthiest, highest quality and most natural ingredients possible.  While you’re visiting, gambling or exploring in Macau, you really must take a quick break and taste a little piece of heaven. 
    www.lordstow.com/
     
  6. Sendado Square
    Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historic center of Macau mixes the best of Chinese and Portuguese culture.  Known as ‘Largo de Sendado’, in Portuguese, the square is blanketed in black and peach colored tiles, forming an almost psychedelic, but relaxing wave pattern.  There are elegant remnants of old, Portuguese colonial buildings, in soft yellows, greens and blues.  You will find many cafés, restaurants and historic buildings here.  This is an absolute MUST if you are going to be in Macau.
     
  7. Ruinas de São Paulo
    Originally St. Paul’s college, and the Cathedral of St. Paul, these 16th century ruins are the skeleton of what remains after a fire in 1835 consumed the structure.  They are beautiful, intricate, and set among a maze of well-kept hedges.  They were built by Japanese-Christians, in exile from their homeland, as well as local craftsmen, under the direction of Italian Jesuit, Carlo Spinola.  The structure is truly something to behold.  Bring your camera, a hat, and water.
    www.macauheritage.net/en/HeritageInfo/HeritageContent.aspx?t=M&hid=43
     
  8. Albergue 1601
    Situated in the historic neighborhood of St. Lazarus Quarter, on the Macau Peninsula, this restaurant/art gallery will take you on a journey into the past.  Everything about this place is picturesque, from the landscape, to the building itself.  They offer Mediterranean cuisine in a traditional Portuguese architectural setting.  You can dine inside or, on a nice evening, al fresco!  If you want to impress your date, this is the most romantic restaurant in Macau.  Swoon.
    www.albergue1601.com/index.html
     
  9. The Macallan Whiskey Bar & Lounge
    When you enter the Macallan Whiskey Bar at the Galaxy Hotel, you could almost forget where you are, and think for a second you have stepped into a gentlemen’s club in the Scottish highlands.  The heavy oak panels, leather furniture, crackling fire, and cigar room, create a warm and intimate environment.  If you’re a whiskey fan, boy, have they got a selection for you!  Over 400 types of whiskies, and some rare selections from Macallan’s own distillery in Aberdeen.  If you are really undecided, you can order a flight of 5 premium whiskies, to taste, enjoy, and narrow down the selection.
    www.galaxymacau.com/en/dining - macallan-whisky-bar
     
  10. Vida Rica @ Mandarin Oriental
    In an ambiance of natural stone and sensuous lighting, this contemporary restaurant serves classic (Chinese and Western) dishes with a modern twist.  Using only the freshest ingredients, the chefs prepare the classical dishes with a touch of personality, making them original, full of character, and flavor.   The restaurant is breathtakingly sophisticated, and definitely worth a visit.
    www.mandarinoriental.com/macau/fine-dining/vida-rica-restaurant/