Macau is one of the special administrative regions of China together with Hong Kong.
A former Portuguese colony, Macao remained a possession of the Portuguese Empire from the mid-sixteenth century until 1999, becoming the last European colony in Asia.
The sovereignty over Macao returned to China on December 20, 1999. The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Macao nevertheless established a high degree of autonomy for the region, at least until 2049, fifty years after the passage, as established for Hong Kong.
Macau’s economy is largely based on tourism and gambling, which is the main reason why most visitors choose Macau as their destination. In fact, Macau is considered the Las Vegas of the East.
If you like gambling like I do,Macau is the place to be, but if you don’t, I still recommend spending a couple of days there to see a part of China which is very different from the mainland and from Hong Kong.
Here is my Macau Travel Guide:
What to do:
Visit the casinos (and gamble)
While in Macau, I visited some stunning casinos like the Venetian, the Parisian Macau, and the Gran Lisboa. I love gambling, especially playing Texas Hold’em Poker, so I spent the majority of my time gambling and ended up winning a good amount of money (LUCKY ME!). However, poker is not the most popular game in Macau; instead, you’ll see most Chinese people playing Baccarat.
Macau Baccarat is a card game that originated in South America. It is played against the dealer and the goal is getting as close to the number nine as possible.
Visit the ruins of Saint Paul Cathedral
The ruins of the Cathedral of São Paulo are the remains of a complex built in the 16th century in the then Portuguese colony, which included Saint Paul College and Mater Dei Church, also known as Saint Paul the Apostle Church.
Visit Senado Square
Senado Square, or Senate Square is a paved public square located in the historic center of Macau and, together with the historic district, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It covers an area of 3,700 square meters.
Walk around old Taipa Village
Taipa Village is one of the best-preserved areas in the city, this village offers a chance to explore Macau’s unique cultural heritage through its historic buildings, galleries, museums, shops, and restaurants.
Relax at Hac Sa Beach
Hac Sa Beach is the largest natural beach in Macau.
The name “Hac Sa” is a Cantonese term which literally means black sand. However, in order to prevent the beach from disappearing due to erosion, the Macau government has been gradually refilling the beach with yellow sand.
Visit Macau Tower for some extreme activities
This is the world’s most extreme tower, home to the world’s highest bungy jump (233 meters). I decided to include this attraction to my Macau travel guide because if you like extreme activities, check below what you can do:
- bungy jump
- tower climb
Note that these activities are not cheap; click here to check prizes.
Things to know about Macau:
The currency used in Macao is the Pataca, also known as MOP. Hong Kong dollars and Chinese Renminbi are also widely accepted.
How to get to Macau
By air: Macau international airport is located on Tampa island
By bus: from these cities: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Zhuhai.
By sea: Macau is connected to Hong Kong and Mainland China by different ferry companies
Where to stay
Macau is not a cheap destination, and hotels there aren’t either. However, you can still find good deals if you book in advance.
Visa for Macau
Like Hong Kong, Macao also has a different immigration policy from mainland China: citizens of 75 countries do not need a visa for tourist stays or short-term business trips. Usually, citizens from other countries can get a visa when they arrive.
The most widely spoken language is Cantonese (also spoken in Hong Kong and in east southern China). Portuguese is also considered one of the official languages.