Travel to Macao 2017 - Itinerary & Guide

Macau is a small peninsula in mainland China, just west of Hong Kong and is best known for its casino’s and widespread gambling establishments. It is listed as The most densely populated region of the World with almost 700,000 living in an area just 30.3km.

The region was originally a Portuguese colony between 1557 and 1999 when the region was handed back to China. In fact one of the most visited places on Macau are the ‘Ruins of St Paul’ which was originally the church of Mater Dei (Mother of God) and it was built-in the first part of the 17th century.

When it comes to beautiful and memorable places in Macau, images of Senado Square, the Ruins of St. Paul and Taipa Village quickly come to mind. However, it is St Lazarus district that I find to best exemplify Macau’s charm and beauty.

What impressed me about Macau was hardly the casinos, but the many of UNESCO Heritage Sites, ranging from Ruins of St. Paul's to A-Ma Temple and many more which are also known as “The Historic Centre of Macau” with their own respective background stories. Are you one of those travelers who misunderstood Macau’s real beauty like I did before?  If yes, plan your trip like myself to experience the real beauty and some exiting shows and festival experience in Macao.

5 Days Macao Itinerary:

Day 1:
Checked-in Hotel –Ruins of St. Paul’s – Mount Fortress – Macau Museum – Company of Jesus Square – Senado Square – St. Dominic’s Church - Holy House of Mercy – ‘Leal Senado’ Building – Sam Kai Vui Kun (Kuan Tai Temple) – San Man Lo (Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro) & Rua da Felicidade Business Circle

Day 2:
Coloane Village (for the famous Lord Stow’s Portuguese Egg Tarts) – Pier 16 Macau 3D World – Lunch – The House of Magic – Macao Tower –  Bungy Jump – Sky Walk – Three Lamp District for shopping and dinner – Macao Light Festival –The Macau International Fireworks Display Contest

Day 3:
St. Anthony’s Church – Casa Garden – Barra Square – A-Ma Temple – Moorish Barracks – Lilau Square – Mandarin’s House – St. Lawrence’s Church – St. Joseph’s Seminary & Church – Guia Fortress – City of Dreams (for House of Dancing Water show)

Day 4:
Shopping at San Man Lo (Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro) & Rua da Felicidade (Red House) Business Circle – New Yaohan  – Grand Lisboa – One Central Plaza Promenade  – MGM Macau (Water-Sky Aquarium) –Red Sandalwood Art Exhibition of Old Beijing City Gates at MGM Macau – Macao Food Festival for Dinner

Day 5:
Galaxy Macao ( Fortune Diamond ) – Tap Seac Gallery for photo shooting – S. Domingos District for some souvenir shopping – So Spa – Sofitel Macao at Ponte 16 – Check out hotel

For photo shooting on Historical, Arts and Cultural Heritage in Macao:

1. Senado Square
2. Mandarin’s House
3. A-Ma Temple
4. St. Lawrence's Church
5. Ruins of St. Paul’s
6. Guia Fortress
7. Macao Museum
8. The Taipa Houses-Museum
9. Lou Lim Ieoc Garden
10. Tap Seac Gallery
11. Hidden Gems/Village Life

Upcoming Event & Festivals in Macao

1. The Macau International Fireworks Display Contest
To celebrate it's ‘colourful’ history and cultural inheritance, Macau started to stage the annual “Macau International Fireworks Display Contest” from 1989 to demonstrate the unique vibes of Macau when the magnificent fireworks light up Macau’s stunning scenery.

The Macau International Fireworks Display Contest has grown over the years into an internationally acclaimed event, one of the best of its kind and the local Tourist Office will continue to work towards advancing the event’s international status and reputation, with the vision to bring about the world’s most prominent international fireworks display.

The event is to be held on every Sunday throughout September and into early October with representing teams from all over the World. The host nation attaches great importance to cultural heritage. In fact, the firecracker industry used to be one of the biggest businesses in Macau, and fireworks, being a significant element in Macau’s cultural heritage, also has a long history in Portugal.

2. Macao International Music Festival
A festival of Western classical music organised by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government. In the past years, the Macao International Music Festival (MIMF) invited internationally renowned artists. The site contains video files of past festivals.

Each year on October, the Macao International Music Festival (MIMF) brings internationally renowned artists from all over the world to Macau. Over the course of its decades-long history, it has gradually evolved into the major musical event in the territory. The MIMF seeks to promote a balanced range of performances in order to reflect the diversity and uniqueness of Macau.

It also strives to enrich the cultural life of the region while meeting the expectations and aspirations of the community. The programmes include opera, symphonic, choral and chamber music, as well as contemporary, folk, pop, fusion and jazz music. Also offered is yet another dynamic encounter between East and West.

3. Macao Food Festival
On November, Macau Food Festival brings together hotels, restaurants and chefs, with visitors beguiled by the prospect of delicious Asian, European, Chinese and local cuisine, live stage music, games and the perennially popular beer competition. Search out your favourite signature dishes from more than 100 booths and tents. There's Chinese Restaurant Street, Continental Cuisine Street, Asian Food Street, Cuisine Street and Dessert Street.

This is the most exciting reason to bring my friends and family to travel together with me, so that we all can taste a lot of different food around the world.

4. Macao International Marathon 
This international marathon, first hosted by Macao in 1981, continues to attract large numbers of local and international long distance runners. The full course Marathon includes the Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane, while the Half-Marathon and Mini-Marathon are designed to attract not only professional athletes but amateurs seeking to test their endurance.

I'm planning to bring two of my Marathon-holic friends to join this on December this year, it would be so fun doing this in cooling weather.

5. Macao Grand Prix 
I remember one of my friend told me this : "There's never a bad time to go to Macau but going during the Macau Grand Prix is an unforgettable experience."

But on one weekend each November, the city buzzes with an extra something. Call it sport, call it adventure; call it madness if you will.

One of the biggest event in Macao and the most internationally prestigious event on the local calendar. This annual event is the only street circuit racing with hundreds of racing drivers and riders competing along the Guia Street Circuit which is also one of the most challenging circuit in the world with the combination of fast straights and tight corners.

The high-pitched whine of racing engines, the roar of the crowd, and the adrenaline-charged atmosphere make for a colourful four days of non-stop, head-turning excitement. "Macao Formula 3 Grand Prix" was introduced in 1990 and has since raised the reputation of the event in the motorsport world by attracting the best young drivers from Europe and Japan. Notable winners of Macao Grand Prix include Formula One drivers Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.

6. Macao Light Festival 
Surrounded by fabulous lightings, visitors can experience the city’s enchanting ambience and walk through the journey of dazzling lights that are not only lively and colourful, but also fun and romantic.  Something that I'm looking forward, a hint of early Christmas feeling with lights while walking on the street on December. Definitely a perfect season for sweet moment with your loved ones!

7. Parade through Macao, Latin City 
The Parade held under the slogans “Peace, Love and Cultural Integration” and “An annual celebration for the entire city – VIVA” attracted over one hundred thousand viewers.

The Parade embraces performing groups from over 10 countries and regions including Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Burkina Faso, among others, as well as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mainland China.

The Parade, which highlights Macao’s unique cultural features and the City’s multicultural atmosphere, culminates in a grand joint performance in which the artists present dazzlingly colourful performances, bringing the celebration of this joyous occasion to a vivid climax on December.

What to Eat in Macao
Portuguese Egg Tarts, My die die must eat food in Macao! The egg tarts were delicious with smooth custard filling and flaky pastry. Mmmmm, I miss them already. Here is the list that I researched and am gonna try on my upcoming visit to Macao.

Best 15 Must-Eats in Macao 

1: Pastel de Nata (Portuguese Egg Tarts) - The food that is most iconic of Macau! A crusty pastry with a rich egg-curd centre that is just lightly baked, but caramelized to perfection!

2: Pork Chop Buns - Juicy pork fillet in a slightly-toasted bun that packs a punch of flavours! A favourite amongst the locals, it is a must-try to complete the Macanese experience!

3: A cookie that is guaranteed to melt in your mouth! With crunchy bits of almonds, this aromatic cookie crumbles nicely and keeps you coming back for more.

4: Seaweed Pork Floss Rolls - A unique blend of egg rolls with a pork floss filling, wrapped together with an outer layer seaweed. An unassuming combination that is sure to tease your taste buds!

5: Shrimp Roe Noodles - A popular noodle dish in Macau, packed with bold flavours. A special characteristic of these noodles are the tiny dots of shrimp roe atop the noodles!

6: Steamed Milk Pudding - A hearty and comforting dessert that warms the soul in the chilly weather. Served hot or cold and with a variety of toppings.

7: Crab Porridge - Here’s to all the crab-lovers out there: The sweetness from fleshy freshwater crabs brings the porridge together perfectly.

8: Bacalhau - Salted cod prepared and cooked many ways. Delicious either as appetizers or as main dishes.

9: Caldo Verde - A must-have hearty starter to anyPortuguese or Macanese meal. Potato and kale soup with Churico (Portuguese sausage).

10: Minchi - Also known as Sauteed Minced Pork. Great comfort food and goes very well with rice.

11: African Chicken - A staple on the menus of Macanese restaurants. The dish combines and fuses culture and cuisine stemming from the different ingredients and style of cooking.

12: Ameijoas Com Alho (Clams in Garlic Sauce) - One of the most popular Portuguese Clams in Garlic Sauce dishes. Great for dipping with bread!

13: Portuguese Seafood Rice - A remarkable dish that retains the flavourful seafood juices in each grain of rice. A crowd pleaser, for sure!

14: Portuguese Baked Duck Rice - A dish of rice complemented by duck that is baked to become chewy and absolutely delicious. Usually topped with a special Portuguese sausage to add a twist of flavour!

15: Serradura - A biscuit pudding that literally means ‘Sawdust Pudding’, the taste it brings is far from sawdust. Made with alternating layers of finely-crushed cookies and cream, it is pure satisfaction!

What to Do in Macao

Entertaining Shows: 

1. The House of Dancing Water 
Inspired by the Chinese culture, story takes the audience through 7 emotions – Joy, Anger, Sorrow, Fear, Love, Hate and Desire. World's largest and most spectacular water-based show is in Macao!

"The House of Dancing Water" is uniquely created for City of Dreams by Franco Dragone, the world's most spectacular showmaker whose shows have been seen by over 65 million spectators worldwide.
This really caught my curiosity and wanted to go for this show.

2. The House of Magic 
Step into this 3-theater arena and let the world’s greatest magicians lead you on a spellbinding journey of magical entertainment. Witness incredible illusions and fascinating trickery at every turn as you move from one performance to another - enjoying the excitement of 3 separate magic shows for the price of just one.

After your enchanted journey through the two 150-seat parlor magic theaters “Majestic Theater” and “Lair Theater”, you will be escorted to the 300-seat “Mega Magic Theater” to witness the electrifying illusions specially created for The House of Magic.

3. Fortune Diamond 
The 3-metre tall Fortune Diamond located in the hotel lobby of Galaxy Macau is based on the resplendent plumes of the peacock. Rising from behind a waterfall and slowly sinking into a roulette-design fountain, the Fortune Diamond symbolizes abounding prosperity and good fortune.

4. Performance Lake 
A dramatic ballet of water, fire and light, the Performance Lake is the magnum opus of the resort. This true multimedia feat utilizes more than 300 water nozzles and shooters and 800,000 gallons of water, all of which will dance before your eyes to the tune of popular show tunes and renowned Chinese melodies.

5. Pier 16 Macao 3D World 
Pier 16 Macau 3D World is Macau’s first 3D Museum and also the world’s first museum with 4D paintings. The Museum brings visitors a brand new sensory experience through 4D elements such as lighting effects, analog sound and props.

Pier 16 Macau 3D World is a platform for creativity. Unlike traditional art museums, visitors here can be part of the art piece and change the formation of the painting by their participation. Every visitor is the director of their own photos in this 3D universe.

Thrilling Activities
1. Macao Tower (AJ Hackett Activities) 
The 10th tallest tower in the world with a height of 338 metres above the ground. At the outdoor observation deck, the tower dominates the skyline and offers breathtaking panoramic views of Macao cityscape.  It offers thrilling adventures such as the bungy jump, skywalk, skyjump and mast climb, bringing it to a totally new level of excitement.

2. Batman Dark Flight
Enhanced with the latest in flight simulation technology and the very best in audio design and visual graphics, "Batman Dark Flight" takes you, and the legend of Batman, to a whole new dimension of super-heroic entertainment. This incredible multi-sensory, action-packed ride throws you among all of Batman's heart stopping encounters as he combats the hair-raising terror of Gotham City's Super-Villains.

3. Golden Reel 
Born from an epic Hollywood-inspired tale of two asteroids careering through Studio City's main façade and leaving a perfect "8" shaped hole, Golden Reel is a panoramic spectacle that promises to thrill, amaze and take your breath away as you travel around a figure-8 track high above the resort.

Suspended at 130 meters between two Art-Deco hotel towers, this iconic landmark features 17 spacious Steampunk-themed cabins, each accommodates up to 10 people.

Creative Industries Zone
1. St. Lazarus District 
St Lazarus is the smallest of the five parishes on the Macau Peninsula. It is located north east of the popular tourist area between Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul and can be reached from both locations in 10 to 15 minutes by foot.

First and foremost, the streets around St Lazarus Church should not be missed. This is a delightful side of Macau that will have you clicking away with your camera nonstop. In particular, you won’t want to miss the Portuguese-style cobblestone pavements which make up these streets; they are some of the finest Macau has to offer.

2. 10 Fantasia - A Creative Industries Incubator 
The works of the primarily local artists and creative workers in the gallery are renewed monthly, with art courses and seminars a popular attraction. Art courses include scriptwriting, photography, video and movie production, sculpting, painting, etc. In addition, the art centre regularly organizes animation parties, role-play events, artist gatherings and concerts.

Located in St. Lazarus Parish and established in 2008, 10 Fantasia – resplendent with 2 exhibition halls and 10 showrooms – displays and promotes the products of Macao’s cultural, artistic and creative industries.

3. Macao Fashion Gallery
Macao Fashion Gallery is created as a vehicle to promote and showcase fashion. By regularly organizing different types of fashion and art related events, the Gallery is to become a Macao central point to exhibit fashion designs. Besides trying to attract visitors from all over the world, these events also aim to heighten awareness of local citizens over fashion design and related industries. The Gallery serves as an interactive window for fashion art education, academic exchanges, display of different culture, and mutual communication. It is a multi-facet platform to assist development of fashion related elements within the culture and creativity industry of Macao.

Besides organizing exhibitions and events for local fashion designers, overseas and mainland designers are also invited to showcase their collections at this gallery. It helps to strengthen communication between local and overseas fashion designers. These international events can also bring the latest fashion news and design trends into Macao. Spreading the name of Macao fashion designer overseas is instrumental in raising Macao’s reputation in the Asian and international stage of fashion design.

4. Tap Seac Gallery
Dating back to the 1920s, the Gallery was originally two-storey houses. The historic complex is a typical example of an upper-class family residence in Macao. The earthen-yellow and brick-red outer walls match wooden louvers with window tracery design and the Roman arched doors, giving these buildings a distinctly European, neo-classical flair. When the facility was converted to an art gallery, these buildings were joined together, but to preserve historic elements, the two inner wells that originally separated the two structures were left intact and in place.

5. Luxury Shopping 
Various shopping malls such as Wynn Esplanade, Shoppes Grand Canal, Shoppes at Four Seasons, Shoppes Cotai Central, The Boulevard in City of Dreams, One Central Macao and Galaxy Macao - The Promenades as well as New Yaohan Department Store.

6. Sands Shoppes Cotai Central
Sands Shoppes is the largest duty-free luxury shopping experience and one of visitors' must-have experiences in Macao. With over 650 retailers to choose from, featuring the world’s best boutiques and some of Macao's first-to-market luxury brands. Consisting of, Shoppes at Four Seasons, Shoppes at Venetian and Shoppes at Cotai Central, the indoor mega-mall features unique design themes, live entertainment including singing gondoliers, magicians and a wide array of international cuisine, from Michelin-related high-end gourmet to expansive food court options.

7. One Central Macao 
One Central Macau is a waterfront flagship shopping mall in Nape Area, Macau. With a gross floor area of 200,000 square feet, it has attracted international brands, including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Gucci, FENDI, Ermenegildo Zegna, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Cartier, Bvlgari, Burberry, Celine, Bottega Veneta, Salvatore Ferragamo, Emporio Armani, Marc Jacobs, Panerai and Rimowa to open their first, largest or flagship stores here.

Economical Shopping 
1. S. Domingos District
S. Domingos District (including the area of Rua de Pedro Nolasco da Silva & Avenida do Conselheiro Ferreira de Almeida) is a shopping magnet for locals and visitors alike. Lots of fashion apparel may be found in Sun Star City, Nga Meng Shopping Arcade and Ginza Plaza. Other outlets sell brand shoes and international brand cosmetics as well as beauty care products for both ladies and gentlemen. In addition, several bookstores, sports accessory outlets and electrical appliance chain stores help to fulfil essential shopping needs.

2. Three Lamp District 
Three Lamp District is one of Macau’s most popular shopping areas and the best place to see how locals live and experience the city’s day-to-day life. The roundabout and its offshoots are packed with small shops, boutiques and street vendors that sells a wide variety of jewellery, clothes, shoes, cameras and electronic gadgets.

Sensational Spa Indulgence 
1. So Spa – Sofitel Macao at Ponte 16
So SPA with L’Occitane sets new standards for the spa industry in Macao. The cocooning, feel-good space is dedicated to wellbeing and relaxation. Spend time in the relaxing multi-sensory shower and flotation bath. Feel the benefits of traditional Asian treatments, our Hammam treatments from the Middle East, and the latest modern French cosmetology techniques - all part of the true So SPA experience.

2. Six Senses – MGM Macao
Six Senses Spa at MGM MACAO is a contemporary sanctuary offering the very best comforts combined with cutting edge wellness facilities and therapies. An extensive spa menu combines locally inspired therapies with Six Senses signature treatments, together with fitness and beauty. Spa products are made only by natural ingredients, in harmony with the environment. Six Senses Spa's uniqueness lies in the quest for perfectly - balancing Senses.