The East Asia adventures continued from Hong Kong, this time, visiting one of the unique destinations I have ever been to in my life, Macau.
With only three days in this vibrant destination with the family, the schedule was hectic visiting several Macau tourist attractions.
Macau tourism is literally in your face from the moment you get off the Macau ferry, with neatly dressed women in their high shorts handing out flyers to the casinos they represent.
It’s at that moment; you realise Macau is a real adult destination with gambling, a vibrant nightlife and mesmerising Macau shows that are a hit with the public. That being said, Macau is certainly suitable enough for families too.
However, the nightlife and casinos are just a small part of what Macau attractions represent. Plenty is going on with old Portuguese Heritage Buildings, the busy city streets which endlessly leads you to the best Macao attractions.
When it came to finding out what to do in Macau in 3 days, our family entertainment never ended. By the time the trip concluded, it’s fair to say we were exhausted hopping from one place to another.
If you only have a few days in your Macau travel schedule yourself, follow this similar itinerary, because I can assure you that it’ll work for you and there are plenty of things to do in Macau that won’t cost you a dime.
Let’s check it out; Fai Dinkum Traveller’s very own special edition of Macau Diaries.
Macau & Hong Kong Diaries: The Top Macau Tourist Attractions we Visited
How to Get to Macau from Hong Kong
Catching the Hong Kong to Macau Ferry is the best way to travel between the two destinations, and it’ll only take about an hour of sailing through the waters to arrive at your destination, whichever way you are going.
I have written an in-depth article of the Hong Kong Macau Ferry system, which you can read with this link.
In a nutshell, there are two ferry companies TurboJet, and Cotai Water Jet. Each ferry departs or arrives at the Hong Kong- Macau Ferry Terminal and travels between the two main Ferry terminals in Macau.
All ferries run regularly throughout the day, so don’t have to worry about missing out on a ride, with the first ferry usually departing either terminal at 7 am and the last boat of the day leaving just before midnight.
The cost of a ferry can vary depending on class, but tickets usually go from HKD$160 for an adult.
The Macau Hotel we Regrettably Stayed in
Luckily, we only stayed in Macau for two nights, because the disgusting cigarette smell in our non-smoking room at the Emperor Hotel was deplorable, that the huge money we spent for this particular Macau Hotel would have had us going crazy.
The hotel had all the fundamentals to be brilliant, and for some tourist, it would be the case. The hotel had big and clean rooms, and there were complimentary snacks in the mini-bar fridge.
The hotel served a substantial buffet breakfast, had a free shuttle service to the Macau Ferry Terminal, and a central location, with proximity to the Macau Casinos and other Macau best attractions.
What was the problem?
The problem and this is a big problem. When you pay AUD$314 a night for a non-smoking room, you expect the odour not to wreak of that horrible stench which was constant throughout our stay.
Upon complaining about the strong smoking odour in the family room to staff, they insisted the room is smoke-free, although it’s located on a smoking floor, and the smell tends to get through the vents.
Call me crazy, but that seems to defeat the whole bloody purpose of a non-smoking room if the smoke can filter through from other rooms, not to mention the cigarette butts in the ashtray provided near the elevator.
Unfortunately, there was not much else to do but to put up with the stench. As I said, we spent two nights in Macau, and we didn’t spend a heck of a lot of time in our hotel room.
If you are looking for great hotel rooms in Macau that is hopefully a perfect fit for you, check out Booking.com for great rates.
Macau International Parade
How fortunate we were to arrive in Macau on the very same day that Macau International Parade was happening.
An annual event in December that celebrates Macau’s handover back to China from the Portuguese, and aren’t the streets humming on this festive day.
It started at the St Ruins De Paul and ran through the busy streets of Macau, bypassing many Macau attractions in the process.
The streets were lined up deep with proud locals and curious tourist, to capture the festivities of the day, as various organisations showed off their skills and danced through the street providing fantastic entertainment and colour to the dazzled onlookers.
By accident, we got to witness the event, and by golly, it was fascinating to see the happy people participating in the parade or passing by and capturing the festivities of a proud nation. It kicked off our Macau trip in excellent style.
The Ruins of St Pauls – A Famous Macau Attraction
The Ruins of St Pauls is one of the top 10 macao tourist attractions and is undoubtedly one of the hottest Macau tourist spots to see during your visit.
I’m sure in your research, you’ve read about the famous church which was almost wiped out during a typhoon in the year of 1835, leaving a half-standing church you see today.
What remained a tragedy back then is now a tourist goldmine, because what is now standing of the Ruins of St Pauls, and gathers millions of tourists every year.
Keen travellers march their way through the busy streets to view the ruins and enjoy the atmosphere surrounding the half-standing church.
From the moment you climb the steps of the church to the top and by-passing many other visiting tourists.
You can wander through St Pauls and discover historical facts about the church. Read about the horrific disaster and even take a few selfie photos in amongst the crowd of tourist, because everyone else is doing the same thing, so why not you too.
Walking the streets of Macau
In the main Macau City area, things liven up with tourist attractions popping up all over the place, while having the chance to be your very own Macau Tour Guide.
I found it fascinating to walk the streets and discover an area dedicated to delicious Asian soups, another strip dedicated to Beef Jerky with free tasting samples and finding good bakeries shops located through the city. The famous Margaret’s Café e Nata made the delicious egg tart, and the waiting lines could be quite excessive.
It’s through the city walks you’ll find churches, the Ruins of St Paul, Historic Macao attractions and other tourist places along the way by random. It’ll never hurt to get your hands-on a Macau Map to assist you in your travels.
Wander through the Historic Senado Square
The Historic area of Macau tourist spots continues to liven up on the busy streets with Senado Square. Once again, you’ll need to put up with the crowds, but that’s life during your Macau City Tour.
It’s a real Portuguese flavour to Senado Square, offering plenty of photo-taking opportunities of the Heritage buildings which make up the famous Square.
Inside you’ll be able to do shopping at a variety of retail outlets or market stalls, enjoy a delicious cappuccino at a nearby café’ or sit down for a delicious meal in a top restaurant.
The atmosphere is through the roof at Senado Square, so take your time to enjoy it and take everything in slowly; it’ll only make you appreciate it more.
The Churches of Macau – There are Plenty
I could tell you about every church or cathedral I attended in Macau, but I’ll either bore you or require a separate blog post as my memory begins to test me.
Catholic Churches are common in Macau, and quite often you are stumbling upon them by accident while making your way around the city or even the backstreets.
A few notable churches we saw during our Macau trip, taking away the obvious of The Ruins of St Paul, is the Cathedral of the Nativity of our Lady, Macau Diocese and the St Domini’s Church.
However, enjoy a self-tour at your will and see what you find when discovering unique things to do in Macau.
The A-Ma Temple
The picturesque A-Ma Temple is one of the Oldest temples in Macau, dating back to the 15th Century and many people come to the temple for further Macau sightseeing and to worship if that is what their beliefs happen to be.
The A-ma temple ascends a slope of steps showcasing various structures along the way such as buildings, artwork and religious relics that are seen throughout your brief journey in the famous temple.
You’ll also come across great views from a higher vantage point that overlooks the Inner Harbour towards Mainland China.
Wynn Macau – Casino
I visited Wynn Macau on a couple of occasions, mainly because this mega-casino was situated so close to our hotel.
It’s also an elegant Macau casino that offers entertainment, classy restaurants, expensive retail shopping and a range of café’s/bars for a quiet drink.
Of course, it had the regular gambling areas in the games room of slot machines and roulette tables, but I chose not to participate.
My favourite part at Wynn Macau was at the Rotunda. An area located at one of the entrances, with a quick five-minute show appearing every half hour, of either The Tree of Prosperity or the amazing Dragon of Fortune.
Another show would look outside the main lobby area of Wynn with the Performance Lake, a fountain show that appears every 15-minutes and is even better during the night.
Venetian Macau – Casino
For the remainder of the Macau trip, before returning to Hong Kong by ferry, we spent several hours in the Taipa area of Macau with attractions such as Galaxy Macau, The Wynn Palace, The Parisian and many other fabulous tourist locations.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to visit all the Macau places, but we did make our way to Venetian Macau.
You know the one, the casino known for its fabulous Shoppes at Venetian, an indoor city which gives you a taste of little Italy, and the ever-popular Gondola ride with the sounds of Italian opera singing.
The House of Dancing Water Performance – Must See Macau Show
While browsing through the Klook travel App at a few of the tourist attractions in Macau. I stumbled upon the House of Dancing Water, a dazzling performance which had incredible reviews.
While this particular Macau show is not cheap, especially for a family of four, we went about booking the tickets through Klook and saved a few dollars in the process.
I’m glad we saw the performance because the whole event was mesmerising from start to finish and it had the entire audience hooked from the get-go.
The House of Dancing Water is what you would call a circus act, but with a great story of love, friendship and perseverance.
In the gripping story with a duration of around 85-minutes, there are fantastic dance sequences, acrobatics from great heights, and even a motorbike spectacle which dazzled everyone in the audience.
The most amazing part of this performance is how the main stage keeps turning from a pool of water to a stable platform in the blink of an eye.
Everything about the Water Dance was five stars, from the epic love story, the amazing choreography, the transformation of the stage and the sublime individual performances from the actors and dancers involved in the show.
Yes, five-stars and to anyone visiting Macau, make sure you are getting a ticket to the hottest show in town. You won’t regret it.
What we unfortunately missed in our Macau Trip
Three days in Macau is obviously not enough, nor is it enough in most destinations around the world.
Therefore we missed a few Macau attractions in the process. Like a few of the mentioned Macau Casinos in Taipa, The Macau Tower which we saw from a distance and the famous Fisherman’s Wharf.
They’re the breaks when travel is for a short time. However, didn’t stop us having a trip of a lifetime with many positive experiences in the process, and a few setbacks along the way (curse that hotel).
Macau is a unique Asian destination I have ever visited, and at the end of the day, I’m glad I chucked it on the bucket list.