Dubbed as the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau has become a popular destination because of its grand and majestic casinos. Each casino has something special that attract visitors (gamblers and non-gamblers alike) which contribute to Macau’s tourism industry. On the other side, the city also houses interesting historical and UNESCO heritage sites.
Macau became a colony of the Portuguese empire in 1557. It was lent to Portugal as a trading post but remained under Chinese authority and sovereignty. That being said, Macau was greatly influenced by the Portuguese. This influence could be seen in their way of life as well as their culture, architecture, food and a lot more.
Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century. In 1557 Macau was rented to Portugal by the Chinese empire as a trading port. The Portuguese administered the city under Chinese authority and sovereignty until 1887, when Macau became a colony of the Portuguese Empire. Sovereignty over Macau was transferred back to China on 20 December 1999. – Wikipedia
Having a whole week to spend in Hong Kong, we decided to squeeze a day trip to Macau. Derick and I normally don’t travel unplanned. It’s not that we don’t want to get lost but we choose comfort most of the time. Prior to arriving in Hong Kong, we booked our Macau day tour through viator.com. The Macau day tour from Hong Kong was inclusive of hotel pickup/drop-off, round trip TurboJet tickets, transportation around Macau, licensed tour guide and buffet lunch. It was hassle free and everything was well taken cared of.
The weather in Macau was terrible during our tour. It was raining most of the time and the humidity was high. I don’t have much photos because it was raining and gloomy. Nevertheless, listed below were the things we experienced and sites that we visited.
Macau Museum and Fortaleza do Monte (Mount Fortress)
Ruins of Saint Paul’s
If Paris has the Eiffel Tower then Macau has the ‘Ruins of Saint Paul’. It is their famous landmark which was officially listed as part of the Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. You’ve never been to Macau if you haven’t visited this popular site.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, it was raining during our visit and when the rain stopped, the people were flocking towards the site like insects ready to attack. It was crazy!
Portuguese Architecture and Historical Buildings
The A-Ma Temple
This temple is another UNESCO Heritage Site of Macau. It is believed that the name Macau was derived from it.
It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the natives replied Maa-gok or A-maa-gok (lit. “The Pavilion of the Mother”). The Portuguese then named the peninsula “Macau”. – Wikepedia
The Macau Tower
The Macau Tower is the 11th highest tower in the world. Adrenaline junkies would love this place. If you want to do bungee jumping from the tallest building then this is the place to be. We actually saw someone jumped from the tower.
The square was named after the Leal Senado, a meeting place for the Chinese and Portuguese in the 16th to 18th centuries, located directly in front of the square, where Leal Senado Building stands today. In 1940, a small garden was built at the centre of the square, featuring a bronze statue of Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita standing above a stone pillar pulling out a sword. The statue was pulled down in the 12-3 incident as Mesquita was responsible for the deaths of many Qing Chinese soldiers. A fountain was built at its site and still stands today.
Casino Lisboa and The Grand Lisboa
The original Hotel and Casino Lisboa built by Stanley Ho in 1970.
In 2010 the Grand Lisboa rose up and became one of Macau’s famous landmark because of its unique architecture. The Grand Lisboa also showcased Stanley Ho’s collections of expensive art pieces and fine antiques.
Our Macau visit wouldn’t be complete without trying some local delicacies. We bought a box of their famous egg tarts, almond cookies and half kilo of pork jerky. It was really delicious. I recommend buying it in any Koi Kei Bakery. You can’t go wrong with these goodies and it is perfect for giveaways back home.
I know there some attractions that we haven’t seen during this trip since we ran out of time and the weather wasn’t cooperating. So we have decided to put in on hold for now and visit these places the next time we’re in Macau. This would actually be a good excuse to go back and visit Macau again. In particular we are saving the Fisherman’s Wharf and the casinos in Taipah like The Parisian and The Venetian for our next visit.