9 Fun Things to Do in Macau For the Ultimate East Asia Adventure

Located off the southern coast of China to the west of Hong Kong, Macau is one of the most unique travel destinations in East Asia. With its 300-year history as a Portuguese colony and its new reputation as “The Vegas of Asia,” there’s a never-ending list of fun things to do Macau. From exploring its Portuguese charms and Chinese temples to enjoying world-class dining and playing the night away at its glitzy casinos, explore Macau with this quick & easy attractions guide!

Top tourist attractions in Macau

Walk the narrow streets of Taipa Village

Only got a short layover? If you’re arriving by plane, make Taipa Village your first stop. Located just west of the airport, the area is the perfect place to start digging into Macau’s colonial heritage and culture.

Rua do Cunha Taipa

The heart of Taipa Island, the village is a small community with a mix of Portuguese-style residential and commercial buildings and Chinese temples. As you roam through Taipa Village, you’ll spot old colonial villas next to packed open-air markets.

Taipa Village provides an alternative to the bustling streets of downtown Macau to the north. You find many of the same attractions, like endless restaurants and shops, but on a much smaller and more intimate scale.

Visit the Ruins of St. Paul’s

If there’s any single must-visit attraction in Macau, it’s the Ruins of St. Paul’s. Located in the heart of the city, this historic church is the territory’s most visited and most photographed landmark. It’s such an important piece of world history that the ruins were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, alongside the rest of the Historic Centre of Macau.

St. Paul's Church

The Church of St. Paul was built in the 17th century, and was destroyed by fire in the 19th century. The church’s façade still stands, greeting millions of tourists each year.

The façade of the Ruins of St. Paul still includes incredibly detailed carvings of Catholic figures. At the top, you’ll spot a dove with wings outstretched, but the highlight is The Virgin Mary crushing the seven-headed hydra. You can also spend a few minutes browsing the small museum behind the façade.

Enjoy expansive views from the decks of Macau Tower

After checking out the city’s famous church ruins, see them from above with a trip up to the top of Macau Tower. From the upper observation decks and restaurants, you can stare out over the entire region, spotting all the city’s most popular landmarks.

Macau Tower

If you’re a thrill seeker, try the tethered bungee jump from the outer rim of the tower. At 233 metres, it’s the highest commercial bungee jump in the world. You can also walk around the rim of Macau Tower on the Skywalk X, a safer alternative to taking the big plunge.

Not up for an adventure? Skip the adrenaline-rush activities and explore the gift shops and malls inside the massive convention centre.

Try local cuisine in Senado Square

Dating back to the 16th century, Senado Square has long been the heart of the Historic Centre of Macau. The popular town square is located in the southern part of the district, covering 3,700 square metres. For several centuries, the plaza was a meeting place for the Chinese and Portuguese.

Senado Square

Many of the buildings around Senado Square are now protected monuments. The buildings feature typical European architecture, highlighting the 300 years of Portuguese influence.

If you’re looking to experience local foods, start at Senado Square. You can find just about every type of cuisine in the surrounding restaurants and cafes. Dig into traditional Portuguese cuisine at Portucau or sip a coffee and people-watch at the Cathedral Cafe.

The square also hosts many of the city’s most important celebrations. If you’re visiting during any important Chinese or Catholic festival or holiday, you’ll likely find the square filled with street performers and vendors.

Step inside A-Ma Temple

If you enjoy visiting Chinese temples, make sure you include A-Ma Temple on your Macau sightseeing list. Located on the southwestern part of the peninsula, it’s one of the most visited and oldest temples in Macau.

A-Ma Temple

Built in 1488, A-Ma Temple predates the Portuguese colonial period. The name “Macau” comes from the temple. When Portuguese sailors arrived, they asked the locals the name of the place. The locals responded with the name of the temple, “Maa-gok,” meaning The Pavilion of the Mother.

The temple includes a large gate entrance with the typical intricate stone carvings. When you step inside the tempke, you’ll find an expansive prayer hall packed with bells and other Buddhist items.

Enjoy fresh air and views of the city at Guia Fortress and Chapel

Looking for more sweeping views of the city? Visit Guia Fortress, an old Portuguese colonial site that spans the southern parts of Guia Municipal Park

Guia Fortress

The park and fortress cover a large portion of eastern Macau near the harbour. The main sites here include the Guia Lighthouse and the Chapel of Our Lady of Guia. The chapel was built in 1622, while the lighthouse was built a couple of hundred years later.

You have to take a cable car to get to the viewing area inside the lighthouse. From the top of the 81-metre-high tower, you can see most of the city and up to 32 kilometres out to sea.

Test your luck at the many casinos of the Cotai Strip

Ready to see why Macau is known at the “Vegas of Asia”? Set aside time to explore the Cotai Strip. This stretch of reclaimed land along the Estrada do Istmo is now covered in fancy luxury resorts.

Cotai Strip

Macau has received a major tourism boom, thanks to the casinos on the Cotai Strip. With theatres, shopping malls, five-star restaurants, rides, gambling, and pools, you never need to leave this buzzing area.

Compared to the narrow streets and densely populated urban areas in the Macau peninsula, Cotai boasts wide avenues flanked by modern buildings. You’ll find at least a dozen casinos, resorts, and luxury hotels within several blocks, including the Venetian Macao Casino, Studio City, and MGM Cotai.

Get your fill of seafood at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf

The outer harbour of the peninsula was once a bustling waterfront full of seafood vendors and crews loading and unloading supplies from ships. It’s now one of the main areas for tourists and entertainment.

Rossio Square in Fisherman's Wharf

Macau Fisherman’s Wharf is the stretch of the harbour just south of the ferry terminal. It includes a complex of casinos, hotels, rides, restaurants, and shops. The stores are all designed to reflect different waterfront regions, such as New Orleans, Miami, and the Italian Riviera.

Explore over 70 establishments near the seaport. You can also find roller coasters and other rides at the theme park and shopping malls within the convention and exhibition centre.

Marvel at the animals in the Macao Giant Panda Pavilion

As you may expect from the name, the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion is home to several pandas. But that’s not all: It’s also a popular zoo with a wide range of animals.

Giant Panda Pavilion

Watch flamingos, gorillas, and monkeys as you travel around the 3,000 square metres of the zoo. The site includes indoor and outdoor areas and a pavilion with its own gift shop and restaurant.

While a trip to the zoo is always fun, you may need to skip it during a short trip. For example, if you’ve only got 24 hours in Macau, you’ll likely need to stick to the sites on the main peninsula, Taipa, and Cotai.

Where to stay in Macau for sightseeing

Compared to its autonomous territory sibling Hong Kong to the east, choosing where to stay in Macau isn’t nearly as much of a challenge. For most travellers, the Historic Centre of Macau, occupying the territory’s northern peninsula, is the best place to start searching for your accommodations. If you’re looking to gamble and want the full-on Macau luxury experience, the Cotai Strip to the south of the city centre is another good option. Here are a couple recommended hotels…

  • Harbourview Hotel Macau: Offering beautiful city views, this elegant hotel features 18th-century-inspired decor more fitting for Central Europe than Macau. The all-season indoor pool is a huge bonus in staying here.
  • Grand Lapa Macau: A luxurious 5-star property that’s surprisingly light on the wallet for what it offers. From the heated outdoor pool to the five on-site dining options, this isn’t one you’ll want to miss.
  • Mandarin Oriental Macau: The top luxury pick in Macau Centre, this 5-star hotel is perfectly located to take on the best of the city. As you’d expect from this world-famous hospitality brand, any stay here will be the most memorable part of your trip, whether it’s the picture-perfect views from its sophisticated rooms or the relaxing treatments offered at the on-site spa.

Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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