Heading to Macau, but not in the city for too long? This is the itinerary you need to make sure you make the most of your time in this dynamic city. Check out my 1 day Macau Itinerary and explore the best places and things to do.
Macau is incredibly unique and energetic. It is most famous as a gambling hub and it is the world’s biggest gambling centre. The bright lights, glitz and casino noise of Macau are almost overwhelming. Macau is fascinatingly vibrant and doesn’t compare to anywhere else in the world!
Macau is officially a Special Administrative Region of China. The country was formerly a Portuguese colony until 1999, when it was transferred to China. Macau is a popular destination for gambling, and some of the biggest casinos in the world are found precisely there. In addition, the Historic Centre of Macao is a fascinating place with unique influence of Chinese and Portuguese culture.
How to Get from Hong Kong to Macau
There are three ways to get to Macau depending on your time and budget: with ferry, by bus or by helicopter. I recommend you to travel by ferry, which is one of the most convenient ways. We have decided to get up early and catch the first ferry to Macau, that leaves at 7 am from the Hong Kong Harbor. The advantage is that you’ll avoid the crowds, although it still might be full of people. The voyage lasts for about 55 minutes.
Since October 23rd, 2018 you can get to Macau from Hong Kong by bus via the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge (HZMB). The buses take around 45 minutes and that is the cheapest way to get from Hong Kong to Macau.
1 Day Macau Itinerary
In this 1 day Macau itinerary find out all the best things to do and places to see. Using this 1 day Macau itinerary will maximize your planning ensuring you see the most during your time in gambling capital of the world. Macau is a shiny destination with world class entertainment and many attractions. The city is full of well-preserved colonial buildings, and the street names reflect Portuguese culture. The historical sites are primarily located relatively close to one another.
Senado is a very beautiful square with colorfully painted Colonial buildings. It is located in the central part of the half-island Macau, and this is the historic centre of the city. In 2005, it has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is called this way during the time of the Ming dynasty, as it is situated exactly in front of the Leal Senado building, which has been the place for meetings of Chinese and Portuguese authorities.
In 1940, on the place of this fountain, there was a statue of the Portuguese officer Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita. Subsequently, it was destroyed by the Chinese nation due to the fact that Mesquita is responsible for the death of many Chinese soldiers during the Qin dynasty.
Holy House of Mercy of Macau
Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Macau is another historical building on the Senado square. Originally, the Holy House of Mercy of Macau was founded in 1569 and for several centuries served as an orphanage for girls on the model of a charity in Portugal.
St. Domingo’s Church (St. Dominic’s Church)
St. Domingo’s Church is an interesting building, situated right in the heart of Senado square. The construction has been finalized in 1587 in a Baroque style by three Spanish Dominican monks. The church has been enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a part of the historic center of Macau.
In the end of the square, the stairs towards the largest landmark in Macau begin – the remains of The Ruins of St. Paul’s. And on the street, we passed through many shops, whose sellers were urging us to try different delicious treats. The most delicious thing was a type of dried meat, thin as a sheet of paper, flavored with different spices.
The Ruins of St. Paul’s
Probably the most famous and photographed attraction in Macau. The ruins were a part of an impressive Portuguese Cathedral, whose construction began in 1602. In 1835, a fire incinerated the temple, leaving only its very large and beautiful facade. Initially, the cathedral was made of wood – brilliantly decorated and furnished. Japanese Christian craftsmen in exile, however, built the facade by carved stone. The facade is 27m tall, 23,5m wide and 2,7m thick. On the top, it has a triangle girder below the waist, and in the middle of the upper threshold, there is a copper dove. The dove has been surrounded by the sun, the moon and the stars. There is a statue of the baby Jesus Christ with the instruments, which have been used to nail him to the cross. In 2005, the Ruins have been enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Monte Fort (Fortaleza do Monte)
This is the oldest of all fortresses in Macau. Settled east of the Ruins of St. Paul’s. The fortress has been built by the Jesuits between 1617 and 1626. Initially, it has been used as a protection of the church by the pirates but later on, it became only a military fortress. The fort represents a quadrilateral with bastions in every corner, as every side is about 100 m. The view from the platform offers a charming view over Macau, which makes the place a popular attraction for the tourists.
After a little divagation through the streets of Macau, we got on the free bus of the hotel-casino Studio City, which led us to Taipa Island, where a large part of the casinos on the island were located. The hotel leaves an impression with an exceptionally beautiful facade, and the casino offers a free chance for every guest to try their luck in some lottery. The luck didn’t stay with me this time and I won a consolatory prize – a bottle of Coca-Cola in a limited edition.
After Studio City, we headed to Macau’s most famous complex – The Venetian Macau. This 5-star resort offers their guests the incredible adventure of being in Venice, but in Macau. They managed to make a copy of the Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal and St Mark’s Campanile.
Although, I am not a fan of casinos inside was truly impressive. You literally become speechless when you enter inside by the luxury of absolutely everything. Lights, glitz, luxury. But this wasn’t all. At the exit of the hotel, we stumbled upon another hotel complex – The Parisian Macau. You will know it by its name. Yes, the Eiffel Tower is here!
The mixing of the Chinese and the Portuguese culture has left its imprint and makes the city one of the most visited ones on a world scale. And in the moment, Macau is one of the fastest developing and prospering cities. Only a few years ago, it was declared as the largest betting center in the world, getting ahead of Las Vegas. One day won’t be enough to see all the landmarks, but you will still have the opportunity to enjoy its charm. In the end, Macau is not only about hazard; there is also culture and history.