7 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Macao
Located east of mainland China in a narrow strip of land extending from central Guangdong Province, Macau is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Asia. While the historic Portuguese Quarter is filled with shopping, colonial buildings, and lively street life, just to the north of the city is a completely different experience. Here, ancient temples and shrines from China's Ming and Qing dynasties, Taoist burial mounds, and a hillside labyrinth of quiet cobblestone streets called the Shau Kei Wan Monastery are some of Macau's most unusual attractions.
Macau was once the largest European trading port in Asia and is home to some of the most dazzling architectural achievements of the colonial period. Some of the highlights of the city include the Ruins of the Church of St. Paul in Po Kong, the Ruins of the Iaoliao Fort in Coloane, and the abandoned The Fortress of the Inquisition, which is now a resort.
Macau is renowned for its casino gambling, which started to boom in the 1970s. Despite this burgeoning industry, Macau maintains a relatively relaxed atmosphere and provides some unique cultural experiences that visitors can't find anywhere else in China. To plan a visit, check out our list of the top things to do and see in Macao.
Guia Fortress (Guia Guilai) is a small fortress that gives visitors an idea of the conditions Macao faced back in the 16th century, when it was a fortress of the Portuguese Empire. This is when it really began to take shape, in the mid-16th century. Today the Portuguese buildings are the museum and other landmarks, while you can see the Japanese-influenced Portuguese that dominates the architecture.
Rising 227 meters above the gambling center of Macau, Macau Tower is a 21-floor hotel. In the center of a tropical garden, the hotel's entrance is flanked by two concrete statues of armored guards holding staff flags. Macau Tower's rooms and public areas are appointed with 19th and 20th century European furniture and decor.
Museu de Macau
Macau's Casa da Cultura or People's House is located at Avenida da Republica in the city's Lingnan District. Commissioned by the Macau government as the seat of the Assembly of Macau, the building contains various exhibition halls and performance spaces, as well as a pair of theaters for cinema and opera performances. An adjacent shopping center boasts some 400 boutiques, galleries, and other shops, among them the Philatelic Museum, one of the world's most impressive. To reach the museum from the building, simply step outside and walk north down Avenida Infante D. Henrique. Elsewhere, the history museum offers insight into the region's rich, multiethnic heritage. The museum's exhibitions focus on various aspects of history, including the Portuguese colonial era, and cover topics such as the abolition of the Macau Legislative Council in 1999, the 2,000-year-old culture of the Macanese people, and the rise and fall of the Portuguese Macau colony during the Ming, Qing, and Portuguese eras. For more of what to see and do in Macau, including hotels and shopping opportunities, check out Wikitravel.
Largo do Senado
Largo do Senado is located in the city of Macau, the former Portuguese colony on the southern coast of China. Famous for its gambling houses and restaurants, it is part of the city's Chinatown. Although Macau's industry and financial sector continues to grow, the pedestrian-friendly Largo do Senado remains true to its colonial-era appearance. To get there, you will need to take the Dragon City Line, the newest train line of the mainland-linked Macau light rail system, which will take you to Largo do Senado station, in the historic city centre of Macau. One of Macau's most famous eateries, 1010 Restaurant, is also located in the Largo.
St. Paul's Cathedral
Built by Christian Missionaries in 1846, the Gothic cathedral has become the center of the Macao's Catholic Church. The interior was designed by French architect Auguste Lainé. The cathedral has regular art exhibitions and mass is held in English and Chinese. Macao's Chinatown can be visited on Sunday when it is a very lively place. The interesting building also has a pleasant garden and café where you can also taste the local specialties, like the bitter egg (Yue yue biao) with shrimp (Yue yue shaobiao). In the interior of the cathedral there is a little museum, the Basilica of Santissima Vergine delle Neve di Maria.
Macao Tower (Largo do Senado Municipal de Macau), which dates from 1928, is one of the most iconic buildings in Asia. The 120-meter-high edifice, in Cantonese marble, is in the shape of a pyramid with an octagonal base. Designed to echo the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it houses Macau's Museum of Art (Museu de Arte), which houses a vast collection of 19th- and 20th-century Asian and European paintings, sculpture, furniture and textiles. The tower is used as a navigation landmark and is also a huge hotel. About 200 meters to the west is the famous Temple of the Soul of the Dead (Templo dos Leais dos Mártires). It was built in 1601 and is the largest temple in Asia.
A-Ma Temple (A-Miao, Sutrao Lung San Temple, A-Miao sutrao lontan dao) is a stunning temple built in 1276, the first temple built on the territory of Macao, before Portugal officially took over the city. This Buddhist temple is one of Macao's biggest attractions. A-Ma Temple is also the place where Chinese culture came first, and more Chinese and Asian customs remain. As well as the temple, there are an abbey, libraries, a manor, a casino, and a statue park. Admission: MOP 1,000 (around €20, depending on season) Hours of access: Open from 8 am to 5 pm (in summer) and 9 am to 5 pm (in winter)