to Macau !
Global Mark : 13.12
Ratings by criteria :
Ratings by backpackers :
||8 to 16
Description : A Portuguese enclave with Chinese characteristics, a
gambling city with the highest rate of church per square meter in the world, a
relaxed atmosphere & way of life with regular outbreach of violence and a
lot of prostitution,... Macau is a
fascinating mix of past and modernity in all its excess.
Comments : Macau is nice but somehow not as popular with backpackers
as HK. Modernity & the return to China in December 99 are slowly eroding the
colonial charm of the enclave...
What to do : Macau is a place to be enjoyed by self propelled engine
so bring good shoes / Get a free map at the Tourist Office on arrival and
explore / Gamble at casino (bring long pants) / Confess yourself for the above
in one of the church / Visit cemeteries / Relax in parks / Eat Portuguese food /
Cycle the islands / Swim at
Coloane's beaches / Cross the border to China
What you may not like :
ugly atmosphere of the casino (this
is not Las Vegas !) / Not being rich like all those Chinese gamblers / The ferry
cost from HK / The lack of dormitory /
How long ? The small
size of Macau means that you can visit it as a day trip from HK. But to really
feel its atmosphere, taste its great food, gamble or visit its two islands, it
would be recommended to spend one night there.
Where to stay ?
<< Get precise info, book online and save money ! >> Hostels
Macau offers better value for
money than HK but budget accommodations are more limited. Ask the Tourist
association for the latest.
Pensao Kuan Heng
(573 629), 3-4
Rua Ponte E Horta, offers good rooms from M$110 (Sgl)
San Va Hospedaria (573 701),
corner Rua de Felicidade and Travessa de Felicidade, is probably the cheapest
with Sgl starting at M$35. For this price you however do not get window nor
apparently any cleaning staff...
What to see / visit ?
Below is a suggested itinerary
for Macau Peninsula only. A visit to the islands would require another day.
At the Ferry Terminal, visit the
information Office for free maps and tips
Walk toward the heart of the
City (or take bus No3)
Once on Avenida de Almeida
Ribeiro, check the Leal Senado Library, the Cathedral, St Dominic Church, the
Ruins of St Paul and the nice Monte Fort
Continue North toward Camoes
Grotto & Garden and the nearby Old Protestant Cemetery
Walk east to peaceful Lou Lim
Loc Gardens and Sun Yat-Sen Memorial House
Climb toward Guia Fortress and
Guia Lighthouse (cable car also available)
Continue North to the 400 years
old Kun Lam Temple. Nearby is another cemetery and garden
Pass the Colina de Mong Ha to
the small Lin Fong Temple
Catch a glance of China at the
Barrier Gate and check the nearby Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Park
Take bus No10 or 18 to the South
of the Peninsula.
Visit A-Ma Temple and go up
Penha Hill to the Chapel of Our Lady of Penha.
Dine at A Lorcha (313 193), 289
Rua do Almirante Sergio, probably the best Portuguese Restaurant of Macau, Dish
Award 1999 for HK Magazine. Don't be scared : prices are very reasonable.
Enjoy your meal with a bottle of Mateus Rose...
Have a digestion walk back to
the Heart of the City, passing St. Lawrence Church, the Government House and St.
Spend the rest of your money at
How to come ?
From HK, you can leave either from Central's
Terminal or TST's China Ferry Terminal.
The latest is the cheapest at $113 during week day and $134
during WE, inclusive of the $26 HK Government Embarkation Tax. Night service at
18:15, 18:45 & 20 cost $134 or $154. The trip by catamaran takes 70mn.
Morning departures include 8:30, 9, 9:30 & 11:40. Call HYFCO Travel Agent
(2730 8608) for details.
you plan to come back late, it might be better to book
a return ticket with a Jetfoil
to/from Central as they operate 24 hours daily, every 15 to 60mn. Night
service cost $161, day service $130 or 141 (WE). The trip takes 55mn. Call Far
East Hydrofoil Co (2859 3333) for details. Turbo Cat (60mn) or Foil-Cat (50mn)
are also available for the same price.
advisible to buy a return ticket in advance, in particular during week end or
Going to China ?
not indeed go to China via Macau ? A good way to save on Ferry fees... Buses to
Guangzhou are available directly from Macau (Kee Kwan Motors, 3 hrs, around
M$60). From Zhuhai across the border, cheaper buses go to various destinations
including Guangzhou, Foshan or Zhaoqing.
As for the
visa, you can get a three months tourist visa straight at
Gongbei border for HK$140 plus one ID photo. British citizens can not get visa
upon arrival at the border (info submitted by Hong Xiu Ping, China).
Macau Government Tourist
9 Largo do Senado, Tel 315 566, Fax 510 104. Also one office at the HK Ferry
Money ? HK dollars can be used everywhere instead of the pataca (M$),
on theory worth 3% less.
Visa ? Most visitors from developed
countries can visit Macau for 20 days without a visa but with a valid
passport. If required, visas are delivered on arrival
When to visit ? Avoid
Week end or holidays if possible !
Special Events ? International
Fireworks Festival, Music Festival, Macau Grand Prix and Macau Marathon take
place from September to December. Check with the Tourist Office for the exact
dates. With 95% of the population Chinese, all the Chinese festivals &
holidays also apply. HK is however usually
a better place to experience those.
How to visit ? Some great deal
(Transport + Hotel) can be arranged from HK's travel agencies. Shop around.
HK's visa extension ? Macau has
been, for years, the logical destination for people wishing to extend their stay in HK.
Immigrations officers are well aware of that and a trip to China is now
considered to be a better alternative to be able to re-enter HK with another 3 months fresh
: City of Culture Guide
Backpacker's Tips : Reuben Goh, Malaysia (June 07)
« MACAU TOWER: What's nice: A visit to
the top of the building, Price: 80 patacas, Other interest: If you're one of
those Xtreme Sports fan, you can SkyWalk, SkyJump, Bungee Jump or Mass Climb the
Macau tower. It is rather expensive, but a unique experience. On board the tower
there's 2 restaurants as well, 360 Cafe - serves buffet lunch and dinner (rather
pricey), and 180 Lounge - more like a coffee shop. Below, there are some shops
and a cinema.
Somethings to be aware of: 1. Many tourist places closes on Monday, some on
Tuesday. So check it out before going. 2. Some buses are not that frequent. On
top of that, some places are so near, it is easier to walk. 3. Many people can
speak english, they are just not used to it. But they will help you out any how
Backpacker's Tips : Claudine Olejnik, Belgium (Janv 07)
« Hotel Kou Va - rua Da Felicidade 71
- have changed his name and is now totaly renovated ... for same price then
before !!! bedclothes - carpet - TV - bathroom are new and there is also a new
lift. We recommand warmly this address. Morever, it is perfectly located, in a
small street plenty of old chineses shops and small restaurants !! The name is
now HOTEL KOWAH and the new tel numbers are 289-30-755 and 283-75-599. We paid
250 MOB for two per night. It's cheaper for s single room ( 190 or 200 MOB I
think ). It's normally more expensive for WE but if you'll stay few nights
you'll paid the same price.»
Backpacker's Tips : David
Emanuel Andersson (March 06)
« After having tried lots of options
in Macau, I recommend the following:
Hotel Kou Va, 71, Rua Da Felicidade - In my opinion, this small hotel offers the
best value for money in Macau. Very clean doubles with attached bathroom cost
between MOP150 and MOP200. This also seems to be the only hotel in the area
where the owner does not allow prostitutes inside the hotel (although there are
lots of streetwalkers in the neighborhood).
Margaret's Cafe: This is an excellent and inexpensive al fresco place for
sandwiches, cakes and coffee. It's not easy to find, but is on a side street
from Laurindo Almeida, somewhere between the Lisboa Hotel and the Main Square
Near the Royal Hotel/Vasco da Gama Park, there are several good small Thai
restaurants, if you have a craving for spicy food.
If you miss European culture, go to the church at the end of Largo Senado (I
think it's called Sao Domingo). This beautifully restored church is from the
17th century, and has an attached museum with Asian Catholic art on the 2nd and
3d floors. No entrance fee.
There is a pub area near the waterfront in the reclamation area called NAPE.
There are a couple of good but expensive pubs (beers MOP35) such as Moonwalker
and Casablanca, that sometimes offer live music. If you want to enjoy the
atmosphere without paying for overpriced drinks, there is a strategically
located convenience store among the pubs, with outdoor seating and attached
toilet. There you can get a beer for about MOP10 or a soft drink for about MOP5.
This area does not get crowded until 11pm.
If you want cheap food, there are several hole-in-the-wall restaurants with
outdoor seating in the Porto Interior area. This is on the opposite side of the
Macau peninsula, and is not far from Rua De Felicidade, which offers excellent
but more expensive Cantonese seafood restaurants.
In Coloane village, there is a nice Portuguese-style square with a couple of
nice al fresco restaurants, such as the Nga Tim Cafe. Moderate prices.
The northern part of the Macau peninsula lacks tourist attractions, but is
generally cheaper than the rest of Macau. It's not particularly beautiful, but
the area has the distinction of being the most densely populated area in the
world. If you really want good seafood, cross the border and go to Wanzai in
Zhuhai, which has a seafood market and restaurants that can cook your purchases.
Not recommended: Central Hotel (near Largo Senado). Although this hotel boasts a
perfect location and doubles for about MOP180, it is a cockroach-infested dump.
If you're traveling alone, Chinese prostitiutes will make phone calls and knock
on your door. Al fresco restaurants opposite Macau Tower, such as Henry's Galley.
High prices and bland food. If you want to splurge, don't do it at Macau's
luxury hotels. Zhuhai's hotels offer much better value (just across the Gongbei
Backpacker's Tips : Antoine Vionnet, France (August 03)
« DESCRIPTION: … mix of wealth and poverty, religions and cultures (Portuguese, Chinese, Philipines),…
WHAT TO SEE/VISIT:
- Buy a fresh fruit juice (among more than 20 species of fruit) for around 10 patacas when climbing the
street St Domingos on the right.
- Visit the most interesting museum in Macau: The maritime museum in front of the A-Ma temple
- Borrow a cycle for a trip in Coloane Island
- Listen to English music bands in the Mandarin Hotel from Tuesday to Sunday (better on Friday and
Saturday night, close at 4pm), first drink=40 patacas, assez chic, don’t be surprise by the prostitution…)
- Try the “DIM SUM” steam food in the typical Chinese Wa Fong restaurant in Taipa, av. Doctor Sun
Yat Sun (30patacas /person)
- Practice windsurfing in the beache of Coloane Island. (do not expect blue and transparent water!
Because of sortie du fleuve (eau boueuse + alluvions) and pollution!)
- There is a new politic in the border and in the immigration office about the tourist Visa. It is no more
possible to renew it for 3 months several times. If you plan to stay more than 3 months in Macau I advise you to
leave Macau (go in Hong kong or Zuhai for a day trip) during the first 45 days of your 3 months Visa. If you
overflow this limit you will not get a new 3 months visa but less, maybe 1 or 2 months, or even a few days.
- Acess to internet in the library of the University of Macau in Taipa island.
- Ask about special event in the Macau Tower: elastic jump, climbing, … (depend of the annual
- For those who cannot survive without real western food (cheese, wine, bread, …) a frenchshop has
open in Taipa island called “le Gourmet”, tel 853841436, Nova Taipa Garden, 25G/F
- A lot of restaurants propose now an English menu (sometimes more expensive than the Chinese one!)
- The only western pub: the Irish Bar in Taipa (20patacas a beer) with billard et flechettes
- The only good bakeries (quite expensive) are in the big Hotels (Mandarin, Hyatt, …) reduction of 20 to
50% after 7pm)
- I f you stay a few days, order custom made suit, shirt, trousers,… in one of the numerous shops near
the Red Market
- Prepare coins for the bus and don’t pay much than Chinese!: Here is the real price (not always
written on the buses):
Macau – Taipa: 3.30 patacas
Macau – Macau: 2.50
Taipa – Taipa: 2.50
Macau – Coloane: 5
Taipa – Coloane: 2.80
- More and more people are speaking English (instead of Portuguese), it is not really difficult to live in
Macau even if you do not know Chinese.
- Drunk dragon dance: unique event in Asia. The fishermens association present a show in all the
markets of Macau, dancing the drunk dragon (at the end of the day it is no more acting but really drunk
people!): great and typical event during April.
- Dragon boat race in the lake near the Macau tower: 20 people in a boat and teams from all Asia (first
week of june): impressive!»