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Macau
MACAU
DESTINATION GUIDE

The Ultimate Guide Before You Plan for your Next Trip

You will never find a destination which is so tranquil and yet vibrant, so exotic and so within the reach of an Indian traveler. Located just 60 kilometers from the region of Hong Kong lies another magnificent former European colony. Macau was under the Portuguese rule till the year 1999 and you can still find strong colonial influence in the buildings and the architecture. With charming view of the sea and a truly cosmopolitan crowd this place has evolved into a fascinating holiday destination for the Indians. The place has charming viewpoints whilst there are some casinos and shopping centers to pamper you to the core.

Attractions in Macau

From ancient ruins to terrific beaches, from panoramic viewpoints to shopping on gondolas, the major tourist attractions of Macau will tempt you to explore the Vegas of Asia.

Hac Sa Beach

Macau is not just a province boasting its urban lavishness but it also has its natural side. This huge natural beach by the coast of the Coloane Island attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year. The shoreline and the beachfront of this fabulous black sand beach is very charming as you can witness the most gorgeous sunset of your life. There are changing rooms available for the tourists in case you decide to jump on the sea and have a swim. There are various beach toys available for the kids also. Nearby the beach there is the Hac Sa Park which has guestrooms where you can stay and relax. The Hac Sa Restaurant is also very popular amongst the tourist for its Macanese and Chinese delicacies.

Macau Giant Panda Pavilion

If you are traveling to Macau with your family then a visit to the Seac Pai Van Park at the Coloane Island is a must. Located there is this lovely zoo which attracts both children and the adults. Inside the zoo is the tourists' favorite Giant Panda Pavilion. This huge park entirely dedicated to the preservation and breeding of giant pandas. However, the zoo is not only dedicated to one species because you will find many other animals in the form of gorillas, red pandas, flamingos, tapirs, and many other exciting animals. The large land cover of this place will allow you to observe the animals in peace.

Fisherman’s Wharf

This themed shopping mall by the edge of the sea is the ultimate fun and frolic destination for families with kids. This place contains a park which was designed in the model of the Euramerican fisherman’s wharfs and the entire area is spread across 28 acres which gives you ample of space to have fun. Your kids will definitely love this place as it contains a separate video game section with varieties of entertainment available for the kids. There is also a water performance area and a amphitheater. Every inch of this place evokes a sense of entertainment as there are various battle ship models, artificial volcanoes and water-falls.

Taipa Village

It is not entirely a village anymore as the modern architecture and influx of urban people have made the place a modern hub. The place houses the famous Senado Square along with many other colonial landmarks. The place also has a huge collection of shopping centers. But what makes the place a must-visit for the tourists is the large variety of street food stalls. Starting from Portuguese to Macanese and even Chinese authentic foods are available in these stalls. You will get the Chinese dried meats, the Portuguese pork buns and egg tarts, the famous musang kind ice-cream and many more delicacies.

Macau Wine Museum

No evidence of a Portuguese colonial influence can be complete without finding out the fascinating wine cellars. The Spanish and the Portuguese are well-known for their love for wine and this wine museum of Macau showcases a glimpse of that. The wine museum showcases the different stages of the journey of wine manufacturing. Spread across an area of 1400 square meters this place houses many varieties of Spanish and Portuguese wines and there are almost 1115 different bottles of red and white. A separate section of this museum is also dedicated to Grand Prix Formula One racing and you can witness the Formula 1 cars driven by Michael Schumacher there.

When To Reach

Macau is mostly affected by its monsoon and wind from the ocean but it also keeps a very large window for the travelers to come here and enjoy out in the open. During the spring the climate remains a bit dicey with patches of cold rainfall and humid oceanic wind. The summer months are also mostly similar though the amount of rainfall is much less. Autumn is perhaps the ideal time to travel as the weather remains dry and cold and you will not break a sweat whilst traveling from one island to the other. If you can withstand a bit of chill then winters are also pretty enjoyable as again the weather remains dry. It hardly snows ever in Macau making it suitable for travelers.

Seasonality

High Season: Autumn and winter are most definitely the high season when it comes to travel in Macau. The weather remains perfect for both long and short trips and the fear of facing a rainfall is minimum.


Shoulder Season: Summer can be considered as the shoulder season in Macau. Though the weather remains a bit humid, Macau experiences less rainfall when compared to Spring.


Low Season: Due to its heavy and long-drawn rainfall spring is regarded as the low season for traveling in Macau. Though the indoor parks and clubs are open during that season the tourists can never enjoy a nice stroll in the open.

How To Reach

There are many connecting flights which will take you from Delhi to Macau. Starting from Air Asia to Thai Air Asia, from Singapore Airlines to China Eastern, there are a lot of options for you to choose and book your tickets. The tickets are cheap and affordable and if you plan and book early you can also enjoy heavy discounts on them. Local flights like Jet Airways also will help you reach Macau via a connecting flight with Air Macau whilst international airlines like for instance Silkair Scoot will also help you get to your desired destination. Though there are no direct flights taking you to Macau but the options of connecting flights are plenty and they also do not take a lot of time.

Why should you go?

The tiny peninsula of Macau is actually a vibrant destination for tourists to enjoy with its lots of themed park, indoor facilities for kids and family, huge skyscrapers where you can climb-up and bungee jump, and of course the casinos. Known as the Vegas of Asia this place also allows you to ride on a gondola and go on a shopping-spree. The various islands scattered around the mainland has different sorts of entertainment and considering the fact that it is so near to India it is practically a sin to miss a trip to Macau.
10 Reasons to visit Macau -
  • Macau is an affordable and convenient foreign destination to travel for the Indians.
  • The region is packed with entertainment and it is considered to be the Vegas of the East.
  • Macau has various casinos for the tourists to enjoy and they can have an absolute Vegas like night.
  • Macau also has a wide range of themed parks and indoor facilities for the kids and the families to enjoy.
  • The Taipa Village has a huge giant panda reserve along with a fascinating zoo which can be enjoyed with your family.
  • You can climb-up the Macau tower and also do a bungee-jump up from the top.
  • Macau has a fantastic black beach offering a fabulous sunset view for the tourists.
  • Macau has a very vibrant culture which is a mix of Cantonese-Chinese and Portuguese making it an interesting country to visit.
  • Macau's colonial past is very vivid from its various architecture scattered in the old areas of the towns making it a charming visit for the tourists.
  • Macau's food scene is also very tempting, as a result of the mixed-culture, and you can find a wonderful fusion of Portuguese and Cantonese style cooking.

Getting Around

There are no train lines connecting the different parts of the region and that is why ferries, ships, and airlines are main modes of transportation. There are of course some bus and taxis available inside the region but they are specific to the destination and are bounded by time. However, the authorities are in the process of creating a subway which will help people to reach the Taipa Island in no time. But currently people are mostly depending on the extensive bus networks to do the job for them.

Bus

There are many bus routes which connects the Macau peninsula with the Taipa island. The bus routes are affordable and they are also frequent. However, they are very crowded during the pea hours. Tourists planning to travel by bus should avoid the peak hours for traveling to Coloane and Taipa island.

Ferry

If you have time in your hand, then ferry is also an option for you to travel the various destinations surrounding the peninsula. The ferries operating from the Inner Harbor Dock will take you to the different spots around the region.

Taxis

The taxis are a bit of an expensive affair when it comes to the different modes of transportation. The taxis are black in color with a creamy yellow roof-top. The taxis will also take you from Macau to the Taipa island and also to Coloane.

Manpower Tricycles

If you are on the southern or western bays of Macau then you can see these charming vehicles helping tourists to cover short distances.

Weather

The Macanese weather is determined mostly by the surrounding ocean wind. The summers are hot and humid with occasional rainfall. The autumns are mostly charming with the temperature ranging between 18 and 20 degree Celsius with very less rainfall. During the winters the temperature dips further below to 13 or 14 degree Celsius, offering a very pleasant and dry climate to enjoy. The mornings are warm and sunny whilst the nights become a little bit chillier with the sea-breeze coming from the south. The months of July and August are the worst for traveling because the temperature is above 30 degree Celsius and rainfall is quite frequent.

What to take in your suitcase?

  • Pack a lot of t-shirts and shorts because the days are normally warm and humid. Take your hat and sunglasses.
  • The evening weather changes drastically during the months of autumn and that is why you should always carry a sweater and a light jacket.
  • If you are traveling during winter then a coat can also be handy in case you intend to visit a fancy restaurant. You can also carry some gloves and scarfs if you think that the cold will challenge you.
  • Carry two kinds of shoes like the flip-flops for the days and heavy boots for the nights.
  • Also carry an umbrella because you do not want to get caught in the middle of the street in case a sudden thunderstorm breaks in.
In the Spotlight

Since Macau as a region has experienced multi-cultural influences it has left deep impact on its dinning scene also. There are traditional Portuguese eateries along with Michelin-starred Chinese restaurants. There are also some authentic Macanese restaurants serving the well-known fusion foods and once you reach Macau you will be definitely spoilt for choices. The mix of west and the east had never made such a beautiful blend in the culinary scene of any country.

Clube Militar de Macau : What used to be a military club in the colonial era has now converted into a fine eatery for the tourists and the locals alike.
The decor of the place exudes a very old and warm charm as you can still find the teak-wood flooring and the long windows which will remind you of the colonial era. This is one of the few places now left in Macau which serves authentic Portuguese cuisine and what is even more fabulous about this place is that it has a fantastic wine collection. The place offers a perfect setting for a romantic dinner or a nice afternoon lunch, away from the hustle of the main city.
Albergue 1601 : This charming little eatery set in the courtyard of an old colonial building can easily be considered as a hidden gem of the region.
You can easily make the mistake of thinking that you are in Europe and not in Asia because of the classic art-deco setting of the place. The patio furniture and outdoor sheds will offer you a nice time. The place serving both Portuguese and Manganese foods shares the joint love for pork of the two cultures. Whilst the range of seafood will surely blow your mind you should definitely miss out on the opportunity of having the crispy skin pork, which is the specialty of this place.
Robuchon au Dôme : It is not only the Portuguese who have impacted the dinning scene of Macau as you can still find some fabulous French themed restaurants like this one.
This three-Michelin star winning eatery was in fact the first fine dining restaurant in entire Macau. They offer a set lunch menu which can be easily regarded as the best French course in entire Asia with the classics like braised duck and foi gras included in the list. The wine list something to dig into as with 14,500 different labels it is really a treat. The restaurant also runs a small desserts' trolley allowing the guests to choose from the various french cakes and tarts and the entire scene is quite appealing and story-book like.
Riquexo : Now if you feel like having traditional Macanese food instead of classic European delicacy then Riquexo is definitely the place for you.
The restaurant is actually run by a well-known local chef who is popularly known as the 'Godmother of Macanese cuisine'. This canteen-style eatery has a happy buzz as the outdoor furniture are occupied by the tourists and the locals. You will find all kind of classic Macanese cuisines in this pocket-friendly restaurant. You should definitely try the minchi with steamed rice menu, which is a very famous crispy pork dish served with potatoes and it is an absolute favourite amongst the locals.
Antonio: Set in the heart of the Taipa Village is this old Portuguese restaurant which with its white, yellow, and blue tiles had kept intact the authentic Iberian flavors, for decades now.
There are various Portuguese style paintings hanging from the wall and all throughout the years the place has maintained the old colonial charm. Some of the delicacies served here are the African chicken which is served with garlic, onion, chilies, and rich creamy coconut sauce along with the traditional Portuguese duck rice. The chef here has won multiple awards over the last few years and the crowd which visits this place is also quite charming.

Commonly known as the fusion-food, Macanese cuisines have rich Portuguese and Chinese influence. The manner in which the Macanese people have blended the Eastern and the Western flavors is simply mind blowing and it indeed offers the visitors with a delightful culinary experience. From the crispy pork recipes to the creamy chicken curry, from the slow-cooked stews to the braised meat dishes, Macau is like the Eastern version of Portuguese cuisine.

Minchi: This crispy pork and potato recipe served with steamed rice is definitely the most popular Macanese cuisine and it is found in abundance in all the eateries of the region.

Taco:The Eastern version of the traditional Portuguese slow-cooked stew recipe is now a well-known Macanese soul food. With cabbages and different kinds of sausages and meats this warm stew is served during winter.

Capela: This classic Macanese meat-loaf recipe also has its European roots. Made from beef, pork, bread, and chorizo this features as a very popular Macanese family dinner.

African Chicken:This thick creamy Macanese chicken curry was introduced back in the year 1940 when a Macanese chef started this recipe with some herbs he brought from Africa. Now it is one of the most popular dishes of the land.

Pork chop bun:This simple recipe is quite a hamburger as you will find succulent pork chop wedged in the middle of warm chewy buns, and it is normally served hot to the customers.

Macau is considered as the treasure-trove for people who wants to buy things at a bargain. Even exotic fashion-wear and other garments are available at a cheaper price in the markets of Macau. Due to the absence of sales tax in the Macanese markets shoppers from all over Asia and the globe flock here to buy the Chinese antiques, some cool pottery items, jewelry, gadgets and many more items. The markets here are always buzzing with life and range of items sold in a normal flea market of Macau is simply mind-boggling.

Rua De Tercena Flea Market : Located near the Ruins of St Pauls this flea market is the most popular one in entire Macau. It is the best place to find some oddities which has both European and Chinese essence. For instance,
there are many shops selling figurines carved out of crockeries whilst some of the displays of the fabled table-cloths will certainly catch your eye. Apart from that you will also find vendors selling different kinds of potteries, paintings, and other kinds of handicrafts. It is definitely a good place to strike a bargain and also a fantastic place to purchase some souvenirs. Visiting the market is like going back in time during the colonial era as you can still find some old Portuguese tailors and furniture shops there.
Taipa Flea Market : Settled in the middle of the famous Taipa Village is this fascinating marketplace which attracts a lot of locals and tourists.
This Sunday-market is always buzzing with life as the entire Portuguese village gathers here to buy and sell the antiques and crafts along with food, beverages, fashion-wear, toys, and also second-hand books. It is more of a fair-ground than a marketplace as you can find different types of people entertaining their audiences in different kinds of ways. The place is lined with food-stalls selling authentic Macanese cuisines like the Portuguese egg tarts along with pork chop buns. You can also try out the savory delights like sawdust puddings and bakkwa. Traditional Portuguese folk dances and songs are also performed here on a regular basis.
Three Lamp District : The Three Lamp District of Macau is always a busy marketplace where you can find several small shops and nice eateries with lots of locals flocking the streets.
The products sold here range from fabrics to clothes and different kinds of consumables and also cooked food. Located on the busy Rotunda de Carlos De Maia this market is centered on a small structure of three lamps with plenty of shops and stalls scattered all around the place. It is the most popular market amongst the locals and visiting the place will allow you a chance to witness how the locals purcahse their stuff.
Red Market : This is yet another popular market of Macau with a touristy-vibe visible in it. Further apart from its Portuguese roots this market is attached more towards the Chinese connection that Macau boasts.
The market has a huge collection of seafood items being sold here along with flower and vegetables. This three-story wet market of Macau is full of opportunity for the tourists to buy some clothes, bottled food items, and other stuff at a cheaper price. The market also has a separate meat section at the third-floor as the seafood items are on display at the second floor. Even if you are not buying anything a visit to this place will certainly cheer you up.
San Domingos Market: Held in a narrow street behind the Largo Do Senado this market is famous for its huge collection of women and kids fashion-wear.
There are many shops selling women clothing whilst the kids' section is also quite fascinating. There are other stores selling shoes, bags, and various kinds of fashionable underwear. Like all Macanese markets this place is also ideal for bargaining as apart from fashion items and clothes there are also stalls selling Macau souvenir t-shirts, household items, various kinds of linens and exotic food items like dried shark fins. There is also an extension selling fruits, vegetables, and seafood.

The official currency of Macau is Macanese Patacas. It is often denoted by MOP$. There are many Forex offices in Delhi which will help you to convert your INRs to MOPs. However, if you are planning on visiting Macau, via Hong Kong, then you can get your HKD$ converted to MOPs also. Cash is very much in circulation as far as Macau is concerned as hotels, restaurants, ferries, parks, and taxis will liked to be paid in cash. That is why it is important that you either convert your HKDs to MOPs before coming to Macau or bring all the remaining HKDs to enjoy a nice vacation in Macau.

Special Tips

  • Many areas of Macau still accepts HKDs and so if you are unable to convert, you can pay them by that.
  • Like for instance taxis and certain restaurants will take the HKD 500 note. However, they will charge you on a 1:1 ratio forgoing the conversion rate of 1:1.03.
  • However, since the vendors will give you back MOPs in change of HKDs it is wise that you convert your money to MOPs before you travel to Macau.
  • In order to get through your visa process you need to have HKD or MOP in cash in hand so that they do not have any doubt about your financial credibility.

As an Indian you will require to have a tourist visa for traveling to Macau. Since 2006 it has become mandatory for Indians to have a Pre-Arrival Registration” (PAR) before landing at Hong Kong. Then on the spot they will grant or reject your visa application. The PAR is applicable for six months from the date of issuing. So, after you get your PAR you need to book flight and your hotels. You need to have your return flights also booked before you can apply for the visa.

In case your PAR is rejected then you need to apply directly for visa to Hong Kong and Macau. You can also apply for a visa (after obtaining your PAR) by sending your passport to the Hong Kong embassy or by downloading the visa application form online. Your passport must have adequate validity period for your visa to be accepted. Macau visa can be obtained from the Embassies/Consulates of the PRC. If you are traveling alone you need to pay an amount of MOP$100 (MOP$50 for children under the age of 12) . For families the amount reaches to around MOP$ 200. If you are traveling in groups then you will be charged MOP$50 per person for groups of at least 10 people, for a trip organized by a single travel operator. For more information you need to visit the website of Macau Immigration Department.

Macau is considered to be a safe and low crime region for tourists. Rarely you will find incidents of theft and crime around the cities and the tourist spots. However, the region is very infamous for pickpocketing and scams. If you are traveling in a group then try and stick together. Make sure that your belongings are kept close to you and never leave them behind. Purses and cameras are the most popular items which are being snatched from the tourists. Macau also has its fair share of scammers and if you are going to any market make sure you pay them in small denomination of currency as otherwise they might refuse to pay you the change.

  • Tourist Hotline : 2833 3000
  • Emergency : 112
  • Police: 2857 3333
  • Fire : 2857 2222
  • Hospitals: 2831 3731/ 2837 1333

Entertainment & Event

Mixed traditions and rich harvests of Chinese Medicinal Plants make Macau a fantastic place to visit.

  • Flora and Fauna

    Some claim that the vigorous process of urbanization has robbed Macau from its rich animal and plant habitats. However, as a tourist you can still find some exotic creatures dwelling in the National Parks and the forestland of Macau. The green areas of Macau are filled with mosses and ferns along with many non-flowering plants. There are also some mangrove forestation observed along the streaks of water surrounding the peninsula. Macau is also known for its huge collection of Chinese Medicinal Plants as over the years the Chinese doctors had depended on this peninsula to supply them with the exotic herbs.

    The fauna scene of Macau is not very varied in comparison to other countries of Asia but nonetheless they have various kinds of insects, birds like purple herons, eastern great egret with its yellow bills, bitterns, spoonbills and many more. There are wild cats observed in some parts of Macau whilst crocodiles are also quite common in the villages. There are also some giant pandas, tapirs, and other exotic animals preserved well in some of the national parks of the country.

  • Festivals

    Macau celebrates both the Chinese and Portuguese festivals and mixed together it creates quite a vibrant scene. Like for instance the Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn celebrations are quite famous in Macau. But the fun loving Macanese people also have some other forms of festivals and competitions which are unique to the peninsula. For instance the firework competitions along with the Trophy Design competition are some of the unique festivals being celebrated in Macau. Like in Mainland China, Macau also has a Dragon Boat competition.

    The Macau Food Festival is definitely a festival for everyone as different forms of Portuguese and Chinese culinary items are kept on display in various stalls for the visitors to buy and enjoy. Held during the month of December the Macau Light Festival is also a vibrant occasion. Then there is the Macau International Music Festival where musicians from all over China and other parts of Asia come and perform. The Latin City Parade through Macau also adds color to the lives of the people of the region as they celebrate their deep-rooted Portuguese connection.

  • Culture

    The Macanese people share a mixed Portuguese and Chinese ancestry and over the years they have created a unique set of culture and customs which makes the peninsula an interesting place to visit. The Macanese language is also a mix between the traditional Portuguese creole language and Chinese . The ethnic Macanese language is now becoming endangered as it is spoken by very few number of people all over the region. That is why UNESCO is making an effort to preserve the culture and heritage. The main languages spoken in the region are Chinese, Portuguese, and English.

    The Euro-Chinese influence on the Macanese culture has also impacted the food scene of the region. That is why the Macanese cuisine contains a mix of European cooking traditions like roasting, grilling, and baking along with some traditional Chinese ingredients like soya sauce, garlic, and onions. This mix culture of Macau has evolved over the years and had made the people more open and accepting of the foreigners. That is why Macanese people are humble and friendly and they welcome Indians with open arms.