The Macau Travel Guide: An Introduction
Macau or Macao is an administrative region in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Located across from the PRC’s other administrative region of Hong Kong, Macau is bounded by the Guangdong Province on the north and surrounded by the South China Sea to the south and east. Manufacturing, tourism, and gambling all bring a lot of revenue into the region. Geographically, the Chinese SAR (special administrative region) is segmented into four primary districts. The first district, the Macau peninsula, is linked to China and is the hub for most travel activity.
The island of Taipa is located south of the peninsula and can be accessed by three bridges. It is mainly comprised of a residential area and is the base for the region’s airport. Coloane, the southernmost island, is home to Macau’s popular beaches and a golf course. The isle is not as populated as other parts of Macau because of its rocky terrain. Cotai, a strip of land that connects Taipa and Coloane, is home to the world’s biggest casino, the Venetian.
Getting Acquainted with the Area
Since tourism plays such an important role in Macau’s economy, this condensed Macau travel guide will help you create just the ideal itinerary. Read the info below and you’ll find compiling a list of things to do in Macau will become a simpler process.
Things to Do in Macau, China
Gambling and Dog Racing: Two Featured Pastimes for Locals and Visitors
As already indicated, gambling is a major pastime in Macau. Places like the Sands Casino regularly see thousands of people from mainland China every day. The majority of gambling casinos are found on the south side of Macau. Travelers who gamble in the casinos are required to be at least 18 years of age. Besides casino gambling, visitors and locals enjoy greyhound racing on the peninsula too. Payouts on the dogs are made in either Hong Kong dollars or the Macanese pataca.
Bungee Jumping at the Macau Tower
The Macau Tower is a popular site for sky jumping and bungee jumping. Sport climbing is also a pursuit that is practiced on the tall spire. The tower, which rises in height to 1,109 feet, features an observation deck, Skywalk X, which allows visitors to walk on the tower’s outer rim, and shops, theaters, and restaurants. The observation lounge, on the 61st floor, not only offers a great view of Macau, it contains glass flooring in certain sectioned areas that will give you the sensation of walking on air.
Popular Beach Areas
If you like to swim, then you’ll appreciate Macau’s two swimming areas on Coloane Cheoc Van and Hac-Sa are the primary beaches on the island. Swimmers can also swim or relax by the pool at resort properties. Both cyclers and hikers have a variety of opportunities to bike or walk in either of two Macanese islands.
See Macau in the Fall to Enjoy a More Temperate Climate
The best time to see Macau is in the cooler part of year, or October and November. At that time, the temperatures are mild and the humidity is low. If you go during the summer, be prepared for ultra hot weather as well as the possibility of the infrequent typhoon. Summer is an especially propitious time for water skiers at the resorts too.
Attractions on Macau are mainly made up of temples and religious buildings. For example, Chinese temples include the A-Ma temple (a Buddhist sacturary); the Tam Kung Temple on Coloane; the St. Lawrence Church; and the Lotus Temple (one of the most beautiful spiritual buildings in the world). The Kun Iam Temple, a well-known temple on Macau, is also a popular tourist attraction as is the Pou Tai Un Temple, which can be found on Taipa. The prayer hall inside the building features three images of the Buddha.
Hotels in Macau
While most hotels are located on the Peninsula, first-class accommodations are available in the other districts as well. Rates escalate during the weekends when locals from Hong Kong congregate at the casinos on Macau. To get a lower price then, opt for a package deal. Budget hotels are typically rated as 2-star accommodations while hotels that are moderately priced usually carry 3-star rankings.
Some of the Pricier Hotels
Really pricey Macau hotels include the Hotel Royal Macau, the Grandview Hotel, and the Casa Real Hotel, each which range from $600 to $900, on average, per night. A night spent at the Casa Real Hotel will place you in close proximity to the Fisherman’s Wharf and the Grand Prix and Wine museums.
Some Macanese Specialties
Known for its excellent cuisine, Macau is a noted dining destination on the Asian continent. Specialties include bacalhau (salted cod) and barbecued pork. Once an overseas territory of Portugal, you’ll note subtle Portuguese influences in some of the entrees that are served. Find most restaurants on the Macau peninsula and Portuguese specialties served in Taipa.
Exchanging Dollars for Pacatas and Vice-versa
If you’re exchanging currency in Macau, it takes eight of Macau’s patacas (MOPs) to equal one U.S. dollar. However, don’t leave the area with a lot of patacas in hand as the currency can be difficult to exchange elsewhere.