Macau is a special place to me. It wasn’t specifically the place itself that it became an essential part of my life– and dreams, for that matter. It wasn’t like I felt a surge of connection with the city either. Macau, considered as Asia’s Las Vegas (although I roll my eyes at that), to me, is a place of epiphany. It was here where my desire to travel alone was born. It was here where my curiosity about the world quadrupled. It was here where I began to liberate my mind from its comfort zone. It was the genesis of my thirst for the world.
To make the story short, I got sorta lost, missing my bus stop and separating me from my boyfriend, here, in this city where English is barely spoken and where I knew absolutely no one else. But as I made my way back to my hotel, figuring out each step I need to take, I felt a kind of excitement I’ve never really felt before. I mean, it wasn’t entirely a life changing adventure because it was only several blocks away from my hotel where I got lost, but it sure was a memorable experience for me. Did I mention that this is where I discovered xio long bao or soup dumplings too? Now THAT was life changing.
That was three years ago. That said, writing a detailed guide about Macau would be a little ambitious, especially we were only there for 48 hours. But because it’s such a special place to me, I so badly want to write about it. But what else is there to write about other than why it was meaningful to me? I might bore you if I keep going on and on about it, so instead, I’ll go basic in this post and show you a few awesome things to do in the city of Macau. This isn’t going to be a comprehensive Macau Guide, but rather, a small introductory course.
Perfect Side Trip
What makes it such an easy go to destination by tourists (other than their gleaming slot machines) is the fact that it’s so easily accessible from Hong Kong, making it the perfect side trip. It takes an hour by fast boat to reach Asia’s Sin City, so technically, you can easily go on a day trip if you want some casino fix. But I, however, wanted more out of this side trip so I knew needed more than eight hours. It cost us about $40 for a roundtrip boat ticket. Once you reach Macau port, there are shuttle buses from most hotels, so even if you’re going on just a day tour, you can just hop on one of the famous casinos’s shuttle bus and make it your starting point.
Glitz and Glamour
Remember when I said I rolls my eyes at the comparison between Vegas and Macau? I mean yeah I get it, the casinos, the lights, the stripper cards on the ground all over the streets… The similarities are uncanny. But I lived in Vegas and my expectation was so much higher. But hey, it’s the closest to Vegas that you’re gonna get here in Asia, right?
When it comes to the casinos, they sure do have some good ones here– even a couple of casinos from Vegas can be found here such as Wynn and The Venetian. They’re much smaller but they’re also relatively newer so it’s not entirely a downgraded version here. My favorite casinos were City Of Dreams, where they had a big screen with virtual mermaids swimming around. Well, at least during that time. Do you know if they still have that there? The Grand Lisboa Hotel is also a stunning one especially with their display of ivory carvings. One thing I skipped was the nightlife here. Because I was traveling with my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, and his mother, we didn’t really have a chance to check that out. Would that have completely change the way I feel about the glamour of Macau if I did? Who knows.
Portuguese egg tarts
Because Macau was colonized by Portugal, you’ll definitely be seeing hints of Portuguese culture all over the city– and that includes their oh so glorious egg tarts. I don’t think I’ll ever see egg tarts the same way again, to be honest. They have the perfectly baked crust and the filling– oh the filling! Smooth, creamy, with the perfect amount of sweetness! This is not to be missed. I repeat: THESE EGG TARTS ARE NOT TO BE MISSED! Where to find the best one, you ask. Literally everywhere. It doesn’t matter. You’ll find lots of egg tart booths everywhere and they’re all practically amazing.
I definitely enjoyed Senado Square way more than Macau’s strip. Here you’ll witness two completely different cultures merged together. Primarily, there’s more hints of Portuguese than Chinese touches if we’re talking architecture. It’s quite dreamy walking its cobble stones and colonial buildings and it almost felt like I was in Europe. However, the Chinese culture is still clearly apparent along the square. Chinese street food, herbal and medicine stores, and basically everything Chinese, is pretty much what dominated the entire place. You’ll find mostly shops, but don’t miss the hidden corners because you’ll never know what you’ll find– and that’s a fun little Japanese restaurant in my case.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
At the very end of Senado Square, you’ll find the ruins of St. Paul. It’s perched all the way up and you’ll have to climb up and sweat a little of you want to see it up close. Ruined by a fire during a typhoon in 1835, St. Paul’s front structure remains semi-intact, making it such a pretty destination. The steps leading up to the ruins is a pretty good spot to sit and people-watch. So grab a few egg tarts and pair it with boba, and spend an hour or two just observing people from all over the world. Because let’s face it, that’s always fun.
Another fun munchie you’ll find along Senado Square, their beef jerky is quite a big deal here. They come in different flavors so there’s plenty to choose from. But you know what the fun part is here? You can taste them for free! Come with an empty stomach because by the time you reach St. Paul ruins, you’ll be stuffed already. Even more so if you followed my advice and grabbed a couple of egg tarts along the way. But the beef jerky is also a must try here in Macau. I took a couple of bags home and I’m not even ashamed to admit that I ate most of it by myself.
Bungee Jumping At Macau Tower
Hell no I wasn’t planning on doing it. Even until now, I don’t think I’m quite ready for bungee jumping yet. The day will come but not quite yet (I would rather skydive tbh). However, my husband wanted to do it, but upon getting there, I think he freaked out a little and had a change of heart before going up there. It’s a pricey activity– $300 for a jump plus more if you want a video of it. Considered to be the world’s highest bungee, you’ll be hopping off from the top of Macau tower and free falling 233 meters down. My butt’s clenching just thinking about it.
Macau in a nutshell
Macau in my eyes is a fun place to visit. If I come back, I’d want to experience its true nature though– nightlife and all. But as a family trip destination, I’d say you can’t go wrong with this one. There are a lot of things to do for all ages, it’s easily accessible and to get around, and it’s a wonderful city in general. Even couples would enjoy Macau and I’m sure romance could be found in its corners. The best part for me though still remains to be the merging of two different cultures. And although it’s quite difficult to communicate with the locals (they aren’t particularly as friendly here to begin with), it just adds more adventure to this city.
Are you following me on Facebook yet? Please do so I can keep you updated with my latest travel tales and hacks. I aim to inspire and you can find all that goodies on my Instagram and Twittertoo. See you there 🙂