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City Guides / Guides

6 must-visit destinations in Macao

By Teng Mu

September 8

You may know Macao as China’s Las Vegas, but what else?

You may know Macao as China’s Las Vegas, but what else?

Macao is one of the most prosperous places in the world, and the 400-year Portuguese influence made it a city with a unique culture and architecture. When you visit Macao, here are 6 must-see places.

1. The Venetian Resort 威尼斯人度假村

The Venetian Resort [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Wang Zirui]
The Venetian Resort [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Wang Zirui]
Situated in Macao’s downtown area with an area of 110,000 square meters, the Venetian Resort is Asia’s largest casino resort and the world’s second largest. Attempting to mimic the Venetian style, the resort has arched bridges, small canals and flagstone paths that create a romantic, exotic atmosphere. The Grand Canal Shopping Center, the biggest indoor shopping center in Macao, sprawlsunder a huge painted sky and has its own canal. When you enjoy your shopping experience here, you can also admire performances by the versatile gondoliers. The underground gaming hall contains the most gaming tables and slot machines in the world.

Best time to visit: Autumn and winter

Entry: free

Transport: You can take the airplane, ship, helicopter or cross-boundary bus to Macao, and then the taxi or the city bus to your destination.

Opening hours: Access all day.

2. The Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral 大三巴牌坊

The Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/He Dongping]
The Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/He Dongping]
The Ruins of St. Paul Cathedral is one of the most iconic scenic spots in Macao, and also a must-visit destination for tourists. Built in 1637, it is the oldest among Macao’s many cathedrals. The architecture combines European Renaissance and oriental styles. The gate wall is the only part of the cathedral that remained after a fire in 1835. Though it lost its original function, the cathedral has become a symbol of Macao. Many public activities are held here and the steps in front of the gateway serve as seats forming a natural stage.

3. Holy Rosary Church 玫瑰圣母堂

Holy Rosary Church [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Qin Hai]
Holy Rosary Church [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Qin Hai]
The Holy Rosary Church in downtown Macao has a history of more than 400 years and has many stained glass windows and oil paintings. It also has a collection of around 300 artworks, such as religious instruments made of gold, silver and copper, and holy statues made of wood, gesso and ivory. From these precious antiques, people can learn about the history of Catholicism in China.

4. A-Ma Temple 妈阁庙

A-Ma Temple [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Wang Qiong]
A-Ma Temple [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Wang Qiong]
Built in 1488, the A-Ma Temple is the oldest temple in Macao. Legend says it was built for the Queen of Heaven, the patron goddess of the sea who protects local fishermen and merchants from disasters and misfortunes.  Surrounded by ancient forests, the temple faces the sea with the hills in the background.  The temple has four main halls, namely the First Hall, the Zhengjue Hall, the Hongren Hall and the Goddess of Mercy Pavilion. The Temple is regarded as the starting place of Portuguese and Chinese cultural integration, for it is where the Portuguese colonists first arrived in Macao.

Best time to visit: October – December

Entry: free

Opening hours: 07:00 a.m. – 06:00 p.m.

5. The Macao Tower 澳门旅游塔

The Macao Tower [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/He Dongping]
The Macao Tower [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/He Dongping]
With a total height of 338m, the Macao Tower is the 10th highest standalone sightseeing tower in the world, and member of the World Federation of Great Towers. The observation lounge is 223m above ground, on which you do the “Sky Walk.” It takes the high-speed elevator only several minutes to reach the floor. You can also enjoy a romantic meal in the revolving restaurant.

Best time to visit: October – December

Entry: 120 MOP/person (about 103 yuan)

Opening hours:

Weekdays: 10:00 a.m. – 09:00 p.m.

Holidays/weekends: 09:00 a.m. – 09:00 p.m.

6. The Macao Museum 澳门博物馆

The Macao Museum [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Zheng Hualong]
The Macao Museum [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Zheng Hualong]
At the Macao Museum you can learn about Macao’s long history and colorful culture, including the pre-colonization period, the early Chinese-Portugal economic exchanges in Macao, and the later cultural integration, along with Macao’s folk culture and urban life in the 21st century.

Best time to visit: October – December

Entry: 15 MOP/person (about 12.5yuan); free on the  15th of every month.

Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. – 06:00 p.m.

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