With over 400 years of Portuguese history, Asia's fast growing destination Macao perfectly merges Europe and Asia in its display of architecture, culture and food.
Located on the western bank of China's Pearl River Delta in the southern Guangdong Province, Macao adjoins the Mainland city of Zhuhai and lies about 35 miles west of Hong Kong.Learn More »
The city’s architecture, art, religion, traditions, food and community reflect the integration of Chinese, Western and Portuguese cultures.Learn More »
Macao's cobble-stoned streets and bamboo-fringed pathways yield colorful European architecture, Chinese gardens, and Buddhist pavilions.Learn More »
The House of Dancing Water
Created and directed by Franco Dragone, the HK$2 billion performance 'The House of Dancing Water' is a breathtaking water-based show that draws its creative inspiration from the roots of Chinese culture, particularly the 'seven emotions' derived from classical Confucian beliefs, and is destined to be the most extravagant live production ever staged in Asia.
Yueju Opera (Cantonese Opera) - Intangible Cultural Heritage List
Yueju Opera, is a form of opera performance using a Chinese dialect, Cantonese, to perform. It is prevalent in Cantonese speaking regions including the entirety of Guangdong Province, Guangxi,, Hong Kong S.A.R. and Macao S.A.R.. Yueju Opera can be dated back to over 300 years ago, and it is the most influential opera performance in Southern China. Besides, apart from Peking Opera, Yueju Opera was the only opera performance using dialects.
Parts of the elements of Yueju Opera were incorporated from other forms of opera performances which were spread to Southern China before 18th century. Base on the basic musical elements, like wooden clappers, Yueju Opera incorporated Cantonese local musical elements, and formed the combined music performances, with string instruments, Erxian, Yuexian, Sanxian, Bamboo Violin, Bamboo flute, etc. (called Five Piece Combo), and percussion instruments, Gong and Drums.
In September 2009, Yueju Opera was listed in the category of 'Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity' by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization).
Until now, Yueju Opera is circulated among Cantonese community, overseas and local. It is treated as platform for social communication, to strengthen the relationship among people among the Chinese community. Besides, it is recognized as a symbol for Cultural Exchange, in which is an important tradition for foreigners to learn and understand more about Chinese Culture.
Immerse yourself in The Bubble, an iconic multi-media attraction at City of Dreams. With explosive visuals and sounds, as well as exciting sensory effects, the Dragon's Treasure tells the story of the Dragon Pearl and its mysterious powers as experienced by each of the four Dragon Kings, who lead you on an amazing sensory adventure across their magical kingdoms.
Tree of Prosperity
The iconic golden Tree of Prosperity with over 2,000 branches and 98,000 leaves composed of 24-karat gold leaf and brass leaf is a symbol of auspiciousness. Designed to thrill and excite guests as they enter Wynn Macao, the Tree of Prosperity performance is a choreographic masterpiece of shimmering, sculptural patterns, music, video and light. This centerpiece, which fills the atrium, depicting Chinese and western astrological symbols, rises from below at the finale of the performance and transforms into the vibrant colors of the four seasons.
Dragon Of Fortune
Symbolizing vitality, good fortune and well -being, the Dragon of Fortune combines traditional sculptural art, modern lighting and audio effects in a dramatic display at the Rotunda atrium. The Dragon emerges in a rolling fog and rises to a height of 28 feet, featuring an animated head complete with glowing eyes and smoke billowing from its nostrils. The beautiful Lotus Blossom opens twelve feet in diameter and produces a dramatic crystal light effect.
The Performance Lake located at the open area just in front of Wynn Macao. In the Performance Lake, lofty plumes of water and fire shimmer and dance through the air to classical and popular music, as well as Broadway show tunes. To present this delightful illumination of water, light, color and fire, the Lake houses over 200 water nozzles and shooters and holds 800,000 gallons of water. This vibrant performance expressing a complexity of moods, rhythms and emotions provides a joyous and fascinating entertainment.
Cinemas and Theatres
The Macao Tower has some ultra-modern cinemas playing the latest international movies. In Cineteatro you can also find international as well as Chinese films in a complex of theatres. The Small Auditorium of the Cultural Centre is used to show special art and classic movies during Film Festivals, between September and December. These include the Portuguese Movies Fortnight and the European movies Festival, both of which have become popular events on Macao's cultural calendar.
The white rhinestone glove worn by Michael Jackson for his moonwalk debut is locked in the memories of fans all over the world and acts as a magnet for the MJ Gallery in Ponte 16. Worn on the left hand of the pop legend as he performed one of recent history's greatest songs - 'Billie Jean' - the white glove is among the King of Pop's 40-plus treasures exhibited together for the very first time.
Situated inside the Venetian Hotel, this 9,000 sq.ft. children's playground features a 6-meter-high multi-climbing facility with a free fall slide, rainbow slides, a V-Net bridge, over and under barriers, zigzag net climbers and more. Teenagers can get on the computers to access the internet, play video games or shoot some pool. And for those celebrating a birthday, the holidays or any other special occasion, kids of all ages can throw their own parties in one of the two themed party rooms at Qube.
Kid's City at City of Dreams - occupying over 10,000 sq. ft., the dynamic and interactive Kids' City is well-equipped with climbers & slides, video games, a bouncy tent, a painter's glass easel and lots more. It comprises four play zones - Explore, Excite, Create and Dream, are specially designed to stimulate children's imagination through interactive learning and social interaction.
The Guia Hill dominates the Macao peninsula and its top offers the best landscape views in town, namely the Pearl River and the surrounding islands. If you go in through the Flora Garden Gate (Avenida Sidónio Pais), you will find a Cable car, which will help to go up, besides offering you a panoramic view over the hill.
If you want to celebrate a special occasion in style and comfort, you can take a trip in a 9-seat, chauffeur-driven replica 1920s English bus. They operate city tours (2 hours) at MOP$120 per person and MOP$60 per child, at 11:00 and 15:00, under a fixed itinerary.
The pedicab, or tricycle rickshaw, is a leisurely and romantic form of transport around the waterfronts of Macao (it is not designed for hill climbing), and offers visitors a chance to see and photograph the sights, while chatting with the drivers. The main locations for hiring a pedicab are outside the Macao Ferry Terminal and opposite the main door of the Lisboa Hotel. They usually charge MOP$150.00 per hour. You should agree on the price before starting your trip.
Bars and Discos
Macao's Nightlife is famous for its variety, its frantic pace and constant change. For night owls this is a city that never sleeps, with plenty of bars, shops and restaurants, as well as casinos, open all night long. Visitors will have no problem if they wish to get a delicious meal or go dancing in the middle of the night. If you are looking for bars and pubs, you will find a great number of them along the Avenida Sun Yat Sen close to the Kum Iam Statue and the Cultural Centre. With its picturesque location, facing the Outer Harbour and Pearl River, you can enjoy the music and the wine while watching the boats gliding by. The music is completely cosmopolitan, with bars throbbing to the rhythms of Brazil, Portugal, England, Africa and every part of Asia. Likewise the songs will come in languages from around the world. In some bars there are live bands performing clients' request, for instance in the bars and pubs in hotels like the Landmark, Holiday Inn, Emperor and Westin.
In Macao there are plenty of karaoke clubs (mainly in the city center, Rua dos Pescadores, Estrada do Repouso, and in Taipa Island, near the Jockey Club).They are very popular among locals and visitors. These clubs offer reasonable prices and packages (room and drinks/snacks) to customers and the atmosphere is friendly and clean. A nice opportunity to test your singing skills or a different way to spend time with friends.
There are plenty of casinos in Macao offering probably the widest range of games in the world, including baccarat, blackjack, roulette, boule, "big and small", fan-tan and of course, hundreds of the most glittering array of slot machines anywhere (the locals call them "hungry tigers"). Visitors to the casinos should read the sign at each entrance, urging players to chance only what they can afford. The casinos in Macao operate 24 hours a day. Players are not obliged to tip the croupiers and any request for a tip by casino employees may be ignored.
The "Sociedade de Jogos de Macao"(SJM) and two Las Vegas based gambling companies: Wynn Resorts (Macao) Ltd. and Galaxy Casino Company Ltd. were granted the license to operate casinos in Macao.
Greyhound Racing (Dog Racing) takes place at the Canidrome located at Avenida General Castelo Branco. There are around 18 games on every racing night starting from 7:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. Admission is MOP$10 for the public stand. Boxes are MOP$80 (weekdays) and MOP$120 (Weekends and Public Holidays) with a minimum charge of MOP$30 per person plus 10% service charge.
The equestrian school of Macao is situated on the second street on the left of the exit of the Coloane Town through the street to the Cheoc Van beach. Look for the gate decorated with horse's heads.
Soccer / Basketball Lottery
SLOT - Sociedade de Loarias e Apostas Mútuas de Macao, Lda. operates soccer and basketball lottery, providing handicap-goal and odds, and accepts bets on selected matches drawn from important League and Cup Matches.
Temporary Exhibitions Gallery of IACM
The gallery, opened in 1985, is located in one of the lateral sections of the main lobby. It was formerly office premises but later served as a gallery for holding cultural and art exhibitions.
Tap Seac Gallery
An exciting gallery devoted to promoting both cultural and artistic exhibitions has been opened in Macao on 5th Dec. 2003. The Tap Seac Gallery, which is being financed and managed by the Cultural Institute, is available for presentations, educational projects and research projects, expositions and other functions.
Tap Seac Gallery features distinctive design and construction having two wells inside the building, plus a patio in the center of the building which allows in daylight to add a unique dimension to exhibitions and displays. The gallery covers 4,000 square feet, and for multi-purpose usage, the interior signboards can easily be adjusted and moved around. In addition, there are some computer stations allowing access to the Internet as a further aid for cultural research and information.
Ox Warehouse, the quarter of a group of Macao artists - "Old Ladies' House Art Space", holds regular exhibitions in various media, including paintings, sculptures, poster designs, installations, sketching, and so on. In addition to organizing interesting works of contemporary local art, the Old Ladies' House Art Space offers workshops for adults and children in drawing, music, and other forms of art. The Ox Warehouse is worth visiting for the architecture of the old buildings, which also house a small library and a charming, informal cafe.
Both Cheoc Van Beach and Hác-Sá Beach are popular with swimmers and sunbathers. The water is clean although it often appears brown because of silt from the Pearl River. Cheoc Van Beach occupies a sheltered cove on the west side of Coloane Island. At one end is a sandy swimming beach with changing facilities and a snack bar, and at the other is a free-form swimming pool. The Nautical Club, a marina where members keep various types of recreational watercraft, is near the beach. There is also a youth hostel, a pousada (inn), and two restaurants with terraces overlooking the water.
Beyond Cheoc Van is Hác-Sá Beach, where the long beach, with its unique black-tinged sand ("hac sa" means "black sand") invites walking by the sea. Along the beach are a youth hostel, the Youth Centre for Water Sports, and a sports complex with an Olympic-size swimming pool, children's pool, tennis courts, and a sports field. There are also playgrounds, picnic and camping areas, and a variety of snack stands, cafes, and restaurants.
Macao is a city teeming with culture. Turn a corner and find yourself in an enchanting centuries-old square, explore the byways and discover buildings older than living memory, visit gardens that have flourished for a dozen or more generations. The territory has always jealously guarded its heritage, and now it has made it easier than ever for visitors to retrace the steps of the enclave's pioneers by establishing eight Cultural Routes - walking tours - which will systematically reveal some of the fascinating cultural layers which make up this unique place.
Footsteps into the Historic Centre
Experience the charm in this lovely historical city, where two civilisations encounter, and capture every unforgettable moment with your eyes and camera.
An Experiment of Creativity
Explore stories of a bygone age in this picturesque neighbourhood near the heart of the city. You’ll be fascinated simply by its beauty and the sense of tranquillity.
Crossroads of China and Portugal
Take a stroll down the historic path in which two civilisations encounter, you’ll discover the life-long memory and emotions of Portuguese who once called Macao home.
A Legacy of Arts and Culture
Take a stroll amongst the modern architectures along the seashore and you’ll be amazed at the vibrancy of local culture and arts. Just indulge yourself in local folk music and embark on a cultural journey Macao has to offer.
Enchanting Stories of Our Lady of Fatima Parish
In this lovely old parish where two different cultures coexist harmoniously, you’ll be stunned with the stories of how these two civilisations encounter and embrace each other.
The Marriage of East and West in St. Anthony’s Parish
Let’s experience a special romance in this lovely multicultural vicinity where you’ll see beautiful urban space with charming Portuguese and Chinese buildings and their enchanting stories.
Bygone Days of Taipa Village
Strolling along the narrow streets and lanes of the lovely old district, you’ll see a lot of historic buildings that offer you a glimpse of Macao’s old time village life.
Nostalgia in Coloane
Embrace the tranquility of village life and enjoy local delicacies found in this old neighbourhood. Let the sea breeze softly caress your face. A journey that rejuvenates your soul.
Macao Arts Festival
The Macao Arts Festival is an annual event, held in Macao during the month of May, which consistently enriches the cultural and artistic life of Macao residents as well as tourists. Organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao SAR Government under the slogan 'Enjoy Life through Art', the Festival actively promotes the arts in an effort to encourage an increasing number of local residents to engage in artistic activities and welcome cultural expression into their lives.
Festival programming adheres to the three-fold principle of 'propagating the culture of the Chinese nation, exhibiting outstanding works of art from around the world and fostering the development of local art'. The Macao Arts Festival promotes traditional Chinese repertoire, thereby exposing its brilliant qualities on the international stages of Macao, a region situated at a time-honored cultural crossroads open to the world.
Macao International Dragon Boat Races
This old Chinese festival is to commemorate the heroic poet Wat Yuen who protested against corruption by drowning himself. Today all celebrations are concentrated on the famous Dragon Boat Races, which in Macao takes place on the Nam Van Lake. Many local teams and foreign teams take part in this colorful event.
Venetian Macao (Golf) Open
The Macao (Golf) Open was inaugurated in 1998. With an upgraded prize purse of US$800,000 from 2013, it has provided a stern challenge for some of Asia’s 140 plus leading golfers. The event has been hosted at the Macao Golf and Country Club since the beginning. The event was first broadcasted live in 2011 to over 200 countries of 850 Million households worldwide.
Macao International Fireworks Display Contest
Imagine the night sky of Macao glowing in a myriad of magnificent fireworks and accompanied by the cheers and applauses of spectators enjoying the impact of the light and sound show. What a splendid scene!
The annual "Macao International Fireworks Display Contest" not only lights up the nights of Macao, but also the hearts of spectators. Local residents long for the marvelous fireworks displays that add a joyous atmosphere to holidays and festivals. The Contest has also become an annual characteristic of Macao. Many visitors specially choose this time of the year to come to Macao to enjoy an exotic and romantic holiday.
Macao International Music Festival
The Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao SAR Government holds the Macao International Music Festival (MIMF) in the fall. Each year the Macao International Music Festival brings internationally renowned artists from all over the world to Macao. Over the course of a quarter century, the MIMF has gradually evolved into the major musical event in the territory, promoting a balanced range of performances that reflect the diversity and uniqueness of Macao. The Festival strives to enrich the cultural life of the region while meeting the expectations and aspirations of the community.
Macao Food Festival
A favorite event among local residents and visitors, the Macao Food Festival brings delicious Asian, European, Mainland China and local delicacies, and exciting entertainment and fun for everyone. With the theme of global delicacies in Macao, the Macao Food Festival will be like an amusement park where visitors can taste worldwide cuisines in just one place. There are also game booths, live performances and beer competition during the festival.
Macao Grand Prix
It is probably the most internationally known event produced in Macao, because of its quality and of its history of more than five decades. The Grand Prix is in fact a set of car and motorcycle races in a city circuit. During the days of the Grand Prix the city lives an extraordinary excitement: the noise of the engines, the crowds of tourists, and the colorful decoration of the streets. All changes the rhythm of life during one week.
Macao International Marathon
This international marathon, first held in 1981 in Macao, continues to attract large numbers of local and international long distance runners. The full course Marathon will include the Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane, while the Half-Marathon and Mini-Marathon are designed to attract not only professional athletes but amateurs seeking to test their endurance.
Among other things, Macao is famous for its cuisine and for the quality of the food served by the territory's restaurants and hotels. It is hard to find another city with such a concentration of restaurants offering so many different cuisines to suit so many tastes at all kinds of budget. In fact food has always played a major part in Macao society and is a good reflection of the community's long multicultural experience and present cosmopolitan way of life.
First of all Macao has a fine selection of coffee shops, in Portuguese, Italian and American style (especially around Travessa de S. Domingos and Rua Pedro José Lobo, in the city center, and Rua de Nagasaki). They offer a wide variety of superior blends in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. They all also sell delicious pastries -- not to be missed are Macao's version of the traditional Portuguese egg tart, or pastel de nata, and coconut cake. Also available are soft drinks, juices and cocktails.
You can find good Portuguese restaurants close to the A-Ma Temple along Rua do Almirante Sérgio, in the city center on Rua Central and Travessa de S.Domingos, and in the NAPE area near the Kun Iam Statue. On the islands there are many excellent Portuguese restaurants: on Rua do Cunha and Rua Fernando Mendes (in Taipa) and on Hac-Sa beach and Coloane Village.
For a soup they suggest you to try Caldo Verde (green vegetable soup) and for starters ameijoas (clams) together with chouriço (Portuguese sausage) and olives. Cozido à Portuguesa is also very popular. Carne de Porco à Alentejana (from the Alentejo province of Portugal) and sardines (sardinhas assadas are especially tasty during summer time) all evoke images of Portugal. In addition all these restaurants serve Portugal's beloved bacalhau (codfish). There are literally hundreds of ways of cooking the codfish. Try Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (prepared with egg and onions), Bacalhau com Natas (with cream) or Bacalhau Assado (grilled). Be sure to order wine because in Macao it's very affordable and of excellent quality. Dão, Borba and Ribatejo are popular red wines and João Pires for white. And to drink with seafood don't miss the tasty green wine (vinho verde) from Minho in the North of Portugal. For dessert try delicious serradura or any of the convent sweets; barrigas de freira, papos de anjo, toucinho do céu, doce de ovos, etc. (These traditional Portuguese desserts were initially created in convents with rich ingredients from all over the world).
As is to be expected, Chinese cuisine is of excellent quality in Macao. Restaurants are found in every part of the city and on the islands. Most serve Cantonese food but some specialize. So, for seafood they suggest you to go to Rua do Almirante Sérgio and Rua das Lorchas along the Inner Harbour where the morning's catch is served in restaurants that often have outdoor and indoor dining sections. If you're in Macao during the winter time try Ta Pin Nou, a Chinese version of fondu with a huge variety of different seafood, meats and vegetables that are boiled in a tureen on the clients' table. For general Cantonese food try the NAPE area, and city center (Avenida da Praia Grande, Avenida Infante D. Henrique, etc.).
Chinese menus are long and varied, but include all the favorites: sharks' fin soup, sweet and sour pork, fried chicken, meat with vegetables, steamed fish, bean curd or tofu prepared in several ways, Peking duck and Beggar's Chicken. Try different kinds of noodles, which are called "fitas" in Macao, and rice. For more exotic dishes take a look and maybe try the restaurants in Rua da Felicidade (parallel to the main street Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro) where snakes, frogs, eels, seafood and fish -- many of them alive -- are on display in tanks in the windows.
In Africa and India the Portuguese learned how to use spices with the result that Macao's most popular dishes include African and Goan's chicken and piquant prawns, all baked or grilled with peppers and chilies.
Some ingredients such as Portuguese sausage and sardines are imported but most foodstuffs come from the fertile Pearl River Delta and Bountiful water of the South China Sea. Local produce includes quail, pigeon, duck, fresh vegetables, the famous Macao sole, African chicken and enormous juicy prawns.
The combination of Portuguese, Indian and even Malay and Chinese cuisines make up the unique Macanese cuisine which cannot be found elsewhere in the world.
In contrast are the restaurants serving Dim Sum, a favorite of all foreigners and one of Southern China's great gifts to dining. It is a meal which is served from dawn in many big and small Chinese restaurants and it lasts till about midday. This is an opportunity for friends and family to get together around the table to chat as well as eat, which is why it is often called simply "Yam Tcha" (which means literally "drink tea"). Only small amounts of food are served, in small round bamboo baskets or in porcelain plates, which are circulated around the restaurant in trolleys. If you want to order all you have to do is to stop the trolley and choose. Part of the fun of this the meal lies in the variety of smells, tastes, sizes and ways of cooking. Here are the names of some Dim Sum favorites: Há Kau (steamed dumplings filled with shrimp), Shiu Mai (steamed dumplings stuffed with pork and shrimp), Tsun Guen (shrimp fried rolls, stuffed with pork, chicken, mushrooms, bamboo sprouts and beans), Char Siu Pau (steamed buns stuffed with pork), Ngau Iók (little beef balls seasoned with ginger), Tchau min (fried noodles) and Tchau fan (fried rice).
Dim Sum is accompanied by tea, usually jasmine tea (Heong pin t'chá) or red tea (Pou lei).
Over the centuries Macao developed a unique cuisine that combined elements of Portuguese, Chinese, Indian, and even Malay cooking. Known as Macanese cuisine, it is served in restaurants along Rua Almirante Sérgio, on the Praia Grande, in the NAPE and on Taipa. Among the most popular dishes are African Chicken (grilled in piri piri peppers), Tacho (a hearty stew of Chinese vegetables and different meats), Galinha Portuguesa (Chicken cooked in the oven together with potatoes, onions, egg and saffron), Minchi (minced beef with fried potatoes, soy, onions and a fried egg), Linguado Macao (Macao sole fried and usually served with green salad) and Porco balichão (Balichão' pork). And for dessert try Jagra de ovos (sweet egg tart).
Food from other parts of the world is, of course, readily available in Macao and you'll find plenty of excellent restaurants serving Italian, French, American, Brazilian, Japanese, Korean and Mozambique cuisine as well as dishes from Southeast Asia, such as Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Over history Macao has been an important gateway through which western civilization entered China; for hundreds of years this piece of land has nurtured a symbiosis of cultural exchange, shaping the unique identity of Macao.
"The Historic Centre of Macao" is living testimony to the assimilation and continued co-existence of eastern and western cultures over a unique chapter in history. It stands witness to successful East-West cultural pluralism, reflecting China's persistent openness to the influx of western cultural concepts throughout that historic timeframe; it is the fruit of mutual respect and tolerance between different cultures and civilizations. Its value lies not only in the completeness of the architectural and urban infrastructures, but also in the fact that these have retained their original function and spirit to the present day. As an integral part of the city's life, the conservation of "The Historic Centre of Macao" is crucial to the local community, while on a broader context, it represents a part of Chinese and world history, which, due to its historic and cultural significance must be preserved.
"The Historic Centre of Macao" has now been inscribed on the World Heritage List, making it the 31st designated World Heritage site in China on 15 July 2005. This international recognition will further raise community awareness and foster an appreciation of heritage values, thus providing a positive influence on future urban redevelopment programs that will evolve in line with heritage conservation.
The Historic Centre of Macao
"The Historic Centre of Macao" is a living representation of the city's historic settlement, encompassing architectural legacies interwoven in the midst of the original urban fabric that includes streetscapes and piazzas, such as Barra Square, Lilau Square, St. Augustine's Square, Senado Square, Cathedral Square, St. Dominic's Square, Company of Jesus Square and Camões Square. These major urban squares and streetscapes provide the linkage for a succession of over twenty monuments, including A-Ma Temple, Moorish Barracks, Mandarin's House, St. Lawrence's Church, St. Joseph's Seminary and Church, Dom Pedro V Theatre, Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, St. Augustine's Church, "Leal Senado" Building, Sam Kai Vui Kun (Kuan Tai Temple), Holy House of Mercy, Cathedral, Lou Kau Mansion, St. Dominic's Church, Ruins of St. Paul's, Na Tcha Temple, Section of the Old City Walls, Mount Fortress, St. Anthony's Church, Casa Garden, the Protestant Cemetery and Guia Fortress (including Guia Chapel and Lighthouse) altogether known as "The Historic Centre of Macao".
It is rather difficult to find in the whole world a place so tiny with such a rich cultural and historical past, as Macao. It is indeed one of those cities, which many may have difficulty in pointing it out on the map. But once you have walked through its narrow streets and charming squares you start to realize what makes up the unique way of life enjoyed by its residents. Different beliefs, smells, costumes and habits parade in front of their eyes: it has been like this for centuries and is embodied by the two major communities (Chinese and Portuguese) that wisely found way to live together harmoniously. It is this rich history that makes for such a special cultural heritage in Macao, which can be seen in the various Museums around the city as well as in its monuments.
The Macao Museum is a historical and cultural museum with a vast number of objects of great historical value, which demonstrates the way of life and cultures of the various communities which have been inhabited the city for ages.
The first floor is a short and comparative presentation of the way western and Chinese civilizations were developed before the arrival of the Portuguese in the Pearl River Delta in the 16th century. Besides, history of Macao, commercial activities, religions and cultures of the two civilizations are also displayed. Mounting the stairs to the second floor, visitors have the opportunity to come into contact with different aspects of the popular art and traditions of Macao; such as people's daily lives, entertainment, religious ceremonies and traditional festivals. The third floor shows contemporary Macao including the characteristic aspects of city life. The way Macao has been portrayed in literature and the arts is prominently highlighted.
If the history of Macao is really connected to the sea, there is no better place for the Maritime Museum, than the Square of the Barra Pagoda, dedicated to the Taoist goddess "A-MA", the protector of fishermen, and also believed to be the place where the Portuguese first landed. The precise spot is where the Maritime Museum is located; the building is in the shape of a sailing ship anchored in the waters of the Inner Harbour.
On the ground floor the visitor can see the traditions and the way of life of the fishermen in Macao and South China: there are several types of ships, instruments and methods of fishing, different varieties of fish and shellfish living in these waters and even a copy of a fisherman's house, where the whole family can be seen sharing the tasks which precede or follow fishing activities.
The visitor should note the "Little A-Ma Theatre" which tells the legend of this Goddess in Cantonese, Mandarin, Portuguese and English.
Macao is a place where you can purchase almost anything, and have a wonderful time doing it. Luxury items are cheaper there than in other cities in the region. Jewelry (particularly 24-carat gold), cameras, porcelain, electronic items, mobile phones, watches, cashmere sweaters and silk clothing are available at very reasonable prices.
It is also a great treasure trove for Chinese antiques and collectibles. You can find ancient coins, 19th century stocks and shares, stamps and other printed material (Rua das Estalagens and Rua da Tercena); boxes of tea (Rua Cinco de Outubro) and coffee from around the world (Estrada do Cemiterio and Avenida do Coronel Mesquita); traditional shops where tea is displayed in wooden drawers and glass goblets; and countless old Chinese Pharmacies packed with traditional medicines (Rua de S.Paulo and Rua de Pedro Nolasco da Silva). These are just a few examples to illustrate how adventurous and fascinating shopping in Macao can be. Now it's up to you to explore.
Duty Free Shops
You can find many duty free shops and internationally recognized labels in Macao. In fact, the visitor is literally spoiled for choice with several hundred luxury brand stores to be patronised in the Wynn Esplanade, Shoppes Grand Canal, Shoppes at Four Seasons, Shoppes Cotai Central, The Boulevard in City of Dreams, One Central Macao and Galaxy Macao - The Promenades as well as New Yaohan Department Store, Macao Fisherman’s Wharf, Hotel Lisboa, The Landmark Macao and Grand Lapa Hotel. Duty free shops in Macao Ferry Terminal and Macao International Airport are also popular high-end shopping destinations.
Macao has more than a few hundred functioning textile and garment factories, most of which produce clothing for markets in European Union, USA, North America and Asia Pacific. Overruns and seconds are to be found in shops and market stalls, at prices a fraction of what they are in the world's leading boutiques. The range of clothing is enormous; however the most widely available are jeans, and children’s wear and sports clothes.
You can also find dressy jackets with Mandarin collars and frog fastenings traditional Chinese style in a wide variety of interesting and attractive fabrics at the markets around São Domingos near Senado Square, and in the Three Lamps district (Rotunda de Carlos da Maia) near the Red Market.
Furniture and Antiques
There are many excellent shops selling authentic antiques and fine reproductions all over Macao, and in Coloane village, but the most convenient area is bounded by Rua de São Paulo, Rua das Estalagens, and Rua Stº António, all in the neighborhood of St Paul's at the foot of Monte Fort.
The most popular flea market in Macao is near St Paul's but a little off the beaten tourist track. Follow Rua de São Paulo to Rua das Estalagens and turn down the hill to the next narrow street. Go past the shops selling antiques, the tailor shops, and other small shops until the road reaches a fork.
The Best Neighborhoods to Shop: around historic Senado Square and the Red Market Senado Square is the location of one of the newest municipal markets. On Avenida Almeida Ribeiro and the narrow streets leading off the main square you'll find a wealth of inexpensively priced goods of all kinds.
Nearby, the Sun Star City, on Rua de Pedro Nolasco, and Sportstar, a two-storied arcade of specialty shops on Rua da Palha, offer a wide variety of clothing, watches, and stylish accessories like sunglasses, handbags, shoes and novelty items.
On the other side of Avenida Almeida Ribeiro is a shopping area for the more adventurous. Follow Rua do Dr. Soares uphill behind the Civic & Municipal Affairs Bureau building until you reach Rua da Felicidade. Turn right and continue down past the restored 19th century shop houses in Felicidade, once a thriving red-light district. This is a fascinating place to browse among shops selling jewelry, curios, dried beef and even live snakes.
Avenida Horta e Costa is a long street full of shops that begins at the Red Market and extends as far as the Flora Gardens beneath Guia Hill. The avenue has several up-market shops specializing in, among other things, clothing and shoes, electronic items and cameras. But the best bargains are found in the streets surrounding the street. The historic "Three Lamps" (Rotunda Carlos da Maia) and surrounding streets are full of tiny shops selling many kinds of goods at bargain prices.
The delights of Portuguese wine could fill a book, but for a brief introduction, visit the Wine Museum in the Tourism Activities Center before setting out to buy them. All supermarkets, and even the smaller grocery stores in Macao display many different kinds of Portuguese wine at prices ranging from about MOP$30 for an ordinary table wine to several hundred for a fine aged Port.
Macao has many resident artists and their work can often be seen in local galleries. Temporary exhibitions open to the public are held at the Civic & Municipal Affairs Bureau, Casa Garden, the ground floor of the Ritz Building, on Senado Square, and the Tourism Activities Centre.
Works shown at these exhibitions are usually for sale. Traditional Chinese paintings can be found at Chinese arts and crafts stores, and the one on Avenida Almeida Ribeiro near the Senado Square has a wide selection to choose from. For older works of art, browse through the selections on sale in several shops on Rua de Stº António.
There are many grades of gold available in Macao which is imported duty-free and so can be an exceptional bargain. Silver, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones are also duty-free and available in abundance. In fact, the selection is limited only by the amount you want to pay.
There are many reputable jewelry shops near major hotels, on Avenida Almeida Ribeiro and on Avenida Horta e Costa. It is always a good idea to shop around and compare prices before making a high-priced purchase. Ask for a warranty card for jewelry and gold items and be sure to keep your receipts.
Traditional Chinese Delicacies
There are very few neighborhoods in Macao where you won't find numerous shops selling dried meat and seafood, herbs and other traditional Chinese foodstuffs and medicines.
Dried sharks fin, mushrooms, shrimp, abalone and scallops can be found in the most popular shopping areas, like Avenida Almeida Ribeiro and Avenida Horta e Costa. The streets around Rua da Felicidade have more than their share of shops selling dried meat, with the best ones being to find; just follow the delicious aroma.
Museum Shops for Only-in-Macao Items
If you are looking for souvenirs that could only come from Macao, the museum shops are a good place to look. The Grand Prix Museum has some wonderful books, videotapes and other items connected to Macao's most important sporting event, and the world's foremost Formula 3 competition.
Other Museum shops, like the one at the Macao Museum, have a variety of souvenirs, many of them beautifully crafted and unique to Macao. The Maritime Museum offers fascinating books and imaginative gifts like model kits for the unique "lorchas" that plied the waters around Macao in earlier times and other beautifully designed souvenirs with a nautical touch.
Cultural Club is housed in an authentic old pawnshop (an valuable historic & cultural heritage) on San Ma Lo in the center of Macao. It consists of five areas, the first and second areas are the "Pastry Gallery"and "Arts Plaza" with the souvenirs, postcards, fine arts, clothes and accessories. The third area namely "Jin Yong Library" where the famous Jin Yong specialized novels are housed. Inside the library, the fourth area namely "Water-Teahouse" provides a comfortable resting place for visitors and tourists to take a rest. The fifth area is the "Cultural Exhibition Hall". Painting, fine arts, Chinese folk arts exhibitions are held regularly.
There are several shops that carry handcrafted goods from China and other parts of Asia in Macao and perhaps the best of these is located on Avenida Almeida Ribeiro near the Senado Square.
A tiny shop selling hand crafted traditional tea utensils, clothing, and musical instruments can be found on Rua de Hong Chau in Taipa Island - it is worth a visit if only for its picturesque architecture and stone-lined rustic fountain. To discover more about the traditional Chinese tea culture, Macao Tea Culture House next to Lou Lim Ieoc is recommended.
Porcelains and Fine Ceramics
There are many wholesalers and retail outlets carrying a huge variety of tableware, vases, and novelty items at very low prices. Some factories will even custom make a vase or set of tableware with your family crest or in a pattern copied from your draperies. For more unusual pieces at good prices, try the many shops around Rua de São Paulo. Many interesting antique and one-of-a-kind pieces can also be found in shops on Avenida Almeida Ribeiro, right in the heart of the commercial district.
Shop with Confidence Shop with confidence in Macao shops with the "Certified Logo". These are participating shops at the Consumer Arbitration Centre established by the Macao Consumer Council, and they are certified shops as they do have no recorded consumer complaints. The Consumer Arbitration Centre will act as a middleman, to solve any complaints, of less than MOP$50,000.00, reported against these "Certified Logo" shops.
Mast Climb & Sky Jump
Conquer Macao's highest summit at the Macao Tower, at 338 meters, and stand at the top of the tower by climbing 100 meters up the mast's vertical ladders.
The SkyJump, a new attraction at the Macao Tower that takes guests on a 20 second flight over the breathtaking cityscape of Macao, will be the highest adventure of its kind around the world. Taking off from the outer rim of Macao Tower 233 meters above ground, it is an astounding 41 meters higher than the only other Sky Jump in the world at the Sky Tower Auckland.
Macao city has too many hills and vehicles for a pleasure cycling, but Taipa and Coloane Islands can be fine for bicycles, which can be rented on Taipa near the Tin Hau Temple.
At the end of the causeway linking Taipa with Coloane is a karting track and grandstand, which is visited by locals and visitors at weekdays and weekends, either to practice or to watch the races.
On Guia Hill and the hills of Taipa and Coloane there are trails equipped for trekking, jogging and exercises. These are safe routes, which offer panoramic views over the city, the islands and the Pearl River, providing wonderful opportunities for nature and photography lovers. From time to time in these trails there are belvederes where you may enjoy a rest.
Windsurfing / Canoeing / Nautical Sports
In Coloane Island there are two warm water beaches. At Cheoc Van Beach there are several restaurants with esplanades, a swimming pool, a Portuguese Inn and a Nautical Club with equipment for canoeing and windsurfing.
Hác-Sá beach is longer and is popular for windsurfing and jet-skiing. Near the beach there is a park that contains tennis courts, a swimming pool, picnic area, children's playground and several Portuguese and Chinese restaurants.
Nautical Entertainment Centre located at Hác-Sá Reservoir Park where different boats and water scooters are available for rent. It also provides a barbecue area, children's playground, nature trails, jogging track, coffee shop and snack bar.
The Macao Golf & Country Club, located on the south side of Coloane Island and near the Western Resort Complex, is one of the most beautiful golf courses in Asia, and is open to locals and foreigners. With a unique view over the Pearl River and Hác Sá Beach, the course has all the usual international amenities, such as a Pro Shop, spa, restaurant and bar.
There are a number of pools in Macao which are ideal for safe and enjoyable swimming: the Estoril Swimming Pool located in Estrada da Vitória; the Sun Yat Sen Swimming Pool inside the Sun Yat Sen Park; Hác Sá Swimming Pool and Cheoc Van Swimming Pool on Coloane Island.
The various sporting complexes and infrastructures in Macao boast state-of-the-art equipment that houses the first-class sporting events. Less of a public landmark, but no less impressive are the Tap Seac Multi-sport Pavilion, the IPM Multi-sport Pavilion, the Macao Sport Complex and the Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre located in Macao; the Macao Stadium, the Macao Olympic Aquatic Centre located in Taipa Island; the Macao East Asian Games Dome and the Macao International Shooting Range located in COTAI, etc. All of the facilities have been purpose built, which means that they have unique sport-specific features. Among them are the track and field arena, the Macao Hockey Centre, the soccer field, the tennis court, etc., which allow athletes to perfect new routines safely. These multi-purpose facilities are suitable for international sports events, competitions and concerts.
Horse Racing and Riding
The Macao Jockey Club is equipped with modern facilities and has assembled a cosmopolitan group of trainers, riders and administrators while horses are being imported from several countries in order to provide racing of international standards. With private boxes and air-conditioned grandstand, Club members and public can enjoy the races, whether watching them live, on the Diamond Vision or the closed circuit television monitors. Chinese and European restaurants are available. Summer recess is usually in between late August and early September.