Alan and I had just finished a house sit in Singapore and had 3 day’s spare before starting our next house sit in Hong Kong, so we thought “Why not spend 3 Days in Macau!”
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Top things to do 3 Days in Macau.
Macau is a former Portuguese enclave that is about 60 kilometres west of Hong Kong. Macau is a heady mix of old and new, where the stunning traditional Portuguese architecture of the Historical Centre competes for attention with the glitz and glamour of Macau’s lavish Casino’s.
Currency Of Macau
Macau’s currency is the Pataca (MOP). The Hong Kong Dollar and the MOP are almost equal value so the Hong Kong Dollar is widely accepted, which is great if you intend to return to Hong Kong. Just be aware that you may get change in MOP and while the Hong Kong Dollar is accepted in Macau the Macau Pataca (MOP) is NOT accepted in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong to Macau
Flying into Hong Kong we caught the ferry to Macau’s Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal from the Skypier at Hong Kong International Airport. This service from Hong Kong International Airport to Macau is for transfer passengers only, and not available for passengers originating in Hong Kong. For more information refer to our Macau Ferry story.
After disembarking in Macau, we crossed the road and caught the free shuttle bus to the Sands Hotel, which is a short walk to the Grand Lapa Hotel which would be our home for the next 3 Days in Macau.
The Grand Lapa Hotel has its own shuttle bus but we found the Bus station confusing and chaotic with countless free buses going to hotels or casinos. We later found that it was easier to take the Sands Hotel shuttle buses as they were more frequent and just a two minute walk from the Grand Lapa Hotel.
The Sands Hotel also has free shuttle buses to their partner casinos, hotels and the vast shopping malls in the Cotai Strip. These include The Venetian Hotel and The Sands Resort Cotai Strip.
Where to stay in Macau
The Grand Lapa Hotel is close to the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal and within walking distance to many of Macau’s Tourist attractions. The Grand Lapa is an older Hotel but very grand and comfortable with good pool, gym and spa facilities. The lovely Portuguese style restaurant serves a buffet buffet breakfast and stylish bar to relax in after a day of sightseeing. The Grand Lapa is next door to The Sands Casino which has many entertainment and dining options.
Advantages…Close to Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal and tourist attractions, close to transport to Cotai Strip casinos and shopping malls, free Wifi.
Comfort level…Very good, clean rooms, welcoming Staff.
Things to do during 3 Days in Macau
Central Macau is great for walking, with many of the sites within easy reach of each other.
The Macau Grand Prix; walking along wide streets, we noticed the commentary boxes used for when Macau hosts their annual Macau Grand Prix. The Macau Grand Prix is held in November and is unique, hosting not only car races but also motorbike racing events.
The Macau Grand Prix Museum is a must for all those interested fast cars and motor racing. Alan really enjoyed the different types of cars and got to take a turn around the track in the simulator. The Macau Grand Prix Museum is a short walk from The Sands Hotel.
The Kun Iam Ecumenical Centre stands out long before you reach it. This stunning bronze statue of Kun Iam, (the diety of love, mercy and compassion) stands on a lotus shaped base on a manmade island. The scultures face is designed without ethnicity and represents solidarity between people. Inside the Centre is decorated with figures, symbols and texts related to Lao Tse, Confucius, Mencius and Buddha.
Macau’s Historical Centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and my favourite part of Macau. Here East meets West and if you close your eyes you can easily imagine that you are walking a city street in Portugal.
Senado Square with its black and white waved cobblestones is easily recognised as one of Macau’s top tourist attractions and a starting point for exploring Macau’s Historical Centre.
We wandered through the winding backstreets that span over 400 years. With its collection of squares, churches, temples, civic buildings, Portuguese and Chinese shop fronts, you will find a hive of activity, where you can buy anything from Chinese curios to Portuguese egg tarts. We continued on to the Ruins of St. Pauls.
The Ruins of St Pauls façade is the only part of the Church of Mater Dei (built 1602-1640), to survive after it was destroyed by fire in 1835. The walls are decorated with Catholic and Chinese symbols, a perfect fusion of Portuguese and Chinese cultures and is one of Macau’s most recognisable landmarks.
Musea de Macau is a short walk from the Ruins of St. Pauls, and is a fascinating place to spend a few hours. We enjoyed learning about the historical time lines of both the Chinese and Portuguese cultures and the insight into daily life of the people of Macau.
Casinos of Macau
Macau is World famous for its casinos and though I am not much of a gambler, visiting the casinos is a must, they are lavish in style even if you don’t go into the gaming areas. We did not get to see all the casino’s in Macau but here are a few of our favourites.
Central Macau Casino’s
The Sands, (not to be confused with The Sands Cotai Strip) was a favourite because it was within walking distance to where we were staying, it had a friendly atmosphere, had many different styles of dining, our favourite being the Copa Steakhouse where the food and service was first class and it had many free shuttle buses to partner casinos and shopping.
The MGM Macau, has to be seen if only for their whimsical Butterfly Garden. This stunning fantasy garden features massive glass butterflies floating around a cylindrical aquarium, all within a backdrop of old World Portuguese architecture.
Casino Lisboa is one of the oldest casinos in Macau and is showing her age when compared to all the new girls on the block, but I can’t help but feel a little fondness for this time capsule from another era.
Grand Lisboa is one of Macau’s iconic casino’s, instantly recognisable, it is attached to the Casino Lisboa. At night is whan Macau comes alive with all the glitz and glamour and the casino’s offer some of the best nightlife in Macau.
Cotai Strip Casino’s
No trip to Macau would be complete without a trip to the glamourous and extravagant World of Macau’s Cotai Strip. The Cotai Strip houses a selection of top name hotels, massive Malls to get lost in, entertainment and top dining options. Here are a couple of my favourites.
The Sands Cotai Strip is easily accessed from Central Macau by free shuttle bus. One of the many Hotels that share the Cotai Strip Shopping Mall.
The Venetian, is modelled on the Venetian Casino in Las Vegas. The Venetian comes complete with St Marks Campanile, the Rialto Bridge, gondolas and canals, a little taste of Venice in Macau. The Venetian is located across from The Sands Cotai Strip via covered walkway.
As our 3 Days in Macau came to an end we realised that 3 Days in Macau is not enough time to discover all that this part of the World has to offer, we hope to visit again sometime soon. Have you been to Macau? Tell us what you like about Macau.