After being in Hong Kong for a couple of months, we booked a day trip to Macau, China. Going to Macau from Hong Kong is very easy, about an hour on the Turbojet Ferry. You don’t need to book the ticket in advance, as there is a ferry leaving from Hong Kong to Macau each fifteen minutes.

Although Macau is now known for its gambling (actually surpassed Las Vegas in 2004), the city is much more than lights, shows and casinos. Macau was once a Portuguese colony and the city architecture, religion, traditions and food reveal the mix of Portuguese and Chinese cultures.

We spent only one day in Macau, mostly walking though the interesting Historic Center of Macau. Formed by 22 historical buildings and eight urban squares, the Historic Centre of Macau was in 2005 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The area is pavemented with beautiful Portuguese tiling and the buildings are pastel-colored, reminding you of its Portuguese past. What we liked the most was the Ruins of Saint Paul, which is one of the best-known landmarks of the city and considered Macau’s “Acropolis”. The Senado Square is also very interesting, surrounded by well preserved neoclassical buildings. Not far away you can visit The Mount Fortress, where you can have an overview of the city, and the Rua da Felicidade (Happiness Street), which is a great shopping street.

The Historic Center of Macau has many restaurants offering both Asian and Portuguese food, and street vendors selling different delicacies such as Portuguese tarts (pastéis de nata) and almond biscuits. Restaurants close to the main attractions tend to be very busy, and for this reason we looked for a more tranquil area to eat, drink and enjoy the sun. We ended up at the loveliest street ever, drinking beer at a place called Beer Temple – where, as you can imagine, offers a fine selection of beers from different parts of the world.

Macau street scenes

Overall, we think Macau is a fascinating place with an unique blend of cultures that you won’t see elsewhere. You can do and see a lot in only one day, so if you are in Hong Kong and got a spare day, Macau is definitely a good option. Macau has its own money, passports and legal system and is allowed to run its own affairs, so remember to take your passport with you before catching the ferry. 😉

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