Macau: Monte Carlo of the Orient

Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal

During my trip in Hong Kong, I got the chance to visit Macau; known as Asia’s international gambling city. This is the only place in China where gambling is legal. Macau used to be a Portuguese territory until 1999, which explains the mix of Portuguese and Chinese influences. If you happened to be in Hong Kong, I would recommend you to include Macau day trip in your itinerary.

Getting to Macau by ferry (Hourly departure):

Hong Kong – Macau

Kowloon – Macau

I took the TurboJET in the morning at Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal. If you are visiting the architectural site, Macau Outer Harbour Terminal is the closest to the attractions. You can purchase the ticket over the counter. Please note that you need to bring along your passport to enter Macau.


The Macau Pataca (MOP) is the currency of Macau. Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) are widely accepted in Macau. During my trip, I spend my HKD for all my expenses.

Casino Coach

Upon arrival at Macau Ferry Terminal, you will definitely encounter tour agents pestering you to buy their tour packages. I find it unnecessary for a day trip. Transportation at Macau is relatively easy. You can make use of the complimentary casino shuttle buses at both ferry terminals. If you are planning to visit Senado Square and Ruins of St. Paul’s, you can take the shuttle bus to the nearest casinos to the site; Wynn, Star World or Grand Lisboa.  I took the bus to Whynn Macau; within walking distance to Senado Square.

Gambling in Macau has been legal since the 1850s when the Portuguese government legalised the activity in the colony. Gambling tourism is Macau’s biggest source of revenue, making up about 50% of the economy. There are total of 33 casinos in Macau.


Water fountain show at Wynn Macau. It would definitely look better in the evening.

Macau Tower

Macau Tower from far.

Grand Lisboa

From Whynn Macau, I walk towards the Grand Lisboa, the tallest building in Macau.


Did you know, Macau has the world’s highest population density!

Senado Square

Macau Historic Centre consist of over 20 ancient monuments inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005. Part of it is the Senado Square (Largo do Senado), popular venue for public events and celebrations. The square is surrounded by pastel coloured neo-classical buildings, creating a consistent and harmonious Mediterranean atmosphere. The wave-patterned colored mosaic stones is iconic to Macau.


Holy House of Mercy (Santa Casa da Misericórdia). The building is neo-classical in the overall architectural treatment, but also depicts traces of mannerist influence.


The facade of the building is well preserved by the authority.

St. Dominic's Church

St. Dominic’s Church, founded in 1587

St. Dominic’s Church is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Ruins of St. Paul's

The Ruins of St. Paul’s refer to the facade of what was originally the Church of Mater Dei built in 1602-1640, destroyed by fire in 1835, and the ruins of St. Paul’s College, which stood adjacent to the Church.

The Ruins of St. Paul's

The Ruins of St. Paul’s is Macau’s most famous landmark.

The Ruins of St. Paul's

The ruins now consist of the southern stone facade intricately carved between 1620 and 1627 by Japanese Christians in exile from their homeland and local craftsmen

The Ruins of St. Paul's

The Church of St. Paul also known as “Mater Dei

Here, you can get lots of tasty cookies and Macau egg tarts.

Mount Fortress (Monte Forte)


You will need a short climb to get here. Built in conjunction with the Jesuits from 1617 to 1626, this was the city’s principal military defence structure. The park at the top of the fort has a good vantage point of Macau.

Cannons line the fortress walls

View of MAcau

View of Macau from the Mount Fortress

Macau Tower

Up next, Macau Tower! There is a shuttle bus to the tower from City of Dreams or you can reach there by cab.

Macau Tower is 338 meters tall. The Outdoor Observation Deck is located on Level 61. You can purchase the ticket at the entrance for MOP135 per adult.

Macau Tower

360 view of Macau

Macau Tower

You can see the Grand Lisboa from here.

Macau Tower

Looking down.

Macau Tower

For the daredevil, you might want to try out the World’s Highest Bungy Jump at a speed of up to 200km/h.

Macau Tower

…or maybe you could try the SkyWalk instead.


I took the shuttle bus back to City of Dreams and walk over to the Venetian Macao. Did you know that this casino is the largest single structure hotel building in Asia and the fourth-largest building in the world measured by floor space that cost 2.4 billion USD to build.


Restaurants and shops are set along streetscapes reminiscent of historical Venice streets. There are three canals, each featuring gondola rides.


The total size of The Venetian Macao is equivalent to 56 football fields. That’s big enough to park close to 100 Boeing 747 jumbo jets!


The Venetian Macao


Beautifully decorated ceiling


A day trip to Macau is definitely worth a visit. You would love the architectural and legacies of the city’s cultural heritage. Short distance within the UNESCO site, free shuttle buses and abundance of taxis makes all of it easily accessible.

Other destinations: Auckland | Singapore | Paris | Shanghai | TokyoKuala Lumpur | Penang | Hong Kong

3 Thoughts

  1. I love Macau, much nicer than Hong Kong. You’ve really captured it here in this series of photos. Love the Venetian – quite amazing place, hey? :)

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