Our first trip to Macau was on a quick stopover from Hong Kong (for a more recent and comprehensive guide check here). At the time expectations were low and our lazy research failed to see past towering casinos. In a way this was a godsend as Macau turned out to be the perfect end to a predictable trip thanks to Taipa Macau.
Macau Old Town
Hidden snug below a backdrop of skyscrapers this quiet residential area won me over on Macau. Walking into the central old town brings that authentic Chinese feel which had earlier eluded us in Hong Kong and Macau Peninsula. In the quaint Chinese Taipa Macau old town locals walk, talk, shop and eat with not a tourist in site. It is a great place to sip through a bowl of noodles and watch local life passing by. Note, don’t expect locals to speak English.
Portuguese House Museum
In the quiet streets surrounding the Taipa Macau old town area is a unique mix of Chinese charm and Portuguese colonial architecture. The Portuguese past of Macau is mirrored in street signs and building design. On the lakeside you will pass the famous Taipa Houses-Museum and Our Lady of Carmel Parish. Also, keep an eye out for a lost dog called “Gimi”.
A Backdrop of Casinos
The Cotai strip runs parallel to Taipa Macau and is home to many of Macau’s newer casinos A short walk finding the best of them including the Venetian. To find the brash and touristy Macau Peninsula; Taipa sits on an island south and connects by three impressively long bridges. Getting between the two area is quite simple using cheap metered taxis or local buses. There is also the free Casino bus option which leaves the Cotai strip casinos; most notably the World’s Largest Casino, The Venetian. An example of free shuttles is the service between the Venetian (Cotai) and the Sands (Macau Peninsula).
Travel to Macau from Hong Kong
Turbojet from Hong Kong – Boats leave Hong Kong every 15mins between 07:00 – 00:00. Full schedule and booking here.
Sky Shuttle from Hong Kong – Helicopters leave Hong Kong every 30 mins between 09:00 – 23:00. Full schedule and booking here.
Arriving by Plane – There are free shuttle bus services from the airport in Taipa where buses leave every 15 minutes between 11:00 – 21:00 to various casinos around Macau.