1 Day Macau Trip Plan
A lot of questions I get regarding Macau revolve around what people should see and do there. Travelers aren’t sure which places are can’t miss attractions, which sites should be avoided, how to get around etc. So in order to avoid answering the same questions again and again, I’ve come up with three different Macau travel itineraries: one for 1 day, a second for 3 days and a final one for 5 days.
Before I made these travel plans, I came up with a personal list of Macau’s top sites, the places that every traveler simply must visit to fully appreciate the city:
- The Historic Quarter
Sites include the 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Penha Church, Avenida da Republica, The Street of Happiness, and Camoes Park.
- Coloane Village
Picturesque fishing village home to egg tarts, temples, and a collage of colour. See Coloane Village Photobook.
- Taipa Village
A small slice of the Mediterranean sandwiched between suburbia and the Cotai Strip. See Taipa Village Photobook.
- St Lazarus Quarter
Sites include the Old Ladies Home, St Lazarus Church, St Michael’s Cemetery, Tap Seac Square and Lou Lim Ieoc Park.
- The Cotai Strip
Macau’s new development zone for gaming that’s already put Vegas to shame. See Cotai Strip History.
Ask 5 different people what the best museum in Macau is and you might get 5 different answers. In my opinion, Macau Museum, Maritime Museum, Art Museum, Grand Prix Museum, Handover Gifts Museum and Gramaphone Museum are the best of the lot and should not be missed. For a complete list of all museums, please click here: Macau Museums.
- The Area Around Mong Ha Hill
Sites include Kun Iam Temple, Lin Fung Temple, Mong Ha Park, The Temple of Bamboo and Long Wa Teahouse.
All three travel plans revolve around visiting as many of these 7 places as you can, but only in the 5 day trip will you have enough time to see them all.
For each travel itinerary, the main way you’ll be getting around is by foot. The only time you’ll have to take a cab or bus is to get to the first destination of the day or when you go between Macau and Taipa, or Taipa and Coloane.
Regarding food, the restaurants I’ve listed are only my suggestions. You obviously have a lot of latitude determining what you want to eat as well as how much you want to spend. One thing I would advise though is to be adventurous with your selections. Macau is a diner’s paradise, full of great world cuisine, so make sure to sample as much of it as you can.
Without a doubt, 1 day is far too short of a time to spend in Macau. While 3 days is better and you’ll be able to see most of the top sites, time will be tight and your days hectic. In the height of summer, when it’s approaching 40 degrees Celsius, you probably won’t want to be rushing around so much. For that reason, 5 to 7 days is probably best. You’ll be able to see Macau in depth and have the time to enjoy each site and day to its fullest.
A bit about when to visit. April might very well be the worst month to come, because the sun never comes out. It’s all grey all the time, and to see what I mean, just have a look at the Photobook entitled Dour April. June through September is sunny, but hot and wet. It could look like the most beautiful day you’ve ever seen, then the skies will suddenly open and rain will pour down, usually for about 20 minutes. Then it goes back to being beautiful again, but extremely humid. Macau winters are probably cooler than you think. While the temperature may read around 10 degrees, it’s a damp cold, so you’ll need sweaters and jackets for sure. By elimination, that leaves March, May, October and November as the best months to visit. Maybe you could get away with early December as well, before the mercury starts to fall.
Be sure to get a free tourist map from the Government office before embarking on these trip plans. They’ll be a lot easier to understand and follow that way.
1 Day in Macau Trip Plan
Historic Quarter—Coloane Village—Taipa Village—Cotai Strip
9:00 am – 9:20 am: A Ma Temple. A Ma Temple is the most appropriate place to begin any trip in Macau. Before the Portuguese settled here in 1560, Macau was home to local fishermen from Fujian and Guangdong and two temples.
One of the two temples was A Ma Temple, built to honor A Ma, the goddess of seafarers.
9:25 am – 10:35 am: Continue on your UNESCO 25 heritage site tour. From A Ma Temple check out the Moorish Barracks and Lilau Square.
After Lilau Square make the steep climb up to visit Penha Church. (Just follow the road that winds up behind the white building on the left hand side of the picture above. And then follow the signs.)
Truth be told, Penha Church is almost a secondary consideration; the views are what you’ll really be seeking out.
After the church, return back down to Lilau Square then cross the road for the Mandarin’s House, the home of prominent 19th century writer prominent writer Zheng Guangyu. (Unless it’s Wednesday because it’s closed that day.) When you’re finished there, follow the signs to St Lawrence Church.
10:40 am – 11:00 am: Take a look at St. Lawrence and St. Joseph’s Church. Go out the back gate of St. Lawrence Church to get to St. Joseph’s Church. After St. Joseph’s, reverse back to the back gate of St. Lawrence Church, then turn left down Rua de St. Laurenco.
11:05 am – 11:25 am: Check out St. Augustine’s Church, Dom Pedro Theatre and Robert Ho Tung Library. Interesting facts: Bruce Lee’s mother was one of Ho Tung’s relatives, and Dom Pedro Theatre was the first Western style theater in China.
11:30 am – 12:10 pm: Arrive at Senado Square, then pay special attention to Leal Senado, Santa Casa da Misericordia and St. Dominic’s Church.
There are two small museums adjoining Santa Casa da Misericordia and St. Dominic’s Church while Leal Senado has frequent art exhibitions and one amazing antique library on the 2nd floor.
Afterwards, follow the signs to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
12:15 pm – 12:50 pm: Check out St. Paul’s, the crypt in the back as well as Mount Fortress.
Walk to San Ma Lo or the Sofitel and hop a cab to Coloane Village.
1:15 pm – 2:35 pm: Power lunch at Espaco Lisboa or Nga Tim, then go for an egg tart at Lord Stow’s Bakery.
2:35 pm – 3:45 pm: Walk around Coloane Village, paying special attention to Chapel of St. Francis Xavier and the two main temples: Tin Hau and Tam Kong.
Afterwards, cab it to Taipa Village. If you prefer a bus, take any that pass by the Galaxy.
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Make sure to check out the Taipa Houses Museum and everything between Sam Po Temple and Tin Hau Temple. There’s a ton to see in the Village and just getting lost on its narrow streets is very enjoyable too.
Take a pass on the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History though, since it’s one of the most boring museums I’ve ever been to.
5:45 pm – 10:00 pm: The rest of the day will be devoted to the monster hotels on the Cotai Strip, starting with my personal favorite, the Galaxy. To get to there from Taipa Village, walk West down Rua do Regedor until you reach its end, then cross the street. You should get there in about 5 minutes.
For an idea of how to spend your time on the Strip and what to see there, please follow the link to the Cotai Strip. It tells you all you need to know about the Strip’s history, hotels and top attractions.
DINNER SUGGESTION: End your day with a stupendous buffet dinner at Urban Kitchen, and don’t skimp on the seafood! Located near the Marriott Hotel in Galaxy, it’s pricy (around $600 Mops), but worth every penny.
If you want some upscale Chinese, try Zi Yat Heen at the Four Seasons, or La Chine at the Parisian.
One day though is far too short a time to experience everything that Macau has to offer. Stay a little longer and follow the 3 Day Travel Itinerary below!