Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Ultimate Walking Guide to Macao's Old City

Getting to Macao

Getting to the ferry terminal
  • The ferry terminal is located at Shueng Wan. There are other ferry terminals but this is the only place where you can get a ferry to Macao. 
  • The closest subway station is Shueng Wan, which is connected to the ferry terminal. It is located on the island line and you need to be travelling in the direction of Kennedy Town. 

The Ferry to Macao

  • Getting to Macao is so easy using Turbojet who have ferries running every 15 minutes, beginning at 7am and ending at midnight.
  • There are other ferry companies that you can use and can be found in the ticketing hall of the ferry terminal, but Turbojet are the most regular and reliable.
  • It will cost approximately HK$180 depending on the class you choose to travel and the journey time is approximately 1 hour.
  • You will need to go through security and passport control before boarding the ferry and you will also need to do the same upon re-entering Hong Kong. You will also need to fill out an entry card so make sure you bring a pen with you.
TIP: I'd advise booking your return ferry in advance, especially if visiting at a busy time or public holiday. We got stung with this! We arrived at the terminal at 6pm and there were no available ferries until 10pm unless we were willing to upgrade to a higher class, which cost HK$400 each. If you're willing to pay them it's great to have the freedom to leave when you're ready, but if not, definitely book!

Tips and Need to Know Info
  • Currency - Macao has its own currency - Macanese Pataka. You don't need this as Hong Kong Dollars are accepted everywhere and many places only accept HK$. Make sure you have some change to pay for items, as you may get Macanese Pataka in change and it can be hard to get rid of. 
  • Day Trip - Visiting Macao in a day is long, tiring and hot. With so much to see and do you have to go non-stop to fit it all in. If you have the spare time, it's worth staying overnight so that you can see the island at a more leisurly pace. 
  • Transport - Public transport and free shuttles are available, easy to use and frequent so don't waste your money on a taxi when you get off the ferry. Simple cross the road and get on a free shuttle or go to the public transport station (on the same side as the ferry terminal) to catch a local bus. 
  • Arrival Time - Arrive early. By early afternoon the main attractions were absolutely heaving and we were moving along at a snail's pace. Also, if you want some Insta-worthy photos then getting there as early as possible is essential. 
  • Pre-Book - I can't advise this enough. As I mentioned, Macao in a day is long, hard and tiring (but fun!) so by the time you come to leave, you are exhausted. There is nothing worse than getting to the ferry terminal to realise you have to wait hours for the next ferry or empty your bank account booking a super class ticket. 
The Route
Take the bus from Macao ferry terminal to the A-Ma Temple, which is the first attraction on our walking tour. You can take bus number 5, 10 or 10A directly from Macao Ferry Terminal. 

NOTE: Public bus services are located on the same side as the ferry terminal. Don't follow the crowd over to the free hotel shuttles.

NOTE: If you wanted to begin the walking route at Senado Square then you can take the Lisboa free shuttle, followed by a 5-10 minute walk to Senado Square once you get off.
A-Ma Temple
Address: Barra Square
Opening Hours: 7am - 6pm

A unique temple, situated in a beautiful square and built on many levels, offers a different temple experience to many other in Asia. The design of the temple clearly shows it's age, built in 1488 it is the oldest temple in Macao and existed before Macao was the name of the island.

NOTE: The Maratime Museum is located close to the A-MA Temple so this is the perfect time to visit. We didn't, but if this is your jam then you are right by it.
Moorish Barracks
Address: Calcada da Barra

➫ From the A-Ma Temple, follow Calcada da Barra for around 3-4 minutes and you will arrive at Moorish Barracks.

Moorish Barracks was built in 1874 and used to house an Indian regiment from Goa. It's a stunning building and definitely worth including in your Macao itinerary. 
Lilau Square
➫ Continue on Calcada da Barra for another 3-4 minutes and you will reach Lilau Square.

Lilau Square has a huge Portugeuse influence and was one of the first residential areas of Macao. It's a beautiful square where you can get some great photos and relax from the heat for a while. 
Mandarin's House
Address: 10 Antonio da Silva Lane 
Opening Hours: 10am - 6pm, no admission after 5.30pm

➫ Step back onto Calcada da Barra and turn left onto Rua do Antonio to reach Mandarin House. This is about a 1 minute walk.

Mandarin's House was the family home of Zheng Guanying, a Chinese reformist and author. It shows a traditional Chinese style family home and was built before 1869.

NOTE: Opposite Mandarin's House you can find Karma Coffee if you are in need of a break from the heat or walking, or are just feeling a bit peckish.

St Lawrence's Church
Address: Rua de  Sao Lourenco
Opening Hours: 7am - 9pm

➫ Follow Rua do Antonio until you reach Rua de Sao Lourenco which is where you will find St Lawrence's Church. This will take around 3-4 minutes.

St Lawrence's Church is a fantastic building which stands out against the shops and cafes surrounding it. Not only is the building itself beautiful but the grounds are too. It was built in the mid-sixteenth century and is one of the oldest churches in Macao. When built, the area was a wealthy one which explains the church's grandness. 

Note: There are lots of cafes and shops selling traditional egg custard tarts along Rua do Antonio. Stop by along the way to sample one - they're a must try in Macao.

St Joseph's Seminary and Church
Address: Rua do Seminario
Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm

➫ Go around the back of St Lawrence's Church, following Rua de Sao Lourenco, turn left onto Rua da Prata and follow the road until you reach Rua do Seminario, where you will find the church. This will take around 2 minutes.

St Joseph's Seminary was the base of missonary work implemented in surrounding Asian counties and was established in 1728. A beaufiul building to explore.
St Augustine's Square

➫ Follow Rua do Seminario onto Rua da Alfandega and finally onto Calcada do Gamboa. Turn right onto Largo de Santo Agostinho where you will find St Augustines Square. 

Here you will find many great buildings and architecture to explore and photograph. 

Dom Pedro V Theatre
Address: St Augustine's Square
Opening Hours: 10am - 6pm (closed on Tuesdays)

The Dom Pedro V Theatre was built in 1860 and was the first western style theatre in China and is still used to celebrate important holidays and public events. 

Sir Robert Ho Tung Library
Address: St Augustine's Square
Opening Hours: 10am - 7pm, Sundays 11am - 7pm

This building was converted to a library by the Macao Government in 1918 after Sir Robert Ho Tung requested this in his will, leaving the property to the Macao Governemnt.

St Augustine's Church
Address: St Augustine's Square
Opening Hours: 10am - 6pm

St Augustine's Church was established in 1591 and played a large role in the community, organising many public events. Today, the church organises the Easter Procession through the city. 

NOTE: There are lots of great cafes by Augustine Square but your next stop has much more selection and better options to eat. There is a great juice bar where you can stop and have a drink if you're ready for a rest.
Leal Senado Building
Address: Avenue de Almeida Ribeiro
Opening Hours: 9am - 9pm

➫ From St Augustine's Square follow Calcada do Tronco Velho, veering right onto Rua do Dr Soares. Turn right onto Avenue de Almeida Ribeiro and you will find yourself at the Leal Senado Building, overlooking Senado Square.

The Leal Senado building was Macao's first municipal chamber and it maintain this purpose today. It is also a great place to get a view and photograph of Senado Square.
Senado Square

➫ Directly opposite the Leal Senado Building you will find Senado Square. 

Senado Square is a great place to relax for a while, surrounded by shops, restaurants and a great vibe. The buildings are beautifully designed and provide many photo opportunities. Stop here for a while and grab some lunch.

NOTE: Expect and plan for Senado Square to be busy, it is the urban centre. It will be especially busy during public holidays as this is usually where the celebrations take place. 

NOTE: The tourist office is located in Senado Square so it's the perfec time to drop in if you have any questions or need any help. You may also want to start your day off here to ensure you have everything you need.
Temple de Sam Kai Vui Kun
Address: Rua Sul do Mercado de Sao Domingos
Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm

➫ From Senado Square veer left and head past the Tourist Information on Rua Sul do Mercado de Sao Domingos and you will reach the Temple. This will take around 1 minute walking.

To reach the temple you will pass through a small market, known as St Dominic's Market. It's a small market but a great place to pick up some bargains. The temple is small, and we didn't explore it too much as there were a lot of people praying inside. This will only be a quick stop on your route but one worth seeing. 

NOTE: Head left from the temple and explore some of streets that run parallel to Senado Square, such as Rua dos Mercadores and Rua Oeste do Mercado de Sao Domingos. They offer a stark contrast from Senado Square with their Chinese offerings.

Holy House of Mercy
Address: Senado Square
Opening Hours: 10am - 1pm & 2.30pm - 5.30pm (Closed on Mondays)

➫ Head right out of the temple and wak back towards Senado Square where you will find the Holy House of Mercy. You can't miss it! This will take about 1 minute.

The Holy House of Mercy was established in 1569 and was responsible for many Western developments within Macao, such as the first Western-style hospital. 


Address: Cathedral Square
Opening Hours: 9.30am - 6pm

➫ From the Holy House of Mercy turn right on Largo do Senado and walk towards TV. de Sao Domingos, turning left when you reach it. Continue on until you reach Largo da Se where you will take a left, followed by a right onto Calcada de Sao Joao. Here you will find the cathedral. 

It is not known when the cathedral was originally constructed, but a brick exterior was developed in 1622. 

Lou Kau Mansion
Address: Travessa da Se
Opening Hours: 10am - 6pm (no admission after 5.30pm)

➫ From the Cathedral turn right and follow the road to Largo da Se where you will take a left. Take the next right onto TV. de Sao Domingos. Take the next right onto TV do Meio, leading onto TV. da Se where you will find the mansion. This will take 1 minute.

This was the residence of Lou Kau, a Chinese merchdant. It is a traditional Chinese style home which contrasts drasically to the Portugeuse buildings surrounding it in Senado Square.
St Dominic's Church
Address: St Dominic's Square
Opening Hours: 10am - 6pm

➫ Continue on TV. da Se then turn right onto Rua de Sa Domingos to reach St Dominic's Church. This will take 1 minute.

St Dominic's Church was founded in 1587 by a Spanish Dominican priest, originally from Mexico. This is also the place that the first Portugeuse newspaper was published on Chinese soil. 

Mount Fortress
Opening Hours: 7am - 7pm (Macao Museum 10am - 6pm)

➫ From the St Dominic's Church, follow Rua de Sao Domingos and follow the road around, bending slightly right. Keep following the road, staying on the same street with each of the turns until you reach Calcada das Verdades, where you will take a left. Keep following the road up until you reach Mount Fortress. This will take around 10 minutes.

The fortress served as the military defence system of Macao. It was built in 1617 - 1626 and it was well equipped to handle a seige lasting up to two years. The climb to the top of the fortress has many steps, but it offers a great view of the city, highlighting the large scale hotels, Portuguese influences and Chinese style buildings. 
Ruins of St Paul's

➫ Turn left from Mount Fortress and follow Caminho dos Artilheiros and follow the road round onto Estr. do Repouso. Turn left onto Rua dos Artilheiros and left again onto Rua de DomBelchior Carneiro. As you follow this street you will walk behind Mount Fortress. Turn left onto Calcada de Sao Paulo to reach the ruins. This will take around 7-8 minutes.

The ruins are what is left of the Church of Mater Dei which was destroyed in a fire  in 1835. One of the symbolic attractions of Macao, this is a must on your tour. 

NOTE: If you want photos without people you will need to arrive here very early. It was one of the busiest places in Macao.

Na Tcha Temple
Opening Hours: 8am - 5pm

➫ Adjecent to the Ruins of St Paul's you can find the Na Tcha Temple. Simply climb the steps to the runs and you will find it. 

The Na Tcha Temple is small but beautiful and its architecture highlights Macao's multicultural identify, with clear Portuguese influence while staying true to China.

Old City Walls

Right by the Na Tcha Temple you can get a glimpse of a section of the old city walls. This was built in 1569.

Unfortunately this was our last stop on our tour of old Macao before we headed to the hotels to explore a different side of the city, but there are a few more places that you should definitely try to fit in if you can. 

St Anthony's Church

Address: Santo Antonio Square
Opening Hours: 9am - 5.30pm

➫ From the Na Tcha Temple, follow Calcada de Sao Francisco Xavier and turn right onto Rua de Sao Paolo. This leads onto Rua de Santo Antonio. Continue to follow the road until you reach Largo de Santo Antonio, where you will find St Athony's Church.

St Anthony's Church was previously built of bamboo and wood and is one of the oldest churches in Macao. The church was a popular place for weddings within the Portuguese community.

Casa Garden
Address: Close to Cameos Square
Opening Hours: 9.30am - 6pm

➫ Opposite St Anthony's Church you will find Praca de Luis Camoes. Follow Praca de Luis Camoes and you will arrive at Casa Garden.

Casa Garden was the home of a rich Portugeuse merchant and was built in 1770. The house has a very picturesque garden.

Protestant Cemetary
Address: Praca de Luis Cameos
Opening Hours: 8.30am - 5.30pm

➫ Backtrack along the road you previously walked and turn left at Praca de Luis Cameos to reach the Protestant cemetary. This will take about 1 minute.

Guia Fortress

Address: Praca de Luis Cameos
Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm (Chapel 10am - 6pm, no admission ater 5.30pm)

➫ The walk to reach Guia Fortress is around 20 minutes. Follow Praca de Luis de Camoes and turn left onto Rua de Coelho do Amaral. Continue until you reach Rua de Tomas Vieira, turn right and walk across the roundabout. Continue on the road and you will arrive at Estr. do Cemiterio, followed by Filipe O'Costa. Turn left when you reach Calcada da Vitoria, followed by another left onto Estr. do Eng. Trigo. Veer right to remain on Estr. do Eng. Trigo and you will reach Guia Fortress. 

You can also take bus number 6, 7 or 17 to reach Guia Fortress. 

Guia Fortress contains a few sights to check out. Built between 1622 and 1638, it hosts the Guia Chapel and Guia Lighthouse. It combines a mix of Chinese and Western influences. 

That concludes the walking tour of Macao's old city, and you will likely be feeling very tired at this point. The attractions are fantastic and the walking distance isn't too far, but it does make for a tiring day. 

Check out this Google map with all of the attractions plotted out, as well as some possible side sightseeing options.

You could choose to leave your sightseeing there, however, there is still a whole other part of Macao to see - the casinos. You have two choices at this point:

  1. Take bus number 12, 22 or 28C to visit the Lisboa Casino, the oldest in Macao. 
  2. Take bus number 22 to visit The Venetian, one of the gradest casinos in Macao.
From the casinos you can catch the free shuttle buses between the different casinos or to the ferry port.

What do you think of the walking tour? Anything I missed? Anything you have seen that isn't worth the time? If you take this walking tour I'd love to know and see your photos so get in touch!

1 comment

  1. The more I read your posts about Macao, the more I want to visit! It looks like such an interesting place with so much to see and do. This is a really useful guide, every time I go on holiday, I love walking around and exploring my surroundings. You actually get to see so much more when you are on foot. Thank you for sharing all these attractions Nikki, it looks like such a great place to visit <3 xx

    Bexa |


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