If you guys know me, you’ll definitely know that I’m always up for an adventure or rather, a vacation. Some days I would just daydream that I’m a world traveller and I can just travel to all parts of the world and share my experiences with you guys. Oh well, tough luck. I hold a normal office job and going for a vacation doesn’t happen as often as I would like it to.
Firstly, I would need to plan my budget for the trip and secondly, I would need to calculate how many days of leave from work I would have to apply. In a year, I would usually go for 1 long vacation and around 3-4 shorter trips.
For 2016, I’ve been to a long trip to Japan, a short trip to Bangkok and another short trip to Hong Kong. I’m looking at squeezing in another short vacation around the end of the year and I’m looking at Macao!
Macao, is a city of world heritage that also boasts one of the world’s most spectacular and modern skylines; a city that blends the rich traditions of Chinese and Portuguese cultures that is reflected in its lifestyle, food, architecture and festivities that happens all year round.
I’ve only been to Macao once, and it was just a short day’s trip as I was in Hong Kong and decided to hop on a ferry and I didn’t have enough time to explore the entire city. So this time round, I can definitely add in more places to cover on my itinerary!
Now, let me share with you what are my must-visits for the trip.
Historical & Cultural places to cover:
Needless to say, the Ruins of St. Paul’s is definitely one of the “die also must visit” places. If you don’t have photo of yourself standing with the Ruins of St. Paul as your backdrop, you’ve never been to Macao. It is the most iconic landmark of Macao, in my opinion. I’ve been there once in the night time and it was still pretty spectacular. It was originally the Church of Mater Dei which was built in 1600s and was destroyed by a fire in 1835.
The Senado Square is another place not to be missed. Located in the central area of the Macao Peninsula, it is one of the 4 largest squares in Macao & there are several shopping centres and Chinese restaurants around the square. It was named after the Leal Senado, a meeting place for the Chinese and Portuguese in the 16th to 18th centuries, located directly in front of the square, where Leal Senado Building stands today and there was a fountain that was constructed in the 70s, hence its nickname “the Fountain”.
Senado Square has been Macao’s urban centre for centuries since the port of Macao was opened for trade even till today, it is still the most popular venue for events and celebrations. This attraction has been a splendid blend of Chinese and Portuguese cultural traits.
The Taipa Houses – Museum looks really beautiful and I’ve seen many positive reviews of the place on Tripadvisor. Almost every single one recommends a visit to the Taipa Houses- Museum. There are a total of 5 typical green houses with Macanese architectural characteristics of Portuguese’s matrix. It is considered as one of the cultural relics and heritages of Macao. It was built in 1921 and had been the residences for higher superior civil servants and Macanese families. It was remodelled in late 90s by the government as they recognized its important architectural value, transforming them into the museums they are today! The place is perfect for taking Instagram-worthy shots and I read that many couples take their wedding photos there too!
The Lou Lim Ieoc Garden is another place that I see myself enjoying when I’m in Macao. Sometimes, we just have to immense ourselves with nature, taking a break from our hectic city life.
It is a Chinese garden built by a wealthy 19th century Chinese merchant, Lou Kau, and was inherited by his son Lou Lim Ieoc in 1906. When the family fortunes declined, the garden fell into ruins, but it was eventually purchased and restored by the government and opened to the public in 1974. The garden is modeled on those of Suzhou, the most famous of all Chinese classical gardens. There are frequent art and craft exhibitions in the pavilion, which also serves as an auditorium for recitals during the annual International Music Festival.
Events & Festivals not to be missed (during Dec):
The Macao Light Festival will take place across various famous attractions in Macao, including several world heritage attractions in town. The main highlights include 3D mapping shows, romantic light installations and fun interactive games. The Light Festival is very popular among families, couples and especially the children. I can imagine myself getting all excited by all the beautiful light displays and how romantic and fun it would be to experience the city’s enchanting ambience.
I strongly recommend you to note this down if you are planning to visit Macao during December this year!
After doing my research, I realized that the “Parade through Macao, Latin City” event will be taking place in December too. It is a cultural event that was created just in 2011, held to mark the anniversary of Macao’s Handover to China. & each year, different foreign performing groups and hundreds of talented local artists are invited as creative participants. You’ll see them leading the residents and tourists through the streets and alleyways of Macao and bringing songs & dances to the City’s historical quarters. Oh my, it sounds like such a vibrant and upbeat event!
This Parade highlights Macao’s unique cultural features and the city’s multicultural atmosphere through the grand joint performances. I think it would be a huge delight to be able to soak up all that energy at the Parade.
The last event that I’ve come across is the Macao International Marathon. This is an annual running event and was the first international marathon to be held in the region back in 1981. & it has attracted a large number of local & international long distance runners ever since. The full route of the marathon includes Macao Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane. However, there are half and mini marathons for beginner runners to test their endurance. I’ve never been to a marathon or participated in one, so I’m pretty glad that I may be able to witness it during my time in Macao.
Now, let’s talk about FOOD!!
& it is favourite part of each vacation as I’m able to taste famous local food.
Number 1 on my list, would have to be Portuguese egg tarts!!
These egg tarts always make my mouth water, even by just looking at the picture. I just really love the combination of the soft and warm custard egg filling with the extra crispy crust.
Another item that I noticed many tourists purchasing was Almond Cookies.
It is definitely a local delights that everyone will buy a few boxes home & share with their friends, families and colleagues. These almond cookies melt in your mouth and contain tiny crunch bits of almonds.
The 3rd item on my list is Pork Chop Bun!
Imagine a thick slice of juicy pork fillet sandwiched in fragrance and warm toasted bun. This is a favourite hit amongst the locals and I tried it myself during my last trip and it was really filling. So I suggest you share this with a friend unless you have a huge stomach. You have to try this to complete the Macao experience.
I also came across a list of the top 15 “Must Eats” in Macao and since I’ve already named 3, let me share the other 13 with you!
Seaweed Pork Floss Rolls, Shrimp Roe Noodles, Steamed Milk Pudding, Crab Porridge, Bacalhau (Salted Cod), Caldo Verde, Minchi (Sautéed Minced Pork), African Chicken, Ameijoas Com Alho (Portuguese Clams in Garlic Sauce), Portuguese Seafood Rice, Portuguese Baked Duck Rice and lastly, Serradura (‘Sawdust’ Pudding).
Now that I’ve covered the food portion, let’s head over to some thrilling adventure activities.
I consider myself an adrenaline junkie and I’m always very enthusiastic about any sports or activities that are exciting and fun. & I seriously can see myself participating in the Sky Walk, maybe Tower Climb but not the Bungee Jump. When I was in Macao 3 years back, I really wanted to do the Sky Walk but my fiancé said that we didn’t have enough time to do so and I was seriously bummed. You’ll definitely see me signing up for it during my next trip! This has been added to my “bucket list”.
If my itinerary isn’t enough, you can actually head over to the Official Macao Website: http://synad3.nuffnang.com.sg/gtrack/click/14881
Where you can use the Trip Planner to help plan out your very own itinerary!
It is so helpful and I really like this feature because planning itineraries is real hard work.
If you are planning a short vacation out of Singapore, you can consider Macao because it will definitely leave you with rich memories from all aspects. From food, cultural and historical sights, to entertaining performances, city festivals and thrilling adventures. There’s something for everyone!
And here’s an opportunity to win a pair of tickets to Macao! Just head to Experience Macao-SG’s Facebook page , like the page and leave a comment on their top post sharing which activity appeals to you and why you want to head to Macao with the hashtag #MacaoOnSocialSG to qualify!
Contest ends 9th Aug, and winners will be notified on their FB page.
Visit Macao’s social media sites here: