46 Best Sights in Macau, China

Maritime Museum

Inner Harbour

Looking like a ship, with jutting white slats and porthole windows, this handsome building across from the A-Ma temple is a great place to spend an interesting hour brushing up on seafaring history. A row of fountains out front soothes you almost as much as the calm, cool interior. Multimedia exhibits cover fishermen, merchants, and explorers from Portugal, South China, and Japan. Look for compasses, telescopes, and sections of ships. There's even a small aquarium gallery with local sealife. Try your hand at astronomic navigation—which sailors have used for thousands of years—by looking up at the top floor's nifty celestial dome ceiling.

1 Largo do Pagode da Barra, Macau, Macau
853-2859–5481
Sights Details
Rate Includes: MOP$10 ($5 Sun.), Wed.–Mon. 10–5:30

MGM Macau

Downtown

A stylish part of Macau's gambling scene offers lavish lounges, Dale Chihuly glass sculptures, Portuguese-inspired architecture, and fine dining. The gambling floor itself is popular with high rollers from Hong Kong, including business tycoons who are just in for a few days. One of the owners, Pansy Ho, is the daughter of Macau's "gambling godfather," Dr. Stanley Ho; she is a high-octane business professional in her own right and a woman's classy touch shows up in this place's glitz-and-glam energy and high-society appeal.

Mocha at The Altira Macau

Taipa

Not only is the hotel run by Altira, a homegrown luxury brand, a stellar place to rest your head, but its on-site Mocha gaming parlor is one of Taipa's classiest. Facing the glow of casinos to the peninsula's north, it offers swank, '70s-style gaming floors decked out in browns and taupes with mod chandeliers. Though you can find a broad selection of games in the Altira's own casino, Mocha is devoted to slot machines. VIP resort suites, fine-dining, and the rooftop 38 Lounge add to the overall ambience.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Nirvana Spa

Taipa

In a quiet area of town, Asian-inspired Nirvana has rooms decorated in eastern themes. Therapists from Thailand and the Philippines are trained in deep-tissue, ayurvedic, herbal, shiatsu, and aromatherapy massages.

Ponte 16

Inner Harbour

In the swinging seaside days of the 1950s, Macau's western port, or Ponte 16, is where all the action was. When the eastern port opened in the mid-1960s, the area fell into decay, but with the 2008 opening of Ponte 16, this legendary Latin Quarter has seen new momentum. The resort-casino has attracted Hong Kong and Taiwanese pop stars, mainland mass-market gamblers, and VIPs from Beijing and Shanghai. Probably because of the relatively isolated location, the atmosphere tends to be casual, and you can expect a winning combination of gorgeous views of the Inner Harbour as well as 109 gaming tables and 300-plus slot machines.

Pou Tai Un Buddhist Monastery

Taipa

The region's largest temple is part of a functioning monastery with several dozen monks. The classically designed structure has an ornate main prayer hall and central pavilions with sculptures, fish ponds, and banyan trees. Monks tend the vegetable plots that supply the popular onsite vegetarian restaurant.

It's best to have your concierge write down the address before you go, as this monastery is a little bit off the beaten track.

Macau, Macau
853-2881–1007
Sights Details
Rate Includes: Free, Restaurant closed Sun., Daily 9–5

Quartel dos Mouros

Inner Harbour

The elegant yellow-and-white building with Moorish architectural influences built onto a slope of Barra Hill is the Moorish Barracks. It now houses the Macau Maritime Administration but was originally constructed in 1874 for Indian police regiments brought into the region, a reminder of Macau's historic relationship with the state of Goa. Although the barracks are not open to the public, visitors can tour the ornamented veranda.

Macau, Macau
853-8399–6699
Sights Details
Rate Includes: Free, Daily 9–6

Sands Cotai Central

Downtown

This huge hotel, shopping, and casino complex opened across the street from the Venetian Macao in 2012: its jungle-themed shopping center is flanked by the Holiday Inn Macao, the Conrad Macao, and the Sheraton Macao Hotel. The whole thing is perhaps the most child-friendly of the resort complexes, with budget-friendly prices, children's pools, and an array of colorful family suites. The enormous 3,863-room Sheraton—the largest in the world—even offers free popcorn and games near reception.

Santa Casa da Misericordia de Macau

Downtown

Founded in 1569 by Dom Belchior Carneiro, Macau's first bishop, the Macau Holy House of Mercy is the China coast's oldest Christian charity, and it continues to take care of the underprivileged with a welfare shop and low-rent housing. It also operates a nursery, a house for the elderly and a center for the blind. The exterior of the heritage-listed building is neoclassical, but the interior is done in a contrasting opulent, modern style. The second floor houses a museum of Roman Catholic relics and also displays portraits of its earliest benefactors, including Martha Merop.

2 Travessa da Misericordia, Macau, Macau
853-2857–3938
Sights Details
Rate Includes: MOP$5, Tues.–Sun. 10–1 and 2:30–5:30

Seac Pai Van Park

Coloane Island West

This large park has extensive gardens, ponds, and waterfalls, and a large walk-in aviary with more than 200 bird species chirping and flying about. There are lots of things of interest to children, including playgrounds, a mini zoo, and an interactive museum with exhibits on nature and agriculture.

StarWorld Hotel, Macau

Downtown

As you enter the StarWorld empire you're greeted by tall girls in high heels, while a mariachi band serenades you from across the lobby. The gaming floors are small and have a couple of Chinese-style diners if you get peckish, but the cool Whisky Bar on the 16th floor of the adjacent hotel is an atmospheric place to either begin or end your evening. The neon-blue building is just across from the Wynn Macau and down the block from the MGM Macau. Live lobby entertainment and local holiday attractions add a kitschy, friendly feel.

Taipa Houses-Museum

Taipa

These five sea-green buildings are interesting examples of Porto-Chinese architecture and were originally residences of wealthy local merchants. They now house changing art exhibitions. Paths lead into the beautiful adjoining Carmel Garden, where palm trees provide welcome shade. Within the garden stands the brilliant white-and-yellow Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Church of Our Lady of Carmel), built in 1885 and featuring a handsome single-belfry tower.

Templo de Na Tcha

Downtown

This small Chinese temple was built in 1888, during the Macauan plague, in the hope that it would appeal to a mythical Chinese character who granted wishes and could save lives. The Troço das Antigas Muralhas de Defesa (Section of the Old City Walls), all that remains of Macau's original defensive barrier, borders the left side of the temple. These crumbling yellow walls were built in 1569 and illustrate the durability of chunambo, a local material made from compacted layers of clay, soil, sand, straw, crushed rocks, and oyster shells.

Macau, Macau
Sights Details
Rate Includes: Daily 8–5

Templo de Sam Kai Vui Kun

Downtown

Built in 1750, this temple is dedicated to Kuan Tai, the bearded, fierce-looking god of war and wealth in Chinese mythology. Statues of him and his two sons sit on an altar. A steady stream of people comes to pray and ask for support before they go wage battle in the casinos. May and June see festivals honoring Kuan Tai throughout Macau.

10 Rua Sui do Mercado de São Domingos, Macau, Macau
Sights Details
Rate Includes: Daily 8–6

The Spa at the Grand Lapa Macau

Outer Harbour

The largest and best-known spa in town takes advantage of the Grand Lapa's sumptuous Mediterranean architecture and lets in lots of natural sunlight for a bright and airy spa experience. On offer are numerous Chinese, European, Thai, and Japanese treatments, as well as top-notch heat and sauna facilities. A signature 2½-hour, four-part Macanese Sangría Ritual includes a full body scrub using fresh grapes, a sangria bath in a private outdoor Jacuzzi, and a grape-seed-oil massage for MOP$1,720. Reserve ahead.

Wine Museum

Downtown

In the same building as the Grand Prix Museum, this spot has more than 1,100 wines on display; some are almost 200 years old. You'll learn about production techniques and the importance of vinho (wine) in Portuguese culture. Several varieties are on hand for impromptu tastings.

431 Rua Luis Gonzaga Gomes, Macau, Macau
853-8798–4188
Sights Details
Rate Includes: MOP$15, including wine tasting, Closed Tues., Wed.–Mon. 10–6