Recently I made a day trip to Macau from Hong Kong with 3 friends. I prepared a long list of things to do and eat but we didn’t have enough time to do everything. I recommend the following things to do for a daytrip in Macau based on my experience with only 8 hours.
1. Restaurante Fernando
My colleagues in Hong Kong will no doubt bring up the name “Fernando’s” when I mention Macau. Apparently, a lot of people in Hong Kong and Macau know and feel that Fernando’s is the place to go to for delish local Macanese-Portuguese food.
The restaurant is located in Colane just next to the Hac Sa Beach. The beach is right at the other end of Macau which is away from the hustle and bustle from the casino-goers and tourists. According to Google Map, it would take about an hour from the Macau ferry terminal to reach Fernando’s by bus. However, the four of us took a cab and we were there in about 15 minutes with the cab fare costing around 100 MOP.
The design of the restaurant is quite retro and there’s even an outdoor bar for customers to chill.
Everything on the menu looked good. With only us 4, we could order just a few of their popular dishes.
The suckling pig was very tender and the skin was really crispy.
The stir-fried clams we had were fresh and the sauce goes very well with the fluffy home-made bread served and the fried rice we ordered. I usually don’t eat clams but this dish was beautifully cooked.
The fried rice had just the right amount of rice and ingredients. It was fragrant with the “wok-hei” (breath of the wok).
The stuffed-squid with minced meat was served piping hot in a pot and it was very fresh, not over-cooked causing it become rubbery.
Overall, it was a scrumptious meal. Definitely a place worth coming back.
Address: Praia de Hac Sa, No. 9, Coloane, Macau
2. Black Sand Beach (Hac Sa Beach, 黑沙海滩)
The Black Sand Beach in the Island of Colane is the largest natural beach in Macau. Accordingly to CNN, the beach gets its unique colour from minerals in the seabed that are washed ashore. However, because the beach was suffering from erosion, the Macau government topped it up with yellow sand making it look the way it looked today.
The colour of the water is black-ish. But make no mistake, it is not dirty in anyway. Water sports are popular here with people swimming in the sea as well, so don’t worry!
3. Lord Stow’s Egg Tarts
Eat Portuguese egg tarts when you visit Macau!
Lord Stow’s Bakery is one of the two most well-known bakeries serving Portuguese egg tarts.There are a few branches in Macau and we went to the Garden Cafe at Colane Village, just round the corner from its original shop. The egg tarts were served fresh and warm with my kind of crust – flaky and crispy. The caramelized custard in the centre was creamy with the right amount of sweetness. Yummy!
4. Rua da Cunha (The Food Street), Taipa Village
We went to Rua da Cunha in Taipa Village, a little alley which sells a lot of Macau goodies and snacks with a few traditional cha chan tengs selling local delights.
There was a mini flea market in the square in front of the Food Street on Sundays but nothing too interesting.
We were too full by the time we reached so we just bought 2 ice creams from Gelatina Mok Yi Kei.
I thought their best-seller – durian ice cream – was quite good even though KM felt it tasted a bit strange. We were however disappointed with their bird’s nest ice cream because it tasted just like any other vanilla ice cream…Such a waste of calories!!
We then roamed around the old village and took a short walk to the Our Lady of Carmel Church.
Opposite the Church is the Marriage Registry which allow visitors to take pictures when there is no event going on. The best part of the Marriage Registry – it has air-conditioning and free wifi! We were melting under the sun and the chance to hide in the air-conditioned room was a great relief. I think we were in there for a good 30 minutes 🙂
5. 大利来记 (Tai Lei Loi Kei)
After the air-con break, we braved ourselves (and our stomachs) and went in search for the famous pork chop buns by 大利来记 (Tai Lei Loi Kei). Half-expecting an old-school, rustic kind of coffee shop, we were directed to the modern version of 大利来 just down the road from the Food Street. Either we went to the “wrong” outlet, or they recently renovated the place – highly suspect it’s the former.
The pork chop buns didn’t look that appetizing – it was simply a piece of pork chop sandwiched between their home-made bun. They looked different from those you get in Hong Kong.
Do not judge a book by its cover! The succulent pork chop were nicely marinated and grilled just right!
They also have a 波羅豬扒包(pineapple pork chop bun) which we did not try.
Address: Largo Governador Tamagnini Barbosa 18, Taipa
(update April 2017 – this branch closed down. They now have a new shop opposite Gelatina Mok Yi)
6. Ruins of St. Paul’s
trip daytrip to Macau is complete without visiting the Ruins of St. Paul’s, Macau’s most famous landmark. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site in Macau. Originally built in the 16th century, the complex of St. Paul’s College and the Cathedral of St. Paul burned down and was rebuilt several times before the third and final fire during a typhoon in 1835 left it beyond repair. Now, all that remains are the iconic stone facade and the grand staircase leading up to it. It was crowded when we went there on a Sunday evening.
There is a museum and a crypt built at the bottom of the ruins which opens every day between 9am and 6pm and the entrance is free. Take a short walk inside, you can read about the history of the church.
7. Mount Fortress
Right beside the Ruins of St. Paul is the Fortress of Our Lady of the Mount of St. Paul, i.e. Mount Fortress. It is the historical military centre of the former Portuguese colony of Macau and also forms part of the Historic Centre of Macau, UNESCO World Heritage site.
At the top of the fort, we had a panoramic view of the mainland area of Macau.
There are also cannons lining the fortress walls.
A peaceful garden housing the Museum of Macau.
Other than those things listed above, there are still a lot to see and to eat in Macau. I will be back to explore more!
USEFUL TIPS for first-timers, especially on a daytrip to Macau:
1) Book Ferry Tickets
It is advisable to book the tickets online with either Turbojet or Cotai Water Jet or buy them beforehand at the ferry terminals If you are planning to take a ferry from Hong Kong to Macau on a weekend morning,.
For those in the mood to splurge or have nowhere else to spend that bonus you just received, you can also choose to take a helicopter into Macau.
2) Road Names
The road names in Macau are pretty confusing because they are in Portuguese whilst the taxi drivers and locals mainly speak Cantonese. Research the names and streets of the places you want to go in both Portuguese and Chinese AND check their approximate locations via google map before arriving in Macau in order to make the most out of your time there.
3) Ferry Terminals
There are two ferry terminals in Hong Kong which you can return from Macau. Ask about tickets for the other ferry terminal if the tickets to the one you want are sold out. Even though one ferry terminal is in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon and the other is in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island, it is still cheaper to take a bus / star ferry to cross to the other side than buying tickets from illegal peddlers who sell the ferry tickets at about 50 MOP more each.
Have you taken a daytrip to Macau? What would you recommend me to do and see on my next trip to Macau?