Ruled by the Portuguese or over 400 years, the Macao of today is a city where the East meets the West.
Did you know, beyond the bright, fancy, shimmering slot machines, there are other hidden gems in Macao to be discovered?
They can be done at little or no cost to things you can do only if you’re an ultra-millionaire. Whether you only have one day in Macao or are staying for a couple of days, these hidden Macao attractions can (and should) be done when you’re here!
Uncover Macao’s 6 Hidden Gems
Not exactly quite hidden anymore, this is the village to be to check off tasting Macao’s local food. Whether it is Portuguese cuisine, pork chop buns, Portuguese egg tarts or Chinese crab congee, you can find authentic stalls selling these foods here if you know where to look.
In a city filled with pastel-coloured neoclassical buildings that were built during the Portuguese colonial times when Portugal ruled Macao for over 400 years, step back into time with the architectural structures that make up this village.
Find locally handmade crafts and souvenirs along the streets, stop by the Cunha Bazaar, and check out traditional Macao gifts.
2. The Red Market
Planned by architect Júlio Alberto Basto in 1934 and erected in 1936, the three-storey Red Market is the Sydney Fish Market of Sydney, Victoria Market of Melbourne, Jagalchi Market of Busan and Tsukiji Market of Tokyo.
Named after its obvious red-coloured bricks that make it up, the wet market sells all sorts of fresh seafood, meat, dried food and fruits daily. No trip is complete without visiting the iconic wet market of Macao!
3. St Lazarus Quarter
Not far from Macao’s tourist spots in the city centre lies St Lazarus Quarter, the neighbourhood to hunting for the best thrift shops and vintage finds.
Vintage Market is an interesting shop to visit. Quite an extraordinary type of shop in Macao, shop owners Elva and Terence Chan purposefully travel around the world to collect second-hand goods to display at their shops and delight locals. You can find everything from a Japanese kimono to an embroidered jacket. The fashionistas who like to make a statement can surely quickly find their place here.
Re-Elements is another shop well worth the visit, even if it’s to window shop. They are a leather clothing store, which also houses a small leather workshop space. On the occasional lucky time you visit them, the store owner may be at the workshop hosting leather-making sessions on making your own wallet, passport or card-holder. At other times, be impressed by the quirky handmade products, such as animal-shaped candles, leather shoes and leather wine holders.
Explore the streets and uncover other hidden gems of Macao. St Lazarus Quarter is also one place to admire Macao’s picturesque Portuguese-style architecture.
4. Rua dos Ervanarios
If you enjoy the streets of St Lazarus Quarter, then the street of Rua dos Ervanarios is sure to delight you as well. Close to the tourist spots in town, Rua dos Ervanarios was formerly the heart of Macao’s Chinese trading community.
Take a stroll around the rows of shops that are reminiscent of the Chinese merchants of the past.
5. Village Mall
The celebration of creative spaces has found its way to Macao, in the Broadway Centre Building located on Rua do Campo. Village Mall is Macao’s first and latest cultural creative hub that covers everything from handicraft, art, fashion, design, music and performance arts across three storeys.
Every weekend, there is a different theme across the creative space such as artist forums, recycling and handicrafts from local artists, all with the aim of celebrating the creative spirit and bringing awareness to the local artsy talents.
Some weekends you can find live music performances, dancing classes, movie screenings, art galleries, and even workshops on design, art painting and drama.
6. Ox Warehouse
At the corner of Avenida do Coronel Mesquita and Avenida Almirante Lacerda, there lies Ox Warehouse. Similar to the concept of the Village Mall, Ox Warehouse is where you can find Macao’s underground arts scene.
A hub for all things related to performance arts, the organizers frequently organize events and support local initiatives for local artists to express their ideas.
7. Hac Sa Beach
Macao might not be known for their beaches, but if you are craving for a mini beach escape, head to Hac Sa Beach. Hac Sa Beach is unique in that the sand is black.
The colour of the beach comes from the minerals that are washed ashore. If you’ve been there recently, you might realize the colour is slowly being replaced to yellow.
This is because of the government’s effort to combat the erosion by replacing it with artificial sand. The panoramic view of the sea and the surrounding hills also make this a prime spot for catching the sunset!
8. Indulge in your very own pool in your hotel room
Now this is for the ultra-rich.
How do you fancy your own private pool in your hotel room? Or even better, an in-room massage service?
With room sizes up to 160 square metres, Banyan Tree Macao offers a private bathroom, deep soaking bathtub and a separate shower in their rooms to provide the ultimate indulgence. There probably isn’t a reason for you to stay dry with the various options of a pool, bathtub and separate room shower. 😉
9. By invite-only mansions
Speaking of in-room massages, The Venetian Macao Resort takes luxury to a whole new level with their Paiza Mansions. Guests of the Paiza Mansions are exclusive, by invite-only.
Accessible via a private lift in an exclusive wing of The Venetian Macao Resort, distinguished guests are led through a series of secret walkways to a room of royalty. Imagine a room size of 650 square metres, decorated with suede cushions, lacquered head boards and furniture, marbled bath tubs, and needless to say, personal butlers and a masseur.
Make your Macao hotel reservations here.
Only an hour away from Hong Kong, you can easily hop on a ferry and make a quick stopover for a one day in Macao, uncovering Macao’s hidden gems.