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Top 13 FREE Attractions to Enjoy in MACAU


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There’s a lot to love about Macau, but if I could pick just one, it’s probably the fact that most of its attractions can be enjoyed for FREE! In this article, we’ll list down the places to visit and things to do in Macau that charge no entrance fees!

Macau may be home to some of the most flamboyant and most luxurious hotels on this side of Asia, but budget travelers can easily build an itinerary without much damage to their pockets. It is one of the most walkable cities, with its streets punctuated by multi-lingual signs. Many of the hotel companies offer free shuttle bus services, too.

But it doesn’t stop there. Macau’s map is dotted with several interesting attractions that can be enjoyed for free. Here are 13 of them.

WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?

1. Senado Square

If it’s your first time in Macau, you’ll find that it’s almost impossible to do brisk walking here at Senado Square. Why? Because there’s just so much to see here!

Senado Square Macao

A giant outdoor museum, the Senado Square is a part of the extensive Historic Center of Macau, inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you look around, you’ll see an architectural ensemble that perfectly exemplifies East-meets-West, a product of over 400 years of the Portuguese rule over the city. One of the edifices that will catch your attention is the two-story neo-classical Leal Senado Building.

Leal Senado Building Macau
Leal Senado Building

Senado Square Chinese Lanterns Macau

Today, while the Portuguese-style monument still stands proudly around the square, it is now often adorned with festive Chinese lanterns and other installations that match the season. When you walk deeper into the area, you’ll pass by lanes of shops, broken by other smaller praca like the St. Dominic’s Square with St. Dominic’s Church overlooking the area.

St Dominic Church Square Macau

Follow the wave-patterned mosaic floor and it will lead you to another popular tourist spot – the Ruins of St. Paul’s!


2. Ruins of St. Paul’s

Architecture of St. Paul’s Cathedral

Probably the most iconic landmark in Macau, the Ruins of St. Paul’s (Ruinas de Sao Paulo) attracts droves of tourists all year round. This is perhaps the most crowded site in the city.

Ruins of St Paul's at Night

Ruins of St. Paul Macau

Like the Senado Square, it is also part of the city’s Historic Center. Built in the 16th century, this used to be a complex with a cathedral and an academic institution. The church itself was added later in the 17th century. But today, only the facade remains standing after being battered by a typhoon and three fires. The ruins stand atop a steep 68-step staircase that also gives a great view of the surrounding areas.

A guard is usually stationed by the main door of the façade, but there is no entrance fee here. Just walk right in. Beyond it is an area where you can catch a glimpse of the church’s original structures.

St Paul Ruins Macau Inside

Also worth your time is the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt at the bottom of the ruins. It presents religious artifacts including Sino-Portuguese crucifixes.


3. Na Tcha Temple

Na Tcha Temple Macau

Just beside the Ruins of St. Paul’s stands a small single-chambered Chinese temple. Often overshadowed by the neighboring church ruins, Na Tcha Temple is often not crowded at all. But it is still part of the UNESCO-listed Historic Center of Macau.

Dedicated to guardian deity Na Tcha, it is said that it was built so that the protector would finally put an end to a plague that was spreading in the area at the time.

Na Tcha Temple Macao

And yes, you can also visit it without paying an entrance fee.

Na Tcha Temple is open from: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Na Tcha Exhibition Room: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Last entry at 5:30 PM (Closed on Wednesdays)


4. Ama Temple

Ama Temple Macau

If you could visit only one temple in the city, make it Ama Temple. Not only is this the oldest in Macau – built in 1488 — it is also believed that the city got its name from this temple.

According to accounts, when the Portuguese first set foot in this part of the world, they actually arrived here, where they spotted people worshipping at the temple. When they asked them for the name of the whole area, the worshippers thought they were asking about the specific site so they answered “A-Ma-Gau” meaning “Bay of A-Ma”. A-Ma-Gau eventually became Macau.

Ama Temple Macao

Ama Temple Incense

Ama Temple

Ama, of course, refers to Chinese sea-goddess Mazu or Ama. Legend has it that the goddess helps seafarers and guides them during their journey, especially during a storm.

Located at Largo do Pagode da Barra in the southeastern tip of the peninsula, it is a bit isolated, making it a tiny isle of silence in the bustling ocean that is the city center.

Hours Open: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM


5. Guia Fortress

Standing proud at the tallest peak of the Macau Peninsula, Guia Fortress provides gorgeous panoramic views of the city, nearby islands, and even mainland China.

The centerpiece is the 15-meter-tall lighthouse, visible even from a great distance. Beside it is the Chapel of Our Lady of Guia that houses priceless paintings and other valuable artifacts. The lighthouse and the chapel were completed in 1865 and 1622 respectively.

Guia Fortress can be reached on foot, a great option for the physically fit and budget-conscious. But most tourists prefer taking the Guia Cable Car, which charges a minimal fare: MOP 2 one-way or MOP 3 round trip.

Hours open: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
Closed: Mondays. If a public holiday falls on Monday, it closes on the next day.

Let’s step away from the historic center for a bit and head over to Cotai Strip and take a look at the city’s more modern attractions.

Macau is best known for its luxury hotels that provide not just five-star accommodations but also a wide range of attractions. Many of these attractions can also be enjoyed free of charge.


6. SkyCab at Wynn Palace

SkyCab Wynn Palace Resort Cotai Macau

As you approach Wynn Palace Resort, I’m sure the very first thing you’ll notice is the line of cable cars that hang above it. This is called SkyCab. Yes, you can ride it for FREE.

Each cable car is air-conditioned and can accommodate 6 persons. Each ride lasts 10 minutes, soaring above the the vast fountain called Performance Lake because it shoots mesmerizing plumes. At night, they dance in sync with the lighting and music, which has become an attraction in its own right.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the water show at night. But years ago, I was able to witness the dancing fountain at its sister Wynn Hotel in the Macau Peninsula. But I bet this one at the Wynn Palace is much grander and bigger.

SKYCAB
Location: Wynn Palace Cotai (not to be confused with Wynn Macau)
Hours open: 10:00 AM-11:40 PM


7. Eiffel Tower at The Parisian

Eiffel Tower at The Parisian Macao

If visiting the Monsieur Eiffel in Paris isn’t feasible for now, well, there’s another Eiffel Tower in Macau. At roughly 160 meters tall, it’s just half the height of the real thing, but it’s still pretty captivating nonetheless, especially at night.

Every 15 minutes from 6:15 PM to midnight, every single night, the iconic landmark is covered in dazzling lights, creating an awesome show that bathes the surrounding area in various colors.

Eiffel Tower at The Parisian Macau

The tower has 2 observation decks: one on Level 37, which charges MOP 75 per person; and the other on Level 7, which is open to everyone FREE OF CHARGE.

As for us, we decided to just stay on the ground, admire it from afar, and snap countless photos with the vibrant structure as backdrop!

Eiffel Tower Light Show
Every 15 minutes
from 6:15PM – 12:00AM


8. The Londoner Macao

The first thing you’ll notice is its stunning façade, a lookalike of the Palace of Westminster and Houses of Parliament, and a replica of The Big Ben, trying to compete for attention with The Parisian’s Eiffel Tower just across the street. It chimes every hour, but it’s most spectacular at night!

The Londoner Macau Big Ben

At the main lobby, you’ll find a replica of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain aka Eros Fountain. From here, you could get lost in mini-London and take unli-selfies at the many UK icons scattered around including this double-decker bus and a statue of Sir Winston Churchill greeting everyone at 10 Downing Street.

You can also hop into this taxi for what they call Black Cab Escape, where you’ll get to enjoy a virtual drive with David Beckham. All these can be accessed for FREE by the way.

Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain Eros The Londoner Macau

Black Cab Escape The Londoner Macau

The Londoner Macau Double Decker Bus

Let’s head back to the peninsula to explore the quieter and less-visited spots of Macau!


9. Camoes Square

Camoes Garden
A fountain with a bronze sculpture symbolizing the centuries’ old friendship between Portugal and China.

The oldest park in Macau, the Camoes Square was named after legendary Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes. It is also the largest, covering an area of 20,000 square meters.

Three separate areas comprise the square:

  • Camoes Garden, where the poet composed many of his sonnets
  • Casa Garden, a parkette built in 1770 in front of the residence of Portuguese merchant Manuel Pereira and is now an art gallery
  • Protestant Cemetery, the final resting place of some prominent figures including Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary in China; and Anders Ljungstedt, Sweden’s first consul general in China.
Bust of Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes
Bust of Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes
Casa Garden at Camoes Square
Casa Garden at Camoes Square
Protestant Cemetery
Protestant Cemetery

I remember how peaceful and quiet this park was. And I can totally imagine how this park inspired poets to write their best works.


10. Jardim Lou Lim Ioc

Another quiet spot in the city is the Jardim Lou Lim Ioc. We stumbled upon it by accident because it was close to our hotel at the time.

Jardim de Lou Lim Ioc
A stone walkway over a lotus-covered pond

Completed in 1906, Jardim de Lou Lim Ioc used to be a residential garden of Lou Kan, a local merchant, until it was donated to the Macau government. Today, it is a public park that has become a sanctuary for locals looking for some peace of mind. Victorian and traditional Chinese structures stand in between ponds that are carpeted by lotuses all over.

Lou Lim Ioc Garden
A pond at the garden and the entrance

One thing I noticed that time – again, this was years ago – there were no other tourists but us. Most people here were locals just passing the time or meeting friends or spending time with family. It was absolutely lovely. I hope it’s still this way.


11. Macau’s Free Museums

Macau harbors dozens of museums and most of them can be accessed for FREE! No entrance fee at all. For a complete list of these historic houses, check out this compilation and just look for those tagged with FREE ADMISSION.

Macau Maritime Museum

Some of these museums include:

  • St. Dominic’s Church Museum – Treasure of Sacred Art
  • Maritime Museum
  • Fire Services Museum
  • Macao Museum of Art
  • General Ye Ting’s Former Residence
  • Jao Tsung-I Academy
  • Xian Xinghai Memorial Museum
  • The House of Macao Literature

Even the Macau Museum can be visited for FREE if your timing is right. Normally, it charges MOP 15, but on Tuesdays and every 15th of the month, entrance fee is waived. If your visit falls on either, lucky you!

The Macau Museum lodges significant artifacts narrating the history of Macau as a small settlement, as a Portuguese colony, and now as one of two Administrative Regions of China.

Macau Museum
The fort now houses the Macau Museum

Macau Museum

Its content isn’t the only thing worth admiring here. The location itself is of historical significance. The museum is set inside Mount Fortress (Fortaleza do Monte), Macau’s most important defense. Seated regally atop Mount Hill, the fortress affords gorgeous panoramic vistas of the city in all directions.

MACAU MUSEUM
FREE on Tuesdays and every 15th of the month
MOP 15 on other days


12. Macau Fisherman’s Wharf

A first of its kind, the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf is the only cultural-oriented theme park in the city. Covering an area of 111,500 square meters, it is divided into three sections: Dynasty Wharf, East Meets West, and Legend Wharf. It is a theme park, yes, but it is also a shopping and dining destination, perfect for families and barkadas.


13. Coloane Hiking Trails

While the Macau City and Taipa are becoming more and more urbanized, much of Coloane Island remains undeveloped. Thus, many publications call it the “lungs of Macau”, referring to its thick blanket of forests. This green oasis’s map is scribbled with a number of hiking trails, the most popular of which is known simply as Coloane Trail. It is also the longest trail, stretching for over 8 km at 100 meters above sea level on average, offering fantastic vistas of the surrounding areas.


Top Hotels in Macau

Studio City Macau Hotel Room
Studio City Macau, Celebrity King Vista Room

Here are some of the top hotels in Macau that are close to the attractions mentioned above.

Search for more Macau Hotels!


Flights to Macau

Philippine Airlines Flight

Philippine Airlines offers direct flights from Manila to Macau! So if you haven’t booked a ticket yet, consider flying with PAL! One thing I love about PAL is the generous baggage allowance that automatically comes with each booking. For Macau flights, economy passengers can take advantage of:

  • 25-kg check-in baggage
  • 7-kg carry-on baggage

Another reason we prefer PAL is its four-star service and delicious inflight meals and unlimited drinks on board, which are already included in the booking.

Visit philippineairlines.com to search for flights to Macau!


Updates Log & Acknowledgment

Original posting: 2024•02•19

Our most recent trip to Macau was made possible by the Macau Government Tourism Office.



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