Macau is…different. Some people call it the Las Vegas of China, but that’s not entirely correct. You won’t see Elvis impersonators, strip club promoters, or barefoot bachelorettes on the streets of Macau. The resorts manage to be extremely refined and luxuriously extra. There’s plenty of high stakes gambling, luxury malls, and Michelin starred restaurants; but there’s also leftover Portuguese architecture and meandering alleys with Chinese street food.
From Hong Kong, you can take a ferry to Macau (Taipa) or to Macau (Outer Ferry). We began our day by taking the 9:30am ferry from HK-Macau Ferry Terminal to Taipa. (Note: The HK-Macau Ferry terminal is NOT the same as the Star Ferry terminal.)
You will get a seat assignment when boarding the ship, so make sure your party sticks together in order to get seats next to each other.
After about an hour onboard, we arrived in Taipa. We took a taxi to our first stop, the tradition Taipa Houses. These were residences during the colonial era, but have now been turned into museums.
From there, we walked to the City of Dreams, a massive resort + casino.
At 11:30am, the resort was pretty empty. The mall’s decor was a nice mix of textures and patterns.
After walking through the mall area, we found ourselves in the lobby and casino area, which was extremely gold.
Yes, that is a hundred tiny gold dogs at the base of a giant gold dog.
From there, we headed to the most luxurious lunch of my life at Lai Heen in the Ritz-Carlton. We took a taxi to Galaxy Macau, another giant resort, and entered the lobby during a fountain light show that revealed a giant gold diamond.
After wandering through a maze of luxury shops, we found the lobby to the Ritz where an employee took us to the restaurant. Lai Heen has one Michelin star, and its decor and service are extremely luxurious.
The set menus are pretty expensive, but they do have a set lunch menu for only 408 MOP (about $50 USD).
Since there were three of us dining, the waitress suggested we each get one of the entrees so we could all taste them. The food was excellent, but what really stood out was the service. Everyone was extremely attentive and friendly. I’ll let the food pics speak for themselves:
After our meal, we were treated to a complimentary tea service. It was mesmerizing — there were so many steps and the lady performing the service did each one with care and deliberation.
When paying, the waitress asked if any of us were SPG or Marriott members. Uh, of course! I showed her my number in the Marriott app (SPG, why do you always sign me out???) and she gave us a 10% discount.
While we were dining, the weather took a turn. It was cold and rainy…so we headed to the Wynn Palace to ride the gondola for free.
After a couple trips on the gondola, we headed to the more historic side of Macau.
We checked out the famous Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was teeming with tourists.
From there, we walked around the old fort, which has an expansive view of Macau — both its local homes and mega casinos.
We took a cab to Macau (Outer Ferry) terminal. We got lucky and arrived just before a ferry was about to leave. The weather was even worse — it was windy and rainy and the ride back was quite rocky. After such a long day, we were relieved and exhausted when we arrived back in Hong Kong.
- Bring your passport and a pen! When you arrive back in Hong Kong, you have to fill out the landing card again.
- If you want to sit together, make sure your group approaches the ferry entrance together to get seat assignments next to each other.
- If prone to motion sickness, bring seasickness bands or ginger pills for the ferry ride.
- Macau taxis accept Hong Kong dollars, but you’ll receive change in Macau patacas.
- Just like Las Vegas, the resorts are much larger than they look which means the walking estimates from Google Maps are way underestimated.
- Give your Marriott or SPG loyalty number at Lai Heen for a 10% discount.