After a good night of sleep, we went to the restaurant in our hotel for breakfast. Breakfast is served from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. For a breakfast buffet, there was a good variety of items and cuisines to choose from. The most popular was the noodle station; there were people constantly waiting there. I found the quality of the food to be just so so. Most items looked better than they tasted and seemed really oily.
After we checked out, we stowed our luggage with concierge and took a taxi to our first attraction, Monte Forte. There was some traffic although it was already past morning rush hour so it took us about 15-20 minutes to get there.
There is about a 5-10 minute walk up few flights of steep stairs before you get to the entrance of the Monte Forte. Since it was raining that morning, the path was particularly slippery. Monte Forte is a UNESCO Heritage Site and was built originally to protect the Jesuits from pirates in the 16th century. A few of the 32 cannons remain on site. You can also catch a great glimpse of the city from this mountain top.
If you have time, you can also visit the Museum of Macau which is also located here.
From here, it is only a quick walk down to the Ruins of St. Paul, Macau’s most famous landmark. It is the remains of the Church of St. Paul and St. Paul’s college and was built in the 16th century. I think they were doing some repair works when I was there because there were lots of bamboo shoots sticking out from behind.
If you walk further down the path for about 5 minutes, you will end up at Largo Do Senado which is a popular shopping and dining area. There are some small shops here such as Sasa and Bossini. Some old architectures remain here such as the St. Dominic Church and the Santa Casa Da Misericordia that are worth checking out.
We stopped here for lunch at Ou Mun Cafe which was a highly recommended restaurant on Tripadvisor. The restaurant is located on a smaller street which is only 2-3 minute walk from Senado Square. When we arrived, there were only 1-2 tables there.
For drinks, we ordered hot chocolate and chrysanthemum tea. These drinks were decent.
As we were still pretty full from breakfast, we ordered a seafood rice to share at the recommendation of the staff. The seafood rice had a good quantity of seafood (i.e. squid, shrimp, mussels and fish) and the tomato broth that it was served in was rich. It was a little pricey for $208 MOP though.
The dessert was MY favourite. We ordered one biscuit mousse – serradura to share and it was just amazing. The dessert was so creamy and fluffy but it was not overly sweet. Every bite seems to just melt in your mouth. I really wish I had a smaller breakfast so I could have eaten one all by myself! Definitely must try this dessert when you visit Macau!
After a very satisfying lunch, we were on our way again. We were off to the Mandarin House and was going to catch a taxi. When we got on, the taxi driver told us that it was too close and it was only a 10 minute walk. So, we got off and started heading in the direction that he suggested. Our GPS was not working as we did not have wi-fi so we stopped and asked someone that we passed by to make sure we were on the right track. She told us that it was more like a 30 minute walk…Since we were half way already, we continued on.The street was very narrow and less traveled by tourists.
After what seemed like forever on a hot sunny day, we finally arrived at the Mandarin House. The Mandarin House is one of the oldest and largest residential propertoes in Macau which was built in the the late 1800s. It was taken possession by the government in 2001 and construction was done to preserve the building to its original state. The house was not very busy when we visited, with only a 1-2 other tourists. The house does not have air conditioning and fans were turned on to keep cool. You can take a quite stroll in the house and the souvenir shop which should take you around 30 minutes. They have some unique souvenirs which are only sold here.
There are many other historic landmarks located along this street. From The Mandarin House, it is about another 20 minute walk to the end of the street. On our way, we passed by the old tax office which was previously housed in a Portuguese-design building.
The final attraction along this street is the Ma Jo Temple. It is a small temple but there were many people. The scent of incense was very strong here and it was very smoky so after a quick stroll and few pictures, we took off for our next attraction.
It was very difficult for us to find a taxi along the street. Many taxis went by but they were occupied. After 30 minutes, we finally flagged one down that was vacant and went to Rampa Da Guia. The staff at the Mandarin House told us that this attraction was very pretty and couples come here for their wedding photos.
However, when I arrived, I was quite disappointed. From our drop off point, we had to walk uphill for another 10 minutes before we reached the lighthouse. When we got there, we found out that the lighthouse was only opened on the weekend as they were doing construction during the week. It also did not look half as nice as it did in the photos.
The lighthouse was constructed in 1864 and was built on the highest point in Macau on Guia Hill. There is also a chapel here which was constructed between 1622 and 1638. You can go inside the chapel to take a look at the frescoes. There is also a small information center here where you can read up about its history and enjoy some air conditioning.
We walked to a hotel at the bottom of the hill and took a taxi to our next attraction, Grand Lisboa Casino. This casino is the largest and most famous hotel on the Macau Peninsula. The old and the new casino are side by side and connected via a walkway. My friend and I do not gamble so we just walked around to experience the gambling atmosphere and see the extravagant architecture. These two casinos did not feel as modern and spacious as the ones in Taipa but they do have many ancient Chinese artifacts here which are probably in the millions of dollars.
It was still early for our dinner reservation at A Petisqueira so we went to Studio City to grab a drink and relax for a bit. We got lucky and caught the shuttle bus back so we saved ourselves a few bucks.
On our drive back, we passed by the Macau Observatory Tower. I’ve been here a few years ago so we decided to skip it on this trip. It is worth checking out as the bottom of the tower is all glass.
With much difficulty, we finally got a taxi to A Petisqueira which is one of the highly recommended Portuguese restaurants in Taipa near Souvenir Street. Good thing we made phone reservations two weeks in advance as the restaurant was fully booked that night.
The restaurant is pretty cozy and was fully occupied when we arrived. The restaurant has simple decorations with the traditional red checkered tablecloth commonly found in Portuguese restaurants.
We ordered lemon tea for drinks and was given some free bread to start. The bread was a little tough but was served warm.
We ordered the Portuguese sausage ($72 MOP) and codfish cakes ($45 MOP) as appetizers. The sausage was very salty but delicious. It paired nicely with the bread. It was my first time trying codfish cakes. I found it to be very crispy and mushy but it was not too bad. The texture felt a little more rough relative to deep fried fillet.
For entree, we shared the Portuguese Steak which was highly recommended by my cousin. The steak is hidden underneath a piece of thinly sliced ham and served with a layer of baked potatoes and mixed vegetables. I really liked the potatoes as they were very creamy. The steak was not bad but would have tasted better if it was cooked medium rather than fully cooked.
After a delicious dinner, we took the shuttle bus back to Studio City and hung out there briefly. Then we went back to our hotel to grab our luggage and took a taxi to the terminal to board our ferry back to Hong Kong.
Although our trip was quite rushed and it was difficult to get taxis at times, I had a great time! It was nice for us to experience the glamourous side of Macau on day 1 when we were enjoying the hotel facilities and luxury shopping experience but also be able to see the city’s historic landmarks and architectures on day 2. The city has something for everyone along with great food and souvenirs! A 2 day trip is enough for Macau so it is perfect for a weekend getaway or a short excursion if you are visiting Hong Kong!