Macau/Peninsula

The Macau Peninsula is the mainland portion of China‘s Special Administrative Region of Macau. Its 8.5 square km is almost totally built up, making it the most urbanized and populous district in the territory.

Skyline of the Macau Peninsula at night

For the visitor, Macau Peninsula is also the most interesting district of the territory as it is packed with historical attractions and interesting streets, and is home to many of Macau’s casinos and entertainment spots. You’ll also most likely land in this district first if you enter the territory by sea or land as the main ferry terminal and the main land border crossing are located here.

. . . Macau/Peninsula . . .

Unless you fly, Macau Peninsula will most likely be the first area you set foot on when you arrive in the territory. Macau’s main ferry terminal, the Macau International Ferry Terminal (Terminal Maritimo) and the main land crossing with mainland China, the Portas do Cerco Frontier Checkpoint as well as the Inner Harbour Ferry Terminal are all located on the peninsula. See the main Macau page for information on how to get to Macau.

Macau Peninsula is linked with Taipa Island to the south by three bridges – Sai Van Bridge, Governador Nobre de Carvalho (or Macau-Taipa) Bridge, and the Friendship Bridge (Ponte de Amizade). Taipa is linked to Coloane by the Taipa-Coloane Causeway, the main artery of the newly reclaimed Cotai area.

Please see the Taipa, Coloane and Cotai page for bus routes linking the Peninsula with those districts.

Map of Macau/Peninsula

The Old City is very walkable, but most visitors will want to skip the rather dreary 3 km slog there from the ferry terminal.

To travel from the Outer Harbour (Porte Exterior) ferry terminal to the old city, just hop on one of the free green Hotel Lisboa shuttles. These depart from the bus center across the underpass and there are plenty of uniformed staff to show you the way.

To use the same shuttles to get back, though, you will need to sign up for a Hotel Lisboa membership: free, but a hassle. Alternatively, there is a large public bus interchange right next to Hotel Lisboa, from where you can reach most points in Macau. Most buses to the ferry terminal (3, 10A, 12) leave from Pier E and cost a flat 6 patacas.

Some useful bus routes:

  • 3 – Barrier Gate (Portas do Cerco) to the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal via Hotel Lisboa, Avenida Almeida Ribeiro (City Center)
  • 5 – Barrier Gate to A-Ma Temple (Barra) via Hotel Lisboa, Avenida Almeida Ribeiro
  • 9A – Barrier Gate to Macau Tower
  • 32 – Ferry Terminal to Macau Tower

Scooters are a very economical and fun way to see the sites of Macau, they are also the primary mode of transport for locals due to Macau’s narrow streets and lack of car parking space. Scooters are available for rental from a few dollars. Licenses from most countries covering mopeds or motorcycles are accepted.

Macau Peninsula is packed with old buildings left over from the colonial period. A large section has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site contains 25 locations or buildings of cultural and historic significance, and the best way to cover them is to do the Macau Heritage Walk circuit. The 25 locations are:

  • 22.186113.53131 A-Ma Temple, Barra Square (Near the southwestern (Inner Harbour) tip of the peninsula). Perhaps the most famous Chinese temple in Macau. This is a Taoist temple which predates the Portuguese era. (updated Oct 2016)
Barra square
  • 22.1872113.53261 Moorish Barracks, Calcada da Barra. Built in 1874 to accommodate an Indian regiment from Goa, it now serves as the headquarters of the Macau Maritime Authority. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.1885113.5351 Lilau Square, Largo do Lilau (along Calcada da Barra). Pretty little square surrounded by the old Mediterranean-style houses of one of Macau’s oldest residential areas. The square has a spring where it is said that “One who drinks from Lilau never forgets Macau”. (updated Oct 2016)
Lilau square
  • 22.18859113.534511 Mandarin House, 10, Antonio da Silva Ln. 10AM-6PM, closed W Th. The Macau Mandarin House is the former residence owned by eminent modern Chinese thinker Zheng Guanying and his father Zheng Wenrui. The house was built in around 1881 and over time, many families occupied the complex. It covers an area of about 4,000 sq metres and is a traditional Chinese-style compound containing a number of buildings Free entrance. 
Mandarin House
  • 22.19059113.53681 St. Lawrence’s Church, Rua de Sao Lourenco. Built in the mid 16th century, this is one of the oldest churches in Macau. Families of Portuguese sailors used to gather on its front steps and pray and wait for the safe return of their loved ones. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19208113.538251 St. Augustine’s Square (Largo de Santo Agostinho). This square is fronted by various pretty buildings of Macau’s past era, namely the St Augustine’s Church, Dom Pedro V Theatre, St Joseph’s Seminary and Church and the Robert Ho Tung Library. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19235113.538441 St. Augustine’s Church, Largo de Santo Agostinho. Established by the Spanish Augustinians in 1591, this church maintains the tradition of organising the Easter Procession around the city. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19191113.538181 Dom Pedro V Theatre, Largo de Santo Agostinho. Built in 1860 as the first Western-style theatre on the Chinese coast, it remains a significant cultural landmark of the Macanese community and remains a venue for many public functions and events. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19251113.537681 Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, Largo de Santo Agostinho. Originally the residence of a Portuguese Dona, the building was purchased by Hong Kong businessman Sir Robert Ho Tung as a retreat. When he passed away, he willed the building to be passed over to the Macau government to be turned into a public library. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19174113.537431 St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church, Rua do Seminario. Established in 1728, the old Seminary, together with St Paul’s College, was the base of missionary work in China, Japan and other parts of the region. The adjacent church was built in 1758 and is noted for its Baroque architecture. (updated Oct 2016)
Largo do Senado
  • 22.193583113.5396671 Senate Square (Largo do Senado) (halfway point along Av de Almeida Ribeiro). A colorful typical Iberian town square, this is the traditional heart of Macau city. It is surrounded by pastel-coloured neo-classical buildings, most of them having an administrative function during the Portuguese era. The place is a popular venue for public events and crowds gather here just to soak in the atmosphere and socialise. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19376113.53961 Loyal Senate (Leal Senado), Building, 165, Av de Almeida Ribeiro (directly facing the Senate Square). Built to house Macau’s municipal government, the Leal Senado has a neo-classical design and much of the original layout and structure has been retained through the years. The first floor has a ceremonial meeting room that adjoins an elaborate library. The name “Loyal Senate” is derived from the name bestowed upon Macau – “City of Our Name of God Macau, There is None More Loyal” – by King Dom Joao IV in 1654 because the colony’s senate refused to recognise Spain’s occupation of Portugal in the early 1600s. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19373113.54021 Holy House of Mercy (Santa Casa da Misericordia), Largo do Senado. This building, established by the firsty Bishop of Macau in 1569, provides an imposing facade for the Senate Square. The building houses a charitable organisation which looked after the medical, social and welfare needs of the citizens of Macau, and was the home of many orphans and prostitutes. Today, it houses a two-room museum with displays of items related to the organisation. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19358113.541451 Se Cathedral (Igreja da Se), Largo da Se. No records of the exact date of construction exist but a solid brick structure was built on this site in 1622 and repaied in 1743. The cathedral has some impressive stained glass murals and the facade is characterised by its twin belfries. The exterior is clad in Shanghai plaster which gives the church a subdued appearance. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19366113.540921 Lou Kau Mansion, 7, Travessa da Se. Built in 1889, this was the home of Lou Kau, a prominent Chinese merchant who owned several properties in the city. The architecture is that of a typical Chinese residential building. (updated Oct 2016)
St. Dominic’s Church
  • 22.19478113.540411 St. Dominic’s Church, Largo de Sao Domingos (located just northeast of the Senate Square). The pastel-coloured church was founded in 1587 by Spanish Dominican priests. The bell tower at the back of the building has been converted into the small Museum of Sacred Art with around 300 artifacts. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19399113.539341 Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple, Rua Sul do Mercado de Sao Domingos. Located close to the Chinese Bazaar area, this temple has some Western styles to its architecture, illustrating the harmonious coexistence of the two cultures in this city. The temple has a long association with Chinese business associations and guilds. (updated Oct 2016)
Statue in front of São Paulo Cathedral
  • 22.197468113.540861 Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral (Portuguese: Ruinas de São Paulo; Cantonese: 大三巴 daai saam ba). The city’s most famous landmark and is regarded as the greatest monument to Christianity in the East. The only thing left of the Churh of Mater Dei, built in the 1600s but burnt down in 1835, is the imposing facade, with its Biblical statues and relief, being described as a “sermon in stone” and a “Bible for the poor”. Nearby are the remains of the St Paul’s College. Behind the facade is the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt, which occupies the chancel of the church, contains archaeological excavations of the site and also exhibits and paintings on early Christian life in the East. The crypt contains the remains of martyrs of Christians killed in the 17th century. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.1977113.5406661 Na Tcha Temple. Tucked in the corner of a cobblestone square to the left of (as you face) the ruins of St. Paul’s is this tiny temple dedicated to the Chinese deity Prince Nata. The juxtaposition of Catholic church and traditional Chinese temple is a perfect example of Macau’s contrasts and multicultural history. (updated Dec 2018)
  • 22.197695113.5405941 Section of the Old City Walls (located just next to the Na-Tcha Temple). This is a segment of the city’s defence structures built in 1569 which has survived. It is built with a compound material called chunambo, a mixture of clay, soil, sand, rice straw, crushed rocks and oyster shells which were placed in layers. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.197113.54231 Mount Fortress (Fortaleza do Monte), Monte Hill (located east or St Paul’s ruins). Built between 1617 and 1626 by the Jesuits, the fortress one of the main defence structures of the city. It housed barracks, arsenal and storehouses to allow it to withstand a siege lasting two years. You can get good views of the central part of Macau Peninsula from here. The fortress can be accessed by escalator just east of St Paul’s. The Macau Museum is located within the fortress (see “Museums” section below). (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19903113.539591 St. Anthony’s Church, Largo do Santo Antonio. One of Macau’s oldest churches, St Anthony’s was originally built of wood and bamboo. The current structure was constructed in 1930. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.20051113.539331 Casa Garden, Praca De Luis de Camoes. This house, built in 1770, was the residence of a wealthy Portuguese merchant Manuel Pereira and was later rented out to the English East India Company. Today, it is the headquarters of the Oriental Foundation. (updated Oct 2016)
  • 22.19998113.540251 Old Protestant Cemetery (also known as the East India Company Cemetery), Praca de Luis de Camoes (beside the Luis de Camoes Garden). Lovely little piece of England in Macau. Look out for the grave of the Right Honourable Lord H.I. Spencer Churchill, ancestor of Winston Churchill, and also for the graves of the painter George Chinnery (far left in the upper row) and the missionary Robert Morrison (far right near the back; his accomplishments include writing the first Chinese-English, English-Chinese dictionary). (updated Oct 2016)
Guia Fortress
  • 22.19661113.549721 Guia Fortress. Built in the 1600s on top of Guia Hill on the eastern part of the peninsula, the fortress’s main function was to ward off any attack by China. Within the fortress is the Chapel of Our Lady of Guia and the 15m tall Guia Lighthouse, said to be the first modern lighthouse on the Chinese coast. Guia Fortress can be reached by the Guia Cable Car (Teleferico da Guia) just outside the entrance of the Flora Garden on Rua do Tunel, off Av Sidonio Pais. (updated Oct 2016)

. . . Macau/Peninsula . . .

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. . . Macau/Peninsula . . .

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