3-Hour Tour: Macau

Leave the airport and live it up during flight delays and layovers

The ruins of São Paulo are a must-see sight in Macau.

For most travelers, flight delays and layovers are annoying, but the extra time doesn’t mean you have to confine yourself to the airport’s duty-free shops. It may only be three hours, but consider this your vacation bonus to see Macau.

First Hour: Macau International Airport has shuttle buses running from the airport to the Macau peninsula, Taipa, and Coloane, but taxis are a quick alternative. The average ride from the airport’s arrival hall to downtown Macau takes approximately 15 minutes and costs about $5. Take the taxi to Macau peninsula’s old city.

Strolling through Macau’s winding, cobblestone streets and admiring the colonial architecture and charming churches in the former Portuguese enclave are easy to do during a layover. Start your walking tour at Largo do Senado and head north to the iconic ruined facade of São Paulo, a Spanish-style church that took 25 years to build. While the church burned down in 1835, the façade still remains.

Second Hour: Stop at Pastelaria Koi Kei, which is adjacent to the ruins of São Paulo. Pastelaria Koi Kei’s ubiquitous pale yellow bags filled with the pastry shop’s famous almond cookies and crunchy peanut candy are clutched by nearly all visitors to Macau. The helpful, English-speaking staff will let you sample dozens of their treats.

After a stop for sweets, visit the nearby defensive post Fortaleza do Monte, which houses The Museum of Macau, a three-story museum of permanent and temporary exhibits showcasing Macau’s origins and traditions.

Third Hour: Have lunch or dinner at Fat Siu Lau on Rua da Felicidade. Fat Siu Lau is one of the oldest restaurants in Macau, and has served roast pigeon from Shek Kei marinated with a family recipe since 1903. If you have extra time, try your luck at the slots or the blackjack, baccarat, or Sic Bo tables at one of Macau’s many casinos on the Cotai strip.

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