To assume there is little more to Macau than its attention-grabbing casinos would be a mistake. The city has a rich history as the one of the first East-meets-West territories in the world, and a unique assimilation of Portuguese and Chinese influences have given the city a one-of-a-kind character that you’ll be remiss not to explore. One of the best places to see and experience the authentic side of Macau is at Taipa Village.
Located just a stone’s throw away from the main casino strip, Taipa Village is Macau’s leading destination for culture and heritage. Here, among its winding lanes and pedestrianised alleys, Macau’s East-meets-West character is on full display. From Chinese temples to colonial churches, to some of the best Portuguese and Macanese restaurants in town, as well as museums, art galleries, and great souvenir shops, all within walking distance of each other.
Taipa Village is accessible by a short taxi ride from the ferry terminals. Alternatively, The Venetian and Galaxy resorts are located across the street from Taipa Village (within walking distance). Free shuttle busses also run from Studio City , Galaxy Macau or Wynn Palace to Taipa Village.
Places to see
Taipa House Museum
Taipa House Museum is a prime example of the Portuguese architecture that has influenced much of Taipa Village. In 1992, it was recognised as one of the top eight sights to see in Macau. Built in 1921, the distinctive green and white houses once served as a residence for the Portuguese governor and other high-level civil servants and their families. Today, it has been converted into a museum complex displaying various artefacts and exhibits that commemorate life during Macau’s colonial period.
Avenida da Praia, Taipa, Macau, +853 8988 4000 / 2882 7527
Pak Tai Temple
Pak Tai Temple has a rich history dating back to 1844. It’s dedicated to the deity Pak Tai, who worshippers believed had the power to abate disasters like floods and fire. Since most of Macau’s population used to earn a living through fishing, Pak Tai, the Taoist god of the sea, was a very significant deity for them. Today, it’s the temple most worth seeing in Taipa with its own worship pavilion for followers to pay tributes, which is rarely seen elsewhere on the island. In addition, during the celebration of the annual Feast of Pak Tai on the 3rd day of the 3rd month of the Lunar Calendar, performances of Chinese opera are usually held in a mat shed in front of the temple.
Our Lady of Carmo Church
Located on elevated ground next door to the Taipa Houses Museum, Our Lady of Carmo Church is the only Catholic church in Taipa. Built in 1885, it still operates today and is a distinctive neoclassical structure with its exterior painted in pastel shades of yellow. In recent years, it’s become a popular backdrop for wedding photos. The church and its grounds are an ideal spot to come for a place to relax, with nice views overlooking the Taipa Houses Musuem and the nearby lake. The church is open for English mass on Saturdays (6:30pm) and Sunday (10am).
Museum of Taipa and Coloane History
Located in a beautiful 1920s administration building, the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History houses exhibits across two floors that showcase findings and relics uncovered from different archaeological excavations over the past years. There are also displays dedicated to past industries that were once common on both Taipa and Coloane Islands. Overall, it’s an interesting place to learn a bit about how Taipa and Coloane used to be two separate islands, not connected by the Cotai Strip like they are today.
Rua Correia da Silva, Taipa, Macau, +853 2836 6866
Taipa Village Art Space
This great little gallery was opened to help promote the cultural and creative industries in Macau, allowing local and international artists to showcase their work. A lot of the art showcased here gives insight into the local culture and heritage of Macau. For example, one recent exhibition – Macau’s Firecracker Industry – featured a unique collection of watercolour paintings from renowned local artist Lio Man Cheong depicting Macau’s long-flourishing firecracker industry, from its growing prominence in the late 19th century to its prosperity in the early 20th century.
10 Rua dos Clerigos, Taipa, Macau, +853 2857 6118
Where to eat
If you’re keen to try local Macau specialities and delicious Portuguese cuisine, Taipa Village is a must-visit locale. You’ll find some of the best restaurants in town here, alongside a number of hole-in-the-wall eateries selling a diverse mix of street food and popular local snacks.
This gem of a restaurant located in the heart of Taipa Village is one of the best places to try authentic Macanese cuisine. With a culinary legacy dating back more than 400 years that mixes both Portuguese and Chinese flavours, Macanese cuisine is considered the original fusion food. Here, with acclaimed Macanese cook Florita Alves at the helm, you can try some of the tastiest homestyle Macanese dishes in town. Don’t miss classics such as minchi (sautéed minced pork), capela (a Macanese-style meatloaf), and African chicken. In addition, a generous selection of wines and cocktails are also on offer to complement the array of Macanese flavours. When the weather’s cooler, head to the rooftop bar on the third floor for panoramic views looking out over the charming village below.
Rua dos Clerigos No.76, Taipa, Macau, +853 6320 2320
This new Indian tapas-style restaurant opened in April and has already become a local favourite. It’s not hard to see why, as the quality of the food, drinks and service are all exceptional. The restaurant boasts a delicious Indian tapas menu consisting of Indian and Goan traditional flavours – like Macau, Goa was also a former Portuguese colony. We recommend you try the Goan-style clams, pulled pork vindaloo bao, chicken tikka nachos, and tempting larger-plate dishes such as railway lamb curry. For dessert, don’t miss the sublime bebinca – a layered cake sometimes referred to as the ‘queen of Goan desserts’. Craft cocktails designed by renowned bartender and mixologist Chetan Gangan are also available, which are uniquely inspired by the different trading posts that the Portuguese established on their past voyages. All in all, a unique and well-considered dining/bar concept for Macau; it clearly shows they’ve put a lot of thought and attention into making it one of the best.
No 118 Rua Correria da Silva, Taipa, Macau, +853 2856 7819
Comida Portuguesa O Santos
For tasty Portuguese cuisine in a relaxing and unpretentious atmosphere, look no further than Comida Portuguesa O Santos. Chef Santos grew up in Portugal and opened this restaurant in 1989 after moving to Macau – it has since become a local institution and a popular eatery with the local Portuguese community. Service is friendly, and prices reasonable. Standout dishes include the suckling pig, duck rice, codfish fritters, and the clams with a nice glass of white wine; the desserts are great, too.
Rua do Cunha, n.20, Taipa, Macau, +853 2882 5594
Macau doesn’t offer too many options for vegans or vegetarians, but this vegetarian takeaway shop and bakery café in Taipa Village ticks all the boxes. For the friendly owners, this café is a passion project, and they offer a variety of gluten-free, raw and vegan options as well as vegetarian dishes. From green salads to sandwiches, pasta, rice bowls and a variety of gluten-free products, they are also happy to custom-make a dish to your request. In addition, they offer a raw dessert line with options like carrot cake and chocolate hazelnut tart. Even if you’re not vegetarian, it’s good, tasty food with the added bonus of being healthy.
Blissful Carrot, 79 R. Direita Carlos Eugenio, Macau, +853 6298 8433
Sei Kee Café
Sei Kee Café is known for serving some of Macau’s most iconic dishes, namely the pork chop bun and clay pot-brewed coffee and milk tea. The café, with its friendly service and reasonable pricing, is also a popular spot for locals, as many of the dishes trigger a nostalgic feeling. Do try the pork chop bun (the Macau equivalent of a hamburger) consisting of a succulently marinated pork chop coupled with a warm, chewy bun – a winning combination.
Largo dos Bombeiro, NO 1, G/F, Taipa, Macau, +853 6569 1214
Where to shop
Cunha de bazar
This four-storey souvenir store often entices passers-by with its eye-catching exterior. Inside, they sell traditional gifts and souvenirs created by local Macau-based artists. On the ground floor, you’ll find traditional snacks such as almond cookies and jerky. The 1st floor is dedicated to goods bearing the image of Macau’s Soda Panda, a popular local cartoon character, and the remaining floors are dedicated to ceramics, notebooks and sketches created by local designers.
Rua do Cunha No. 33-35 R/C, Taipa, Macau, +853 2882 7989
This Macau-themed souvenir store is brimming with character and is a treasure trove of useful and functional products. From postcards to ceramic coasters, leather bags, stationery, accessories and more, this is the place to come if you want to to take a little memento of Macau home with you. A majority of the products take on the blue-and-white theme of the classic Portuguese tiles that you can find dotted all over the city, which is a well-considered touch.
22 Rua Correia da Silva, Taipa, Macau, +853 6206 7338