Discover Macau Drenched in Colour at the Festival of Lights

The ‘Colour Wave Tree’ reflects the shades of Macau’s neon-clad casinos in the background
The ‘Colour Wave Tree’ reflects the shades of Macau’s neon-clad casinos in the background | Kyle Ford / © Culture Trip
Matthew Keegan

If there is a perfect time to visit Macau, it’s during the city’s annual Light Festival, a great kick-starter to the festive season. The mild December weather is ideal for nighttime strolls along Macau’s cobblestone lanes as you take in the dazzling light artistry that illuminates the city’s unique East-meets-West character.

The Macau Festival of Lights brings colour to the night sky

With the theme of time travel, the Macau Light Festival 2018 leads spectators on an illuminating journey through time with three distinctive routes to explore: “Play Time”, “Youth Time” and “Taste Time”. Together the routes cover eleven locations across five districts. The various light installations, light projection mapping, interactive games and other activities enable you to learn about the city’s diverse culture and history as you gain a new appreciation for Macau by night.

Stroll along the city’s cobblestone lanes as you take in the dazzling light artistry on display at the 2018 Macau Light Festival
Start your evening at the foot of Macau’s most recognizable landmark, the Ruins of St. Paul’s. The beautiful granite facade, the remains of what used to be one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia, becomes a fitting backdrop for three light projection mapping shows produced, respectively, by teams from Portugal, Belgium and Macau. Be dazzled by these highly Instagrammable displays that incorporate themes including gastronomy, humanity, architecture, culture and creativity.
The festival’s light displays are spectacular

One of Macau’s most remarkable temples is Pak Tai Temple. Located in the heart of Taipa Village, it was built in 1844 to honour Pak Tai, the Taoist god of the sea. It’s one of the few temples in the city that has a worship pavilion where followers can put tributes and offerings. During this year’s light festival it’s the venue for a special light projection mapping show, Search for the Taste of Memory, that will open your eyes to local dining culture and habits in different decades. In addition, a Gastronomy Night Market occupies the square in front of the temple where visitors can feast on signature Macanese dishes.

The Pak Tai Temple is home to an installation tracing the evolution of local dining culture

Speaking of food, one of the light festival’s three themed routes this year, “Taste Time”, showcases the diverse cuisines of the city. Among the attractions is the addition of food trucks at three locations across the city. The public can complete designated activities in exchange for luminous drinks, cotton candy and other souvenirs.

Food trucks at three locations across the city offer illuminated drinks and other souvenirs

With 2018 coming to an end, pause for a reflective moment beside this striking Light Up 2018 installation that stands aglow with Macau’s casino strip twinkling away in the background. It’s the ideal spot to ponder your highs and lows of the year and gain a whole new appreciation of Macau by night.

Macau gets ready for 2019

The Colour Wave Tree, a tree of colourful lights, reflects the many shades of Macau’s night sky lit up by the neon of the casinos in the background.

The ‘Colour Wave Tree’ proves to be an alluring attraction for passers-by

Over at Calçada da Igreja de São Lázaro, an area known for its beautiful Portuguese-style heritage buildings, you can capture a number of highly Instagrammable moments, including this fluorescent staircase – one of the festival’s most eye-catching light installations.

Light up your holidays by climbing this fluorescent staircase

This twinkling canopy of fairy lights at Macau’s main town square, Senado Square, gives it a fitting festive glow. The square is known for its Portuguese-style pastel buildings and wavy black and white cobblestone paving.

Macau’s central town square, Senado Square, is decked out for the holidays
A photographer captures Macau’s Senado Square illuminated at night by a dazzling canopy of fairy lights

The Macau Light Festival 2018 – Time Travel in Macau will be staged from 7pm to 10pm from 2 December to 31 December.

Inspired to visit Macau? Learn more at Macao Government Tourism.

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