RISE ABOVE IT ALL
- Wander the grounds of a Trappist nunnery
- Find serenity in the city at sunset
Escape the city streets (and its casino-loving crowds) to the serene Chapel of Our Lady of Penha set high on a hilltop. Founded in 1622 as a shrine for Portuguese sailors heading out to sea, it’s still a working Trappist nunnery today (listen for the chorus of nuns singing Gregorian Chants). This sacred spot with views stretching out to the city’s bridges and the Pearl River Delta is a favorite wedding photo backdrop for local couples. Blushing brides aside, the real showstopper is sunset from this lookout point. Arrive in the late afternoon, and take a contemplative walk though the chapel and courtyard before catching the sun descend on the sparkling city below.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Penha is a 15-minute cab ride across the Sai Van Bridge.
WANDER THROUGH A MANSION
- Explore a meticulously restored 19th-century estate
- Take a free tour led by a Cantonese-speaking guide
Portuguese influence reigns supreme, but there are still remnants of a Chinese architectural past in Macao. Mandarin’s House—the sprawling 4,300-square-foot, 19th century estate of Chinese intellectual Zheng Guanying—is one of the older existing traditional Cantonese-style houses from the late Qing dynasty. Restored in 2010, you can now wander through this 60-room manor and admire the classic motifs of Chinese design: circular courtyard entryways, tubular roof tiles, and lucky red window shutters. How’s your Cantonese? If decent, join the free, guided tour offered on weekends for a better understanding of the fusion of Southern Chinese architectural styles with Western elements (make a reservation via the museum’s website).
Mandarin House is a 15-minute taxi ride just across the Sai Van Bridge.
EAT LIKE A TRUE MACANESE
- Taste the best of Macao’s authentic cuisine
- Dig into full-flavored local dishes in a fun, unpretentious café
When it comes to genuine Macanese cuisine, we’re happy to forego fancy digs in exchange for truly authentic food—and make no mistake, Riquexo is the real deal. Tucked down an alley off Avenida Sidonio Pais in São Lázaro, this beloved canteen-style restaurant may be short on atmosphere (fluorescent lighting, steam tables) but it goes long on deliciousness, with a picture menu of full-flavored, iconic dishes like minchi and Portuguese chicken curry. It’s probably not the place to take a client to lunch, let alone impress a date, but we’re drawn back by the simplicity of it all—just unpretentious, soul-nourishing food done right. You can dine al fresco or in the air-conditioned café decorated with pictures of Old Macao, and eavesdrop on regulars speaking Patua, a unique local dialect. A cold beer or quaffable wine makes the perfect pairing. And of course Riquexo is great value: The set lunch menu (including soup, main course, and dessert) starts at just $75 MOP. If you’re lucky you might meet the café’s gregarious 101-year-old founder, Dona Aida de Jesus, who’s justly hailed as the “godmother of Macanese cuisine.”
Riquexo Café is located off Avenida Sidonio Pais in São Lázaro, on the Macao Peninsula, about 20 minutes by car from the Conrad.