Just a few steps away from the Cotai Strip’s vast, opulent casinos, there is Taipa Village, also known as Old Taipa. A harbor of tranquility surrounded by towering palatial casinos, it can sometimes be overlooked. Take a break from the overwhelming grandeur of these integrated resorts and visit the historic attraction that’s just a stone’s throw away. This destination holds the true essence of Taipa heritage. A blend of ancient and modern, this area is a true gem for curious visitors with tons of exciting activities. Keep reading to find out what are the best things to do in Taipa Village.
Go on a photo hunt
On a small piece of land that Taipa Village occupies, there is an overwhelming number of photogenic spots. Vibrant walls, colorful houses, nostalgic-looking alleyways, elegant buildings–Taipa Village has it all. A great mix of the old and new, it provides gorgeous photos ops for your Instagram feed. Pick an outfit and don’t forget a friend with a photographer’s eye!
Embark on a gastronomy tour
Whether you are up for dinner in the restaurant or crave local street food, Taipa Village has it all. As you stroll along, it is impossible to ignore the crowded food street, Rua do Cunha. Lining the street are more than a dozen food stores waiting for you to try what they offer. Most of them sell Macau’s most famed snacks or pastries such as almond cookies, egg tarts, pork jerky, and pork chop buns. And did we mention that you could sample all these snacks for free? Don’t be shy and dive into the delicious world of Macau’s traditional street snacks.
Besides little stalls spreading tempting aromas around, Old Taipa boasts countless restaurants of international cuisines. You can find Japanese, Italian, Argentinean, Mexican, and of course, Chinese, Macanese, and Portuguese cuisines. Make sure to be open to trying out different cuisines and arrive at Taipa Village hungry!
Also read: Great Places to Eat in Taipa Village
Grab a drink and meet the local crowd
A great way to meet and mingle with the locals is to grab a drink with them. Get a humble pint of beer at Old Taipa Tavern, a casual pub commonly known as OTT, where both expats and locals gather to chat and have a good time. For a cocktail, there is no better place than Goa Nights, an Indian restaurant and bar with an outstanding team of bartenders. Try out the cocktail series inspired by Macanese and Goan cultural landmarks or ask them to surprise you with a drink that caters to your taste.
Chill on one of the Many Rooftops
Notably, Taipa Village has the highest concentration of rooftops in Macau to drink, eat, or hang out. What’s a better spot to chill on a warm evening? They also give you a great view overlooking the village. Check out Rooftop Macau if you prefer a laid-back vibe. If you are looking for date ideas or somewhere to hang out with your group, visit Tapas de Portugal, where you could savor some Portuguese tapas and sip on wine, or book a table at Bella Taipa, an Italian restaurant with amazing Aperol Spritz.
Fuel up with coffee
Besides restaurants and food stalls, Taipa Village boasts a myriad of cute little cafes and stylish coffee shops. One of our favorites is Quarter Square, a cafe and showroom with trendy merchandise. From poor over to flat white, their coffee is brilliant. Take some to go or sip it at their rooftop. You can even bring your four-legged companion to Quarter Square and meet its PR director, the adorable french bulldog Copper who is often napping in an armchair there. If dogs make you uncomfortable, there are many more coffee shops at Taipa Village that serve aromatic coffee and friendly vibes.
Also read: Best Places for Coffee in Taipa Village
Learn more about the city’s history
Old Taipa remains rich in history and both Portuguese and Chinese heritage. For artifacts and information, visit the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History, located in a former Municipal Council of the Islands headquarters. Now it’s a charming mint green colonial building that hosts a collection of relicts on the history of two islands. Hungry for more history? Go up the picturesque staircase surrounded by magnificent trees on Rua Direita Carlos Eugenio to find yourself at Taipa Houses Museum, a complex of five Portuguese-style houses representing the colonial era living. “Macanese Living Museum”, the “Exhibitions Gallery”, the “Creative Casa”, the “Nostalgic House” and the “House for Reception” are free to visit, don’t hesitate to enter and see what exhibitions they have inside.
However, you don’t need museum crawl to feel the historic spirit of Taipa Village as there is plenty of it on the streets. Take a look at the Iec Long Firework Factory. Now an abandoned building that closed down in 1984, it used to be an important economy booster for the whole city, one of five firecrackers factories of Macau. Also, don’t pass by Feira do Carmo, a vibrant market space in the past and a stunning meeting square today. Decorated with Portuguese tiles and the majestic resting dragon sculpture, this square is where Eastern and Western cultures meet.
Explore the spiritual side of Taipa
This vicinity has preserved some of Macau’s most beautiful places of worship; it would be a sin not to visit one. There are five Chinese temples dedicated to various Taoist deities, including Taipa’s oldest Tin Hau temple built in 1785. To explore the Portuguese spiritual landmark, visit Our Lady of Carmo Church, a beautiful Catholic church, and a popular backdrop for the newlyweds’ photo sessions.
Ride a Bike
Taipa Village is filled with beautiful sights, and what better way to take them all in than riding a bike? Navigate your way through its scenic streets and narrow alleyways with a bicycle and travel back in time. If you don’t own one, do not worry. You can easily rent a bike around Taipa Village, starting at MOP $20 per hour. Check out the rental shop next to Pak Tai Temple.
Look for art on the narrow streets of the village
While walking through atmospheric streets nad lanes of Taipa Village, keep your eyes open as there is street art here and there. Look out for a mural of a world-famous Portuguese artist Vhils, known for his signature urban portraits on cities’ walls. When you enter Old Taipa from its historic center side located in front of Galaxy Macau, walk along Rua Governador Tamagnini Barbosa towards Macao Federation of Trade Union. On its front wall, you will see a stunning traditional azulejos panel with ships, painted in white and blue. Taipa Village Art Space is not to be missed either, tacked between colorful houses and busy streets, this cozy gallery often exhibits local artists and photographers, so it’s a perfect chance to get acquainted with the Macau art scene.
Also read: Your Ultimate Macau Art Guide
If you are a tourist in Macau, there is no better area to buy souvenirs for friends and family than Taipa Village. Opt for traditional pastries and cookies on Cunha Bazaar, buy a stylish T-shirt with an artistic print at Quarter Square, or visit a dedicated shop O-Moon that sells original souvenirs with Macau motifs. Magnets with azulejo, shoulder bags, keychains, coasters with the city landmarks–there is plenty of cute stuff that will make a great gift or an excellent souvenir for you to remember your time in Macau.
This article was originally written by Nisa Reita in April 2018 and updated by Ksenia Kuzmina in August 2020.
Photo credits: Ksenia Kuzmina, Taipa Village, Leonor Sá Machado.