With a surprising mix of Eastern and Western cultures, Macau could be the holiday destination you’ve been dreaming of. Having been a Portuguese territory for over 400 years, the city boasts amazing architecture, culinary delights and great nightlife – all of which is steeped in history.
Whilst many people may head to Macau to gamble – it’s known as the Las Vegas of Asia – there’s plenty of other attractions to see and do too. To create this city guide, we spoke to Macau locals to find out how to experience this unique destination to the fullest extent.
See: The Historic Centre of Macau
The Historic Centre of Macau has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 2005 and it boasts over 20 beautiful locations which embody the city’s unique mix of both Chinese and Portuguese culture. The crowning jewel of the Centre, and Macau’s most famous landmark, is the Ruins of St Paul’s.
St Paul’s was once an ornate Catholic cathedral, which stood for many years as the ‘Vatican of the Far East’. Whilst the cathedral burnt down in 1835, its beautiful façade stood intact and now remains one of the most impressive sights to see in the city.
In addition to the Ruins of St Paul’s, visitors shouldn’t miss ‘Senado Square’ which is an impressive plaza at the heart of the Centre. With distinctive black and white floor tiles, the square is flanked by neoclassical pastel coloured buildings which trick you into thinking you’re standing in Lisbon or Porto, rather than somewhere off the coast of Hong Kong.
As we’ve just mentioned, Macau is a city with a rich past and so no visit would be complete without a trip to the Historic Centre.
Eat: Michelin Starred Street Food
Macau has a thriving culinary scene, which definitely pays respect to the city’s mixed heritage. If you’re feeling peckish after your trip to the Historic Centre, then there’s no better place to head than the Galaxy Broadway Resort where you can sample some of the city’s best food.
The Galaxy Broadway Resort is a traditional-style street food market, which boasts over 40 different food stalls. Here, visitors can sample both local and international dishes, created by some of the world’s leading chefs.
At the market, we definitely recommend trying a Macau egg tart which is based on the Portuguese pastel de nata. First created in Lisbon in the 18th century, the pastry was introduced to Macau by British baker Andrew Stow and now remains an iconic dessert.
If you’re more of a savoury fan, don’t miss out on trying Michelin starred dim sum by Tim Ho Wan. Located within the market, Tim Ho Wan’s restaurant serves traditional dim sum alongside signature dishes such as ‘Pan Fried Turnip Cake’ and ‘Baked Bun with BBQ Pork’.
Macau is full of culinary delights which blend the city’s two cultures perfectly. Be sure to sample some traditional meals, which may be far from what you were expecting.
Drink: Enjoy Afternoon Tea with Panoramic Views
Alongside classic European architecture, Macau also boasts an impressive skyline thanks to the city’s numerous skyscrapers. To get the best view of the city, however, there’s no better place to be than at the Macau Tower.
Standing at 335 metres, the Macau Tower is the 10th largest sightseeing tower in the world. Taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it offers phenomenal views and even boasts a revolving restaurant and bar. Visit the observation decks on the top floor via high-speed glass lift, then take things down a notch and relax in the 360° Café. Here you can enjoy high tea, which comes complete with unlimited tea and coffee, savoury snacks and sweet treats.
In our opinion, we’d recommend heading up the tower in the afternoon so that you can watch sunset fall on Macau. After that, you can watch the city light up and maybe move on to something a little stronger than tea.
Macau has many high-rise bars which give you great views of the city. Whilst the Macau Tower is one of the tallest, there’s also plenty of other locations to enjoy a sunset tipple.
Do: Try Your Luck at the Mega Casinos
Macau has long been Asia’s gaming capital yet since 2002, many new huge casino resorts have opened up. This has not only led to Macau being classed as the world’s biggest gambling destination, but it also means there’s plenty of luxury nightlife to enjoy.
Macau’s most famous casino is the Venetian Macau, which is also one of the largest buildings in the work. The Venetian boasts 3,000 hotel suites, numerous restaurants, designer shops and a 500,000 square foot gaming floor.
The most popular table game in Macau is Baccarat, which is offered at every single casino. Whilst Macau’s gambling businesses do tend to focus on high-rollers, there’s still plenty of opportunities to try your luck, even if you don’t have the biggest bankroll around. What’s more, as many of the casinos are so decadent, it’s just as enjoyable to people-watch and save your pennies for another day.
Macau boasts several of the world’s biggest and best casino resorts. Make sure to check out casino comparison sites, such as Slotsify, before you go to find out which casino is best for you.
St Paul’s Ruins – Wikimedia Creative Commons
Senado Square – Andrew Moore on flickr – some rights reserved
Galaxy Resort Palm Cove – Wikimedia Creative Commons
Macau Tower – Wikimedia Creative Commons
The Venetian Macao Entrance – Wikimedia Creative Commons
Guest Author Bio
Daisy Harrison is a travel and entertainment writer, who focuses on creating city guides for the adventurous. Not content with beach holidays, she loves discovering hidden gems and thrilling experiences. Daisy’s passion stems from her own travels and now, residing in Barcelona, in her downtime she can be found sampling tapas and local festivals.