Macau City Guide
Macau, a small peninsula across the Pearl Delta River, is a former Portuguese territory in China. The 442-year Portuguese rule which ended in 1999 can be seen throughout the city, dotted with European Baroque style buildings that rub shoulders with more classic Chinese styles. As most of the city was built up by Portuguese colonialists in the mid 16th century, Macau is where the East meets the West.
Much of Macau is now recognized as a World Heritage site, but what the city is most renowned for is its reputation as a gambling haven. The Las Vegas of the East has over 33 casinos and among them a few giants like MGM and the Venetian. Macau is the city to visit to experience the best of both worlds and dabble in a low or high stake Poker game. It is after all the only city in China where gambling is permitted.
Things to Do
Whether you’re a gambler or not, visiting the Cotai Strip is an absolute must. The strip is the land connecting the two small islands: Coloane and Taipa, hence forming the name Cotai. The strip with its impressive array of grand casinos gives Las Vegas a run for its money. The Venetian in Macau also goes down in the books as the largest casino in the world and is thus a sight not to be missed.
Whether you’re leaving up or down at the casinos, the next port of call will be the 338m high Macau Tower. Situated on the waterfront of the Nam Van Lake, head up to the observation deck for 360-degree views of the Macau Peninsula. On a clear day, you can see up to 55km in the distance. Adrenaline junkies are in for a treat with opportunities to bungee off the side of the tower or even “Skywalk” on the outer rim of the tower if they dare. Macau is a city made for people who like to live on the edge.
With one foot firmly planted in the modern world, Macau’s more traditional side can be found nestled in the village in Taipa. It’s one of two traditional villages remaining in the city, complete with narrow cobblestone streets and colonial houses. This is the place to explore a bit of the old village life with a craft fair that opens on Sundays, as well as busy Chinese shophouses and of course the infamous Rua do Cunha for a delicious bite to eat.
The Cunha Food Street is the place to sample cuisines from around the world as well as local favourites like Dim Sum, Pork Jerky and Pork Chop Buns.Follow these with Macanese desserts like Pasteis de Nata, which are classic Portuguese Egg Tarts. Getting to Taipa is pretty easy when using the moving walkway at the Venetian that will transport you right into the heart of the village.
The A-Ma Temple is one of the most celebrated temple of China and the oldest in the area. Constructed in 1488 in homage to a Sea Goddess before the arrival of the Portuguese, the temple comprises of courtyards, tiny gardens and prayer halls, all connected with winding pathways. The views from the gardens and weekend firecrackers alone are a reason to visit this historic temple.
Another impressive monument is the Ruins of St. Paul. The largest Catholic Church in the East was constructed in 1580 and has throughout the years battled fires and remarkably a Typhoon in 1835. The church hasn’t had a whole lot of luck over the centuries and now all that remains is the front facade and grand stairs made of stone. While there’s not much to explore, the ruins make for an excellent photo stop.
Taxis are without a doubt the most convenient way of getting around Macau. Buses are your next option and stop at most tourist attractions in the city. Just don’t expect the same bus to go the exact same route on your way back! Whichever mode of transport you choose, it’s best to avoid travelling during peak traffic times, which are usually in the morning and evenings.
When to Go
Macau has two distinct seasons: dry and rainy. April through September is considered to be the hottest yet wettest time of the year. The best times to visit is in October through December when the city is blessed with pleasant temperatures.
Whether you want to feel like you’re waking up on the south-east coast of China, a European city, or in the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, Macau has it all. Browse through our listing of available accommodation in Macau and book your perfect stay today.