Just across the river from Hong Kong lies another bustling port city: the special administrative region of Macau. Also known as the “Vegas of the East,” Macau is famous for being Asia’s gaming and casino mecca. It’s also one of the best places in Asia for a fun vacation getaway.
The architecture in Macau is magnificent, as tourists get to visit historic sites as the St. Paul Cathedral ruins. While foodies can take a culinary trip down Taipa Village to get their culinary fix. Although, what really makes Macau so unique is how it blends east and west, boasting grand colonial European buildings and Chinese temples to provide a cauldron of cultural influences.
As Macau reopens its doors to foreigners and eases travel restrictions, now might be the perfect time to discover what this gorgeous region has to offer.
Places to Stay
As the city where high rollers go to sit at the tables, there’s no shortage of luxury hotels in Macau. Easily the most recognizable building in the city, the lotus-shaped Grand Lisboa is well known for its five-star accommodations, casino, and amenities. Similarly, luxurious digs are offered by Wynn Palace Macau, which is well known for its decadent spa experience.
Meanwhile, staying at the Galaxy Hotel gives you quick access to their Macallan Whisky Bar & Lounge, which has more than 400 varieties of fine spirit. If you’re here to game, you might also want to check out the City of Dreams or the Venetian Macao. Each of these luxury hotels also has its own four and five-star restaurants, meaning you won’t have to go far for casual and fine dining options.
Things to Do
Despite being just 32.9 square kilometers in size, Macau is filled with a ton of different activities for visitors. If you stay at the aforementioned City of Dreams, for instance, you can catch the hotel’s House of Dancing Water show, a Cirque du Soleil-like display of acrobatics involving a 3.7-million gallon pool. Many of the other hotels have their own live shows as well.
Of course, no trip to Macau would be complete without a night of gaming and entertainment. With a total of 41 casinos, Macau offers a huge variety of gaming experiences, attracting tourists looking for that ‘authentic Macau experience’. The Straits Times even notes that Macau’s gaming revenue rose $1.2 billion towards the end of Q1 2021, jumpstarting the local tourism economy after a year of restrictions.
A huge part of Macau’s gaming scene, however, is its massive poker rooms — which every tourist needs to visit. And if you’re new to the game, don’t fret! This beginners’ guide by Poker.org outlines that while there are many variants in the world, one of them, Texas Hold’em, is easy to learn. This is why it is also the most popular. Incidentally, there are places in Macau like Starworld Casino that offer short training sessions to learn Texas Hold’em, which you should take advantage of if you have some free time. Then once you’re more familiar with the game, you can test your mettle against more seasoned players at the luxurious Wynn Macau’s daily tournaments.
Outside the casinos and poker rooms, you can catch a panoramic 360-degree view of Macau Bay through the 223-meter viewing platform at the Macau Tower. There are also the historical ruins of St. Paul’s cathedral that’s located in the Historic Centre of Macau. This is where you’ll find the story of Macau’s past told in traditional Chinese and Portuguese architecture.
If you feel like hanging out with some cute pandas, look no further than the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion. And for those who want to start or end their journey on a spiritual note, visit A-Ma Temple, a syncretic Confucian and folk temple that welcomes all visitors. If you’re planning to do a lot of exploring, be sure to protect yourself from Macau sunshine with UV protective sun creams.
Where to Eat
If you don’t feel like eating at your hotel, you can instead discover some of the local restaurants that have put Macau on the global culinary map. While there are great places to eat all over the city, many of them can be found at Taipa Village. Topping the restaurant list on the guide to Taipa Village by TheCultureTrip.com, La Famiglia has a culinary legacy that dates back 400 years. As one of the first places to fuse Portuguese and Chinese flavors, this is where you’ll find the best Capela or Macanese meatloaf in the city. Meanwhile, Comida Portuguesa O Santos is the place to go for the best duck rice and suckling pig.
For vegetarians, the Blissful Carrot offers a variety of healthy and scrumptious sandwiches, pastas, and desserts.
This is just a glimpse of what Macau offers vacationers. Macau may be a bit of an expensive city, but if you start your journey with these aforementioned places and attractions, you can ensure that your experience will be well worth it.