The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Macau April 26 2018, 0 Comments
One of the most unusual spots in Asia, Macau offers something a little different for those who happen to be travelling in the area. From its stunning architecture to its world-renowned cuisine and multitudes of casinos, Macau’s glitz and glamour prove to be an alluring combination, making Macau an increasingly-popular destination for tourists. Just an hour by ferry from the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong, Macau is a hot pot of diverse cultures, stunning views, and mouth-watering cuisines. This former Portuguese colony received a huge 30 million visitors in 2016. Considering that Macau is home to a relatively small population of 600,000, that’s a lot of tourists!
So, if you’re working out a budget for your next big trip, here is why you need to factor in a stop at this jewel of an island.
One of the first ports of call for any tourist should be the Senado Square, part of the UNESCO Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site. Covering an area of 3,700 meters, there is plenty to do and see in this historically-rich part of the city. Wander around the square basking in the beautiful architecture while eating egg tarts or pork chop buns from one of the many stores located in the area.
While you’re there, you might as well check out the neighbouring Mount Fortress, which is another world heritage site that used to be the city’s principal military defence structure. Built on Mount Hill, which rises 52 metres above sea level, the fortress is home to many original artefacts and watchtowers, which provide absolutely stunning views. Other stunning views can be enjoyed from Guia Fortress, which was heavily-influenced by Portuguese architecture and also constructed in the 1600s. The Guia Fortress is home to some of the most beautiful murals, which demonstrate the inextricable links between western and east-Asian cultures in Macau.
For another look at the rich history of Macau, head to the Casa Do Mandarin (Mandarin’s House). Formerly the home of the late Qing theoretician and reformist Zheng Guanying, the Casa Do Mandarin’ architecture reflects the fusion of Chinese and western influences and has been beautifully restored by the Chinese government.
If there’s one thing that China is famous for, it’s cuddly and clumsy native pandas. In this regard, visiting Seac Pai Van Park to see the two resident pandas in the Giant Panda Pavilion should be high on any tourist’s list. Kept in large enclosures in the pavilion, visitors are sometimes fortunate enough to catch the pandas playing, although sometimes they prefer to simply laze around. Although a popular tourist attraction, Seac Pai Van Park is also an education and conservation facility where you can find information on conservation projects and archaeological discoveries in Macau, in addition to spending time spotting the other native animals residing in the park.
Whether you’ve arrived by boat or plane, it is likely that you would have caught at least a glimpse of the 338m-high Macau Tower. Not just any old skyscraper, the tower was built as a result of a visit to the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand by Hong Kong casino billionaire Stanley Ho Hung-Sun. He was so impressed by the Sky Tower that he immediately commissioned one for Macau. With its glass-fronted elevator that soars up 223 metres in under 60 seconds, you can watch as the city takes shape beneath your feet. Once you emerge from the elevator, enjoy the 360° panoramic views of the Macau skyline, or, if you’re feeling brave, fling yourself from the top of the tower on the world’s tallest bungee jump.
Finally, no trip to Macau would be complete without checking out some of its casinos. Once thought of as Asia’s answer to Las Vegas, the popularity of casinos here means that Macau now outshines Las Vegas as the world leader in holiday destinations for those who love to play cards or slots. The casinos here are on another level, with the most popular being the Grand Lisboa, the Venetian Casino, and the Galaxy Hotel. After a few rolls of the dice, check out one of the many dancing, water, magic or operatic shows that Macau has to offer.