If you’re traveling around China, you’re in for a lot of surprises, one being the charming city of Macau. However, this is not your traditional Chinese city! Macau was once a Portuguese colony, so the influence of the Mediterranean is still strong, mainly in architecture and food. So, if you need a break from your regular Asian style and want a decadent vacation, don’t hesitate to spend a few days in Macau. Here’s how to have an amazing time in Macau, the Las Vegas of Asia.
Soak up the Portuguese charm
If you want to really feel the Portuguese influence, head to Macau’s main square, Largo do Senado (議事亭前地). Cobblestoned streets, colorful colonial buildings and the laid-back Mediterranean vibe are what makes this place a perfect spot to spend a sunny morning. But, even though this square attracts hundreds of people every morning, there are no good coffee shops on the spot (except Starbucks). Just a bit further up the road, you can see the ruins of the Sao Paulo Church (大三巴牌坊). The church burned down in the 1800s, but its ornate façade is still there. The remains of the building still tell a pretty powerful story of European rule in Asia.
Spend the afternoon at the beach
Macau is blessed with great beaches, probably the best being Hac Sa Beach on the Island of Coloane (路環). The name of this beach literally translates to “black sand beach” and is kilometers long. This means you’ll have plenty of privacy and won’t have to touch elbows with other beachgoers. If you get a bit hungry and thirsty, there are beach bars as well as picnic spots on the beach. Water-bound activities like water skiing are also available for those needing a bit of action.
Catch an unexpected performance
Before returning to your hotel for the night, make sure to catch a fun performance. There are often amazing shows all around Macau, the Las Vegas of Asia. From singing and dancing to opera and visual performances, everyone can find something to spark their imagination. If you just arrived to the city, don’t worry about accommodation! Macau is rich in lux hotels and you can even get great Macau hotel discounts (澳門酒店優惠). No matter what hotel you choose, you’ll be greeted like a VIP and surrounded with glamour and luxury. You couldn’t expect anything else from a city of this caliber!
Try Macanese cuisine
Sure, Cantonese cuisine of neighboring Hong Kong is much more famous, but if you’re a fan, don’t expect similar tastes in Macanese cuisine. Unlike in other colonial cuisines where French, British and Dutch left only a dash of European tastes, Macanese cuisine is a complete blend of Chinese and Portuguese ingredients and cooking styles that resulted in a very unique cuisine.
Expect to see plenty of seafood on the menu like cod, crab and sardines but made in a very Portuguese way with spices like chili, cinnamon and saffron. Unlike other Chinese foods, Macanese dishes are often quite complicated: dishes are often baked or roasted for a long time. Another thing that separates Macanese cuisine from Cantonese is the number of tasty desserts. Don’t leave Macau without trying the amazing Macau Egg Tarts (蛋挞)!
Shop in Venice
Just to be clear, you don’t have to leave Macao to go shopping in Venice. The Venetian Hotel & Casino has a full-on shopping mall modeled after the canaled city of Venice. Smooth cobblestoned streets, blue sky ceiling, Renaissance facades and gondoliers riding the canals will instantly transport you to Italy.
Try your luck in a casino in Macau, the Las Vegas of Asia
After you give your credit card a good exercise in shopping malls, try to get some of that money back in Macau casinos. You can stay in the Venetian and try your luck or you can check out Grand Lisboa with more of a local flavor. Even if the house wins, you’ll have a great time in Macau, Las Vegas of Asia!
The unusual blend of cultures and influences will make Macau an unforgettable travel destination. No matter if you’re the lover of bright lights or if you prefer the laid-back coastal city life, Macau will not disappoint!