Explore Macau

Explore Macau
When you think of travelling to China images of red lanterns, temples, dim sum, and little fishing boats come to mind; but not anymore in Macau. Macau, an hour ride from Hong Kong, has turned into the gambling mecca of the world. As the new Las Vegas of the East, the Macau Peninsula and Cotai Strip offer luxury hotels and casinos including big names like The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, MGM Macau, Wynn and Encore Macau, and even the famous Eiffel Tower.

Prior to 2005, Macau was the first European colony in China dating back to the 16th century and was only given back to China in 1999. The Portuguese settled in Macau which has given the city a unique infusion of Portuguese influence into the Chinese culture, especially in culinary terms. There are plenty of historic sights to visit, and smartly played by the Macau government, the historic centre has earned UNESCO World Heritage status thereby preserving the churches, temples and the old city wall from future development.

Historic Centre
Rua de S. Paulo Street, famous souvenir street

Places to Visit in Macau

  • Ruins of St.Paul’s
  • Senado Square
  • A-ma Temple
  • Macau Tower
  • Grand Prix Museum
  • Museum of Macau

Unique Things to See and Do in Macau

  • Play Baccarat at the casinos
  • Have Shrekfast at the Sheraton Macau
  • Explore the Monte Fortress
  • Watch the incredible show at The House of Dancing Water
  • Throw yourself off the tallest bungee jumping platform in the world!

Macanese Cuisine

After walking through the historic centre of Macau, visiting the Senado Square and St. Pauls Ruins, and shopping along the famous Rua de S. Paulo Street, you’ll need to refuel with some really interesting Macanese cuisine. Not a typical combination, but a delicious one, is the mixture of Chinese and Portuguese flavours. Common spices and flavours include turmeric, coconut milk, and cinnamon.

Planning your food choices is a good idea, especially if you only have a couple days to visit and you don’t plan on being in the casinos the whole time. The first popular menu item is the Portuguese egg tart. The pastry is super flaky with a sweet egg filling topped with caramelised shell (like creme brulee). The next one on the list is their egg rolls. Even though they are not unique to the area, they are so yummy that they can’t be missed.

Don’t forget to try seafood while you’re here. Both Portuguese and Chinese cooking involves a great deal of seafood, but the Portuguese flavours are the showcase. Here are five almost national dishes for Macau: Curried Crab, Caldo Verde, Minchi, Porco Balichao Tamrino (a sweet and sour dish to die for), and Galinha a Africana.

Street foods are always a good bet, especially for the foodies out there, and are often good examples of traditional home recipes. The luxury hotels offer some amazing choices at slightly higher prices, but it is worth it.

Getting Around Macau

Macau is a peninsula spanning 9.3 square km which means walking to most of the major sights is doable. There are plenty of taxis which are fairly cheap and easy to access. The public buses are bit unique in that they only operate in one circuit, which means the stops can vary on your return trips. The bus can be a bit confusing, and typically drivers only speak Cantonese with a few words in Mandarin or English and no Portuguese. Another fun option is taking a trishaw, a three-wheeled rickshaw ride that is popular with the tourists.

Did you know…?

Macau is the only legal place in China where you can gamble.

Grand Lisboa Macau

Did you ALSO know…?

The Macau port was the main trafficking point for Chinese slaves being taken to Portugal. The Chinese workers would be sold once they arrived in Portugal.

Macau Wharf (1860)
One thing to note: if you are travelling from Hong Kong to visit Macau for a couple of days, you will need your passport to move through these two regions. They each have their own separate immigration and customs checks when you arrive.

Best Time of Year to Travel to Macau

The main distinction in weather in Macau is between the wet and dry seasons. During the summer time, the weather is hot and humid and experiences the most rainfall. This can also be a stormy time of year with hurricanes and typhoons, although not that common. You can expect thunderstorms and rainstorms.

Fall is a great time to visit, as the temperatures drop, the humidity drops and even winds slow down. Winters can be quite chilly with Siberian winds whistling through. The temperatures can drop to a low of -10C.  Spring is a great time to visit with the temperatures averaging between 21C and 25C – the days are warm with only a bit of fog here and there.

Ready to plan your visit to China? Check out these popular guides and trips.

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