Where else can you see stone forts, elegant churches, and cobbled squares, mixed in with Buddhist temples, Chinese gardens, and glitzy casinos? With a seamless blend of its’ Portuguese colonial past and native Chinese heritage, Macau is culture-fusion at its laidback, atmospheric, and enchanting best.
The centre of Macau is the Largo de Senado, surrounded on all sides by colonial architecture. Visit the seventeenth-century Baroque church of Sao Domingos, the stately Leal Senado and its Senate Chamber, and the hilltop museum of Fortaleza do Monte.
Gardens provide an interesting contrast to the city of Macau, with classical Chinese pavilions at Jardim Lou Lim Leoc and tropical palms at Jardim Luis de Camoes. See exquisite models of fishing boats at the Museu Maritimo, stroll along perfectly preserved Rua de Felicidade, hike up Guia Hill to the Fortaleza da Guia and descend to the Fortaleza de Barra at the Inner Harbour. Have your fortune told at Kun Lam Temple, and explore the evocative boulders of the A-Ma temple complex.
Try your luck at the tables of the original Grand Lisboa, the posh Wynn, the gorgeous City of Dreams, and the slick Sands. Ride a gondola inside the Venetian, the biggest and grandest casino of them all. Pose for a picture with the Golden Lotus Flower sculpture along the Avenida da Amizade.
Get away from the glitz and glamour at Taipa Village. Walk along the sleepy Rua do Cunha, eat at Macanese restaurants, and visit the Taipa Houses Museum for a glimpse of the past. In Coloane, explore the St Francis Xavier chapel, Tam Kung Temple, and the beaches of the southern coast. Top it all off with amazingly delicious egg tarts from the famous Lord Stowe's Bakery.
At only 26 square kilometres, Macau is a tiny country. There are no domestic flights, though there's an international airport at Taipa. Macau's main transport hub is the Jetfoil Terminal, which handles incoming ferries, buses, taxis, and even helicopters. Most people will enter Macau by ferry, with regular services from Hong Kong docking at the Jetfoil Terminal, and those from Shenzhen at the China Ferry Port.
Buses operate on fixed circular routes and flat prices, to major destinations around the island. You'll have to pay the exact fare when getting on. However, taxis are probably the best way of getting around. They're inexpensive and metered, though there's a small surcharge for going out to Taipa and Coloane.
• Do bargain when shopping for jewellery and antiques. Be sure to get a certificate of authenticity for any purchases of gold.
• Do deposit any casino winnings in a bank, or keep them safe. Don't flash your winnings around to tempt robbers or pickpockets.
• Don't borrow money from loan sharks or unauthorized moneylenders at the casino.
• Don't forget to book your ferry ticket long in advance if you're leaving Macau on the weekends or holidays.
Macau's biggest source of revenue comes from gambling, and the profits of its 33 casinos account for 50% of its economy. Besides offering common games like blackjack and roulette, the casinos also feature traditional Chinese games like pai-kao, fan-tan, and dai-siu. Or try the "hungry tigers" - a local name for slot machines.
Macanese cuisine is a truly unique fusion of Chinese and Portuguese cooking, spiced with exotic influences from Africa, Southeast Asia and India. Quintessential dishes include minchi, porco balichao tamarino, African chicken, curried crab, caldo verde, and of course, Portuguese egg tarts. Dine at a Macanese restaurant to sample a sublime potpourri of flavours!
Visit Macau now and experience the hustle and bustle of this unique country first-hand. Search for the cheapest airfares and flight tickets to Macau on Skyscanner Singapore.
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