Famous for its casinos and Portuguese architecture, Macau is only 65km (40mi) west of Hong Kong and can easily be visited on a day trip.
A former Portuguese colony, the city is an historic treasure trove full of fortresses, baroque churches, Art Deco buildings and cobbled alleyways. In fact, 22 of Macau’s historic buildings have been awarded World Heritage status. Most of Macau’s sights are clustered around the inner harbor, which makes exploration easy.
A day trip to Macau will reveal the baroque Church of St. Dominic, the Jesuit Monte Fort and the exceptional Macau Museum. You won’t be able to miss the evocative façade of Macau’s most photographed attraction – the free-standing baroque front of the former Church of St. Paul.
Thanks to Macau being the only region in China where gambling is legal, a string of casinos now hugs the Cotai Strip, a long stretch of reclaimed land between the outlying islands of Coloane and Taipa. Attracting super-high rollers and wannabes from the mainland, the flashy opulence of the casinos provide an interesting contrast to Macau’s historic attractions.
Quite distinct from the mainland, there’s a palpable fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cultures in Macau, which is evident in its people, lifestyles and food.
Spicy Macanese food definitely adds to the unique flavors of the city. Make sure you try some local snacks including Macau’s famous dim-sum (they range from almond cakes to cashew cookies!) and a Portuguese tart.