Macau has all the glitter and glamour of Las Vegas but combines the high-rise glitz of the Cotai Strip with a rich culture and history going back hundreds of years. Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East and a Portuguese colony for over 300 years. This endows Macau – now part of China and known as the Macau Special Administrative Region – with a unique blend of colonial Portuguese and traditional Chinese culture. This is reflected in the Portuguese street names, the well-preserved colonial architecture, the cobbled streets, eclectic cuisine, traditional festivals and much more.
With Macau’s giant casino properties seriously trumping their Vegas twins, Macau is not short on Vegas-style trappings either. Want gondolas? Head for the Venetian, now the biggest casino resort in the world. Want million dollar tapestries on the walls? Look no further than the Wynn. In true Vegas style, Macau also boasts spectacular shows – such as Cirque du Soleil and "House of Dancing Water".
The Cotai Strip is also where visitors will find great shopping with numerous malls housing luxury brands. Macau’s annual influx of some 30 million visitors are also treated to a busy calendar of major events – from the Macau Grand Prix to traditional Chinese celebrations such as Lunar New Year.
Ruins of St. Paul’s–This is a signature World heritage landmark of Macau. Guests may visit the Macao Museum next to the ruins to discover more about the history of Macau.
Taipa Village–Full of delicious authentic Portuguese cuisine, pork chop buns, Portuguese egg tarts and signature Chinese crab congee. The architectural design of the buildings and the atmosphere within Taipa Village makes you feel like you are walking in the local Portuguese streets.
Coloane Village–This is Macau’s most unique destination of all, where time stands still. You can stroll through the village which is filled with beautiful, pastel-colored houses and an old chapel on St. Francis Xavier square. It’s also the location of the original Lord Stow’s bakery!
Senado Square–While standing on this wavy-patterned square, you can witness the remarkable mix of Chinese and Portuguese cultures in one location on the Macau peninsula.
Tap Seac Square–This is a beautifully designed square, which much like Senado Square, is pedestrian-friendly. As you weave in and out of Portuguese-style buildings, you can explore art exhibits, purchase local arts and crafts or sip on an espresso in a cozy café. At Chinese New Year, this square comes alive with a colorful outdoor market selling all kinds of gifts for the Lunar New Year.
The Red Market–For a truly local experience, I recommend walking through the Red Market to watch as residents buy their fresh fish, meat and vegetables. It’s a really colorful wet market and right next door is an old tea house, where you can enjoy dim sum.