Macau is a located in Southern China, known for its casinos and luxury hotels and often associated with gambling. Here are some insights for you before you book a flight to this famous resort city.
1. Macau Overview
Macau is Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Only about 30 square kilometers in size, Macau is located on the southeast coast of China. It borders Guangdong Province of mainland China to the north. About 37 miles away to the southwest of Hong Kong. Just like Hong Kong, Macau has its own currency. The currency of Macau is Macau Pataca which code is MOP. However, HKD is widely use in Macau for ferries, casino operators, hotels and some restaurants. Macau also issues their own passports and also abides by a different legal system than the rest of China. It is governed under the ‘one country, two systems’ principal.
Even though Macau well-known as the ‘Vegas of China’, locals rarely visit the casinos to gamble and government employees are forbidden from gambling here. Majority of gamblers come from mainland China and Hong Kong.
Macau was the first and last European colony in China. Portuguese settled in Macau in the 16th for more than 300 years. Although no longer a colony, Portuguese influence can be seen everywhere from architecture and the food. You can explore the city of blended cultures from Chinese temples till the numerous buildings that retain their Portuguese-style architecture. Enjoy many different cuisines from Portuguese, Chinese, and Macanese. You can start with Chinese congee for breakfast, Macanese dishes as minchi for lunch and, and finish the day with Portuguese caldo verde soup and bacalhau for dinner.
The best time to visit is from October to December when the weather is pleasant, warm and sunny without rain nor typhoon. You should try to avoid period of July to September since its typhoon season. Stay for 2 days will be sufficient to explore this ‘Vegas of China’.
2. Where to Stay in Macau
Sure it has something to offer whatever your reason visiting Macau. Before deciding where to stay, you’d better considering few things for your convenience. The aspects such as how long you want to stay, your interest and the budget.
What part of Macau you choose to stay is depend on the type of trip that you are interested in. Cotai is the right place to stay for you who are interested in shopping and gambling. While Old Macau is suitable for you who are more interested in the food and the heritage. But you can consider splitting the trip into two and spending night at either side.
We can not expect much on finding the guest-house nor the hostel. Its hard to find backpacker hostels which suitable for budget backpackers. For you who prefer not to stay in a casino, you can pick 3-star hotels which price start from $60/ night. Most of the luxury hotels here are part of a casino, it’s worth filtering your search results to 5 stars as there are often deals which would make your trip a cheap luxury break.
3. Must Visit Places
Since Macau only an hour by ferry from Hong Kong, a lot tourist only take it as a short getaway. Generally, they only take a ferry from Hong Kong in the morning and back to Hong Kong in the evening. They visit Macau as a side trip from Hong Kong, however if you want to visit it with tranquility I would suggest to stay for 2 days or maximum 3 days. So you have plenty of time enjoying the list of world-class hotels, spas, shopping, food hunting and other attractions.
Macau is a mecca of gambling and glitz, but the city offer so much more than that. In Macau you can feel the rich Portuguese heritage fused with Chinese culture in street signs, and architecture of the building. It is a city of blended cultures. For those who are planning to visit Macau for the first time you can start planning to hop between extravagant casinos. Take advantage of free shuttle buses to visit many beautiful casinos as Grand Lisboa, The Venetian Casino, and Galaxy. Plenty of casinos in Macau has iconic architecture with unique interior design where many tourists stopping to take picture.
If you are you are adrenaline seeker, you can experience some activities full of adrenaline rush in Macau Tower. Enjoy the ultimate adrenaline rush on the Guinness World Record highest commercial bungee jumping. Apart from the bungee jump, you could also find some more fun things to do at Macau Tower here.
Traveling to Macau without visiting the Ruins of St Paul and Senado Square considering as not visiting Macau attractions at all. The list doesn’t stop there, Macau still have a lot things to offer from Museums, Chinese temple, and also Portuguese heritage. Check this article for some attractions you can visit while you are in Macau.
4. Macau Food You Shouldn’t Miss
As a former of Portuguese colony, Macau has unique cuisines which influenced from both the Portuguese and Chinese. Under Portuguese rule for over 300 years made a big impact on Macanese cuisine. Many dishes are a result of the the spice blends that the wives of Portuguese sailors used in an attempt to replicate their home country dishes. The most used ingredients on Macau dishes are pork, beef, and also seafood. Macanese dishes are often baked or roasted, seasoned with various spices including chili, saffron, and cinnamon, turmeric and coconut milk.
The list of Macanese food you have to eat as Portuguese egg tarts, pork chop bun, almond cookies, meat jerky and also Minchi. The local favorite you should not miss are minchi and balcalhau. Bacalhau is one of the most popular seafood choices in Portugal which infiltrated the palate of the Macanese as well. While the most popular snack is pork chop bun. This snack is a seasoned pork chop rests inside a tasty white bun. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, you definitely should not miss the pasteis de nata or Potuguese egg tarts.
To find more about what to eat while you are on holiday in Macau, you can find it here.
5. Where to Shop
It’s hard not to be tempted to shop while traveling. Either it is for your love one or merely to complete your souvenirs collection from the place you visit. Whether you are a bargain hunter, antiques collector or real big spender, Macau has the stage for the shopper. You can find jewelries (particularly gold), Chinese antiques, porcelain, pottery, electronic gadgets, cameras, watches and silk clothing in reasonable price. Downtown Macau is the premier shopping site with its modern shops, markets and malls.
The most famous market in Macau is Red Market. This is a three-story red-brick building located in the junction of Avenida Almirante Lacerda and Avenida Horta e Costa on the Macau Peninsula. People come for fresh produce, groceries, fresh fruit vegetable, flowers and even clothing stores. But if you searching for something fancy, you should go to modern shopping mall. The list starts from the Shoppes at Venetian, One Central Macau, and Billionaire Couture.