Macau’s heritage as a former Portuguese territory for three centuries lends this autonomous region of China a genuine diversity to its exciting and vibrant culture. Today it’s renowned for its glitz, glamour, gambling and luxury (earning it the moniker of the ‘Vegas of China’), but that certainly hasn’t dulled down its traditional character in the process.
The eclectic melding of Asian and Portuguese architecture, traditions and cuisine has created a territory that wears both its differences and its fusion of cultures proudly. The UNESCO-listed Old Town ensures there’s no forgetting its history, and around the southern areas of Coloane, Taipa and Cotai, massive super-casinos, traditional Macanese houses and tranquil villages provide a wonderful mix of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy.
What to Do
It’s no secret that a huge majority of the visitors to Macau come for the casinos, and gambling is one of the premier attractions. There are plenty of opportunities to try your hand at the most popular game here, Baccarat, which the locals take very seriously. As well as the tables, the casinos host world-class international entertainment – including the long-running House of Dancing Water show.
But you don’t have to go too far to get a fix of culture here and there are numerous traditional Chinese temples to explore, as well as some stunning examples of Baroque architecture including the famous ruins of the sixteenth-century St Paul’s church. The UNESCO-listed Old Town is a fascinating place to see the ‘east meets west’ fusion for which the city is so famous. The village of Taipa also provides a wonderfully-preserved insight into the region’s history and is a genuine step into the past as you wander the charming streets.
If you need a bit of a breather from the culture and casinos, you can head down to Coloane, Macau’s largest green space and pay a visit to the star attractions – the pandas! This is also the place to enjoy an invigorating hike to the summit of the area’s highest point, Alto de Coloane, where you’ll get spectacular views over the China Sea.
Macanese cuisine combines the exoticism of the east and the influences of the west in a wonderful marriage of flavours. Along with traditions borrowed from Cantonese and Southeast Asian cuisine, it’s also clear to see the overtones and inspirations of Indian, African, Spanish and Portuguese food. It’s been widely accepted that Macanese is one of the world’s first ‘fusion’ cuisines.
You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to the array of dishes on the menu, but there are some that you really shouldn’t miss if you want to get the authentic taste of the region. Minchi is a delicious starting point and is one of the signature dishes. Comprising potatoes, minced beef, onions, Worcestershire sauce and topped with a fried egg it’s way more delicious than it sounds!
African chicken is another favourite local dish enjoyed in abundance. This flavoursome curry uses peanuts, coconut, chilli and paprika to create the unique taste. And, for the sweet tooth, you can barely walk a few steps without finding somewhere that sells the famous Macau egg tarts. Highly inspired by the Portuguese custard tarts, the local version is deliciously flaky and very more-ish.
With a geography that delivers a year-round subtropical climate, Maucau enjoys mild winters and summers that can be hot and rainy. Spring and autumn are the most appealing in terms of climate, when temperatures are pleasant and rainfall, while always possible, is not as prevalent as in the long summer season.
In winter, which runs from December to February, the temperatures range from cool to balmy, with the highs at around 18-20 degrees Celsius and lows ranging from 5-10 degrees – although it’s only occasionally on the lower end of that. In summer, from June to September, the temperatures can soar to 32 degrees Celsius with frequent rains and a very humid atmosphere.
How to Get There
Getting to Macau involves a long haul flight from the UK that takes around 15.5 hours. There are numerous airlines that service the route but the flight will involve at least one change/stopover. The territory has just one airport, Macau International (MFM).
When you land at the airport, the easiest way to get the rest of the way to your final accommodation is with a pre-booked shared or private transfer with Shuttle Direct. A professional local driver will be on hand to take you wherever you need to go with no waiting around and no delays.
Travelling to Macau? Don’t Miss…
- Who doesn’t love a panda? For animal lovers, the Giant Panda Pavilion, on the former island of Cotai, is one of the most appealing attractions and a true once in a lifetime experience. It’s fantastic for families to be able to enjoy not only the giant pandas but also red pandas and monkeys up close.
- AJ Hackett Macau Tower is a magnet for sightseers and thrill-seekers alike. The views from the observation deck of this 338m-high tower are nothing short of breath-taking but that’s not all… For those brave enough, there’s the attraction of the Skywalk or the world’s highest bungee jump, where you can dive into oblivion from 233 metres.
- The beautiful A-Ma Buddhist temple dates back to 1488 and is the city’s most important religious landmark. As well as being a delight to explore its six interior sections, the tranquil grounds make for a lovely place to rest, rejuvenate and take in gorgeous views over the bay.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is proud to have a reputation as the best in the business for onward ground transport in destinations all over the world. Whatever your budget and wherever you need to go, you can make a simple online booking with us before you leave home. Our range of shared and private transfers is second to none and once you land at the airport, a friendly, professional driver will be there to get you to your final accommodation without delay.