14 September, 2017
There are a lot of places out there in the world waiting to be discovered. One such place is Macau. Located just an hour from Hong Kong, Macau has beautiful cobblestone lanes, colonial mansions, art-deco buildings and tranquil parks, all of them created in a fusion of Chinese and Portuguese motifs.
Macau was the first and last European colony in China. The Portuguese settled in Macau in the 16th century and the island was handed back to China in 1999. Although no longer a colony, Portuguese is still an official language and the Portuguese influence can be seen everywhere from blue tiled street signs to tiled floors and beautiful gardens. Another well-known fact is that Macau is the gambling capital of the world. The most popular game is baccarat, a relatively simple game and Baccarat tables dominate the city's 33 casinos. Macau's revenue from gambling is $33 billion, more than five times that of the Las Vegas Strip.
The city's historic monuments are one of the city's biggest draws, a wonderful example of the early encounter between Chinese and European civilizations. The old heart of the city is small and a walking tour can easily take in the key sites from the iconic Senado Square, the Ruins of St. Pauls, the beautiful churches, temples and the old city wall. Most of the sites are open daily and free to visit.
It’s southern most island, Coloane still remains wonderfully untouched by the casino craziness. This is largely due to strict rules over title deeds that make it difficult to buy property on the island. The low-rise houses and quiet tree-lined streets give Coloane its charm and still remain as they have for decades. Coloane is home to Lord Stow's Bakery, the birthplace of Macau's much-loved egg tart. Not too sweet, these tarts with their crispy pastry are worth queuing for.
Macanese cuisine is fusion food and combines the best of Chinese and Portuguese ingredients, with influences from Brazil, Goa and other former Portuguese colonies. Portuguese influence is seen in the flavoring, with plenty of turmeric, cinnamon, chili, and coconut. Dishes are often baked or roasted for a long time to allow the flavors and spices to develop. Check out a few important places that you might not want to miss out on when you are there!
Hac Sa Beach is Macau's largest natural beach. It's on the southeast side of Coloane Island. The beach is a kilometer long and famous for its black sand. It gets its unique color from minerals in the seabed that are washed ashore. The sand isn't as black as it used to be. Erosion was gradually chipping away at the beach so the government decided to top up the beach, but the replacement sand is yellow, which has muted the dark sand.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral, or Mater Dei, is Macau’s most famous landmark. The façade, with detailed carvings, is located atop one of the island’s seven hills, which lends it much significance and great views. Behind the facade is Saint Paul’s Museum that houses various religious relics and artifacts including the tomb of the Jesuit monk who designed the Cathedral.
The Monte Forte, to the east of St Paul’s, is the oldest fort in Macau and is nestled in the midst of the city. A World Heritage Site, this Portuguese fort takes you back to the 17th-century Dutch invasions and offers splendid views of the entire city.
The loftiest building in Macau and a member of the World Federation of Great Towers, this tower is sure to fascinate its visitors. With everything from watching movies, shopping, theatre performances and of course, magnificent views, this 338 metres high tower is definitely one of Macau’s ‘must visits.’ Don’t forget to dine at the revolving restaurant, 360° Café, situated at the 223 metre level.
The A-Ma-Gao Temple tucked away in the south-western tip of Macau city is the oldest Taoist temple in Macau and is a great spot to visit. In fact, the city of Macau got its name from the word Magao (A-Ma Temple). The temple is dedicated to the goddess of seafarers and fishermen, Matsu.
Macau Wine Museum
The Macau Wine Museum is another interesting place to visit. Get to know about the different varieties of wine, their brewing and even sip your favourite ones. The shop at the Macau Wine Museum is the perfect place for you to familiarise yourself with and buy some of the finest varieties of Portuguese wines.
Fisherman's Wharf Amusement Park
If you are fond of adventure activities and water sports, Macau is the place to be for you. Spend a day at Fisherman's Wharf, a giant amusement park complex that dazzles with themed interiors where you can globe trot in seconds! Situated close to the Hong Kong-Macau ferry terminal, this theme park offers a multitude of rides, restaurants, game stalls and shops.
Largo Senado Square
Don’t miss going to Largo Senado Square, a public square, which is simply mystifying at night. Boasting of many restaurants and shops, this place is best explored on foot and no motor vehicles are allowed here.
City of Dreams
A visit to the aquarium at the City of Dreams resort and casino complex is sure to give you another unique experience. The virtual aquarium brings to life fantasy mermaids who swim around to enchant guests as they walk past. The Dragon’s Treasure show and the House of Dancing Water make for delightful experiences. City of Dreams is also home to the glitzy and happening City of Dreams Casino and Hard Rock Hotel Gaming Area.
Lin Fung Temple
The Lin Fung Temple or Temple of the Lotus is famous for its ornamental garden and front square with a great variety of ancient trees. It is an impressive sight and a must visit in Macau.
To plan a trip to Macau, visit our Samarth Tours, designed especially for seniors!
Stay up to date with information you can use. From health and money to entertainment and special offers, the Samarth newsletter is your weekly source of insights to help get more out of life.
© Copyright 2016. Samarth Community.