A Special Administrative Region of China, just 40 miles from Hong Kong, Macau is one of Asia’s most exciting destinations for travellers who seek cultural diversity, exquisite food and world-class accommodation and shopping.
Luxury brands from Dior to Gucci and Cartier grace the many glittering malls located throughout the city. The Four Seasons, The Venetian and The Wynn all boast luxury shopping while the One Central Macau connects the MGM Macau and Mandarin Oriental.
But it is not only high-end shops which dot Macau’s streets. Within the Historic Centre of Macau, certain streets are lined with antique shops while the roads leading from Senado Square are bustling places to shop. Clothing markets are found around Sao Domingos and in the Three Lamps district (Rotunda de Carlos da Maia) leading from the foodie Red Market, which is also worth a browse to find fresh fish, vegetables and more.
Macau is also home to a host of elegant and peaceful spas offering a range of traditional and cutting edge treatments to boost health and wellbeing. Notable names include award-winning Banyan Tree Spa, offering healing therapies and Asian-inspired treatments, the spa at the Mandarin Oriental and the Six Senses Spa at the MGM Macau.
Macau has become one of Asia’s great gourmet getaways. In addition to the unique local Macanese fusion dishes, you can enjoy great Chinese food, some of the best Portuguese food outside Portugal and all kinds of international cuisines.
There are 24 Macau restaurants in The Michelin Guide Hong Kong & Macau 2015. With three Michelin stars, and ranked amongst the best restaurants in Asia are, Robuchon au Dome and The Eight, serving exquisite Cantonese and Huaiyang cuisine - both located within the Grand Lisboa Hotel – plus a further two two-star, seven one-star and thirteen “Bib Gourmand” restaurants, awarded to restaurants that offer excellent value for money.
Macau is a mecca for night owls.
The neon lights of the casinos and privileged views of Macau’s dramatic skyline set the scene for rooftop cocktail bars such as at the stylish 38 Lounge bar at the Altira Hotel or Sky 21, located on the 21st floor of the AIA Tower. Sky 21 features a chic lounge bar, a dance floor with an alfresco deck and incredible views of the Macau Tower and Nam Van Lake.
Highlights of the vibrant club scene include the Cubic club, which regularly welcomes DJ’s of international acclaim. It is one of the largest hotspots in Asia, set over two floors in the City of Dreams, where international live performances, laser projection facilities, a gothic-style bar and Asia’s first Perrier-Jouët Champagne Bar combine in a variety of dazzling effects to impress party-goers.
Also to be found in the City of Dreams, the multi-million dollar production The House of Dancing Water. Featuring spectacular high dive acrobatics, it is undoubtedly one of the world’s most unique and spectacular shows.
The Portuguese arrived in Macau in the 16th century and, although it is now a Special Administrative Region of China, their influence can still be clearly seen in the beautiful Historic Centre of Macau. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005, it is a living reflection of Macau’s unique history and paints an evocative picture of the region’s Sino-Portuguese heritage. Within the maze of streets, alleys and picturesque piazzas of the Historic Centre, visitors will find Taoist Temples from the Ming dynasty, 17th-century fortresses, baroque churches, traditional Chinese homes and courtyards and colonial palaces, all within walking distance of each other.
Highlights include the atmospheric A-Ma Temple, which already existed before the city of Macau came into being, the iconic Ruins of St. Paul’s and elegant Senado Square, with its charming cobbles and grand fountain in its centre.
Macau offers a wide variety of outdoor attractions, from the world’s tallest commercial bungy jump for those seeking a thrill, to the more gentle pursuits available in valleys and hiking trails of Coloane’s picturesque countryside. The sandy beaches on the southern coast of Coloane, sweeping Hác Sá Beach and Cheoc Van Beach, are both lapped by safe, warm waters making them ideal for swimming and watersports, such as canoeing and windsurfing.
For adrenaline junkies, there is nothing quite like the Macau Tower, one of the world’s tallest towers at over 330 metres high. Take a walk on the wild side with the SkyWalk X experience on the 1.8 metre-wide outer perimeter that encircles the tower, 233 metres above the ground with no handrail to cling onto. Or sign up for the world’s tallest commercial bungy jump, where jumpers reach speeds of up to 200kmh during a five-second freefall.
Macau might be best known for its mixture of ultra-modern attractions and nightlife alongside its unique Portuguese-Chinese heritage and culture, but the destination also caters ably for visitors in search of relaxation.
The Banyan Tree Spa, is an award-winning and tranquil haven offering a range of time-honoured spa healing therapies and Asian-inspired treatments and one of the most well-known in Macau. Other notable options include the Six Senses Spa at the MGM Macau, The Spa at the Mandarin Orient and the Isala Spa at Grand Hyatt Macau, blending the science of aesthetics with the peace and wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the peninsula, Coloane’s beaches, hills, valleys, traditional villages are the perfect place to relax and recharge.
Macau hosts a year round calendar of fascinating and colourful events and festivals that reflect its unique multicultural heritage and traditions through Chinese and Portuguese celebrations, including the annual Chinese New Year celebrations, Dragon Boat Festival and the Christian “Senhor dos Passos” procession.
Other highlights include the Macau International Fireworks Contest and the Macau Grand Prix, which takes place between 19 – 22 November this year, representing the climax of the Formula 3 calendar on one of the most challenging street circuits in the world. The Macau International Fireworks Display Contest sees expert teams from across the globe produce dramatic shows that light up the night sky in a myriad of colours and attracts huge crowds overlooking Nam Van Lake.