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Macau surprises its visitors with its sights, sounds and tastes and its fascinating blend of Chinese and Portuguese culture and heritage. Despite its size at only 29 sq km it packs a lot in and visitors can easily spend a few days enjoying its UNESCO listed ‘historic centre’, its tranquil countryside on the small islands of Taipa and Coloane and, of course, its fabulous deluxe hotels and resorts, entertainment and casinos.
Below are some of the highlights that could fill 72 hours in Macau:
Spend the morning discovering the ‘Historic Centre of Macau’ that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and features over 20 architecturally important monuments, including temples, churches, mansion houses and even a lighthouse, all linked together by European-style streets, squares and piazzas.
Take part in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony at one of the Chinese teahouses or enjoy a taste of Portugal at one of the many fine Portuguese restaurants, close to the A-Ma Temple in the historic centre. Food plays a major role in Macau society and today visitors will find African, South American, Indian, as well as Portuguese and Chinese influences in the cuisine.
Shop till you drop
Shopping is a must in Macau and you can find everything from jewellery, art and porcelain, to electronic items, tea and cashmere and silk clothing – all at great prices. You can also find Chinese antiques, printed materials and many Chinese pharmacies where you can buy traditional medicines. The best places to shop are around the historic Senado Square and the Red Market, and for luxury shopping visit the Wynn, Venetian or Four Seasons shopping malls.
An evening on the Wharf
Spend the evening exploring Macau’s Fisherman’s Wharf, a fabulous entertainment complex including attractions, theme park rides, shops and restaurants in buildings built in the style of different world seaports such as Cape Town, Amsterdam and Venice. After dinner you can take a flutter casino that is also part of the complex!
Sky high in the Macau Tower
Adrenalin junkies will want to check out the Macau Tower, the 10th tallest building in the world that stems 338m from the ground, for the chance to enjoy the world’s highest SkyJump and Skywalk or to experience falling at an astounding 200km/h on the bungy jump.
Enjoy lunch way up high in one of the Macau Towers’ cafes and restaurants. The 360 Cafe is fantastic revolving restaurant that is a must-do for everyone visiting the city and offers a lunchtime and evening buffet serving authentic Portuguese and Indian cuisine as well as seafood and many sweet treats.
For a real treat head to one of Macau’s elegant and relaxing spas, such as the Six Senses Spa at the MGM Grand, the V Spa at The Venetian or the spa at the Mandarin Oriental. Set in tropical gardens with a heated swimming pool and waterfall, this is an oasis of calm and tranquillity. Choose from around 30 natural health and beauty treatments, including massages, facials and manicure/pedicure.
Eat like a local
Experience one of the oldest restaurants in Macau, the Solmar on the Macau Peninsular. It has been a favourite for locals and visitors alike for around 40 years and is the best place to taste the African Chicken – one the Macau’s typical dishes. The other customers tend to be Chinese or Macanese and during the 1960s the restaurant only served diners that were part of the upper class and operated on a membership only basis!
A breath of fresh air
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head to the islands of Taipa and Coloane, known as Macau’s countryside. They are home to wonderful beaches, traditional villages and forested hills with nature trails and picnic areas, and are easily accessible as they are linked to the mainland by three bridges, plus there are frequent buses from the centre of Macau. Activities that can be enjoyed include trekking, golf, fishing, horse riding and swimming.
Taste of the old country
Take a leisurely lunch in the picturesque Coloane Village at the Cafe Nga Tim restaurant, renowned for its fabulous seafood that is fresh, tangy and delicious! This is a typical Macanese restaurant serving many Portuguese specialities and recommendations include the salt and pepper shrimps and the garouper, all washed down with a crisp Portuguese wine.
Head back to the city and visit the Cultural Club, housed in an authentic old pawnshop on San Ma Lo in the centre of Macau. This place consists of an art gallery, famous library, cultural exhibition hall where Chinese folk art exhibitions are held and the ‘Water-teahouse’ that offers the perfect resting place to enjoy a cup of Chinese tea!
Showtime on the ‘Cotai Strip’. The famous Cirque de Soleil at the Venetian Macau on the ‘Cotai Strip’ offers visitors the chance to see one of the most amazing shows on earth. The Cirque de Soleil opened this year in the state-of-the-art US$200 million theatre that has a seating capacity of 1,800. It’s a great finale to a fantastic three day break in Macau!