Macau will forever own a special place in my heart. It was one of the first places I’ve ever been a tourist at. And it is home to many of my favourite dishes. Once a Portuguese colony and now one of the most visited cities in the world, Macau combines the old and new. You can stay at a brand new luxurious 5-star hotel upon arrival and then take a short cab ride to enjoy a classic Macanese meal in a century-old restaurant. Macau is divided into 4 main parts (from North to South): Macau Peninsula, Taipa, Cotai, and Coloane. Each with its own unique characteristics and must-sees. The currency used is Macanese Pataca. However, the most commonly used currency is the Hong Kong Dollar due to many Hong Kong tourists. If you’re flying directly, it is recommended that you take out some cash at the airport as most places are cash only. Cantonese and Portuguese are the main languages spoken by locals, but some speak English and Mandarin as well.
Where to stay
There is an endless supply of luxury hotels in Macau. They are at the highest of quality offered at the most affordable rate. So if your budget allows, stay at one of the 5-star hotels! It will blow your mind. However, this also means that the quality of their 3-star hotels is also relatively high. So for me, the main factor in choosing where to stay is location. I recommend the Macau Peninsula; you will be conveniently in the middle of everything. With a lovely view by the water, you can relax in a nice hotel when you’re not exploring. And the area has a fun night scene as well.
Taxi and walking is my favourite combination. Macau is so small that you can walk everywhere. Then, once you get tired, grab a cab to your next destination. The bus is actually very affordable and convenient as well. And it is a fun adventure! I took a bus from Senado Square to Black Sand Beach, and it was one of my most unforgettable moments for sure!
What you can do
You cannot go to Macau and not gamble. If you don’t like gambling, at least visit a casino. If you grew up in Asia you would know that Macau is where it is now because of its casinos. Since the beginning of time, everyone went there for the casinos. Many people when thinking of casinos, Las Vegas is popping up in their minds. But Macau is the winner in terms of gambling revenue!
Go to Hotel Lisboa, and people watch. I like standing there watching these older Chinese men screaming and shouting by the tables. This is how it’s been for decades! And, of course, if you’re lucky, you might make some extra cash for your trip.
Roaming the streets of Macau oddly can give you a similar feeling to wandering the streets of Europe. There are so many little cobblestoned roads that lead you through different neighbourhoods. And Macau adds an extra element of surprise – are you heading into Portugal or China? I love the blend of culture in Macau! One second you’re passing by a gorgeous cathedral, and within 20 more steps, the smell of incense from the nearby temple starts filling the air around you. You never know what this one road will lead you to.
Taste the local cuisine
There’s nothing like it. A food baby of the Portuguese and Cantonese culture. Trust me, you’ll fall in love. Find a place nearby to try these out:
Portuguese egg tart
Pork chop bun
Ice cream at Lai Kei’s
Visit the old Macau
The 5-star hotels, Michelin restaurants, brand new shops and casinos and all its glamour may be attractive, but promise me, take a look at the “Old” Macau. Visit the places that made Macau so desirable to these investors and developers in the first place. Try to spend most of your time outside the newly developed zones, you won’t regret it. Some of my favourites are: