World-famous for its luxury hotels and large-scale casinos, Macau (also spelt Macao) is a destination that is rich in history and culture. A mere one-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong, cruisers to this part of the world can easily fit in a quick trip to the place known as the ‘Vegas of China’. Not sure what to expect? Below you’ll find just a snapshot of the many highlights waiting to be discovered in Macau.The Ruins of St Paul
Often described as a place where ‘east meets west’, Chinese fisherman and farmers were the first known settlers in Macau, taking advantage of its favourable trading location at the mouth of the Pearl River. Later settled and developed by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau would remain a colony for over 300 years and both Chinese and Portuguese influences are evident in the area’s architecture, food, religion, languages and much more.
To get a healthy dose of history, make your way to sites such as Mount Fortress, a defence structure that was built partly by Jesuits between 1617 and 1626 and that is home to the Macau Museum (closed on Mondays). Here you’ll find an impressive collection of objects that sheds light on how life was lived by various communities in the past. Another must-see (and must-photograph) attraction is the ruins of St. Paul, which includes the remaining façade of the Church of Mater Dei (built in the 17th century) and St. Paul’s college, a university founded by Jesuits in 1594.
Yes, Macau is undoubtedly the place to be for those who enjoy a flutter. Giant hotels such as Wynn Macau, MGM Macau, Hotel Lisboa and the Venetian Macau loom large and light up the sky at night. Inside, punters can choose from a vast range of slots and table games at the casino, shop at hundreds of luxury stores and feast at one of many dining options. Non-gamblers can also enjoy an array of world-class entertainment, with live shows showing off the best musical, dance, theatrical and comedic performers around. Highlights include the Tree of Prosperity (an ensemble of music, light and video) and Dragon of Fortune (see the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac in a mesmerising display of audio, lighting and art) shows at the Wynn Macau.Rua do Cunha
As you wander the streets of Macau, allow yourself to sample all this stunning territory has to offer. Portuguese egg tarts and pork chop buns are local favourites, while you can hunt for Macao treats (think almond cakes, candied peanuts and egg rolls) at narrow streets such as Rua do Cunha in Taipa Village. If you’re looking for authentic Macanese cuisine, expect a stunning blend of flavours and spices like turmeric and cinnamon, as well as plenty of baked, grilled and roasted goods. Also keep Macanese chilli prawns and African chicken on your radar!
With its own unique flair, atmosphere and culture, Macau is a winning destination that is well worth a ferry ride from Hong Kong. Of course, as there’s much to see and do here, you’ll need to keep an eye on your watch and make sure you get back to your cruise ship on time! For more information about Macau or cruises to Hong Kong, contact our friendly cruise consultants on 1300 954 661 today.