Dream Journeys: Macau
To the west of Hong Kong, Macau is a city of two sides, its Portuguese history contrasting with its Chinese heritage.
A Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Macau is a huge buzzing city, with two islands, Taipa and Coloane beneath it, accessible by bridge. Each has its own distinct character, though most visitors tend to stick to the city proper as this is where the majority of the action is. Here you’ll find a wealth of colonial reminders, hidden in everything from the beautiful architecture to the outstanding cuisine. China too, is well represented, and in some cases the mix of the two is startling beautiful, and definitely unique. Take the food for example, there are all the Portuguese classics you’d expect, including outstanding Pasteis de natas, but often, they’ll have a little twist, a spice or a cooking technique not common in Europe, a must for any avid foodies. Equally you’ll find a charming combination of architecture, with fortresses, churches as well as temples and tea shops. We recommend stopping off at the ruins of the Church of St Paul, the Monte Fort or the Chapel of Our Lady of Guia for some of the best examples of architecture in and around the city.
Macau is busy, and down by the casinos it’s even busier, with busloads of Chinese tourists from the mainland coming to gamble, and Hong Kongers visiting for the weekend, so if it all gets a little too much, head out of the city to one of the islands and enjoy a completely different vibe. The small island of Coloane is the least developed and whilst there are a few luxury villas and amenities dotted around, in general it remains relatively untouched by the frantic tourism nearby.
However, whilst peering into the past is enchanting, it’s the future that’s the real reason people flock to Macau. The only place in China where you can gamble, vast casinos are dotted along the waterfront area, each trying to outdo to last. For a long time it was the Casino Lisboa that was most popular, with an iconic look and plenty of character inside, however, the Sand Casino is now the talk of the town. However, the newest casino development is taking place on the Cotai Strip, where a multitude of hotels and casinos are being built, to try and replicate the look and feel of Las Vegas. Many hotels are already open, with more to follow over the next couple of years.
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