December 4, 2016
Taking in the Sights and Tastes of Macau
Straight to the Point
Macau is a neat little area in Southeast China. It’s a cultural mix of Portuguese and Chinese which makes it a particularly interesting region to explore. It’s pretty small overall so you can see most of Macau in about a day.
- Macau is a Special Administrative Region of China just an hour ferry ride from bustling Hong Kong (or 15 minutes by helicopter).
- It’s a self-governing entity with its own border control, legal system, and currency.
- Macau was the first European colony in China and was settled by the Portuguese. Many of the 16th century Portuguese buildings and architectural designs are still standing in the city.
- Macau is best known for its casinos. It’s commonly referred to as the Las Vegas of Asia. Most of Macau’s gamblers come from China-and this has a clear influence on the games played. Baccarat is the most popular game throughout the casinos!
- Over the past 15 years several high-profile American casinos have sprung up in Macau- such as Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands (Venetian Hotel), and MGM.
- I wouldn’t take a trip all the way to Macau from the US just to gamble, as Las Vegas is closer to home and is a much larger gambling city. But if you’re in Macau, casinos are pretty much unavoidable as most of the major hotels are built around them.
- Senado Square is a public UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the center of Macau.
- The square has dozens of old buildings inspired by a hybrid of beautiful Portuguese and Chinese architecture. Even though you’re in China, you feel like you could be in a major European city!
- Aside from being a great spot for photos, the square is filled with local restaurants and shops you’ll want to explore.
- What I loved most about this part of town was that it was a hybrid of two completely different cultures and it somehow worked great!
Ruins of Saint Paul
- These ruins are what’s left of a 17th century Portuguese church that burned down in 1835. The only thing left standing is the front façade of the building.
- This iconic Macanese location is another a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the entrance to Senado Square so you should definitely check it out if you’re there!
- Always try the local food when you’re in a new city! Macanese cuisine is a hybrid of Chinese and Portuguese flavors which make it particularly interesting.
- The Portuguese Egg Tart is arguably the most iconic local item to try and and it’s sold pretty much everywhere. Pick one up as you stroll through Senado Square.
- You’ll also find lots of jerky sold throughout the city! There’s tons of different flavors of jerky from various animals such as boar, pork, and beef.
- Finally, you should try some of the Chinese cuisine as well. I had my first bowl of bird nest soup at the Wynn Resort.
- Yes, the soup is made from an actual boiled bird’s nest. It’s considered a delicacy in China and is reported to have numerous health benefits-I’m always open to trying new foods at least once! The soup itself is flavorless and various sauces are added to give it more of a taste.
- You don’t need very long to see all of Macau. It’s a small area and most things to see are located close to each other.
- I was able to visit all the sites in one day. I’m not much of a gambler so the casinos do nothing for me. If you enjoy gambling set aside additional time accordingly.