Macau has long been a haven for gambling fans, Asia’s answer to Las Vegas. Attracting millions of visitors per year, there is so much more to this part of the world than gambling. In fact, there are plenty of must-see attractions for visitors, and a number of sights you simply must see if you’re ever fortunate enough to visit.
A Portuguese territory until as recently as 1999, Macau has similarities with Hong Kong, in that it represents a real mix of global cultures. As a result, Macau is a historic location with stunning artefacts, attractions and sightseeing to be enjoyed. So with itinerary planning in mind, where should you start?
A must-visit part of Macau is the historic centre. This is the real Macau, and at times feels miles away from the glitz and glamour of the big casino resorts. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005, it is the cultural centre of Macau, and the best way to get a flavour for the intriguing history of this part of the world. Here you’ll find monuments, historic streets and ancient Chinese relics. Look out for the A-ma Temple, standing since 1488, the impressive Moorish Barracks, and the bustle of St Augustine’s Square. A trip through the historic centre is well worth a day of your visit, as you become acquainted with all the history and culture Macau has to offer.
Ruins of St Paul’s
Built in the 17th century, St Paul’s is a classic example of Portuguese architecture of the time. The impressive construction speaks to Macau’s history under Portuguese control, and the juxtaposition of something so European in an unfamiliar cultural setting is worth taking the time to explore. You’ll find that the ruins have been preserved in good conditions, with one wall of the former cathedral remaining standing, supported by a visitors centre and other local attractions.
Sadly, the structure is leaning, and threatening to collapse at some point in the near future. In fact, there have even been calls for the remaining ruins to be demolished, which authorities have continued to resist in the name of preserving this important part of the territory’s history. So if you’re in Macau in the foreseeable future, you’d better go and check this out – it might well be the last chance you ever have to see this piece of living history.
If historic and cultural things aren’t particularly up your street, or if you’re planning to make the most of the nice weather, there are a number of other opportunities you can take advantage of when you’re in Macau. Scuba diving fits firmly into this category, and it would be shame not to explore the underwater treasures this part of the world has to offer. There are a number of dive sites, diving schools and instruction centres, so whether you’re an expert diver or diving for the first time, there are plenty of chances to get involved.
There you can explore the crystal blue waters, and get up close and personal with exotic sea life. There are regular scuba diving tours, and you can even book a dedicated scuba diving holiday if you’re really keen. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore a world underwater when you’re in Macau – with such stunning diving conditions, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
Macau Tower Convention Entertainment Centre
Arguably Macau’s most impressive landmark is the Macau Tower. Dominating the city skyline, you can see the Tower for miles. But it’s also an important visitor attraction, with a variety of entertainment on offer for those who make the trip. Of course, there’s the most obvious attraction – the stunning view. A 360-degree panorama allows you to take in the full splendour of Macau, while the bars, restaurants, and cafes make this a great place to hang out while you’re enjoying all Macau has to offer.
If you’re feeling brave, there’s also the chance to skywalk, or to bungee jump from the top of the tower. Not for the faint of heart, just make sure you don’t jump straight after lunch…
Of course, no trip to Macau would ever be complete without taking in the gambling resorts. The Cotai Strip is home to some of the world’s most elaborate casinos, multi-billion dollar developments that truly raise the bar. The Venetian, for example, has reconstructed the romance of Venice within its four walls, as well as offering thousands of hotel rooms and luxury suites. And that’s before we get to the gambling – there are of course thousands of gaming tables across Macau, and plenty of opportunities to leave richer than you arrived.
The Wynn Macau and the City of Dreams also get honourable mentions here. These aren’t your usual casino resorts – they are stunning, monstrous creations that take gambling to a whole new level. Sure to be an eye opener!
Macau is also home to some of the world’s largest sponsored poker games where millions are won and lost every day at the tables. The Party Casino Cash Games in conjunction with the Casino, are a popular format including NLH, PLO, and Mixed games, but don’t worry, its not just for high rollers as many small stakes games are also available to play. So, whether you are a poker professional or a just looking for some small stakes fun, Macau is the place to be.
This is a stunning part of the world, with so much to offer, whatever your personal tastes and interests. Of course, it’s important to make sure that you take as much of it in as possible, but while you’re there, it would be a shame not to visit the casinos. After all, they don’t call is the Las Vegas of Asia for nothing.