Cheap Flights to Macau
With its long history as a Portuguese enclave, Macau charms utterly with its beguiling blend of the Mediterranean and Cantonese.
Long an entrepot on the Pearl River Delta, Macau became a Special Administrative Region of China in 1999 after 400 years of rule from Lisbon. Its wealth now derives mainly from the influx of punters eager to enjoy the only legal gambling in the region.
But the territory is also well worth visiting to experience the relaxed and quirky charm evoked by its fortresses, Portuguese street names and blend of stately Catholic churches and gaudy Chinese temples.
It's a compact place consisting of the old city on the peninsula and the conjoined islands of Taipa, Cotai and Coloane to the south.
The old city features the famous historic centre and is also home to trendy boutiques, swank restaurants and fine hotels.
Each of the islands has its own unique character. Taipa features delightful architecture, Cotai houses and grand casinos, and Coloane is a more traditional spot with beaches, small villages and restaurants.
The territory comes alive at festival time as it celebrates both local and Portuguese special days including the moving Procession of Our Lady of Fatima.
Things to do
Macau may lack the massive malls and swinging clubs of Hong Kong, but its rich culture and laid back vibe offer a more seductive charm. And, of course, there's the casinos.
The historic centre can be viewed in a morning on the Heritage Walk. The excursion highlights the city's most iconic attractions including the facade of the 17th-century Jesuit church of St Paul (Sao Paulo). If you feel peckish, snack on Portuguese egg tarts along the route.
Known as the Las Vegas of Asia, the Cotai Strip between the islands of Taipa and Coloane is home to the territory's grander gambling dens. If you're up for a game of baccarat or bet on the spin of the roulette wheel, the casinos offer free transport to the tables.
A stroll through Taipa islands reveals vistas of old China with traditional shops and some fine restaurants. Coloane has still managed to avoid the encroachment of casinos and features low-rise buildings and leafy streets.
Calendar of Events
Macau observes all Chinese festivals as well as its own local and Catholic celebrations.
Feast of the Drunken Dragon. This local event is observed by fishermen and fishmongers on the eighth day of the fourth moon (May or June). The action kicks off at Kwan Tai Temple, from where inebriated revellers dance through the byways waving dragon heads and tails.
Procession of Our Lady of Fatima. This occasion held on 13th May commemorates a 1917 sighting of the Virgin Mary in the Portuguese village of Fatima. The main event involves a parade which starts from St Domingo's and ends at Penha Chapel with open air mass.
Macau Grand Prix. Long a staple on the international motor racing circuit, this annual event in November features Formula 3 vehicles testing themselves along the challenging Guia circuit.