The Magic of Macao | City AM
Advertorial published by City AM, September 2019
The saying goes that good things come in small packages, and nowhere lives up to this more than Macao, the diminutive Chinese region located on the country’s south-east coast. Measuring at just 13 square miles, it still manages to pack a vibrant cultural punch, with its Portuguese-Chinese heritage creating an eclectic backdrop on which everyday life now unfolds. This blend of influences results in an intoxicatingly heady atmosphere for visitors — small wonder it’s fast gaining a reputation as one of the most exciting destinations in the Far East.
Just 40 miles from Hong Kong, visitors can reach Macao in an hour by high speed ferry, or cross via the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, a feat of modern engineering and, at over 34 miles, the longest sea crossing on earth. And with a wide choice of flight connections into Macao International Airport from around the region giving further access options, visitors can enjoy Macao as a day trip or, better yet, a two or three night sojourn in which there’s time to uncover the area’s true essence.
And there’s plenty here to be discovered. Macao is alive with cultural hybridity — think traditional Portuguese cobblestones and Baroque churches alongside the splendour of Chinese temples, and the echoes of Cantonese and Mandarin reverberating through colourful streets and alleyways. There’s a sense of old juxtaposing new around every corner (be sure to spend time at the Historic Centre of Macao, which is Unesco World Heritage listed), the two living seamlessly alongside one another, simultaneously embracing both past and future. The result is a fascinating identity that weaves together a unique culture, delicious food, world-class nightlife and entertainment — all combining to create a one-of-a kind experience.
With easily one of the most intriguing culinary scenes in Asia, Macao is a must-visit for foodies — in fact, it was designated a Unesco Creative City of Gastronomy in 2017. And it’s not hard to see why. The region features some of the best Portuguese food outside of Portugal not to mention a rich tapestry of Cantonese and Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s also home to the local Macanese fusion cuisine, which combines Chinese, Portuguese, South American, African, Indian and Malaysian flavours and influences. For a one-stop sample of it all, take a trip to atmospheric Taipa Village, whose bustling lanes are home to a huge choice of local restaurants and street food favourites.
Appetite sated, visitors should have plenty of fuel for exploring. One of the best ways to discover Macao is by following one of the eight ‘Step Out’ walking routes that zigzag among the most iconic sites as well as more off-the-beaten track districts. Don’t miss the wealth of stunning historical buildings, for instance the iconic Ruins of St Paul’s. Or for an encounter with the future, head for 338m Macau Tower, where the brave attempt the world’s highest commercial bungee jump, or reverse gravity with the Tower Climb — a 100m scramble to the building’s pinnacle. For something more relaxing, head south to Coloane’s beaches and countryside or, for a spot of retail therapy, to the plethora of luxe designer stores.
Macao by night
As night beckons, Macao steps up the pace and the sun is replaced with a glittering skyline. Head to one of the cosmopolitan bars for a cocktail or two, then make haste for one of the cool clubs, glamorous casinos or spectacular shows, like The House of Dancing Water, with its breathtaking, high dive acrobatics and stunts. Glitz fix attained, lay your head at one of Macao’s exceptional luxury hotels or traditional Portuguese pousadas.
Make the most of macao
While a visit to Macao at any time of year is an unrivalled experience, it’s worth taking note of its impressive calendar of genre-spanning events. Art Macao is a mega arts and cultural event running until October 2019; the Macau Grand Prix (14-17 November) is the world’s only international street circuit racing event for both cars and motorcycles; the Macao International Marathon takes place on 1 December; and for glamorous, red carpet appeal, the 4th International Film Festival & Awards, Macao will be held between 5-10 December.
Whenever you visit, there’s simply no escaping the eternal appeal of this unique Chinese region that thrums with the spirit of Southern Europe.
Three nights at the 5* Grand Hyatt Macau including return business class flights with Finnair to Hong Kong, return transfers
and breakfast from £2,339 pp. Valid for travel 1 Feb to 31 March 2020. Book by 30 Nov 2019. T&Cs apply. awayholidays.co.uk/fareast/macau/grand-hyatt-macau, 0800 408 6627
For further information about Macao, visitmacao.co.uk