26 June 2018 by David Ward
A Special Administrative Region of China, just 40 miles from Hong Kong, Macao (also spelt Macau) is one of the Far East’s most exciting destinations, and makes a perfect addition to a Far East holiday or stopover en route Down Under.
The Portuguese arrived here in the 1500s and it still retains a unique Portuguese-Chinese heritage and culture. Among its greatest treasures is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Historic Centre of Macao, which boasts Taoist temples, baroque churches, elegant piazzas and the iconic Ruins of St Paul’s.
The 338-metre Macau Tower offers tremendous views across the Pearl River Delta from its revolving restaurant and observation deck, and other cultural attractions include the Macao Science Center and museums celebrating everything from history to art.
This year, Macao is putting the focus on food, having been designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy last November. Alongside Portuguese, Chinese and all kinds of international cuisines, Macanese dishes combine influences from China and Portugal as well as South America, Africa and India.
Few Asian destinations can beat Macao for sheer entertainment value with a dizzying number of bars and nightclubs, as well as glitzy casinos and shows including the spectacular House of Dancing Water, a breathtaking water-based show at the City of Dreams resort. There’s also an impressive events calendar, including annual festivals of food, film and light.
Visit the Macao Giant Panda Pavilion, enjoy a treatment at one of Macao’s elegant spas or shop till you drop at one of the bustling markets or glitzy malls packed with designer brands. In contrast, Macao’s southern countryside of picturesque hills and rural villages, valleys and beaches offers a slower pace in which to relax and recharge.