Macau is where tradition meets modernity. From glitzy casinos and decadent foie gras, down to the humble relics and worn cobblestones, magnificent Macau’s allure lies in its stark juxtaposition of the old with the new.
The former Portuguese colony of Macau might now be a flashy gamblers’ paradise, but the traditional endures till today. Here you get a signature blend of the old and the new – the ancient and the contemporary coexist in harmony, with the tranquil and deep-rooted traditional side of Macau finding poise within the bustling city’s sleek modern facades.
New: Macau Tower
Representative of the modern cityscape at its best, this replica of Auckland’s Sky Tower is perfect for the adrenaline junkie with its 233 metres bungee jump – the highest in the world – which takes you on a 200km/h free fall. Got the guts for other extreme activities? Try the 100-metre mast climb, or a thrilling skywalk around the tower’s outer rim!
Even if you’re not a fan of daredevil acts, you will like the famed Macau Tower for its ultra-sleek design and the breath-taking panoramic view of the city it offers. Complete with glass-fronted elevators and even sections of glass floor on the observation deck, you can easily feel at the top of the world when you look down at the ground more than 200m below your feet.
Old: Ruins of St. Paul’s
The Ruins of St. Paul’s is part of the Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the baroque façade of these great ruins originally from the 17th century Church of Mater Dei and the St. Paul’s College. The upper levels narrow into a triangular pediment at the top, symbolising the Holy Spirit, the ultimate state of divine ascension. A splendid sight to behold, the façade reflects the cultural fusion of the East and the West – you can find biblical images, Chinese characters, mythological representations, and even Japanese chrysanthemums on it.
If you fancy having Lady Luck on your side, it is tradition to throw coins from the top window of the ruins for good fortune!
2. Fast & Furious:
New: Macau Grand Prix
This annual street circuit racing event’s heavyweight race is the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix, in which cars can reach a top speed of 275km/h. Soak up some big race fever during the Macau Grand Prix weekend in November while cars zoom by tight corners on this famously demanding circuit.
Old: Dragon Boat Festival
And of course, who are we kidding – racing isn’t just for the urban scene. It’s the traditional dragon boat season every 5th day of the 5th lunar month, and this year’s Duanwu Festival falls on June 23. Having its origins in ancient China, the cultural festival revolves around many myths and folklores and is held on Nam Van Lake. Watch the testosterone charged dragon boat races against the thunderous drumbeats while you munch on some savoury zongzi (Chinese rice dumplings)!
3. Tickle Your Taste Buds:
New: Robuchon a Galera
As one of the most revered restaurants in Asia, the exclusive Robuchon a Galera in the Lisboa Hotel is Macau’s only three-Michelin-starred restaurant. It serves excellent French fare – think along the lines of caviar in fine royal jelly and foie gras ravioli. It is also the wine lover’s dream come true, with an impressive 7100-strong wine selection! The restaurant encapsulates the decadent modernity of Macau in a single meal.
Old: Restaurante Litoral
Traditional Macanese food is an absolute lip-smacking delight, being a delicious fusion of Portuguese and Chinese cuisines. You can find some of the best old and authentic Macanese dishes at the rustic Restaurante Litoral, which serves tantalising specialties like Chouriço assado (char-grilled Portuguese chorizo), minchi, Arroz de Marisco (Portuguese seafood rice), and caldo verde.
4. Retail Therapy:
New: Casino shops
Hordes of international label boutiques are housed in casinos like The Venetian, MGM Grand, and Wynn Macau, providing for the ultimate indulgence that is luxury shopping. The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian have an astonishing 1 million square feet worth of shopping and dining – expect high-end brands like Cartier, Dior Chanel, Hermes, Vivienne Westwood, Rolex, and Bulgari, as well as bespoke tailors at these flashy casino resorts!
Old: Senado Square
How do freshly made cookies, Portuguese egg tarts, and authentic Macanese antiques sound? The wave-patterned cobblestone streets of Senado Square, surrounded by buildings with neo-classical architecture, have plenty of great bargains for shoppers – it is home to Macau’s most popular daily flea market. If you are looking for inexpensive Macanese goods and clothes, this lively plaza is the place to be!