A former fishing village and trading post turned neon-lit “Vegas of Asia”, Macau deals a winning hand of culture and fine food to go with the gaming
Picture a few dozen glitzy Las Vegas casinos and a modest sampling of Oporto’s famed edificios and avenidas jammed together on a strip of land overlooking the sea and you’re well on your way to grasping the essence of Macau. Located about 60km west of Hong Kong, Macau is home to centuries-old remnants of its past as a Portuguese colony – from chapels and temples to fortress walls and a Mediterranean-style town square.
At one time occupying little more than a square mile of real estate, Macau has grown in the course of 500 years of land reclamation projects such that it now encompasses the Macau Peninsula, the islands of Coloane and Taipa, and the newly reclaimed land in between. The latter area, known as the Cotai Strip, is home to a growing number of mammoth casino resorts – the most noteworthy of these being Galaxy Macau, the Venetian Macao and City of Dreams – that are the primary reason for Macau’s rapid ascent in the ranks of top Asian tourism destinations.
Book a flight to Macau
When to go
Mid-October to December is the best time to visit Macau as the weather is cool, dry and generally sunny. The rainy season runs from April to October, with precipitation hitting its peak in May and from July to September, which is the typhoon season. The average annual temperature is about 20°C, with the mercury climbing above 30°C in the summer but seldom dropping below 10°C in the winter.
As with most parts of China, the Lunar New Year period in January or February sees Macau go into full-on party mode, with parades, festivities in the streets and colourful temple rituals. The Macau Arts Festival falls in May or June, the Macau International Dragon Boat Races in June, the Macau International Fireworks Display Contest in September or October and the Macau Grand Prix in November.
Flying with Jetstar
Jetstar flies direct to Macau from Da Nang, and Phu Quoc.
Transmac, TCM and Reolian ply circuit-style routes covering major attractions and hotels on the peninsula, Taipa, Coloane and Cotai. Buy a prepaid electronic MacauPass at any 7-Eleven store for use on all buses. Macau is home to two taxi companies, Yellow (tel: +853 23 519519) and Black (tel: +853 28 939939), which can be flagged on the street or called. Visitors can also travel via old-fashioned pedicabs, a replica of 1920s English bus and, in the Municipal Garden of Taipa Village, via rental bicycle.
CBD 4km to Cotai, 6km to Coloane
Travel time 5 minutes (Cotai), 10 minutes (Coloane)
Taxi Approx MOP40-70 with MOP5 surcharge and an extra MOP3 for luggage carried in the trunk
Shuttle buses are free and depart every 15-20 minutes