You might not expect to tuck into a spicy African chicken just an hour from Hong Kong – or a perfect pastel de nata thousands of miles from Lisbon. But then Macao is full of the unexpected – a melting pot of different cuisines and cultures.
Designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, Macao has everything from delicious street food to 19 Michelin-starred restaurants, with the local Macanese cuisine taking inspiration from South America, Africa, India and Malaysia as well as Portugal and China.
A trip to Taipa Village, one of Macao’s most traditional and Instagrammable areas showcases this – where Macao’s East-meets-West cuisine and character are on full display.
Macao is full of the unexpected – a figurative melting pot of different cuisines and cultures
Life and soul
Located on the south coast of China, just 40 miles from Hong Kong, Macao’s unique Portuguese-Chinese heritage gives it a very different, more Southern European atmosphere to its neighbour.
Part of Macao’s global appeal is its bustling nightlife, with a glittering choice of cool bars and trendy nightclubs, glitzy casinos and spectacular live shows.
The House of Dancing Water is a must – this breathtaking show from Franco Dragone is the world’s largest water extravaganza, involving unparalleled water effects and record-breaking acrobatics.
And if you’re into jaw-dropping visual feasts, then time your visit in September and October to enjoy the Macao International Fireworks Display Contest.
Plan your trip
Four nights at the five-star Langham Hong Kong Hotel and three nights at the five-star Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 in Macao including return business class flights and private transfers from £2840pp. Valid for travel 15 October - 09 December 2019.
A heady experience
If you have a head for heights, then the 338m Macau Tower will be right up your street. Home to one of the world’s highest commercial bungy jumps, a SkyWalk around the Tower’s perimeter is impressive enough – especially if you opt to go at night. But for the real daredevils, there’s the Tower Climb – a 100 metre scramble up the communication mast to the very pinnacle of the Tower.
Back on solid ground, Macao is the perfect size for a walking tour and there are various routes that will help you to discover the iconic attractions and cultural sites – just download the Step Out, Macao app.
For the real daredevils, there's the Tower Climb – a 100 meter scramble up the communication mast
King of the chill
If relaxation is the aim of your visit, then Macao’s southern countryside offers a range or picturesque hills, beaches, parks and golf courses to help you unwind.
When it comes to resting your head, there’s everything from traditional Portuguese pousadas to luxury hotels. Eagerly anticipated openings include the Grand Lisboa Palace, a resort featuring three hotels – one of which is the world’s first Karl Lagerfeld Hotel, designed entirely by the fashion icon before he passed, and The Londoner Macao, which will exude classic British luxury across four hotel brands.
When to come
There really isn’t a bad time to visit Macao, but depending on your preferences, there are a few events you might like to consider. For creatives, Art Macao is a five-month mega international arts and cultural event that runs from June-October. For petrolheads, there’s the Suncity Group 66th Macau Grand Prix (14-17 November), the world’s only international street circuit racing event that has races for both cars and motorcycles. And in December, events range from the Macao International Marathon to the 4th International Film Festival & Awards Macao.
As for the rest of the year? Well, fortunately chic shopping, deluxe spas, award-winning dining, and thrilling nightlife are all timeless experiences. Macao may only be 11 square miles, but it packs a punch far mightier than its size would first suggest.
How to get there
Macau International Airport offers flight links from around the region but most UK visitors fly into Hong Kong and take the fast ferry crossing (about one hour) or journey across the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. There are direct flights from the UK to Hong Kong with British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic.