The autonomous region of Macau has forged a reputation as the Las Vegas of Asia.
Las Vegas is known as being a hub of casinos and gambling, but there is much more to do in Sin City, as we’ve previously explored. The same can be said for Macau; the South China region has 42 casinos, but it is not only there for a few hands of poker or a roulette wheel spin. Instead, it is an area rich in culture and history, a mixed hand of European and Asia influences combing to make a full house of experiences and attractions.
What should you be doing if you’re in Macau and have no interest in a game of poker? Where should you go, other than towering casinos, if you want to experience the real Macau? This guide will help you get the most out of your visit.
Ruins of St Paul’s
Most guides to Macau suggest the ruins of St Paul’s as one of the top things to do in Macau that is not casino-related. The cathedral was once the finest Christian building in the Far East, but a fire in 1601, followed by a typhoon in 1835, brought it down for good. Now, just the Renaissance façade remains, modeled on the church of Gesu in Rome.
It is still a great place to visit, located close to Travessa da Paixao, a narrow street known as Lover’s Lane, with restored pink buildings. It is also high on the list of great places to visit in Macau, and like a pair of pocket aces, the two are best experienced together.
The A-Ma Temple
CREDIT: By WiNG – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10965625
The A-Ma temple is part of Macau’s UNESCO Historic Center and has been attracting visitors for more than 600 years. It was built on the Macau Peninsula in 1488 and inspired the area’s name when Portuguese settlers arrived.
You might need a day here – it is divided into six sections: the Gate Pavilion, Prayer Hall, Memorial Arch, Hall of Benevolence, Zhengjiao Chanlin, and Hall of Guanyin. It’s a place of tranquillity, with lots of great spots to snap photographs and relax.
Senado Square, or Senate Square, is right in the heart of historic Macau and provides a lovely backdrop for a stroll. It is overlooked by the old Senate Building, erected in 1784 and the city’s finest example of Portuguese colonial architecture. Inside, the Senate Library has more than 50,000 rare manuscripts, some more than 500 years old.
The square is also a great place to experience the fusion of European and Asian cultures, with restaurants providing cuisine from both areas. It’s also a good spot for shopping to enjoy the best history and contemporary culture in one area.
CREDIT: By The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3670441
AJ Hackett Macau Tower
The AJ Hackett Macau Tower is a recent attraction, not boasting a historic past nor a fusion of cultures. Instead, it is a 338m tower built primarily for broadcasting and telecommunications. It forms part of a wider Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Center and has tourist attractions that must be tried. Perhaps you wish to jump off? If so, CNN reports the world’s highest bungee jump is situated at the 233-meter mark. You might also wish to try the terrifying skywalk, a guided experience around the outer rim of the observation level.
For those who prefer their thrills a little more sedate, there are plenty of restaurants and shops within the center and theaters to take in a show