If You’re In Macao For 48 Hours, Here’s How You Should Spend Themby | August 23, 2019
There’s something about Macao’s East-meets-West culture that makes it a unique place to visit. With an addictive mix of colonial Portuguese and Chinese influences, the peninsula is an amalgamation of old-world charm and modern glamour.
From architecture to cuisine, one can find a harmonious blend of European styles with the local Macanese community and that’s what makes Macao truly spectacular. Cafes in lonely trails, opulent hotels, unforgettable exhibitions and shows, authentic fine-dining restaurants, exciting nightlife and activities for adrenaline junkies, it’s a destination that everyone can enjoy.
The tiny enclave located just off mainland China is now establishing itself as a ‘must visit’ luxury travel destination. While most people know it as Asia’s very own Las Vegas, Macao boasts of very interesting history. Until 1999, it was both the first and the last European colony of Asia that was under Portuguese rule.
So, head to the land of casinos and palatial hotels, try your hand at a few rounds of roulette, and this list of everything else that you can do in 48 hours.
How To Get There
To get to Macao you have to first fly to Hong Kong, which is almost a six-hour-long flight from New Delhi as well as Mumbai. The Hong Kong International Airport itself has a terminal from where you can board the ferry that takes you to Macao. The 70-minute high-speed ferry ride flies by as you spend your time looking out of your window into the pristine, blue waters.
Where To Stay
Macao has two islands, Taipa and Coloane, which are joined by a strip of reclaimed land called Cotai. This is where you’ll find most of the luxurious properties that Macau is known for, including The Venetian Macao and Parisian Macao, which offer a taste of Europe in Asia. You can even find the St. Regis Macao here, which is staffed with butlers who are happy to attend to your every need à la Sex And The City 2. You can even stay at the Morpheus City Of Dreams that'll take you on a trip into the future. So, if you’re imagining something like The Jetsons you’re on the right track.
Morpheus City Of Dreams
Morpheus is unlike any hotel in Macao or even all around the world, and we don’t say that lightly. This 40-storey structure was designed by Iraqi-Brit architect Zaha Hadid who was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. The property is more like a sculpture than a hotel with interconnecting bridges, designer boutiques, and a rooftop pool wrapped into an intricate, metal, spider web frame. You’ll get a glance into the future as soon as you step into their high-speed panoramic lift that offers an unforgettable visual treat.
Price: On Request
What To Eat
The city is a leading culinary destination in Asia owing to the fact that 19 of its restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars, the world’s leading fine dining authority. You can get a taste of the area’s signature Macanese, Portuguese, and Chinese dishes that the locals love to devour. Here is our guide to the best fine-dining establishments you can sample at a (relative) bargain along with local delicacies in the region.
Cantonese Lunch At Wing Lei, Wynn Macao
Lunch at Wing Lei means a Cantonese meal that's been given the star of approval by Michelin for ten consecutive years and has been awarded the Five-Star Award by Forbes Travel Guide in 2014. On entering the restaurant's main dining area you're greeted with an iconic dragon sculpture composed of 90,000 Swarovski crystals on the main wall that is symbolic of happiness, luck, and energy. Some of the dishes that you can not miss out on are chef Chan Tak-Kwong’s signature layered tofu skin with fish paste in soybean soup as well as the baked barbecued pork nuns with sweetened crust.
Price: Starts at INR 13,500 for two
Drinks And Dinner With A View At Sky 21
Situated atop a highrise, Sky 21 is divided into three parts: one section is a restaurant, another is where you can sway to live music, and the third is the Sky B Bar, a roof-deck that makes this place what it is. The panoramic view of the city is unlike any other—the skyline, the sea, the mainlands, and the starry sky—one can take it all in with a glass (or five) of wine. Football fans will be pleased to know that this also happens to be David Beckam’s favourite spot in the city.
Price: Starts at INR 6,800 for two
Brunch At Luxury Lifestyle Cafe Cha Bei
Did you even go to Macao if you didn’t Instagram it? Cha Bei makes for the perfect contemporary and stylish ’grammable cafe decked in pretty pastels and florals. There’s a counter for smoothies and sandwiches but what you can’t miss is the king prawn capellini and the sea urchin pasta along with dragon fruit juice. It's the perfect brunch spot.
Price: Starts at INR 3,550 for two
Portuguese Dinner At Antonio’s
Dinner at Antonio’s means walking through the narrow lanes of the Taipa village to get there and finding a vibrant hole in the wall. The head chef, Antonio, is the heart and soul of the place and creates an atmosphere that stays with you longer than the food does. He even offers a glass of port wine from his own label once the meal is over. And if you go on Mondays you’ll be treated to a live performance by musicians who come to your table to sing fado. Don't forget to order the seafood stew in a copper pot and wet rice in a ceramic pot; it's their speciality.
Price for two: Rs 9,350 upwards
What To Do
One part of you wants to give in, run to the casino, and gamble everything you’re worth but the other part wants to rediscover yourself in a secluded Portuguese church; well, that’s what Macao is all about. But the perfect itinerary we think is an amalgamation of some tourist attractions, unforgettable shows, adventure activities and, of course, a hand or two at the gaming den.
Soak In The Culture At The A-Ma Temple
The waft of incense as soon as you enter the A-Ma temple will cleanse your soul. It is dedicated to the seafarers’ Goddess, A-Ma, after whom Macao was named. It's open everyday from 7 am to 6 pm and is located on Rua de Sao Tiago da Barra. Once you’re done praying in the temple downstairs we suggest you climb up five storeys to the topmost temple and just sit there to take in the holy atmosphere of the place. It's nothing like you've experienced before.
Sway Into The Night Paying Ode To The Monte Carlo Of The Orient
It wouldn’t be a trip to Macao if you don’t at least try your hand at the casino. Head to The Venetian Macao which boasts of the world’s largest casino with high rollers seated at the blackjack and poker tables all through the day. Macao is the only place in China where gambling is legal, so the casinos are always packed with Chinese tourists testing their luck.
A Day For Thrill Seekers
Macao is the place to be if you’re an adrenaline junkie because it boasts of the highest Bungy jump from the Macao Tower that is in the heart of the city. 61 storeys up and 233 mts above the ground, tour operators AJ Hackett Macao Tower have turned this gambling hub into a must-visit destination for anyone and everyone who loves adventure. Exhilarating and terrifying, this is the activity to do in the city. But if you don’t like the idea of being strapped to an elastic band and jumping off a building then there are other activities you can try out like the Skywalk, the Skyjump, and the Tower Walk. Plus, all of them give you a magnificent view of the skyline.
Finish It Off With Style And A Bang
It’s only fair that you bid farewell to the city of glitz and glamour in style and for that, we recommend the show ‘The House of Dancing Water’. This is Macao’s most expensively made show and will leave you amazed as the performers do a combination of stunts, acrobatics, and theatre. And if that doesn't seem convincing enough, take in the fact that it's been designed by Franco Dragone, who is the former director of Cirque du Soleil.
Price: Starts at INR 5,100
There, we’ve already prepared an itinerary for you. All you need to do now is book your tickets.
Featured Image: Unsplash