How to Get Under The Skin Of The Unique City-State of Macau

If you’re a fan of discovering hidden gems, look no further than the tiny island city-state of Macau. It is an autonomous administrative region of China, able to adopt legislation as a result. New legislation in Macau’s post-millennium era has transformed the peninsula into one of the gaming capitals of the world, but there are much culture and architecture to explore, too.

A former Portuguese colony overtook by Portuguese seafarers who wanted closer trade links between Europe and the Far East, the most charming aspect about Macau is that it’s one of the few destinations where western influences fuse with the Asian way of life. Foodies that want to understand the Macanese cuisine will be enchanted by its simplicity. Macau’s street food culture is the ideal place to start. In fact, some of its street food is so impressive that it has been rated by Michelin.

Macau’s Portuguese egg tart is possibly the jewel in the crown. These baked goods with their delicious egg custard in the middle, complete with crispy crème brûlée topping, are a wonderful mid-morning treat while wondering the back streets of the city.

The city’s other signature street food snack is the pork chop bun, which is soft and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. These varied textures are what make them so special. Keep your eyes peeled to some of the local stores in the Taipa suburb from about 2 p.m. daily when they appear fresh from the oven. Most visitors to Macau liken the buzz around the pork chop bun to the western hamburger in its convenience and popularity.

You don’t have to spend a dime to marvel in the Macanese architecture throughout the city. The beating heart of the city is Senado Square, which is adorned with ornate Portuguese mosaics and murals, along with a majestic water fountain. Formerly the civic centre of Macau, many of the buildings around the square used to be government-run and boast impressive colonial structures of all colours. If it’s colours and history you’re after, no visit to the city would be right without exploring its Chinese temples.

The A-Ma Temple is the best place to understand the fables and legends of Chinese heritage here. If you’re fortunate, you might be able to time your visit with one of the Temple’s colourful festivals or celebrations.

If the hustle and bustle of city life prove too much, the beauty of Macau is that you can escape to its coast for a relaxing day at the beach. The unmistakable Hac Sa Beach is one of the most unique you’ll ever visit, thanks to its rare black sand. It’s due to the raft of minerals that have washed ashore here from the seabed. However, the black sand is steadily replaced by typical golden sand due to soil erosion, so we’d recommend you take a trip to Hac Sa soon before it loses its original appeal.

Finally, did you know that Macau has become the epicentre of gaming in the entire world? Before the turn of the millennium, the city’s casinos were part of the region’s seedy underbelly, operated by gangs and dangerous criminals. However, new regulations from the Chinese government helped to clean up the city’s casino scene for the better. It now turns over four times the amount of gaming revenue as Las Vegas, although it’s difficult to rival Vegas as the world’s overall entertainment capital. If you fancy a slice of contemporary Macanese culture for one night only, you could head to one of the downtown casinos and explore the neon lights, infectious music and vibrant crowds at The Venetian Macao — the largest in the world in gaming floor space.

Of course, if you’re new to the concept of playing casino games or the mechanics of how slot games work, you could always learn en route to Macau by playing a mobile casino app on your smartphone or tablet. Mobile casinos are one of the easiest and fastest ways to play casino games and video slots today, and some casinos even offer welcome bonuses so that you don’t even need to deposit real money to play from the word go.

Although Macau is the most densely populated city on the planet, there is still plenty of opportunities to unwind and experience life like a local. Macanese life can’t be all that bad when you consider life expectancy here is the fourth-highest on the planet. With political stability and a proud colonial history, it’s easy to see why increasing numbers of travellers are flocking to the shores of the Macanese peninsula. Macau is one of the best Asia destinations, I hope you enjoy your Asia vacation!

*Collaborative post


  1. Macau sounds like a great place to explore. How interesting that it's so big on gaming.

    1. Yes gambling seems more accepted in Macau than other places. I've been to a couple of casinos in Las Vegas, of course you have to know your limits, I admit I just play the slot machines for 5c each :)

  2. Oh wow! This sounds like a really interesting place to go and visit.

  3. Had no idea about the gaming - I always assumed it would be Vegas. I love custard tarts, I’d be there just for those alone!

    1. The Portuguese influence is an interesting insight.

  4. I have a friend from Macau and I've always wanted to visit the country, the cuisine sounds good!