Known as the Las Vegas of the East, Macau is famous for it’s casinos, bright lights, luxurious hotels and shopping facilities.
This bright and glitzy part of this former Portuguese colony is evident along the famous Cotai strip.
But behind the scenes, lies the older part of Macau, the parts where early Portuguese settlers built their townships.
Ornate and colourful old buildings, squares, churches, theaters dot this part of the city.
This part of Macau oozes with mysterious charm, with it’s quaint homes, cobblestone streets, steep alleyways, squares for relaxation and social activities, and steps that allow pedestrians to take a short cut to the next neighbourhood.
The best way to explore this part of Macau is by foot. I managed to get around despite a sprained ankle bound nicely with an ankle guard – after a minor incident at the Hung Hom in MTR station in Kowloon involving me, my phone and lack of attention to steps ahead of me.
If you do get tired, there are plenty of small cafes in the nook and crannies along the cobblestone streets and lanes.
Shops offering an array of foods and services and cafes along narrow cobblestone streets
These shops usually cater for the locals and serve some of the best local fares.
If you do get tired there are buses and taxis but the difficult part about hailing taxis in Macau is that they don’t just stop anywhere, in the busier parts of town there are designated taxi stops, you just have to figure out where exactly.
Communication is another issue. The main languages spoken here are Mandarin, Cantonese and Portuguese.
So I would suggest taking snapshots of the sites you would like to go to on your phone, or circle it on a map to show your driver. It is better to use websites or maps with Chinese characters. Wikipedia works fine.
Getting to Macau from Hong Kong:
Cotai Jet: http://www.cotaiwaterjet.com/ferry-schedule/kowloon-macau-taipa.html
Turbo Jet: https://www.turbojet.com.hk/en/
Macau is the last European colony in the Asian region. The Portuguese ruled Macau from 1557 until 1999 when it was returned to China.
The development of Macau has been rapid, and it is well known for it’s casinos nowadays than its grandeur as a trading port.
Much of the land around has been reclaimed, changing the face of the city.
But, Macau has somehow managed to hide some of its heritage and history in parts of the city that are neatly tucked away.
It is amazing how it offers the glitz, glamour and bustle for those who want it, and quiet solitude in its quaint old world – if that’s what you seek.