Just an hour and fifteen-minute ferry ride from Hong Kong lies Macau, the city known as the “Las Vegas of Asia.” Located on the Pearl River Delta, the city’s unique Chinese and Portuguese heritage as reflected in the cuisine, culture and architecture and the new contemporary casinos and shopping centers make a very unique and interesting contrast.
For the cruise traveler, it’s best to experience both sides of the city where ancient China meets Florence and Monte Carlo via the Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Regent Choice Excursion Macau Old and New. Upon arrival you will be greeted by the Kun Iam Statue that resides on the dome of the Ecumenical Center of Religions and known as the Goddess of Mercy in Chinese Buddhism. And while China is filled with temples, the A-Ma Temple should be on everyone’s itinerary. Dedicated to the Chinese sea-goddess Mazu, it is considered one of the oldest temples in Macau dating back to 1448. The temple also offers spectacular views and classical Chinese artifacts.
One of Macau’s most famous landmarks is the Ruins of St. Paul that features the remains of St. Paul’s College and the Cathedral of St. Paul. Built in the 16th century, the baroque-style buildings sadly burned down in 1835 and only the magnificent stone façade and the grand stone stairs remain. Heralded as one of the most scenic spots of Macau and considered an altar to the city, it is one of the most popular attractions.
No trip to Macau would be complete without a visit to Senado Square. Here you can see first hand the blend of East and West as pale neoclassical style buildings comingle with wave-patterned stone mosaics designed specifically by Portuguese artisans. Restaurants, stores, flea markets and monuments make it the perfect place to experience the day-today life in Macau. And be sure and sample the city’s famous Portuguese egg tarts. The pastry is filled with a creamy egg custard concoction and can be found throughout Macau’s bakeries and street vendors.
There is no better representation of the new Macau than the main casino strip (known as The Cotai Strip). Visitors will recognize many of the name casino and hotels from Las Vegas and a visit to the top of Macau Tower to fully view the panoramic vistas is not to be missed. While Baccarat remains supreme, blackjack, roulette and the slot machines (known by the locals as “hungry tigers”) await. And if you tire of gambling, the Shoppes at Cotai Central is a great place to spend your winnings. More than 600 duty-free shops offer a variety of major brand name luxury items.