Travelling on business or for pleasure, Macao makes a perfect addition to a trip to Asia. Just 40 miles from Hong Kong, Macao’s potent mixture of Portuguese and Chinese heritage, refined over more than 500 years – it’s been a Special Administrative region of China since 1999 – makes for an exceptional getaway, where the best of the old blends perfectly with the cutting-edge new.
Start your adventure in The Historic Centre of Macao, a UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of 30 buildings and locations. Whether it’s a temple or fortress, a street or a grand mansion, it’s all a testament to how Portuguese and Chinese cultures worked alongside one another. While you’re there, don’t miss the Ruins of St Paul’s, the crimson A-Ma Temple, or Senado Square, with its Portuguese cobblestones.
Then head south to the islands of Taipa and Coloane. Connected to the centre of Macao by three bridges, you will find charming Taipa village with old-style Chinese shops and cobbled streets, and sleepy Coloane with its leafy squares, rolling hills and sandy beaches. It’s the perfect, chilled-out antidote to the city.
Dominating the skyline the Macau Tower stands at 338m high and provides spectacular views of the Pearl River Delta from its observation deck and revolving restaurant, plus adrenalin-inducing activities, including the world’s highest bungee. From street markets to top-end designer malls, there’s world-class shopping everywhere you go. Take time to relax at one of Macao’s many high end spas, or play a few holes of golf; the choices are endless.
Macao offers some of the best culinary experiences to be found anywhere in Asia. With Chinese and Portuguese eateries aplenty it is also home to Macanese cuisine, widely considered to be the world’s first fusion food with spices and influences from Africa, India, South America and Malaysia. Fancy something simple? Head for atmospheric Rua do Cunha, also known as ‘Food Street’, in Taipa Village, where you can sample specialities such as beef jerky and almond cookies.
Looking for something upmarket? Macao now proudly boasts no fewer than 19 Michelin-starred restaurants, three of which – Lai Heen, Pearl Dragon and Ying – have recently been awarded a star for their Cantonese offerings in the 2017 Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau. Chinese restaurant The Eight and French contemporary restaurant Robuchon au Dôme retain their three star status while twelve restaurants and cafes have been presented with the Bib Gourmand award for offering a great three-course meal at a great price.
When it comes to evening entertainment few places in Asia can compete with Macao for the sheer range of options, with the sparkling skyline as the perfect backdrop, from trendy rooftop bars and nightclubs to some of the glitziest casinos and shows. Topping the list is the spectacular water-based show House of Dancing Water at the City of Dreams resort, with 90 minutes of jaw-dropping acrobatics, stunts and incredible effects.
You can’t always choose when to take a business trip, but if you have that luxury, or you’re planning a Far East holiday, time it to coincide with one of the many events taking place in Macao every year. Key dates to note include the Dragon Boat Races in May, International Firework Display Contest in September and the Macau Grand Prix in November, a true spectacle on one of the most challenging street circuits in the world.
From Portuguese-style pousadas to some of the most luxurious properties on the planet, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Macao. Among the new hotels planned to open this year are the Macau Roosevelt, a 1950s Hollywood-glamour style property in Taipa, the MGM Cotai, and The 13, an ultra-luxury hotel with its own fleet of Rolls Royce Phantoms for guests.
Macao’s international airport provides links to regional destinations such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and many cities in China. Most UK visitors fly to Hong Kong and take the one-hour fast ferry trip direct from the airport, or from central Hong Kong.
Offer: DialAFlight, 0330 100 2220
Save 35% on a double-header trip to Hong Kong and Macao. Three nights at Cordis by Langham Place Hong Kong and three nights at MGM Macau including return business class flights with China Air from £2,149pp. Valid for travel 1 May – 18 Jun 2017. Book by 15 Feb 2017. T&Cs apply. Visit dialaflight.com/flights/asia/macau