Asia’s greatest melting pot is where Portuguese history meets Chinese contemporary living
A 9am Start your day in Macau’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed centre, where historic Chinese buildings and Portuguese colonial architecture stand cheek by jowl. Stroll from Senado Square past St Dominic’s church to Macau’s most photographed building, the elaborate stone ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral, which date from the 16th century.
B 10:30am Take the outdoor escalator up to the top of Fortaleza do Monte where the Museum of Macau (macaumuseum.gov.mo) tells the story of the city, from its time as a colonial trading post to its reincarnation as the casino capital of Asia. Don’t miss the view from the fort’s summit which takes in everything from the slender 338-metre-high Macau Tower to the vast bulk of the Grand Lisboa casino, reminiscent of a golden pineapple.
C 12pm There are more great views from the Guia Lighthouse, a short walk away. This is the highest point on the peninsula and the lighthouse, which dates from 1864, is China’s oldest. Pop into the chapel here to see the frescoes depicting both Western and Chinese themes.
D 12:30pm Much of what you’ve seen so far is Portuguese. Redress the balance with a visit to the A-Ma Temple, a Taoist temple that dates from 1488 and is dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of seafarers. Pass through the gate guarded by stone lions and take in the seductive scent of incense, burnt as an offering, before climbing up through the rocks behind the prayer hall to see the poems carved into the cliffs.
E 1:30pm Head through Taipa Island to Hac Sa in Coloane and refuel with a hearty Portuguese lunch at Miramar (miramar.com.mo) restaurant. Sample some of their excellent seafood dishes as you look over out over Macau's largest natural beach.
F 3pm Work off lunch with a walk around Coloane's wooded hills of Seac Pai Van Park. There are several short hiking trails here, plus a large walk-through aviary packed with peacocks and pheasants. The main attraction though is the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion where pandas Kai Kai and Xin Xin live side by side in a state-of-the-art habitat.
G 5pm No visit to Macau is complete without sampling local sweet treat pastéis de nata, a Portuguese egg tart based on the original from Belem in Lisbon. This was brought to Asia by Andrew Stow of Lord Stow’s Bakery (lordstow.com), who created his own recipe when he opened his small pastry shop in Coloane in the 1980s. Sit in the small café’s cosy interior or relax outside on a bench by the water.
H 7pm By now you know that Macau is more than just the casinos it is famous for – but you can’t say you really know this vibrant city until you’ve been inside one of its lavish megacasinos. Spend the evening at MGM (mgmmacau.com), feasting on unlimited grilled lobster, fresh French oysters and Vietnamese prawns at the Rossio buffet, before shopping up a storm at One Central (onecentral.com.mo), home to hundreds of high quality international brands.