A city steep in history, its Chinese-Portuguese culture still intact amidst the high rolling bustles,

Macau offers an array of attractions worthy of a weekend spin, or longer.


Macau Behind the Glitz


by:  Jennifer Sy


The clanks and beeps of slot machines echo in the background, its colorful glow catches the eye against muted lighting.  Behind the endless rows of slot machines, I find myself amid gaming tables of various kinds.   Except for an occasional word or two, no one speaks, all attention devoted to his game.


Down a few streets from this high rolling extravagance are narrow streets and alleys with multi-hued buildings, peeling paints and stained walls, locals while away time, chatting on benches around the square.  A revealing reality that behind the glitz and glamour of the world’s top gaming destination is a simple life unmindful of its flip side.


Cobblestone streets run into glitzy casinos, Catholic churches sit across Buddhist temples, grandiose buildings just streets away from dilapidated two-storey structures in need of more than a few coats of paint.  Macau is all about the coexistence of striking contrasts.


Located on the southern coast of China, across Hong Kong on the western side of the Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) estuary and south of Guangdong Province, facing the South China Sea.  Macau is just an hour away from Hong Kong and a viable day trip as boats ferry back and forth by the hour, 24/7.  But stay for the weekend and you’ll get more than a taste of what this tiny Chinese-Portuguese city has to offer.


The fusion of the Chinese and Portuguese culture and religious traditions for over 400 years has left the city with a collection of historic sites, impressive churches, fascinating temples, quaint villages, and a rich and earthy cuisine.  Their glimmering casino proudly bearing Portugal’s capital’s name.  A city steep in history, its culture still intact amidst the high rolling bustles, Macau offers an array of attractions worthy of a weekend spin.


For hundreds of years, the island has fostered a symbiosis of east and west resulting in a unique culture of its own.




From the quintessential Portuguese egg tarts to “gourmet” dim sums, from food stalls to Michelin-starred establishments, Macau’s diverse culinary world has morphed into a foodie’s haven in recent years and is more than enough reason for a visit.


Long overshadowed by Cantonese cuisine from nearby Hong Kong, the unique Macanese cuisine has recently started to shine.  In fact, a trip to Macau is not complete without a Macanese meal.  The intermingling of the best of Chinese and Portuguese ingredients, and cooking methods with influences from India, Brazil and even Africa contributing to a distinct cuisine only found in Macau.


With its mishmash of culture, cuisine and unmistakable European charm, Macau will surely fascinate.  For someone with no gambling flair or interest, I find myself continually returning to this tiny “Special Administrative Region” of China with yet more sites and eats to explore.


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