A Weekend Warrior’s Guide to… Macau

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“A Weekend Warrior: A person who holds a regular job during the week which restricts their ability to party/go on trips/partake in awesome activities, and thus plans epic weekend adventures to compensate.”

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Check out the architecture!

Macau: a vestige of the Portuguese empire afloat in the South China Seas. A heady mixture of Latin and Cantonese culture pervades everything in this special administrative region of China. Added to the unique culture is a salubrious dose of hedonism; found in the casinos strewn across the peninsular and accompanying islands. For the weekend warrior holding off the crushing inevitability of Monday, Macau is the perfect hide out.

Macau By Day

The peninsular and outlying islands of Macau were for hundreds of years a Portuguese colonial possession, before being handed back to the mainland in 1999. More than anywhere else in this former colony, the Centro Histórico de Macau (the historical centre of town) bares the relics of Latin empire. Every nook and cranny making up the barrio has been deemed a UNESCO world heritage site of some sort. Stroll through the labyrinthine cobbled streets to discover flamboyant churches, enormous plazas, chilled cafés, catholic idols, and groovy street art. The buildings surrounding Largo Senado are architectural wonderments.

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Las Ruinas

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Jesus in Asia?

 

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Portuguese!

Located in this part of town is Macau’s most iconic icon, the Ruins of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. A massive stone façade, replete with monstrous apparitions crushed by the divine, is all that stands of the Ruinas de São Paulo, burnt to the ground centuries ago. The ruins are beautifully fascinating as is the Fortaleza do Monte beside them.

A-Ma Temple, a short bus ride away and yet another world heritage site, has provided 500 years of spiritual guidance to the Macanese. As well as the burning of incense, the temple is visited by dragons, drummers and a cacophony of noise, fireworks and spiritual merriment on the weekends.

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Dragon!

For hiking, beach bumming and a much steadier pace, bus across to the south island of Coloane. The relaxation here is exemplified by Coloane Village. Wander through the churches, markets and side streets here before sampling a few Pastéis de nata (egg tarts).

Macau By Night

Not the gambling den of triads and James Bond wannabes they once were, Macau’s casinos are up-scale resorts today. Come nightfall, the casinos on the Cotai Strip transform the once submerged island of Cotai into a sea of neon madness and gambling.

Perhaps the most fabulous casino of all is The Venetian Macao. On the outside an explosion of gold lights up the world’s largest casino. Inside the extravagance continues with a life-sized model of Venice – complete with canals, gondolas and all. Other favourite places to splash the cash here are the Casino Lisboa and Sands Macao. After winning big (or busting out) head back out onto the strip to Club Cubic for superstar DJs, banging tunes, potent cocktails and dancing till sunrise.

As for nightlife not centred on roulette tables, slot machines and vast amounts of cash, most bars, clubs and night-time shenanigans can be found dotted along the Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen back on the Macau peninsular.

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Fire!

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Which languages will you be reading today?

A note from the Editor-in-Chimp: This article can also be read here on Travel Wire Asia. Be a chump and read it there! 

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