An exhaustive guide to experiencing Macao’s rich history

Photo: Wego
Photo: Wego

Macao has been called Asia’s answer to Las Vegas, but gambling isn’t all you can do in the gorgeous city. There are many different ways you can immerse yourself in Macanese culture in terms of food, shopping and events. The city and its culture is a distinct amalgamation of both East and West that’s unique to the region. If you’ve been thinking of different ways to use up those annual leave days, we’re here to present the case for Macao, especially at this time of year. 

Travelling to Macao is easy too, whether it’s by land, air or sea. The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge connects the three cities, if a road trip is on the cards. Frequent ferry services are also readily available for travellers to hop on or off, making it easy to enter the bustling city.

When visiting a new country, half the battle won is knowing exactly where to look for an authentic experience, and we’ve got you covered. Here’s a handy guide on how to explore Macao.

Photo: Wego
Photo: Wego

A visual feast for the Instagram-inclined 

Macao has no lack of stunning sights — and we’re talking about much more than the multitude of glittery casinos that illuminate the streets. There’s a whole lot of visually exciting things happening, and we’ve got the lowdown on the hotspots to hit up this year for an eyeful. 

For the whole month of December, the annual Macao Light Festival is on. A selection of buildings will light up with projection mapping, light installations, interactive games and a series of other activities for a great time. 

It’ll shine a light on everything the gorgeous Portuguese-Chinese territory has to offer, when you follow the lights to different districts of the city to explore the rich history and culture. We just hope you’re there to take it all in, both for your sake — and that of your Instagram feed. All we know is, it’s going to be lit. 

Photo: Wego
Photo: Wego

Sure, there are walking tours throughout the city that are easily available, but what better way to explore the historic district of Macao than by dancing and singing through it? Of course, we’re talking about the annual Macao International Parade. Organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, this annual event provides local arts groups with a platform to showcase their talent, and it’s quite a sight to behold. 

All you’ll have to do is follow the parade (which will be hard to miss), that will travel from the Ruins of St. Paul’s all the way to Sai Van Lake Square, with exciting stops on the way. How does a ‘Vigorous Dance Floor’ at St. Dominic’s square to Senado square sound? Or a carnival at Nam Van Lake? Citizens and tourists alike are welcome to join in the endless song and dance in the middle of these historic Macanese streets.

Photo: Wego
Photo: Wego

Feast on some fusion food

What exactly is Macanese cuisine? Again, it’s the rich combination of eastern and western influences — Chinese and Portuguese, to be exact. However, Indian and African influences sometimes make a welcome appearance in Macanese dishes such as galinha à Africana (African chicken), the national dish of minchi (a minced meat rice dish with a fried egg on top) and bacalhau (traditional Portuguese salted cod), just to name a few.

Home to the world’s first fusion food, you can be sure that Macao has a cuisine that’s unique and not readily available anywhere else. The city isn’t listed as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy for nothing! There’s no lack of exciting new foods to try at every turn. Pastéis de nata, or Portuguese egg tarts are a must, as any local will tell you, but don’t forget to sample other local delicacies and delectable Macanese street food. 

Ready to book your flights and accommodation? Wego is an option — it’s the largest online travel marketplace in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, and it compares the prices of airlines, hotels direct, or with a third party aggregator website to find you the best deals. 

For more information on Macao, visit the Macao Government Tourism Office website

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