This once-sleepy “Monte Carlo of the East” has transformed into the booming “Las Vegas of Asia.” Macau holidays used to focus on its 400-year-old Mediterranean churches, the fusion of Chinese architecture with the style of its Portuguese colonial masters, and its rich culture and traditions. Today Macau emerges as a modern and premiere Asian entertainment centre, offering a vibrant nightlife, spectacular hotels and casinos, and some of the best shopping in the region.
The ruins of what was once the Cathedral of Saint Paul is the most famous landmark in Macau. Once the largest Catholic church in Asia, it was built in 1582 and was destroyed by fire during a typhoon in 1835. All that’s left today is the southern stone façade, officially listed in 2005 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another prominent landmark is the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Centre, the 10th tallest tower in the world. High-speed lifts take visitors 223 metres up to the main observation lounge, where they can gaze at the city below through sections of the floor fitted with glass. There are open air skywalks where the bold can walk along the outside rim of the tower, and the 360° Café which serves an immense buffet and offers the best backdrops in Macau.
Every November for the past 50 years, the Macau Grand Prix has been attracting motor sports enthusiasts to this lively Asian City. This year the 55th Grande Prémio de Macau is scheduled for 13 – 16 November 2008, and promises a food festival, fireworks display, and carnival celebrations, in addition to the thrilling auto and motorcycle races themselves. Visit the Grand Prix Museum, a 10-minute ride from the Macau Ferry Terminal. The exhibition hall features racing cars and motorcycles that have participated in the Macau Grand Prix, as well as a number of simulators to let visitors experience the thrill of racing firsthand.
During the 16th century Portuguese traders brought exotic spices to Macau from Africa and other parts of Asia, and blended these with local ingredients resulting in a unique taste that distinguishes Macau cuisine. Try Bacalhau (dried codfish), Linguado Macau (fried sole), and Serradura, the most popular after-dinner sweet.