Macau, which is one of the two special administrative regions of China (along with Hong Kong), might be small in population, but it is rapidly developing a reputation as a desirable tourist destination.
The economy of this former Portuguese colony is largely built on gambling and tourism, and this attraction has resulted in millions of visitors flocking to this location every year. In fact, its tourism industry far outstrips the number of permanent residents in the country, with 28 million visiting in 2012 compared to the general population of just under 600,000.
Macau is not all about gambling though, and there are numerous enticing attractions for tourists to see. Here is just a small sample of some of the most popular attractions in the country.
A Ma Temple
The name of this temple is derived from A-Ma-Gau (Place of A-ma), and from the early 16th century, has been dedicated to the seafarers’ goddess.
The legend of this goddess goes like this: A poor girl named A-Ma, who was looking for passage to Cantron, was taken on board by a lowly fisherman after wealthy junk owners refused her entry. A storm then appeared and wrecked everything in sight, except the boat carrying the girl. She then vanished on arrival at Macau, but reappeared as a goddess. The spot of the temple is where the fishermen built this temple.
Ruins of St Paul
This abandoned church is one of the most sought-after attractions in Macau. After originally being built in the 17th century, it was subsequently destroyed in a fire in 1835 and all that remains today is the façade of the old church and St Paul’s college.
Macau Fisherman’s Wharf
This is not only a wharf, but an 111,500m² park, and it is considered to be the first culturally-themed and creative tourist attraction in Macau. It is centrally located in the outer harbor, and besides its theme park element, also contains shopping, dining, entertainment, accommodation and convention and exhibition facilities. Fisherman’s Wharf is only a five minute walk from the Macau-HK Ferry Terminal and Heliport.
City of Dreams
This uniquely integrated resort truly lives up to its name, offering an electric array of entertainment, with a host of accommodation and regional and international dining available, and the opportunity to indulge in designer brand shopping.
Some of the hot attractions of this location include The Bubble, which is a breathtaking multi-media attraction, and The Boulevard, which is a precinct that embraces chic lifestyle, offering restaurant, entertainment and shopping boutiques. If people somehow get overwhelmed by this shopping extravaganza, they could always chill in one of the numerous hotels and, in keeping with the spirit of the city play some cards.
No trip to Macau would be complete without enjoying the exciting casino entertainment that it has on offer. The Venetian Macau stands out like a beacon in this regard, particularly as it is the world’s largest casino. In fact, nowhere else in Asia will one find such a heady combination of entertainment, attractions, facilities and amenities. All of its 3,000 rooms are suites, with each one containing 70 square miles of space, and luxury bathrooms made of Italian marble.
After chilling out in these audacious rooms, people can then browse in over 350 international shops, ride on an authentic Venetian gondola, and be amazed by street performers. All of this is located within the confines of the resort.
Wine and Grand Prix Museum
This one of a kind museum is one of the most interesting places to visit in Macau. One of the main aims of the museum is to ensure visitors are brought into contact with the economic, social and cultural importance that wine has in Portuguese tradition, celebration, and daily life. After sampling various types of Portuguese wine (for a small price), they can visit the Grand Prix museum, which contains exhibits relating to Grand Prix races worldwide, including videos, photos, illustrated articles, cups, commemorative items, and Grand Prix champions.