We took a ferry from Hong Kong to Macau on New Year’s Day. My husband and I spent just two days exploring the Macau Peninsula, the Cotai Strip, and Coloane. Although our time was short, I really enjoyed our stay — especially the town center of Coloane.
Macau surprised me. I’m not sure what I expected: perhaps an Asian version of Las Vegas, and nothing more. I didn’t know much about Macau before our visit, other than it was a former Portuguese colony and known for its high-limit gambling.
The Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a mix of Asian and Portuguese influences, from its numerous churches (like pastel yellow St. Dominic’s Church) to its very European town squares (like Largo do Senado, a gorgeous plaza with smoothed Portuguese pavement).
There’s so much more to Macau than the few images I’ve shared below — I’m tempted not to publish this post at all. But I’m happy to have squeezed in a visit and started 2015 in such an interesting place.
The casinos not far from the Historic Centre — notably the Grand Lisboa, Casino Lisboa, and the Wynn Macau — add the sparkle and light to the skyline of the Macau Peninsula.
Over on the Cotai Strip, an area of casinos and resorts that joins Taipa to Coloane, there are more high-end hotels, like the Venetian, which looks just like its sister in Las Vegas, only bigger. It’s currently the largest casino in the world.
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Coloane, the island directly south of Taipa, is a fifteen-minute drive from the crowds of the Macau Peninsula and the glitz of the Cotai Strip. We stayed at Pousada De Coloane, a hotel overlooking Cheoc-Van Beach. While a bit outdated in some parts, it’s a lovely hotel, with beautiful tilework and finishings — and a great view of the sea.
In the town center of Coloane, I reunited with one of my favorite treats: pasteis de nata. Coloane is the birthplace of the Macanese egg tart: Asia’s version of Portugal’s famous pastry. But that wasn’t the only reason why I liked Coloane. This part of Macau is quieter and slower, and I’m glad we stayed here instead of one of the casino resorts. The bus system connecting Coloane to the rest of Macau is inexpensive, efficient, and easy to figure out, so it was fine being a bit out of the way.
Photographs taken with a Canon G11 and iPhone 5s. More on Instagram.
28 thoughts on “48 Hours in Macau”
I’ve yet to visit Macau even though I’ve been in Hong Kong, which is a ferry ride away, several times. It’s refreshing to see more of the cultural side of Macau, whose reputation as the ‘Las Vegas of Asia” tends to overshadow everything else on the peninsula. Lovely pictures!
glad you decided to publish the photos!
Excellent images Cheri ~ you begin to capture what is special about Macau. Most of my friends when I tell them about Macau imagine it as an Asian Vegas…but as you mention, Coloane is anything but…I go there for the great Portuguese food and then just relaxing within the village ~ and your photos show this great hidden side of the enclave. Cheers!
Thank you — what a wonderful thing to hear from someone who knows Coloane. Macau really did surprise me in different ways, and I was so glad we stayed in this area.
My Wanderlust is out of control, after reading this… Lovely photos and impressions, thank you for sharing this with us!
I really enjoy your photos. I can get a view of places I will most likely not visit. Thanks for sharing.
Like you, I imagined Macau as a place filled with casinos. When you wrote that there was a European feel, I paid extra attention to your gorgeous shots and found the tiny bookstore very European looking. The pastry reminds me of the French Far Breton (custard pastry from Brittany). It always amazes to me to see how the influence of history (sadly often through colonization) left deep marks, years and years after independence. I understand your hesitation about publishing the post since there is so much history and humanity behind the facades of gorgeous buildings and historic monuments. Impossible to say it all in a blog post. Thank you for the glimpse, though.
Beautiful photos. So impressed with your eye for details!
love it!! I’m planing a trip to Hong kong and Macau this coming July and your photos just reinforced my desire to go! oh, and I love the Portuguese egg tart too!
Amazing photos!! I never though about going to Macao but after reading your post, i just need i have to meet that place! Thank you for sharing!!
Interesting photos. Never had a desire to go. The flag photo reminded me of the flags car lots sometimes fly to try to get your attention.
My kind of bookstore…
Photos and words gave a great story. Thanks for sharing.
Such a fab start to 2015! Your post and gorgeous photos make me want to visit there. Thanks for sharing this delicious slice of your life.
I love your photography. Particularly the rich, vibrant colors; somehow suggesting texture and depth; (quite an accomplishment across the digital divide)…My favorite? Your view from room 212. Now THAT is a destination to dream about. :o)
Wow, it looks really beautiful. Love the images and colors you use in your photos.
This looks so beautiful! I love how Macau had a fake St Paul’s – that’s very intriguing especially when you think about the difference in architecture between St Paul’s Cathedral in London and Macau’s one.
I’m glad you resisted this temptation. As much as I adore Instagram (I’m a new convert), the images sometimes take place in a vacuum. I’ve been following your feed, excited with each new photo you’ve published, and I wanted backstory for the photos. So thank you for publishing this 🙂 What a vibrant, colorful place.
What a wonderful travelogue! I also had the (apparently mistaken) impression that Macau was just about gambling, but your narrative and photos have really captured its cultural complexity. Well done, Cheri. And I wish you many more wonderful adventures in the New Year ahead!
Great selection of shots. I love the geometric street art and the trippy entrance. What a fantastic place.
Looks beautiful! We weren’t able to make a Macau trip when my friend and I went to Hong Kong, but I definitely plan on going one day.
I loved this post. I went to Macau a few times back when I lived in Hong Kong but that was 2011 and so I want to go and see how much it’s changed over the past few years – which i’m guessing is a lot!
I’m guessing it’s changed quite a bit since you were there — there was so much construction, especially around the airport and Cotai Strip (that area looked rather ugly during the day!).
Yeah when I was there, there was absolutely nothing on the Cotai strip apart from the Hard Rock and the Venetian! I bet it all looks pretty lit up at night though!
Love the entrance to City of Dreams!!! All your pictures are so good. I feel as if I am there.
Again great photos of yet another interesting place. Thanks for sharing.
City of dreams entry is great — it looks organic.
Wow!! this place is spectacular!!
Yes, Coloane would be my choice too. Great pics!
Coloane looks really lovely!