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 While a bit outdated in some parts, it’s a lovely hotel, with beautiful tilework and finishings — and a great view of the sea.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.