Macau: Macau a tiny 30 square kilometre peninsula and is just an hour's ferry ride from Hong Kong. Once a Portuguese colony until 1999 before being handed over to China. It is a territory similar to Hong Kong in terms of administrative autonomy, and the good news is that you don't need a visa to visit this tourist-friendly haven.
When Macau springs to mind, a vision of grand glittering casinos surfaces. But my recent trip made me look beyond casinos. With its architecturally designed streets, traditionally structured homes, religious institutions and Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the Historic Centre of Macau is a perfect crossroad of East and West cultures meeting.
The highlight is the European influence one experiences while shopping around Senado Square with its beautiful Portuguese cobblestones surrounded by neo-classic buildings, fountains, trees and benches.
Macau is a city of contrast where two totally different worlds meet each other. One being its old world colonial heritage so well preserved in their buildings like the Ruins of St. Paul (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site), and the other Macau, a miniature version of Las Vegas with its gigantic casinos, enormously luxurious hotels, night clubs, shopping complexes and entertainment venues etc.
Peninsula and the Cotai Strip are filled with several of the very same casinos and luxury hotels that line the Strip in Sin City. You name it, they've got it-there's The St. Regis, Four Seasons Hotel, The Venetian, Wynn, Galaxy and many more.
The famous Venetian Macau is a replica of The Venetian in Las Vegas. The art treatment on the ceiling and the intricate interior design leaves you in awe while enjoying the gondola ride. And for those who love shopping, this is one shopping haven with all the top brands lined up under the same roof waiting for you to explore.
And when you are done with sightseeing, gambling, shopping, and dancing, then all you need to do is indulge in Macau's multicultural cuisine. A paradise for sea food lovers the city offers a great mix of street food and fine dining experiences all at the same place. Last but not the least is the famous Portuguese specialty, the traditional almond cookies and egg tarts which make good presents with the "taste of Macau" for visitors to take home with them.