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Five reasons you need to see Macau

Just an hour’s ferry ride from Hong Kong, Macau is a paradox, equal parts European and Asian and old and new. A building boom since the island’s return to China in the 1990s has created a wide array of casinos and resorts, as well as numerous activities for travellers.

Five reasons you need to see Macau

Known as the “Las Vegas of China,” the island of Macau is a curious blend of Chinese and Portuguese elements. It was a Portuguese colony for 500 years; walking through the city, visitors will stroll past vendors selling traditional Chinese dumplings on streets with Portuguese names. Since the island was returned to China in 1999, it has benefitted from that country’s quasi-capitalist riches, undergoing a building and entertainment boom. The island’s casino revenues now outpace those of Las Vegas, making it the world’s largest gambling city.

Likewise, the island has also experienced a tourism boom in recent years. The New Zealand Herald recently compiled a list of reasons for travellers to visit the intriguing blend of cultures that is Macau.

Getting there is easy

In less than an hour, travellers arriving at Hong Kong International Airport can be on mainland Macau or on Taipa Island. The TurboJet leaves directly from the airport, with a seamless and easy transfer; you don’t even retrieve your luggage or clear Customs until your arrival in Macau. TurboJet operates every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day.

The food

As you would expect from an island with a mix of Chinese and Portuguese cultures, Macau’s cuisine is a melting pot. Chinese and Portuguese restaurants sit side-by-side and given Macau’s proximity to the ocean, seafood is abundant and fresh.

Incredible resorts

Much of Macau’s building boom over the last twenty or so years has focused on casinos and resorts, many of which are built on reclaimed land. There is, of course, the Venetian, and like its namesake, this one is complete with singing gondoliers. There is also the Harbourview Hotel, whose high-ceilinged, pillared swimming pool room could have come straight out of the Roman Empire. But there’s also the Banyan Tree, the Wynn, City of Dreams, and many more.

History and culture

An old city that is a hybrid of Chinese and Portuguese cultures, history permeates this very modern city. In the city’s historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, colonial ruins are interspersed with modern restaurants and boutiques. The blending of two very different religions has left Macau with an eclectic array of holidays and festivals.

Highest bungee jump in the world

The truly daring visitor to Macau can prove their mettle at AJ Hackett’s, a 233m bungee jump. If dangling from a bit of rubber isn’t your cup of tea, take a camera along the SkyWalk at Hackett’s. From your vantage point at 233m above the ground, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views.

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