Although Macao is often referred to as the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’ it has much more to offer than casinos. Macao retains its Portuguese colonial legacy with European architecture and cuisine still evident throughout the city.
With the annual PATA Travel Mart taking place in Macao next week we share with you some tips to ensure a responsible and enjoyable visit to this fascinating part of north east Asia.
Enjoy local foods
Enjoying authentic fare will be easy in Macao as there are some amazing street food markets that offer local food. Explore the Red Market, where you can try many local snacks and Macanese specialties. Visit Coloane Market which offers all kinds of healthy and organic options. Check out the Food Street at Broadway Macao, located on a traditional Macanese hawker-style street market that offers many Asian and local specialties. Make sure you try the famous Portuguese egg tarts and other signature dishes.
Buy local souvenirs
Get your souvenirs at local shops, and try to ‘spread the wealth’ by shopping in different places. Remember, do not buy any souvenirs made from endangered species, which can be illegal to export. Download the Wild Witness app that enables tourists to report illegal wildlife trade by taking a picture of a product and sharing its location. Common products from endangered species include ivory, tortoiseshell, reptile skins, furs, corals and seashells.
More ‘green’ hotels are popping up in Macao. Make sure that you book a hotel that meets the appropriate sustainability standards by looking for the Macao Green Hotel Award label. You could choose one of these five Sands hotels that are Gold category winners: Sands Macao, The Venetian Macao, Conrad, Sheraton Grand and Holiday Inn Macao.
Use public transport or walk
Try to avoid taking taxis and use public transport or walk. The Macao peninsula and the islands are easy to explore on foot. The bus system might be difficult for foreigners that do not speak the local dialects but most hotels offer free shuttle-bus services to take you to tourist attractions and casinos.
Macao has an impressive nature scene. Go cycling on Taipa Island and be rewarded with some amazing views. The larger island of Coloane, formerly a haven for pirates, is popular for hiking and cycling. Macao is also known for its gardens including the Lou Lim Loc Garden on the peninsula. Camoes Garden is also popular with locals and tourists.