1 HOUR 30 MINUTES BY FERRY
Macau’s glitzy casinos draw millions of mainland gamblers each year, but its unique combination of Chinese and colonial Portuguese culture makes it popular with foodies and history buffs too. At weekends, tourists seem to outnumber locals, so arrive on a Tuesday.
Start with lunch high up at Sky 21 to get the lie of the land. Then head to the north island, home to the charming old town and the fabulous Lisboa complex. The casino is in a giant disco ball, the hotel in a fan-shaped tower, and the four Michelin-starred restaurants are strung between them. Macau’s government has been criticised for failing to protect its heritage, but does a better job at it than Hong Kong.
To the south of Macau, connected by three bridges, is Taipa and the Cotai strip of resort casinos – Asia’s version of Las Vegas. Below that is quieter Coloane: stay at the Pousada de Coloane, eat egg tarts at Lord Stow’s Bakery and pork at Fernando’s. Despite a crackdown on corruption in China putting off the high-rollers, Macau is booming. To attract more families, it is renting another island from China, Zhuhai, and packing it with hotels and theme parks.
If you win big on the tables splash out on a helicopter ride home.