From traditional cuisine to mind-blowing architecture, Francis Cook scouts out Macau’s must-visit spots.

1 GAMBLE

Casinos are everywhere and they accommodate all budgets. The Venetian casino is particularly nice and non-threatening for novices like myself.

2 THE MACAU TOWER

It's like the Sky Tower but taller. If you're afraid of heights like me, skip this. I spent the entire time terrified, eventually leaving lunch at the revolving restaurant early to kiss the ground.

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3 THE WET MARKET

Visit and drink tea at a traditional tea house. The fish and meat market is a definite no-vegan zone. Here, the food is as fresh as it comes, namely, alive. Across the road is an exquisite tea house serving the finest leaves and steamed dumplings.

4 SENADO SQUARE

Go shopping in Senado Square and see the Ruins of St Paul's, Macau's most famous landmark.

Ruins of St Paul's Cathedral, Macau.
Ruins of St Paul's Cathedral, Macau.

The massive facade is the only remaining feature of the 17th century church, which burnt down in 1835. The area is also Macau's best shopping district with shops ranging from bargain antiques to designer labels.

5 CAMEOS GARDEN

Get some gentle morning exercise at Cameos Garden, a beautiful park where people walk their birds and do tai chi.

Tai chi groups are normally very welcoming to new people, just acknowledge the Sifu (teacher) before you join, or do it slightly off to the side.

You'll see many people stroll by and join in for a few minutes before they continue walking.

6 RELAX WITH A MASSAGE

The top hotels feature luxurious spas featuring all kinds of treatments. A full-body massage after a long flight is a godsend.

7 DINE AL FRESCO

At Tai Pai Don on Coloane. Situated in a small square by the water, this restaurant is a low-key party zone.

A popular spot for celebrations, the owner will serenade groups with a song - or shred some rock 'n' roll, depending on how much wine he's had.

8 THE GRAND LISBOA HOTEL

The architecture is mind-blowing, the entire building is shaped like a lotus flower featuring a massive ball at the bottom.

The complex features three Michelin-starred restaurants if you're in the mood for fine dining.

CHECKLIST

Getting there

Air New Zealand

and its alliance partner Cathay Pacific fly non-stop to Hong Kong from Auckland with two services daily. One-way Economy Class fares start from $764, including taxes.