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Known for glamorous mega-casinos, high-end shopping and towering architecture, Macau is a popular destination for visitors from China and beyond. Its busy centre is notable for World Heritage-listed Portuguese buildings, which give the area a unique Chinese-meets-European culture. There's a lot of contrast here, from the sleepy fishing village of Coloane to gigantic resorts just a few miles away on the Cotai Strip and elaborate, Vegas-style shows at venues throughout the region.
Stay in a Macau hostel and you'll be in the heart of the city, close to casinos, shopping and attractions. You can stay in an 80-year-old heritage building, stylish accommodation with a Japanese influence or boutique rooms a short stroll from Senado Square. Most Macau backpacker hostels offer facilities such as luggage storage and air con, as well as private rooms, and many have a 24-hour reception so you can check in after a late flight. They're often upscale, with extras including free toiletries, slippers and satellite TV.
Macau's historic district is focused on Senado Square. There's plenty to discover around here, from the picturesque Rua de Felicidade street to browsing for antiques and jewellery on Rua dos Mercadores. Other interesting neighbourhoods include the Outer Harbour, with palatial casinos and grand Portuguese architecture, and the Inner Harbour, which has markets and a more local feel. Over the bridge, Taipa Village has a bustling food street and the charming Taipa Houses–Museum, a row of pastel-coloured colonial houses built in 1921.
For a small region, Macau has a bunch of attractions. There's the 17th-century ruins of St Paul's, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Monte Fort and 16th-century St Dominic's Church. You can wander around the sea goddess A-Ma Temple or climb Macau Tower for panoramic views. In extravagant Cotai, the Venetian Macau resort imitates Italy's romantic city with opera-singing gondolieri and kilometres of shops. Coloane Village has the baroque Chapel of St Francis Xavier and tucked-away temples to unearth.
Macau International Airport is a 30-minute walk from Taipa Village and the Cotai Strip. To get to Macau centre, you'll need to take a bus as there's no pedestrian access to the bridge. These run regularly from just outside the airport and you can also take the free casino shuttles. You can explore much of Macau on foot and casino shuttles are an easy way to travel longer distances – unless you're going to Coloane, which you can reach by bus.