The ‘Vegas of China’ has been luring visitors with its promise of luxury entertainment and a grand time through its casinos, world-class restaurants and resorts as well as bustling nightlife spots. But not many know that the Macau hides perfectly well behind this veil a calmer and traditional side that gives it its very essence.

Here are top five places that you can visit for a peek into Macau’s history, culture and natural wonders:

Macau-Beyond-the-Casinos-Glitz-and-Glamour

Senado Square

Senado Square, marked by colourful colonial buildings, historic religious sites and ostentatious shops, is a part of Macau’s UNESCO Historic Centre. Some of the attractions that stand out here include the Leal Senado Building, the Holy House of Mercy, Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple, Macau Cathedral as well as St. Domingo’s Church. Thousands of locals and tourists make their way to the Senado Square everyday to soak in the bustling atmosphere as well as to appreciate the art, architecture and artworks from the yesteryear.

Taipa Village

Sample the unique heritage and rich history of Macau on a trip to the Taipa Village. Boasting a unique amalgam of Portuguese and Chinese art and architecture, a visit to the Taipa Village is a pleasant change from the glamorous and bustling casinos that lie just around the corner from the village. It is here that one can explore the colonial churches and villas, the great historical museums and art galleries as well as some of the best Chinese souvenir and snack shops. A leisurely stroll on the Avenida da Praia is highly recommended.

MGM Cotai

One of the best reflections of Macau’s ambition and futuristic vision can be seen at MGM Cotai, a lofty hotel built with much ambition. The atrium attracts immediate attention with its huge LED screens that project beautiful images of landscapes from around the world. The glass canopy, almost the size of a football pitch, is bordered by restaurants and vertical gardens and gives the feeling of being inside a very sophisticated modern building. Seeing the atrium at the night, when it is stunningly lit up, makes for one of the best sights you’ll see in Macau.

Ruins of the Church of St Paul

An iconic landmark, Ruins of St. Paul’s feature the ruins of the 16th century Jesuit Church. Some of the most popular tourist attractions here include Statute of Jesus and Madonna, walls covered with bas-reliefs in various patterns like devil, angels, signs of crucifixion and Portuguese sailing ship, and the beautifully landscaped garden in the front. Many fascinating religious artefacts can also be found at the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt built at the base of ruins.

Hac Sa Beach

The black sand Hac Sa Beach is largely devoid of huge crowds despite being the most popular beach in Macau. The waters are clear and warm, encouraging swimming. Beachcombers can make use of the barbecue pits for roasting their favourite snacks whereas those looking for ready-to-eat sumptuous meal can walk up to Fernandoes for the tastiest Portuguese fare. The neighbouring Hac Sa Reservoir Country Park is an excellent spot for families to indulge in boating as well as leisurely strolls around the reservoir.

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