With the many transport facilities available, travelling from Hong Kong to other cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has never been easier. After you experience the many sights in Hong Kong, spare some time for a short trip to the Greater Bay area to enrich your overall journey. Explore the collision of Chinese and Portuguese cultures in Macao, check in at hip and trendy hotspots in Shenzhen, or indulge in the multitude of culinary and entertainment options in Guangzhou.
A small city it may be, Macao is both a major ‘gambling capital’ on the world map and a historic centre characterised by cultural hybridity which also manifests itself in the delicious local fare. The compact size of the special administrative region where sightseeing attractions are within easy reach from one another makes Macao an ideal destination for a short stay.
No Macao itinerary is complete without the world cultural heritage sites. We recommend starting your journey at Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro (San Ma Lo), from where you can walk to the iconic Ruins of St Paul’s in about 10 minutes. Along the way, it is possible to stop by other monuments, such as the ‘Leal Senado’ Building (now known as IAM Building), the Senado Square and St. Dominic’s Church. Do not miss Travessa da Paixão, a pretty alley hidden away in the hill leading up to the Ruins of St Paul’s. Nicknamed ‘Love Lane’ by locals due to mistranslation, it is one Instagram-worthy spot.
For dinner, try Rua da Felicidade, where you will find Portuguese restaurants and casual Chinese eateries alike. As the night progresses, hit the casinos or watch a show like the critically acclaimed The House of Dancing Water or a concert as the highlight of the trip. You can easily move from one location to another using the free shuttle bus services provided by hotels.
Want to take things easy after a late night? Take the bus to the tranquil Coloane Village for a stroll, and head to the famous Lord Stow’s Bakery for a Macanese version of the pasteis de nata (Portuguese egg tart). If you had Chinese food the previous day and are keen to try something else, flag down a taxi and ask for Fernando's Restaurant near Hac Sá Beach, where you can expect a Portuguese lunch to relish.
After the meal, go see the Taipa Houses, Portuguese-style buildings that were once the residences of senior civil servants. Before ending your trip, you may want to visit the nearby Rua do Cunha to pick up some local snacks which include a wide range of baked goods and jerkies as souvenirs and gifts. Free tasting is often offered, so you can be sure to find what you like.
Getting there from Hong Kong: high-speed ferry, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge shuttle bus or cross-boundary coach
In 40 years, Shenzhen has transformed itself from a fishing village to a special economic zone, from the world’s factory to a world city leading in the development of innovation and technology, completed with a well-established metro network.
The Overseas Chinese Town (OCT Station) in Nanshan District, home to a range of theme parks, cultural facilities, restaurants, department stores and hotels, is perfect for families to spend an entire day. For art lovers and culture vultures, the OCT-LOFT (Qiaocheng East Station), an art hub occupying what were once abandoned industrial plants, has a score of independent shops. One will also find in this enclave for designers, avant-garde artists and creative enterprises plenty of graffiti and art installations.
On day two, visit the MixC World shopping mall (Hi-Tech Park Station), also in Nanshan District. Combining the concepts of shopping centre and shopping street in one, the mega mall is home to about 300 shops housing over 1000 brands, together with 10 independent blocks inhabited by the flagship stores of famous brands. At the main entrance perches the adorable ‘Bubblecoat Elephant’, an art installation by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman which ejects water at regular intervals to provide an interactive experience. If a morning at MixC has yet to satisfy their shopping urges, shopaholics can take a taxi to the Uniwalk mall in Baoan District.
Before leaving Shenzhen, it is worth visiting the FREE SKY observation deck on the 116th floor of Ping An Finance Center (Shopping Park Station), Shenzhen’s tallest building, to take home the memory of a breathtaking view of the bustling city.
Having been a commercial hub in the Lingnan region for centuries, Guangzhou has also developed rapidly in the modern era. Thanks to the city’s sprawling metro network, independent travellers can explore various attractions in a short time.
There is a popular Chinese saying ‘eat in Guangzhou’, which suggests that Guangzhou has the best food to offer in China. It therefore makes sense to explore the city through the taste buds. Xihua Road (Chen Clan Academy Station), a traditional food street, and Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street (Changshou Lu Station) are good places to start.
The Canton Tower (Canton Tower Station), an unmissable landmark known for its ‘slim waist’ created by the twisting architectural structure, is hailed as the number one sightseeing tower in China. In addition to taking in the views from a vantage point and visiting the Skyone Celebrity Wax Museum, thrill-seeking visitors can take a ride on the Bubble Tram or Sky Drop.
As night falls, take the two-minute walk from the east square of Canton Tower to Fortune Pier and board the Pearl River Night Cruise to appreciate from afar the Canton Tower and the Pearl River, which are among the eight sights Guangzhou is famous for today.
Start the following morning with a dim sum breakfast at one of the garden-style restaurants — Panxi, Beiyuan Cuisine and Nan Yuan being the most famous — and experience slow living the Guangzhou way. Of the three restaurants mentioned, we recommend Panxi (Zhongshanba Station) if you want to sample Cantonese delicacies and enjoy the mesmerising views of Liwan Lake at the same time.
The Beijing Lu Pedestrian Street (Gongyuanqian Station) has to be the busiest street in Guangzhou. Not only does the commercial street offer great food, shopping and entertainment, but it is also where modern shops are juxtaposed with buildings and alleys that are over a thousand years old. Those who prefer shopping malls can make their way to Taikoo Hui Guangzhou (Shipaiqiao Station) or Grandview Mall where the Grandview Aquarium is located.