Unwind on these idyllic islands
A SHORT bus ride from the Macau Peninsula takes one to Taipa and Coloane islands, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
At first glance, the highly developed Taipa Island, home to the Macau International Airport, race course and top-class resorts and hotels, might not seem like the most culturally rich holiday destination.
But tucked away on its east side is Taipa Village, where a food paradise waits to be discovered. In the vicinity lies the 100m-long Rua da Cunha, affectionately known as Food Street.
It has restaurants serving Chinese, Portuguese, Macanese and Thai food, and is also the ideal place for those who love "cha chan teng" delicacies.
There is also a wide selection of Chinese homemade biscuits, cookies and snacks in the narrow street of shops dating back 80 years or more.
Fret not if you are not much of a foodie as the island also provides a dose of history with its well-preserved buildings from the past.
A trip to the Praia area would find one immersed in an old world, starting with the Church of Our Lady of Carmel which sits atop a hill facing Coloane Island.
Built in the 19th century, the church looks out on landscaped gardens, which have seats and bowers for one to have a day of relaxation.
Other places of interest include the Tin Hau Temple, Four Faces Buddha and Po Tai Un Buddhist Monastery.
Coloane Island is known for its unique Hac-Sa, or black sand, beach and Portuguese egg tarts.
A photo of the egg-tart-making process at the famous Lord Stows Bakery won Mr Kester Tan, 23, a prize in the Coloane category of the Experience Macau Photo Contest held by Singapore Press Holdings' online portal, AsiaOne.
"I had the impression that food places were usually quite secretive about their preparation process, so it was quite interesting to be able to watch from a window," said the undergraduate.
Taking centre stage on the island is the 19.99m-high majestic statue of the goddess A-Ma, the deity of seafarers. Carved out of white marble, it can be seen from miles away and is a marvel to behold.
Besides the travellers who go for the tourist attractions and food, there are others, like Ms Christine Chia, 54, who just want to bask in the sun.
Ms Chia, who has visited Macau numerous times, said her favourite pastime is to just read a book while sitting on a bench at Hac-Sa beach.
"It is very laid-back and quiet, which I appreciate as a city-dweller," said the homemaker.