Macau provides the largest number of casinos and gambling in Asia with revenues that supposedly surpass those of Las Vegas. However, the two cities are drastically different. Probably the most popular game in Macau is Baccarat, iconic as James Bond's favorite game, however, you may want to learn the rules before arriving unless you know Cantonese. A smaller percentage of locals speak Mandarin or Portuguese, and English is far less common beyond the hotel concierges.
The mixture of East and West into something Macanese is evident in the European architecture alongside Chinese characters. The street signs are oftentimes Portuguese while many tourists and employees are Chinese. Macanese food is also an interesting combination of Portuguese and Chinese. If you can find a good restaurant, you will not be disappointed by the dishes, though some may find a menu with baby pigeon unsettling.
If you get weary from all the casinos and high-rise, head down to Coloane Island, with its faded colonial villa's, some beaches and a bit of green.
Highlights from Macau
- Catch the most expensive and best-selling show ”House of Dancing Water" at the City of Dreams Casino.
- Enjoy Macau's unique architecture and history by visiting Senado Square, A-Ma Temple and the Ruins of St. Paul.
- See or gamble at some of the more impressively lit hotel casinos such as the Venetian, Grand Lisboa, Wynn Resorts or Sands.
- Try various foods: Portuguese, Chinese, Macanese. If you're sticking to hotels, they all have different buffets available at different hours.
- Relax and wind down at sleepy Coloane Village on Coloane Island
- Stroll around Taipa Village
Hints and Tips for Macau
- One of the easiest means of reaching Macau is by ferry from Hong Kong or China. You are dropped off directly at the port from where you can easily grab a shuttle to your hotel (or nearby if your accommodation doesn't provide a shuttle).
- There are many warning signs that can be found in Macau buses and streets against littering and spitting. Those caught doing so may pay hefty fines.
- The best way to get around Macau if you don't want to walk is to grab the free hotel shuttles. You return to the main bus terminal and catch a different hotel bus to reach the opposite side of town. That being said, Macau is not difficult to walk around, and you can enjoy more of the beautiful architecture and pebble-stone streets remnant from the Portuguese colonization.
- If you are looking for a nice spa treatment, you may want to avoid the saunas, which are oftentimes brothels. Like its Western counterpart, Vegas, prostitution is highly visible. You may spot an older woman throwing 'hooker cards' on the ground for promotion.