Macau is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Hong Kong, and for the longest time was just a gambling haven for the Chinese who couldn’t legally do it in their own country. However, this former Portuguese colony is more than the "Las Vegas of the East." Macau has an interesting history as a trading port and was the last remaining European colony in Asia - just reverted back to China in 1999. Visitors can explore Macau's other districts, Taipa, Cotai and Coloane which are more fruitful than the confining casino walls.
Macau has become more globally known recently thanks to the opening of large international casinos, such as the Wynn and Venetian. These new facilities have brought world class entertainment and restaurants to Macau, which has had added a touch of class to a formerly seedy country, primarily attracting Chinese gamblers. The upgraded international appeal has given Macau a new lease on life as a fun and interesting vacation destination.
The most iconic landmark of Macau is the remaining façade of St Paul’s Cathedral, which dates back to 1062, completely destroyed in 1835 by fire. There are other remnants of Macau’s colonial legacy, such as Luis de Camoes Park and Lilau Square. In fact, the whole historic center has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to the abundance of well-preserved colonial and Chinese buildings.
Most people visiting Macau from Hong Kong come for day trips and do not stay overnight. There are plenty of hotel rooms at the 33 casinos, but they do fill up during peak travel seasons, such as Chinese New Year and Labor Day. Tickets to famous shows are actually harder to obtain than their Las Vegas counterpart, so if there is something you are dying to see, book well in advance.
Macau International Airport is the main air link into Macau, but primarily services Asian destinations. Most international travelers will have to fly into Hong Kong and then either take a ferry or bus to Macau. Travel within Macau is easy and cheap, either by taxi or by using the extensive public bus system.
No visit would be complete without a little gambling and most casinos are open 24/7 and offer universal games, as well as Chinese games. But stick to a set budget so as not to get caught in the odds!
- Try your luck at the one of the many casinos
- Watch the colorful dragon boat races on Nam Van Lake
- Soak up Macau’s Portuguese legacy and try some Macanese cooking
- Enjoy breathtaking views from the Macau Tower
- Take in one of the fabulous shows at the Wynn or Venetian
- Explore the historic center of Macau
- Visit Hong Kong, which is only a short ferry ride away
- For the ultimate thrill, bungee jump off the Macau Tower