Macau: The Vegas of Asia

Another week gone, another trip taken. This time my school was closed for the formidable Gaokao which is the university entrance exam and all students wishing to attend university in China must sit the exams. This is serious busy, security is tight and police monitor the schools. Fortunately for me, my school is a test centre so the school closes for the exams and I manage to get two days off work!!

The reason my friends and I decided to go to Macau was simple…the flights were cheap, a round trip ticket cost less that 800RMB! As it was midweek the prices of hotel were also cheaper than on a weekend…decision made!

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After checking into our hotel my boyfriend and I went to do a little exploring while waiting for our friends to arrive on the later flight. We head to the Guia fortress, which overlooks the city. It was a beautiful view with a mix of the old and new buildings. After that we headed down towards the Fisherman’s Warf, so we could find a lunch spot. I had visited the Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco last summer and was expecting something similar. It’s safe to say my hopes were dashed. There was some pretty building with a few restaurants and bars all of which were closed. It was pretty much a ghost town, so my search for a good lunch would have to continue.

img_0771.pngIn the evening time my friends Shawn and Christian arrived at the hotel and we headed out for dinner and to the Casinos. Macau is referred to as the Las Vegas of Asia and after visiting Las Vegas last summer I was keen to see if there were any similarities.  We spent the night on the Macau side and visited the Grand Lisboa and the Wynn hotel. After calling into the Sands for a happy hour cocktail earlier in the day and witnessing the crowds of people, I knew that the casinos would be extremely busy.

img_0536.jpgFirst things first unlike in Vegas you won’t get served alcohol while playing, you might find yourself being offered a juice or a coffee but strictly no alcohol.  Secondly you must change your Macau patacas to Hong Kong dollars to play. The games are pretty much the same, although there seems to a shortage of the slot machines with arm pulls…my friend for whatever reason was desperate to play, but we couldn’t find any.

I didn’t gamble in Vegas, so I was determined to try my luck in Macau. We sat and watched a few rounds at the roulette table and as an advisor I was having great luck in winning someone else money. I decided the first night I would simply observe and safe my money to play the next night.

 

 

The following morning, we headed out to explore the city. Macau used to be a Portuguese colony and as you walk down the cobbled streets, across the open squares and around the coloured buildings you really do feel like you are in a European city. I love Europe and everything about it, so it felt strange to be in place that looked like it had been transported from Portugal and plonked into a Chinese city.

IMG_0422Probably one of the most famous sights in Macau is St Pauls Ruins. At one time, it was one of the largest and most important catholic churches however after a serious fire within the grounds all that’s left is the front of the building.  It is a must to do while in Macau but be warned if you go it will be full of tourists trying to get the perfect pose in front of the ruins. Close to the ruins is the Macau fort and museum. This is another opportunity to look out over the city and to learn a little about the history of the city, especially the Portuguese influence in the city.

The weather was hot and extremely humid so after walking around the city and a good lunch it was time to go back to the hotel for some relaxation and a dip in the swimming pool!IMG_0498

That evening we headed over to the Taipa island which is where all bigger and newer casinos are. We headed to the biggest casino in the world, the Venetian. For those that have been to the Venetian in Vegas, it is pretty much the same and of course complete with the canals of Venice. The boys were eager to gamble so I quickly went to get 300 Hong Kong dollars and went to the roulette table. Well…when it came to me playing and not advising I wasn’t so good! I also prefer the colour red over black and unfortunately or me the black percentage was higher than that of the red. I just kept hoping that red would start fighting back! When it didn’t I quickly retired to Morton’s Steakhouse to indulge in their power hour drinks round.

 

The Venetian is a beautiful hotel, but much quieter than the hotels in Vegas, the bars and restaurants all close relatively early which means there really is only gambling to do. Before heading back to our hotel, I dragged the boys around the Venetian and through to the Parisian so that I could take the token shot of the “Eiffel Tower.” This part of Macau really feels like you are in Vegas, only the humid is higher!!

IMG_0640Our flight wasn’t until 6.30pm so after checking out of the hotel we went to the Maua tower which stands at 323 metres tall. It’s a relatively new building as it was only opened in 2001. It is a great opportunity to see the city up higher, but for any adrenaline junkies out there you can also do a bungee jump, sky jump, sky climb or a sky walk. After losing money gambling I wasn’t keen on losing any more by spending any more money on these activities. That’s my reason and it honestly had nothing to do with me being a chicken and having no desire to be at such a great high out in the open air.

Shawn and Christian however opted to do the Sky walk and they seemed to really enjoy it. Being able to see over the city was enough! The question of whether Macau belongs to China is a heavily debated topic and from this height it is crazy to see just how close mainland China is!

The trip to Macau was short and sweet and I think we spent the perfect amount of time there. There isn’t exactly tons of things to do. There is a nice blend between the chinese and the Portuguese cultures, and there are times where you could forget that you were in China. The life in Macau seems that it would be completely different to that of main land China.  I enjoyed the trip and if anything it has made me wish I could go wandering around the streets of Portugal.

 

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