Macau and Hong Kong are like the two small cousins of China. Hong Kong, given it’s International reputation as an air hub, is a lot more well-known. But, for a lot of reasons, Macau is well-worth a visit, especially if you are passing through Hong Kong for a long enough time.
Macau was a Portugese region until 1999, and is now a special administrative region of China (SAR), just as Hong Kong became in 1998, and operates under the same “one country two systems” during a 50-year transition period. It’s now considered somewhat of a gambling hub.
Since visiting Macau, when telling people about it, I compare it to Las Vegas but without all the garbage and riff-raff, but with the addition of some European (Portugese) culture and flair. While they share a lot of the same hotel properties, Macau has Las Vegas fully beat in the culture department.
The main cultural attraction most people visit first in Macau is the ruins of St. Paul’s Church (the featured image of this post), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The area around the church is quite an interesting blend of European and Asian influences, which contributes to making Macau quite an interesting place to visit.
There’s also tons of great Portugese food to be had in the Historic Centre.
Although I’m not a huge fan, egg tarts are the official Instagram food of Macau (and if you are a fan, they are quite good). You can find them in this area as well.
So we understand the culture, now how about those casinos?!
Just as in Las Vegas, you can find the Venetian Hotel, the Paris, the Wynn, and a host of similar-sounding properties, all with slight variations on their namesake hotels in Las Vegas. For instance, the Venetian and Paris complexes are much bigger than in Las Vegas, however the Wynn is much smaller.
There are also plenty of Asian-targeted twists, like numerous food courts with regional foods from China, Japan and Korea, and lots and lots and lots of places to take selfies. The Macau architects clearly knew their audience.
There is a catch, though: if you’re used to the perk of free alcohol whilst gambling, you can forget that in Macau. On the contrary, it’s actually quite difficult to find drinks at the casino hotels. But there is lots of (apparently) great nightlife in Macau. Unfortunately, I’d visited on a Sunday night so there wasn’t much going on – which probably wouldn’t have been a problem in Las Vegas.
That’s something Las Vegas has Macau beat on: debauchery on all nights of the week.