Macau – Gambling Mecca of Asia
A former Portugese colony, Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Located on the southeast coast of China at the mouth of the Pearl River, it is a popular destination for tourists as well as the Chinese who enjoy gambling. As of 2012, the gambling revenue in Macau was five times that of Las Vegas! Visitors will find Macau charming due to it’s contrast between old and new, and the mixture of European, Western and Oriental art and culture.
The ruins of St. Paul Cathedral in the Historic Centre of Macau is said to be the city’s most famous attraction. After it’s initial establishment in the 16th century, this great church was destroyed by a fire for a third time during a typhoon and what survived were the front façade and the grand stone stairs. The church was said to have white stones and was magnificently decorated, showing a mix of Portuguese and Chinese influences.
Monte Fort, the oldest fort in Macau, is located on a hilltop at the east of the Ruins of St. Paul’s of Macau. It was built in 1626 for protection against attacks and it served for many years as the residence of the governors of Macau and a military fort. You can now stroll around the restored fort and its underground corridors. The beautiful garden offers panoramic views of the old city. Located in the famous St. Paul Monte Fortress, the Museum of Macau is the biggest museum in the region. This superb museum displays Macau’s culture and history in a fascinating way.
A-Ma Temple, is one of the oldest and most famous Taoist temples in Macau built in 1488. It’s located at the base of Barra Hill at the western end of the Historic Centre of Macao. The temple was built by the cliffs with winding paths around and up the hill and offers spectacular views. Containing a series of classical Chinese architectural treasures, the temple was well described in ancient Chinese texts, as well as represented in paintings.
The 338 meter (1,109 foot) tall Macau Tower offers some of the best views of the city. It’s comprised of an observation deck with breathtaking panoramic views (especially at night), restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and the Skywalk X, a thrilling walking tour around the outer rim. The brave and adventurous can also bungee jump off the tower, the second highest in the world after the Vegas’ Stratosphere Skyjump.
Senado Square is a lively public area in Macau, paved with mosaic of colored stones, and lined with shopping centers and traditional Chinese restaurants. Many celebrations are held at the square and you can witness firework displays and lion and dragon dances usually held on special days such as the Chinese Spring Festival and Christmas. Located here, the picturesque St. Dominic’s Church reflects Macau’s multiculturalism as European influences can be seen. This Baroque style church is made of pastel-yellow and cream-colored façade and features green shuttered windows.
Macau is the only place in the People’s Republic of China where gambling is permitted and therefore a popular destination for gamblers. Macau’s casinos are scattered across the city. The Galaxy, City of Dreams, and Venetian are on the Cotai Strip. Others, including the Grand Lisboa and the Sands, are located near the Historic Centre. The Venetian Macau, one of the largest single structure hotel buildings in Asia and one of the largest buildings in the world, is a 6-star hotel and casino resort (biggest in the world). The Casino Grand Lisboa offers an extensive array of exciting casino games with 240 gaming tables and 1000 slot machines. Another great attraction is The House of Dancing Water show, a Vegas-style stage production at the City of Dreams. It is a wonderful, unique aquatic theater experience.
With a combination of glamorous Casinos, unspoilt beaches and rich culture, charm and top rated restaurants, Macau is a fun destination tucked away on the South China Sea.
Photo Credit: RJ P.