Macau — Asia’s Las Vegas

26 04 2010

Now that I have already been to the New York of Asia, it is only appropriate that I make my next trip to the Las Vegas of Asia: Macau, China! Surrounded by casino’s galore and interesting Chinese-Portuguese architecture, Macau is the only European colony of China. Since I only did a day trip to Macau, this blog post won’t take up too much of your time so lets begin…

The day begin with an 1.5 hour ferry ride to Macau from the Hong Kong ferry terminal. When we arrived in Macau, it was just crazy confusion. We wanted to be downtown Macau where all the action was but we were confused as to how to get there since Hong Kong and Macau use different currencies. There are numerous free shuttle buses to get to the casino but being a foreigner, it is pretty challenging to navigate yourself for the first time to a central location. My friends and I were afraid that if we took a free shuttle to the casino’s it might be too far from downtown Macau so we hopped onto a regular bus.

Almond cookies in Macau

After a 20 minute bus ride we arrived in an area surrounded by cute little restaurants and shops. Our first meal of the day was what felt like a mix of Chinese-European cuisine (if that makes any sense?). Although it was noodles, it had a bit more of spicy kick to it but I am unsure if that has anything to do with the Portuguese influence. After our meal, we decided to do a bit more exploring and we came across a little store that made almond baked cookies (they are essentially dry Chinese-style cookies flavoured with almond). After having a few free samples, my friends and I completely indulged and ended up buying a box each. As we continued walking deeper into town we began to notice that a number of the stores all sold the exact same almond cookies and they were giving out free samples like no tomorrow! My friends and I kept eating the free samples until our stomachs hurt and we couldn’t even look at another cookie haha.

When our stomachs stopped hurting we headed up to go see the Ruins of St. Paul’s. The church was built in 1602 and it was adjoined with the Jesuit College of St. Paul’s, the first Western college in the Far East where missionaries came to learn Chinese. However in 1835 a fire started and it destroyed the college and the body of the church. The surviving remains of the church is covered with carvings and statues which illustrate the early days of the Church in China. Although the Ruins of St.Paul’s was pretty interesting to see, it is difficult to compare temples and churches after one has already seen Angkor Wat, the mother of all temples.

Ruins of St.Paul's

Nevertheless, we then headed over to do some exploring inside the casinos. Among the most impressive casinos was the Grand Lisbon, The MGM and The Wynn. Since casino’s are all pretty much the same inside, I don’t have any incredibly crazy stories to share but I do have to admit that the Grand Lisbon was probably the most beautiful casino I have ever seen. There are little glass chandeliers that hang from everywhere in the ceiling and they sparkle in the dim light. The Wynn was also really cool because every couple of hours they have a huge water and fire show (see below for the pictures/video). Unfortunately I didn’t end up doing the world’s largest bungee jump of 233 metres but overall, Macau was a really unique and fun experience.

Water and Fire show at The Wynn

Inside the Grand Lisbon