A bustling and burgeoning haven of Epicurean excesses, Macau can occasionally be more impressive than its European namesake. Five major elements set it apart form the rest and they are (drumroll please):
- History: It has been a happening place for over four hundred years, ever since the Portuguese took an interest and the Dutch challenged them on it. The rest of it’s story is just as colourful; from playing a major role in the Opium War to triad controlled gambling and prostitution.
- Gambling: Gambling is been around in Macau since the 1850’s but now its earning a well deserved reputation as the new gambling Eden of the World. Macau is home to about thirty beautiful casinos (most of which run around the clock), horse racing and Asia’s only dog racing stadium. The casinos, which like to mix and match their attractions, generate six times more revenue than their counterparts in Las Vegas!
- It’s culturally exotic: The Macanese do their very best to accentuate their mixed Portuguese-Chinese heritage, bestowing a unique cultural blend to everything from architecture to cuisine. Stop by at Lord Stow’s bakery for their famous egg tarts, or the Tai Lei Loi Kei for a crisp and juicy pork bun. Do Not, under any circumstances miss out on Chan Kong Kei’s roast-duck-in-homemade-black-pepper-sauce. Visit the museums to trace the origins of these influences.
- Pure Fun: There are plenty of outdoor activities to be enjoyed. Take your kids Go Karting at the Motor Sports Club; sky jump from the 338 metre high Macau Tower; enjoy a Grand Prix. City action getting to you? Retreat to the lovely islands of Coloan and Taipa for some leisurely swimming, trekking, golfing and maybe some water sports.
- Shopping: Compulsive shoppers note: Macau is a free port. No duty whatsoever. The jewellery is cheap. The fabric is cheap. The tobacco is cheap. The wine is cheap. Look for the tiny shops in the streets surrounding the Avenida Horta e Costa for bargains on assorted collectibles. Buy gold on the Rua dos Mercadores. Browse the pawnshops that thrive on the misfortune of gamblers. Keep the warranty cards and receipts. Pick up some Chinese antiques and keep a calendar on the weekly markets. Macau will cater to shoppers and experience seekers of all tastes, so save up for some guilt-free extravagance.