(This article was originally posted in April 2018 on old website.)
This is one city that I never had interests or thought of visiting all my life until last month. Try to think of Macau, what do I know? Party scenes of Hong Kong stars (yes, Macau is right next to HK) or secret mafia gathering behind the shiny casino back door. It sounds funny but that’s the idea I had from movies. And see, I’m the person who doesn’t get excited with gambling at all.
Thanks to my husband’s sudden plans, we were dragged to the Asia’s biggest sin city. In another word, it was a part of business trip as he’s been involved with integrated resort designing for past few years. While he needs to observe overall business and planning, detailed analysis of design, service, and food by me, and our little assistant critiques gave us opinions about entertainment quality.
Casino is rapidly shifting to family friendly resorts in need. South Korea is busy with new casino developing right now. (I posted a Japanese Blog about Korea’s newest casino several month ago. If interested, take a visit to see pictures.) Followed by Japan to be expected to legalize casino within few years, and Hainan Island is under proposal review. Macau has been a city of casino for a while but not yet slowing down at all. I don’t know if any city could be a future competitor.
I have to keep detailed analysis to ourselves but I can talk about what you can get from Macau. Casinos are plenty, of course, and flooded with domestic visitors. You can find most of hotels from Las Vegas, equal to or better. You name all the big names, among of all, The Venetian is the largest hotel in Asia. All architectures are fun, especially the futuristic ones are no limit of show off, it’s all about how far you can do. Most of hotels are resort themed, large swimming pools and cabanas to spend all day.
What very different from Las Vegas is that outside streets are very clean and calm. All stores are indoor, meaning that most of hotels own shopping malls attached to them. Why? It’s the Macau’s climate; extremely humid in hot season and tropical storms in rain season. I like it this way, you know what I mean if you have walked main strip of Las Vegas. Too x-rated, very uncomfortable even without children.
Every possible brand names are in shopping malls, high end to casual, just about everything. It’s like 5th ave of NYC in every hotel. I’m saying this because I used to walk 5th ave everyday to commute, you can call it Ginza street or Ave des Champs-Élysées. And more, you can find Hong Kong brands and also popular South Korean cosmetic brands, so called K-Beauty stores.
The biggest part of Macau is food, people say. You get very authentic dishes of many kind. I heard that the competition is extremely high in the tiny city, necessary to be more than average to survive. You get to hop around michelin star restaurants in the neighbor. And surely Chinese foods from every region to satisfy domestic visitors, amazing quality. For us, even simple Cantonese dimsum was so special as Chinese food in Korea is all modified to fit Korean taste buds. On top of that, there is Macanese food that is a blend of Portuguese and Chinese-south east Asian cuisines. Literally, this place is a heaven for foodies.
(FYI, we didn’t try any local or street restaurants due to our children’s food additive allergies. No need to take chances. If you have same issues, it’s safer to keep yourself at restaurants in reliable hotels. Especially MSG in Asia is very strong, I’ve heard of cases of severe symptoms.)
Entertainments! Just like Las Vegas, shows and live concerts are happening. For children, Cirque du Soleil isn’t only option, The House of Dancing Water which is Macau only acrobatic show is on year around. Amazing performance and very entertaining. However, less artistic than Cirque du Soleil and story line is a bit….. I would say cliche.
The latest 4D Batman ride, the Dark Flight is introduced first in the world, really well made. Kids compared rides from Unversal Studio, Disney Land in U.S. & Japan, and Disney Sea, this was the most realistic and fun. It was too realistic to me, I screamed till I lost my voice.
If you enjoy being elevated very high, options are Macau Tower or Ferris Wheel. My husband’s choice was the Ferris Wheel in funky design. It follows the shape of eight to go up and down. Whole structure is set in niche so it gives you secured feeling somehow. (I don’t like being in bare Ferris Wheel cage. If wind blows, I scream!)
Macau doesn’t attract people with shiny buildings only, great historical footprints are preserved. Old Town is registered as UNESCO world heritage site. With about 500 years of cultural influence by Portugal, Chinese accepted and also developed characteristics of Macau. Look at the Ruins of St.Paul’s for an example, if you love history and design like myself, it’s a really fun place to visit. And the town is not even located in remote area, just there. Macau is very compact, you don’t need to pack to visit heritage sites like in other countries.
You get to do much more than what I wrote in Macau. Even an international airport is only five minutes drive, which may also be a top reason that attracts visitors.