Macau is a special administrative region in the south of the Chinese mainland consisting of an island and a peninsula. Anyway, you may know it from the famous Bond movies “Skyfall” and “The Man with the Golden Gun”. But do you really know Macau and its history?
Where Europe meets the East
Your first thoughts may be: “Is this Portugal or Asia”? At the airport, in the harbour and even in the streets you will find a lot of Portuguese signs and buildings that trace back to Macau’s colonial era. Formerly known as a Portuguese colony, it is an autonomous territory governed by the People’s Republic of China since 1999. And the impact of more than 400 years of Portuguese colonialism is clearly noticeable.
What’s so special about Macau?
First there is one big thing above all that Macau is famous for: Casinos. The American gambling-capital Las Vegas is quite a joke compared to Macau. While Las Vegas is generating about 5 Billion $ a year, Macau is generating more than 30 Billion $ a year with its casinos. The Chinese special administrative region makes even more money with gambling than the whole United States of America. Isn’t that remarkable?
Furthermore there is another special fact about the region: Macau has the highest population density in the world. 650.000 people live in an area of 30 square kilometers. That’s more than 20.000 per square kilometer. (in Tokyo it’s about 6.000) But even if the city is full of life and people, you may notice that it is not too full to be able to walk. So, you won’t get claustrophobia or something else…
Should I plan a trip to Macau?
Yes! But I don’t think you should spend a whole week there. (except you are a huge casino enthusiast) As mentioned, Macau is not that big and flights can be very expensive.
As Hong Kong is only 60 kilometers away and the ferry is quite cheap it lends itself to combine it with a trip to The Pearl of The Orient. The round-trip ticket from Sheung Wan (Hong Kong) to Macau costs about €40 or even less.
So if you decide to visit Macau here are some must-visits:
Ruins of Saint Paul’s
Sitting above the historic city centre, the ruins should definitely be on your list. It gives you a great view of Macau .
It is not only the biggest casino and hotel in Macau, it’s even the biggest in the world. And it is absolutely impressive! The hotel offers 3.000 rooms and more than 50.000 square meters of casino space.
With reasonable prices and delicious Portuguese and international food it is one of the first addresses in Macau to dine out. But try to avoid rush hours. Fernando’s Restaurant is very popular not only for tourists, but also for locals.
In my opinion the greatest thing you can do in Macau is to just walk along the streets of the historic city centre. The mixture of Chinese and European or rather Portuguese culture is simply incomparable. At every turn you will find little stalls and shops that are really worth to stop by.
Next destination? Maybe Kuala Lumpur?