December 4, 2016
Taking in the Sights and Tastes of Macau

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Straight to the Point

Macau is a neat little area in Southeast China. It’s a cultural mix of Portuguese and Chinese which makes it a particularly interesting region to explore. It’s pretty small overall so you can see most of Macau in about a day.

 

 

Background

  • Macau is a Special Administrative Region of China just an hour ferry ride from bustling Hong Kong (or 15 minutes by helicopter).
  • It’s a self-governing entity with its own border control, legal system, and currency.
  • Macau was the first European colony in China and was settled by the Portuguese. Many of the 16th century Portuguese buildings and architectural designs are still standing in the city.

 

Casinos


Galaxy Macau

Galaxy Macau


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Moon Jellyfish at Encore check in


  • Macau is best known for its casinos. It’s commonly referred to as the Las Vegas of Asia. Most of Macau’s gamblers come from China-and this has a clear influence on the games played. Baccarat is the most popular game throughout the casinos!
  • Over the past 15 years several high-profile American casinos have sprung up in Macau- such as Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands (Venetian Hotel), and MGM.
  • I wouldn’t take a trip all the way to Macau from the US just to gamble, as Las Vegas is closer to home and is a much larger gambling city. But if you’re in Macau, casinos are pretty much unavoidable as most of the major hotels are built around them.

Dragon of Fortune at Wynn

Dragon of Fortune show at Wynn. Image Source: Wynn


Senado Square


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  • Senado Square is a public UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the center of Macau.
  • The square has dozens of old buildings inspired by a hybrid of beautiful Portuguese and Chinese architecture. Even though you’re in China, you feel like you could be in a major European city!
  • Aside from being a great spot for photos, the square is filled with local restaurants and shops you’ll want to explore.
  • What I loved most about this part of town was that it was a hybrid of two completely different cultures and it somehow worked great!

 

Ruins of Saint Paul 


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  • These ruins are what’s left of a 17th century Portuguese church that burned down in 1835. The only thing left standing is the front façade of the building.
  • This iconic Macanese location is another a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the entrance to Senado Square so you should definitely check it out if you’re there!

 

Food


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  • Always try the local food when you’re in a new city! Macanese cuisine is a hybrid of Chinese and Portuguese flavors which make it particularly interesting.
  • The Portuguese Egg Tart is arguably the most iconic local item to try and and it’s sold pretty much everywhere. Pick one up as you stroll through Senado Square.
  • You’ll also find lots of jerky sold throughout the city! There’s tons of different flavors of jerky from various animals such as boar, pork, and beef.

Bird's Nest Soup

Gelatinous Bird’s Nest Soup


  • Finally, you should try some of the Chinese cuisine as well. I had my first bowl of bird nest soup at the Wynn Resort.
  • Yes, the soup is made from an actual boiled bird’s nest. It’s considered a delicacy in China and is reported to have numerous health benefits-I’m always open to trying new foods at least once! The soup itself is flavorless and various sauces are added to give it more of a taste.

 

Final Thoughts

  • You don’t need very long to see all of Macau. It’s a small area and most things to see are located close to each other.
  • I was able to visit all the sites in one day. I’m not much of a gambler so the casinos do nothing for me. If you enjoy gambling set aside additional time accordingly.
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