18 September 2011

Vegas of the East [Macau, China]

A Portuguese colony? In China? That is just like Vegas? I know what you are thinking... Bullshit! But it is true, I promise. Macau, like Hong Kong, is a special administrative region of China. It is most famous as the Vegas of Asia, as gambling is legal here. Jennifer (who I met in Shenzhen) was heading there too, so we decided to go together. From Hong Kong it is a quick one hour ferry to Macau.

Macau lives up to its reputation; it definitely had a Vegas feel to it. The casinos and hotels are huge and there is no expense spared on decoration. I visited the Galaxy, Grand Lisboa, Wynn and Venitian. All had very plush and expensive interiors, often with huge center pieces in the lobbies. The Venetian was my favourite - the theme strictly followed inside and out, even a canal running through the middle of the building. Like Vegas, some have free 'shows'. I caught the one at Wynn, where the floor completely opened up and a massive dragon came out. Then the roof opened showing a massive fireball. Pretty crazy stuff. One good thing about being a casino town is that all the hotels/casinos run free shuttles to and from the ferry port, as well as other areas around town. They also have free luggage storage. So even though I was not staying at any of the hotels, I made sure to take advantage.


They say one day is enough for Macau, and they are probably right. The main sights are easily walkable from the center, and there are a couple of others that are easily reached by bus. We checked out the Ruins of St Paul Cathedral - basically just the front of an old church. Macau Fortress, a big old fortress complete with turrets and cannons (the best part about the fortress is the view over the city). A Ma temple, a Buddhist temple south of the city. Quite small and a bit of an anti-climax to be honest. Tiapa village is quite interesting as it still retails some authentic Portuguese influence. The city itself is interesting just to wander. You can really feel the total mix of cultural influences - Chinese, Portuguese, and those more 'western'.

I was lucky to find a host in Macau - it is a very popular spot and there are not many Couch Surfers around. Even though he was really busy - Simon gave me a bed for the evening. Only draw back was that his air con was broken. Macau is HOT and HUMID! So it was a pretty uncomfortable night.

There is a land border with Mainland China which is right in the city, so it is nice and easy to get across. And on the Chinese side I was able to jump on a bus straight to Guangzhou. My main reason for visiting Guangzhou is the easy onward transport to Guilin. To be honest I didn't really do much there at all. I had freakin' amazing hosts there; Kaisa, an awesome Estonian girl, Omar, a cool guy from Syria and Franklin, a Salsa master from Venezuela. I was just hanging out and partying with them for the couple of days that I was there.

1 comment:

  1. Guangzhou is more of a business centre, rather than a tourist place. It's still nice but it's a bit boring.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...