Live from Macau: One Up on Vegas...

Macau, the small configuration of islands and a peninsula off China's south coast that was long held (and neglected) by Portugal, is coming on strong. In recent years it has even overtaken Las Vegas in gambling earnings. The opening of the Macau outpost of over-the-top Vegas casino, the Venetian, is sure to help Macau expand the lead over Vegas even more. Along with the local casinos, Macau opened up to Vegas exports and currently boasts a Sands, Venetian, Wynn, and coming soon, an MGM Grand (to be opened by mid-December). Vegas hosted the NBA All-Star Game, Macau's going to host exhibition games between Cleveland, Orlando, and the Chinese National Team to take place in 2 weeks time. There is also the upcoming tennis duel between Federer and Sampras, as well as Macau's famous grand prix, unique to Macau and another famous gambling spot that begins with M, Monaco.

While there is the gambling, beaches, and a very interesting, real fusion cuisine, what is most attractive about Macau, to me, is its uniqueness. While Hong Kong was a British colony for so long, it is hard to see or feel a Britishness there. However, Macau is oozing with a Mediterranean vibe, a relaxed Iberian lifestyle. Due to basic abandonment by the Portuguese, the islands were in a state of disrepair when the Chinese took over in 1999, but things have already started to pick up and the rough edges do a lot to add something to the atmosphere.

For those interested in a trip, here are some tips:
1. From Shenzhen, the best option is the boat, which will get you to Zhuhai Customs in about an hour (or if you're a foreigner with a multientry visa, head into Hong Kong, the boat will take the same amount of time, but HK Customs is a lot faster). Boats from HK leave from the HK/Macau port near Central, in Shenzhen they leave from Shekou. There are also buses from Huanggang Customs.

2. Avoid a taxi and just take a free casino bus, even if you don't intend on gambling at the casino, it's a good way to get into town. If you're going to the town center for some sightseeing, the best options are probably the Emperor or the Grand Lisboa.

3. If you're entering Macau from Zhuhai, consider spending a night there and getting up bright and early the next morning to avoid the huge crowds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love gambling in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Macau.