Global Profile: Macau

| June 4, 2014
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Image: lazerhorse.org

 Words by Andrea Love

Olá!

Located 65km to the west of Hong Kong is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, unbeknown to most. While there are many magnificent cities that combine rich history with modern times, Macau remains a fairly untapped city of duality. For those who are visiting for a cultural experience, you’ll absorb the churches and fortresses designed by former Portuguese colonial masters. On the other hand, Macau is Asia’s answer to Las Vegas, and with a hefty precinct of entertainment, restaurants and gaming bigger than the American strip itself, you’ll have plenty of things to do while you’re on holiday.

Various Las Vegas casino owners have recently decided to build new complexes in Macau, creating a whole new tourist niche for the city. Aside from electronic and table game entertainment, the casinos offer a number of other facilities, including stage shows, restaurants and bars. Famous celebrities often perform at the casinos, as opposed to a stadium or concert hall, and run for longer periods of time, to cater for the substantial amount of tourists.

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The Galaxy Casino. || Image: flamingotravels.co

You’ll soon come to terms with the fact that the majority of people that visit this remarkable city, do so to gamble. As one of the mot popular gambling destinations in the world, Macau is caters for these tourists with large and impressive casinos and hotels throughout the city, and in doing so, often attracting more visitors than Las Vegas. Gamblers actually represent approximately 40% of the global domestic product of Macau, thus it is of high importance to the economy.

Macau offers greyhound racing to those who love a little bit of live action. The Canidrom on Avenida General Castelo Braco hosts races each week, with up to 16 games on during an evening.

If gambling is not your cup of tea, Macau is an odd mixture of Chinese and Portuguese culture that you cannot experience anywhere else. With a long history, there are a number of memorable ruins that are a must for any trip to the city. The Ruinas de Sao Paulo are considered the city’s symbol. All that remain from an earl 17th century Macanese church after a fire destroyed it in 1835 is beautiful stone façade and a stairway.

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A-Ma Temple. || Image: toomyooi.com

Local temples are popular with tourists as well, and if you take a trip to the south western tip of Macau, you’ll find the cliff-top temple A-Ma Temple. Experience spiritual insight in pavilions dedicated to varying Chinese philosophies, including Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. This time dates back to the 16th century and is a great representation of Macau’s history.

If you’re a city slicker, with a milder interest in history, perhaps a visit to the Macau Museum is more to your taste. Set in an old 17-century fortress, it brings to life 400 years of Chinese and Portuguese history; you’ll find three floors of state-of-the-art multimedia exhibits to view.

For adrenaline junkies, the Macau Tower hosts the world’s highest bungy jump from 233 metres above ground. Unfortunately, at a price of MOP$2888, you might have to win on roulette or craps first.

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Highest bungee in the world. || Image: onestep4ward.com

Macau boasts 25 World Heritage sites in it’s small peninsula, making it a great location to ramble around and explore. Lace up your most comfortable pair of runners and see the city on one of the self-guided theme walks on offer. A great site that is definitely one not to be missed, is Senado Square, Macau’s symbolic centre. Lined with pretty pastel-coloured architecture with contrasting black and white pavers, this is the long-running urban centre and a popular venue for celebrations.

With a cuisine described as heavenly, you really can’t bypass the culinary arts of Portugal and China. Try the classic Portuguese egg tart with thick, warm, flaky pastry that cradles the sweet custard. You won’t ever be able to eat one from your local yum cha again. Sample the Macanese specialty of African chicken, made with a coconut, garlic and chilli sauce, or try codfish croquettes, porco balichao or serradura; a pudding made from cream, condensed milk and crushed cookies.

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Serradura. || Image: tranews.com

Helpful Phrases:

I love me some chicken testicle Eu adoraria ter testículo frango
No more bets! Sem mais apostas!
How much is this? Quanto é isso?
Yeah lucky sevens! Sim. sevens sorte!
Congee with thousand year old egg please Congee com ovo de mil anos de idade, por favor
Where is the bathroom? Onde é o banheiro?

Ready to go?

Speak: Portuguese

Shop: Pataca

Explore: Grand Lisboa Casino, Mercearia Portuguesa, Robuchon Au Dome

Taste: Birds nest soup, 1000 year old egg, turtle jelly

Photograph: Ruins of the Church of St Paul, Guia Fort, Mandarin’s House

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Category: FEATURED, LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized

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