Macau is Asia’s undisputed gambling capital. Westerners might call it the Vegas of the East, but Macau is plenty big enough in its own right not to have to worry about such comparisons – and there’s a lot more to it that the casinos. Even though over half of all the government revenue (about $25 billion) generated in the former Portuguese colony is derived from the casinos that dominate the Macau skyline there is an awful lot more going on than just what happens in the Chinese Special Administrative Region. Happily the historical Portuguese influence is still very much in evidence, and that is part of the charm of what is one of Asia’s busiest and most popular resorts.
Photo by: Stefan Magdalinski
Whilst that gambling emphasis makes it sound as though Macau is just for grown-ups, nothing could be further from the truth. Casino managers are all too aware that whilst casinos and gaming are absolutely adult affairs – children are not allowed in any of Macau’s casinos – those punters often have their families in tow. As a result there are any number of kid friendly attractions that make this part of the Eastern Pacific region an ideal stopping off point for all the family, whether or not you’re into the casino lifestyle.
Of course, there are those who will say that online casinos in the mode of supercasino.com can provide the same gambling thrill as Macau’s brick and mortar facilities, but the scale, the glitz, the glamour and the grandeur of Macau’s gaming emporia really do have to be seen to be believed. The spectacle of Macau lit up at night has to be one of the wonders of the modern age.
But there is plenty to do besides taking in some quite extraordinary views.
How about the Dreamworks experience? Imagine Disneyland without the mice. The kids can spend the day hanging out with Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and the characters from Madagascar and How to Train Your Dragon. Regular performances and themed restaurant meals make for a guaranteed winner with the little ones.
How about a gondola ride? Three canals and the rather mind-bending experience of being serenaded by Venetian gondoliers combining Italian and Mandarin is not something you will encounter anywhere else on earth. Macau’s Venetian is the second largest casino in the world and the sixth largest building. It really does have to be seen to be believed.
Just about every travel writer who visits Macau comes away blown away by the ‘The House of Dancing Water’. Imagine a show that cost $250 million to put on and that involves nearly four million gallons of water, and that will give you some indication of the quite astonishing impact the show makes. If you can imagine a spectacle that brings together high diving, dancing, dare-devil motor cycling and high wire acrobatics you might be getting somewhere close to what the House of Dancing Water delivers: It really does have to be seen to be believed.
But there is so much more: you can see pandas in the zoo, there’s a world heritage site, there’s a space centre, there’s an amazing beach and there is the world’s highest bungee jump. Macau is so much more than the Vegas of the East, and there is so much more going on than just the casinos. Try it, you’ll find it is undeniably something that offers something to everyone in the family – and then some!