Small but nice. This is how you could best describe Macau. This special destination south of China is also called the Las Vegas of Asia and is a fascinating stopover during your trip through China. Macau is an administrative region of China and that means that it is slightly different than on the mainland. Here are six reasons why you should visit Macau this year.
Reason #1: Macau is the gambling capital of the world
Las Vegas is not the gambling capital of the world. That honour is reserved for Macau, an autonomous region in China where three times more money is circulating than in Las Vegas. You would assume that Macau is a destination for the super rich but it’s not. Macau became the gambling capital due to government control, casino holders were obliged to adjust their strategy and focus more on the middle class.
Reason #2: It’s easy to visit
Macau is easy to combine with a visit to any outer destination in Southeast Asia. It is located close to Guangzhou, from it is possible to travel further by bus or you can take the ferry to Macau from Hong Kong. Since Macau is a special administrative region of China, visa requirements are not a huge hassle. Macau is very open when it comes to tourists. No less than 66 countries are exempt from a visa when visiting Macau for a period less than 90 days. This is also the case if you arrive via Hong Kong. The only thing you need is a passport valid for 6 months after arrival.
Reason #3: The East-meets-West culture
During the 16th century, the Portuguese arrived in Macau. They made it the first European colony in China. It was also the last colony in China when it officially became a special administrative region of China at the end of 1999. Today, there is still much to be noticed in the architecture and cuisine of Macau of the Portuguese occupation. Both cuisines blend well as you can find several dishes influenced by Portuguese cuisine as well as from places visited by Portuguese explorers en route to Macau.
Reason #4: The splendid beaches
Sun, sea and beach may not be the first thing you think of at Macau, but you will certainly find beautiful beaches. In the south of Macau, on the island of Coloane, you will find a few beaches and beautiful hotels on the waterfront. The water here is bright blue and the impressive gambling palaces here seem very far away. Do you have the time in Macau, then it is recommended to stay overnight in this part and enjoy the rare peace.
Reason #5: It’s a photographer paradise
The multi-cultural influence and the combination of ruins and modern architecture makes Macau a hotspot for photographers. The most iconic spot in Macau is formed by the Ruins of Sao Paulo, an old church ruin of which only the façade is still standing. You may recognise it from photos from your travel guide or postcards, because this is without doubt the most photographed spot in the historic centre of Macau. It is a special sight to see this decayed building between all modern flats and skyscrapers.
Reason #6: The unique events
Macau has a festival culture. If you can plan your visit according to traditional Chinese celebrations such as Lunar New Year, A-Ma Festival or Boat Festival. You can also opt to visit Macau during one of the annual international events such as the Macau Grand Prix or the International Fireworks Display Festival.