Through the looking glass - Macau
26 October 2011
If you ever come to Hong Kong, one of the best things you can do is leave. I don’t mean to sound like I hate Hong Kong, far from it, I love it here. What I mean to say is that you should take a trip to Macau, a small SAR a short hop, skip and a 1 hour jump from Hong Kong via boat.
Macau has to be one of the strangest places I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. In order to understand what you experience you have to imagine a place a lot like Alice's Wonderland. Macau is half Chinese, half Portuguese and half Las Vegas. I know that makes it 50% bigger than is physically possible, but then the Chinese have a way of making more of an available space than anyone else. The walled city of Kowloon was one example of that. Macau is made of an additional 50% reclaimed land which lays way for the larger then Las Vegas gambling strip.
When you arrive, however, I recommend you head for the tourist area, not the bright lights of the strip. Now, most people would advise that you stay away from tourist destinations if you want to experience the real country; however, this is defiantly not true with Macau. Macau presents two options, tourist destination or gambling heaven; the Chinese locals are only there to gamble, so to escape the hustle and bustle I recommend you stay close to the tourist areas. Embrace the sites and standard routes and experience China through the looking glass. Anything else is honestly just a gamble.
On your way through the city you will travel through what appears to be a bustling cityscape with high-rise buildings and hotels. Suddenly and without warning, however, you'll have become lost in a maze of cobbled side roads and small flats. Around every corner of this place, you'll come across something new, exciting and completely awe-inspiring; from the view at the fort to the famous market square and the wall of the St Paul’s cathedral. Never has so much fuss been made over one wall, except of course that wailing one. Just make sure you watch your step, the locals love mopeds more than gambling, and seeing as this is the only place in China where it’s legal to gamble, there’s a hell of a lot of mopeds.
If you do decide to place a bet, I would recommend you visit the strip over the “odd-bod” Casino’s around the city. An entire gambling heaven awaits, built on reclaimed land, larger then Las Vegas. What’s more, there’s also the world’s highest bungee (Macau Tower) the world’s largest indoor river (Venetian) and the world’s most “out-of-this-world” tourist destination.
In all honestly I recommend at least a visit to Macau, whether you choose to follow the white rabbit of the gambling habit, or get lost with the Cheshire cat among the maze of cobbled streets. Macau is an experience not to be missed.