Macao is a little city in the South of China, in GuangDong province, on the western bank of the Pearl River Delta. This city is composed of 3 parts, the Macao peninsula which is connected to the mainland China, and 2 other islands : Taipa and Coloane. This is a charming-29km2-little city, which has nothing to do with the size of Beijing (which is 16 800 km). One of the characteristics of the city is its double identity and culture. Indeed, for over 400 years Macao has been occupied by Portuguese colons, so that’s why nowadays, even if the territory is independent, street names, official documents are still written in Portuguese (although no one is speaking Portuguese but Cantonese).Their occupation is visible thanks to the architecture too, I think that this is one of the rare place where you can still find European architecture in your China travel. Well, I must say that it’s strange to see Chinese people living in a European atmosphere, this is not what you usually expect to see in you China tour.

That city is always busy, it never sleeps. On day time you can enjoy shopping in the numerous duty free stores of the city, buy some antiques at Rua das Estalagens and Rua da Tercena, go buy some tea and coffee from all around the world, enter in one of the countless traditional Chinese pharmacies and discover the benefits of medical plants or just buy some cameras or high-tech products. And, after a long day of shopping you can go to the beach on the west side of Coloane to soak up sea air.

Moreover, other main characteristic, Macao is considered as the “Chinese Las Vegas”. There are 32 casinos and a hippodrome in this tiny city, you can bet on everything, even on dogs since there are some greyhound races. Most of the American big casinos are present in this territory, so you can spend some time to the Wynns, the Venitian, the MGM Grand… You have the choice between the 8.960 machines and the 3.277 tables in Macao. On these casinos you won’t see a lot of foreigners, most of them are Chinese from mainland and Asian tourists living in near China. Indeed, Asian gamers prefers to play Baccarat than Blackjack or Poker, almost all the tables are dedicated to Baccarat. Except for gambling, I think that the casinos are worth to be visited, their design is amazing and there you can shop, eat, watch a movie, attend a concert, or watch a show.

The reputation of Macao is nefarious, Orson Welles, an famous American movie director, said that Macao “was the most perverted city of the world”, but why don’t we just call it “the city of indulgence” like W.H. Auden (an Anglo-American poet) ? Don’t forget to pass by Macao with China Southern Airlines to enjoy and discover the enormous potential of this many-sided city.

Jack Li
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