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City of dreams, Macau

Nalynn Dolan Caine |
Give luck a chance to happen and get to know the tiny coastal city Macau situated in Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China, also the planet's biggest gambling centre. Yes, what used to happen in Vegas moved to Macau but Lady Luck always has her day no matter on which side of the ocean you are.

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Facing Hong Kong, Macau, a subtropical city ruled by the Portuguese for 442 years and an independent Chinese region that comprises the Macau Peninsula and the islands of Taipa and Coloane, today generates seven (7!) times more revenue from gambling than the Strip in Las Vegas. Yes, the city is numero uno in the world of gambling and while on the other side of the ocean Vegas offers entertainment to the whole families, Macau is a destination for rich and it generates money faster than Fed. Still, it is a little cheaper and more relaxed and laid back version of Hong Kong.

The Grand Canal shopping centre in the Venetian Resort Hotel, a luxury hotel and casino resort, is the largest indoor shopping mall in Macau and the largest single structure hotel building in Asia. Venetian Macau is modeled after its sister casino resort The Venetian Las Vegas. It is also the sixth-largest building in the world by floor area and the second-largest casino in the world.

By day or night there is always something for everyone in Macau. But first, for early risers and insomniacs there is good news and there is bad news. Macau has night owl personality. Most of the shops in the city open around 10:30 or 11am, but the local places around the back streets - eateries serving breakfast - open much earlier, usually around 7 or 7:30. And there is wee news. Bells and whistles! Unlike in mainland China, here you can search Google freely while enjoying your breakfast waiting for the city to open its eyes and stretch.

Macau is so small that you are never more than 30 minutes away from anywhere you want to go, yet close to the bright lights of casinos that grow like mushrooms and inevitable shopping centers. This "Las Vegas of the East" is a true shopping Mecca thanks to its free port status and among the popular buys there are leather goods, authentic antiques, jewelry and gold that can be found at decent prices. You will see locals travelling around the city by either a bike or motorbike. Take the pedicab or tricycle rickshaw, more romantic form of transport, to see the city attractions.

The city is a wonderful fusion of Chinese and Portuguese culture. Its numerous narrow streets and alleys reminds of Portugal and Spain. Senado Square, one of the four largest squares in Macau paved with a wave-patterned mosaic of colored stones, has been the heart of Macau for centuries. It hosts many events and is home to many of the city's finest Portuguese buildings. This is a good starting point for exploring Macau. At the end of the paved road, you will find the St. Domingo's Church, the 17th century Baroque style church, which was influenced by both Portuguese and Spanish styles. Today most of the concerts are held in that church.

Of all the forts in Macau, the Monte Fort, a restricted military facility in the past situated on a hill, is the oldest. The landscape surrounding the fort is quite charming. It consists of a public park, a museum and an observatory and offers an excellent view across Macau. But it is almost worth coming to Macau just to see the Macau Tower. First, it is 338 meter high, which is spectacular by itself, and you can climb all the way to the top.

When up there, you may enjoy the view from the glass floor deck or step outside to the outer rim and walk around fixed with a belt - but with no handrail at all! Or you can bungee jump 233 meters into the deep. If that doesn't get your blood flowing, nothing will. But the excitement doesn't stops there. The biggest city event that takes place in November is without any doubt Macau Grand Prix known as one of the most demanding circuits in the world. Make a note "Macau November" and don't miss a visit to the Grand Prix Museum.

In Macau you are never far from delicious food and even more delicious sweets. But just for the sake of changing an ambiance visit Taipa island famous for an array of traditional desserts and snacks. Taste Portuguese-style egg tart and almond cookies regarded as the king of the local specialty. And when moon rises, place a bet and roll the dice just for fun. Good night and good luck.


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