During the past holiday season I took a trip with a friend to Asia. We visited Seoul, Hong Kong, and Macao. It was my first visit to Macao. My overall impression of Macao is that it’s unique, but visiting it just once will be perfect for me.
Macao is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. It was a former Portuguese colony and has many historical buildings with European influences, including the famous “Ruins of Saint Paul’s Cathedral”. It was built in the late fifteenth century (1528 to 1602) by the Jesuits but it burned down in a fire in 1835. What is left is the southern stone façade on a small hill. I was very impressed with the carvings on the stone façade. The structure is definitely not a typical architecture you see in Asia.
Macao is also known as a gambler’s paradise. It’s one of the biggest gambling centers in the world. Macao’s gambling industry started in 1962, operated by a local monopoly. After 2004, several casinos from Las Vegas built their own casinos in Macao, including Wynn resorts, MGM Mirage, and Las Vegas Sands.
I go to the Las Vegas Strip a lot, and I was always wondering what is the Macao versions of the Wynn, Venetian, and MGM properties were like. I always imagined these casinos in Macao might located close to each other, within the walking distance, like they are on the Strip in Las Vegas. When I got to Macao, I was surprised to find that the casinos are actually located in two different areas. The Wynn and MGM are located among many older casinos in Macao, but the Venetian is on a small (3 mile by 2 mile) island about 2.5 miles away, along with properties owned by Las Vegas Sands on the so-called Cotai Strip.
I stayed in Macao for two full days. For someone like me, who doesn’t gamble, two days in Macao was perfect. I got to see the historical sites as well as the casinos in Macao. Also, I got to eat many of the famous Portuguese egg custards (which was one of the goals of my trip) to fulfil my craving for the sweets. I am very glad I visited Macao!