Known as Las Vegas of the East or even the Monte Carlo of the Orient, Macau is a vibrant city rich with history and luxury casino hotels. Macau is located just a short ferry ride away from Hong Kong and is a popular destination for international travelers and deserves a spot on everyone’s bucket list. I instantly fell in love with its culture and nightlife, so much so that I visited twice! The lights are spectacular, the architecture is breathtaking, and it just makes you feel so alive!
I originally wrote this article way back when I had not long started my travel blog and while I was still balancing my career in corporate Finance with my desire to travel and explore the world. Back then I had no idea that travel blogging would have been so influential in building The Wanderlover into the business it is today, where I am consistently hitting 6-figure months. If you have been thinking about making a change in your own life and want to start your own travel blog, I have written this extensive guide on How To Start A Travel Blog, which looks at every step of the journey from coming up with your name to monetizing, and is regularly updated.
Speaking of updates, this article was originally published on September 15th 2017, and was fully updated on December 29th, 2023 to make sure all the information is relevant and remains correct. I hope you enjoy reading about my trip to Macau; Las Vegas of the East.
Quick Facts about Macau
Macau’s has it’s own currency: Macau has its own currency, the Macanese pataca (MOP). While the Hong Kong dollar is widely accepted, the pataca has its own distinct banknotes and coins. It reflects the city’s status as a Special Administrative Region with a high degree of autonomy.
Macau was ruled by the Portuguese for 447 years, and it was one of Europes first and last Asian colonies after it was handed back to China by the Portugese in 1999!!
Most travelers do not require a visa to enter Macau for short stays. But obviously do your own research and check the visa policy based on your nationality and the purpose of your visit.
The official languages of Macau are Portuguese and Chinese. It was so interesting seeing street signs in both languages!
It is the only place in China where gambling is legal. Gambling in Macau was legalized and regulated under Portuguese rule, and this practice continued after the handover to China. The legal framework allows for various forms of gambling, including casino gaming, sports betting, and lotteries. There are now around 40 Casinos in Macau.
Macau is warm year-round, the coldest month is January where temperatures will dip to 15 Degrees Celsius/60 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Macau is or was one of the richest territories in the world. Until the pandemic, Macau was jostling with the likes of Qatar, Singapore and Luxemburg for the top spot in the worlds richest territories. When I originally wrote this article in 2017, it was well ahead. While it’s well on its way to recovery it’s recovery it’s growth has been slower than other courntries.
Home to one of the world’s highest bungee jumps: Macau is home to the world’s 2nd highest commercial bungee jump, the AJ Hackett Macau Tower Bungee Jump. It made the Guiniess World Records Book back in 2007 and was only recently knocked down to second by the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge Bungee, in China.
Macau is a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy: Macau has been designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, recognizing its rich culinary heritage and commitment to promoting local food culture. This status has helped showcase Macau as a global gastronomic destination.
Historic Center Recognition: More UNESCO recognition. The Historic Centre of Macao, with its unique blend of Chinese and Portuguese architecture, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6 Must-Sees in Macau
Venetian Macao: Stay and play Asias largest casino
My friends and I had the pleasure of staying at the Bella Deluxe Suite at the Venetian Macao a resort and casino located on the Cotai Strip in Macau.
The 10,500,000 square foot Venetian houses the world’s 2nd largest casino and the largest in Asia, and is modeled after its sister hotel in Vegas. It is an impeccable luxury resort; room service was very quick to respond and the staff was incredibly polite and attentive.
The Venetian Macao itself could take a day to explore entirely! Even if you are not a guest I highly recommend walking through and seeing the canals (Yes! Actual canals with boats in a casino), beautiful decorations, and shops. As the 2nd largest casino in the world, and with 39 stories, it offers a luxurious and immersive experience that combines entertainment, accommodation, and gaming on an unprecedented scale.
Here are some interesting facts about The Venetian Macao:
Size and Scale: The Venetian Macao is a colossal complex, covering an area of over 10.5 million square feet. Its sheer size makes it the largest single-structure hotel building in Asia and the sixth-largest building in the world.
Inspired by Venice: The resort is themed after the Italian city of Venice, featuring replicas of famous landmarks such as the Grand Canal, St. Mark’s Square, and the Rialto Bridge. Visitors can experience gondola rides along the indoor Grand Canal, complete with singing gondoliers.
Accommodations: The Venetian Macao has over 3,000 spacious suites, making it one of the largest hotel complexes in Asia. The suites are extremely nice, offering a blend of comfort and luxury.
Shopping Extravaganza: The Shoppes at Venetian is a vast shopping mall within the resort, with over 330 retail outlets. It offers a range of luxury brands, fashion, and lifestyle products.
Entertainment Venues: The resort hosts a variety of entertainment venues, including the Cotai Arena, which can accommodate large-scale events such as concerts and sporting events. The Venetian Theatre showcases performances and Broadway-style shows.
Casino Facilities: The casino at The Venetian Macao is one of the most expansive in the world, offering a wide array of gaming options. You can try their luck at a variety of table games, slot machines, and other casino offerings in a lavish and vibrant environment.
Dining Experiences: There are food options for everyone!! From fine dining restaurants offering international cuisines to casual eateries serving delicious snacks.
The Macau Tower is a must to see the city streets from above. It has a delicious rotating restaurant 66 floors up where you can see panoramic views of the city! It also is home to the (now 2nd tallest) bungee jump in the world, but still the worlds tallest from a tower. I wasn’t brave enough to do it myself, but please let me know if you would dare!
At 338 meters (1,109 feet) hight, Macau Tower is one of the tallest freestanding structures in the world. It dominates the skyline of Macau and is a distinctive part of the city’s landscape.
Ruins of St. Paul’s
One of Macau’s most famous landmarks, the Ruins of St. Paul’s is the remains of a beautiful old church dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle. It was the largest church in Asia at the time and known as the “Vatican of the East,” and burned down in a fire in 1835. What remains is a gorgeous facade, and you can only imagine what it looked like in its glory days!
Largo do Senado (Senado Square)
Part of the UNESCO Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site, Senado Square is bustling with activities, shops, and beautiful architecture. My first visit was during China’s Mid-Autumn Festival and the streets lit up with decorations.
The A-Ma Temple is a temple to the Chinese sea-goddess Mazu and is one of the oldest in Macau. You will find many people burning incense for good luck, and many come here to pray.
If you’re looking to explore the nightlife in Macau, go to Club Cubic located in City of Dreams. There are five VIP rooms and international DJs regularly make live appearances. We celebrated here for a friend’s birthday and had such a fun night!
Macau is an underrated Asian city of history, lights, and entertainment. It is just as luxurious, exciting, and alive at night as Vegas, if not more. Try your luck and see which city is better for yourself! If you liked this post, please pin or share! Have any questions about visiting Macau? Let me know in the comments below!