A Tourist’s Guide to Macau

Macau is home to the largest and second largest casinos in the world The Venetian Macao and the City of Dreams, respectively. With their thousands of machines and hundreds of tables, if you like your casino games poker, baccarat or the world’s number one favourite, blackjack Macau is definitely for you. However, just because 5 of the top 10 largest casinos in the world are located in Macau, it doesn’t mean that gambling is all there is to do in this southern Chinese city. If you’re looking for a rough guide to the city as a tourist, look no further.

Given the size of The Venetian and the City of Dreams, it would be remiss to not start with these two impressive casinos. With almost a million square feet of floor space between the two, you’re not going to run out of casino games to play. The Venetian Macao is paired with its sister casino in Vegas, and is themed around the distinguished Italian city. The City of Dreams on the other hand is more couple-orientated, featuring contemporary designs, and marketing clearly aimed at young couples in their 20’s. Whether you’re a fan of The Venetian or the City of Dreams, it’s well worth stopping by the other for a brief spell, considering they’re a short walk from one another.

If you’re still getting in the swing of things, warming up before you hit the blackjack tables, there are plenty of other sights to see in Macau, including the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Historic Centre of Macau. As one of China’s oldest port cities, the Historic Centre of Macau is where you would head if you want to see what’s left of the Portuguese buildings in the area. While Portugal handed sovereignty of the city over to China in 1999, there are Portuguese ruins in the area dating as far back as the 16th century.

One of these sets of ruins which has proved constantly popular with tourists in the area is the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s is easily Macau’s best known landmark outside of the gambling world, dating back to the 16th century. While most of the original building has been destroyed over the years, the fa§ade which is still standing does so spectacularly, featuring intricate carvings by Japanese monks in the 1620’s while in exile from Japan. The ruins have since been restored by the local government, turning the area into a museum, buttressing the dangerously leaning wall with concrete and steel, without altering the view from the front. If you travel at the right time of year, you can even see the fa§ade illuminated as part of various festivals.

If you’re looking to Macau’s history without looking at ruins, be sure to stop be Largo do Senado (Senado Square). This area is exquisitely preserved, allowing you a glimpse back in time to the Macau of centuries before. On top of this, there are plenty of shops in the Square where you can pick up some souvenirs or a bite to eat. As it’s just a short walk from the Historic Centre, it’s well worth your time on the way back just be aware that Senado Square can get quite busy at peak times, especially during holidays when the Square is lit up and decorated, putting on a truly picturesque display for all to see.

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