Macau

Rating:
4
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Editor's Review

Bring Your Phrase Book

With the number of languages you will hear passing your ears in Macau, you might wonder for a moment if you are walking through the halls of the United Nations.  Having been a Portuguese colony until only very recently, and being located in a coastal area near many far-eastern countries, Macau has had its share of foreign influence over the years.  Some extraordinary circumstances of colonialism and “land-leasing” have currently placed Macau with the status of a “special administrative status” for a 50 year period.

Unique Geography

What has made Macau such a sought after region by so many colonialists for so many years is its attractive location on the Chinese coast.  The Macau port was a very valuable part of the Portuguese empire and many other armies tried repeatedly to take it from their hands.  For many years Macau was considered a major trading center of the area and various goods were constantly coming in and being shipped out of its port.  The native population continuously attempted to shake off colonial rule from its land and stories of political demonstrations-both civil and violent, poured out of Macau.  Around the same time that Hong Kong gained its liberation of colonial rule, Macau also became a special administrative region on December 20, 1999.  Much of Macau’s work force still relies on the sea as its source of livelihood and trade continues to be very active until the day.

And Then There’s the Casino

Even though it is to be expected, it still remains quite amazing that such a major part of Macau’s economy is made up of casinos and gambling.  So successful have been the last few years, that Macau has repeatedly grossed more than $5 billion annually which placed it at the level of Las Vegas.  Macau is now considered to be one of the major gambling centers of the world and the sky is the limit for how this can continue.  A hotspot for tourism, many Chinese tourists frequent Macau’s casinos and other foreign tourist have long ago discovered Macau’s attractive casinos.  

A mass of foreign investment has also poured in to inflate Macau’s gambling scene, most recently the Wynn Macau Casino, the Venetian Macau, and the Galaxy. The main casino center of Macau now greatly resembles the lights and glamour of any other major gambling city.

For Your Time Outside the Casino?

Macau promises a fascinating vacation spot outside the casino as well.  With its rich collage of far-eastern cultures and religions, there’s a lot to learn and see by just strolling around with a good travel book.  Ancient structures, both European and native, are spread around the land and it is very worthwhile to plan one’s trip ahead before coming.   

A great source for finding out more about specific locations and hours of operations of Macau’s various museums and tourists attractions is the government’s tourist office.  The macau government has taken its tourism efforts into high gear with 2006 being coined the “Macau World Heritage Year”  A series of festivals and temporary displays are well worth your while to see if you manage to get there during this time.

Joe Z. Cutts