Imagine the beauty of Venice and the glamour of Las Vegas rolled in one and that too, in Asia. It’s not just any figment of your imagination, but the real world of Macau. Situated on the China coast, it’s a city with two faces.
On one hand, there are the fortresses, churches and the food of its former colonial master, Portugal; on the other hand, Macau is all about Vegas-style casino and hotels.
Besides the plush green islands of Coloane and Taipa, there are cobbled back streets, baroque churches, stone and art deco buildings. For those who wish to try their luck, there are casinos open round the clock.
Macau also boasts The Venetian, a luxurious resort housing one of the largest casinos in the world. The resort hotel has been declared one of Macau’s most visited tourist destinations. It offers gondola rides like Venice, shopping at riverside mall and exclusive and expensive dinning areas.
This year, The Venetian is also going to host the International Indian Film Academy awards. IIFA brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan recently visited the city and took a gondola ride, his first in 30 years. The last time was when he romanced Zeenat Aman in The Great Gambler, singing Do lafzon ki hai dil ki kahani. “This is not Venice, but it’s no less than that,” said Bachchan.
Besides its rich cultural heritage and museums, Macau can be best recommended for its food. Coffee shops in Portuguese, Italian and American style (especially around Travessa de S Domingos and Rua Pedro José Lobo, in the city centre, and Rua de Nagasaki) offer a wide variety of superior blends. They all also sell delicious pastries — not to be missed are Macau’s version of the traditional Portuguese egg tart, or pastel de nata, and coconut cake. Also try the Chinese and Italian cuisines.
A must-see sight is the statue of Bodhisatta Avalokitesvara, located next to the sea near the Sands Casino and MGM Grand. Despite being a Chinese deity, the statue is distinctly European in design and resembles the statues of the Virgin Mary you can see in Europe.
Macau Tower has awesome views and adventure sports, while Fisherman’s Wharf lets you enjoy theme-park activities and shopping.