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A Day in Macau

How To Enjoy Your Next Trip to Once Portuguese Colony

· Travel,China,China Travel

Small City, Big History: Getting to Know Macau

When most people in Asia think about Macau, they think about the Chinese special administrative region's vast gambling scene.

The bulk of gambling takes place on the southern island (commonly simply referred to as "Casino Island").

Macau hosts an array of international gambling institutions including the Venetian.

If you plan on gambling in Macau, it's important to know that although Macau has its own currency, gambling takes place in Hong Kong Dollars (HKD).

If you plan on gambling in Macau, it's important to know that although Macau has its own currency, gambling takes place in Hong Kong Dollars (HKD).

For those who want to bring the local currency with them to Macau, it's best to plan how much you want to gamble beforehand so you know how much Macau Pataca (MOP) and Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) you should withdraw in advance.

However, if you rather bring US dollars (USD) or withdraw money after you've arrived in Macau, this won't be a problem as Macau is well prepared for international tourists.

History

While Macau's vibrant gambling industry is certainly an allure to some people, it's important to remember Macau has so much more to offer.

While Macau's vibrant gambling industry is certainly an allure to some people, it's important to remember Macau has so much more to offer.

Macau was a Portuguese colony from 1557 to 1999.

Portugal's influence over the island can still be seen today. Signs throughout Macau can be seen in both Chinese and Portuguese.

Additionally, Portuguese architectural design can be seen throughout the city. This is exemplified in the beautiful churches and European-style homes seen on the northern island.

Island Secrets

For those who are looking to get a more authentic feel of Macau, here's a brief list of some of the things I'd recommend checking out:

1. Follow of the money

Each currency denomination in Macau has a picture of a unique building or place on it. With the size of Macau being incredibly small (you can get from pretty much any point on the island to another in less than thirty minutes), simply follow the currency to see where you should go.

Once you've found the spot, take a picture with the money! This is also common for tourists in Mainland China, but lucky for you, getting from one point to another will only take an 8 minute drive instead of an 8 hour flight.

2. See Local Life

With the size of Macau being so small, it won't take much exploring for you to see how locals live. However, it's important to remember that most locals live on the northern island - so if you want to see how they live it's best to start there.

My personal favorite discovery was seeing the local private schools. While I have never personally visited Portugal, I have spent a significant amount of time in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I was surprised to see how much overlap there was between the three - from the Catholic religious environment, to the school uniforms, to the values written on the walls.

3. Museums

There are many museums throughout Macau that are either free or have a very low entrance free. One of the best areas for exploring is Mount Fortress, the historical remnants of a colonial military base.

From here you'll be able to have a great view of the city and have access to one of the best in-door museums on Macau history.

Conclusion

If you're thinking about going to Macau, I say do it. Macau is easy to get to from many locations in Asia; especially if you happen to be near Shenzhen, Guangzhou, or Hong Kong. While the Chinese special administrative region is often overshadowed by the 'Pearl of the Orient', perhaps it's time for that to be changed.

If you have a day or two available on your next trip to China or Asia, consider stopping in Macau.

Click here if you want to find out how to get a free trip to Macau.

About the Author: Alexander Parini

Alexander is a recent graduate from Portland State University in the United States where he received his undergraduate degree in political science. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in international relations at Peking University in Beijing, China.

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