Like Hong Kong, Macau is an example of China’s One Country, Two Systems – a rather awkward endeavour in sovereignty – Macau remains autonomous for the next 50 years but under direct control of Beijing. This is shown as you check your way out of Hong Kong and through Macau customs – somehow you have left, but remained in the same country.
Crowded into 3 tiny islands (or 1 peninsular, 2 islands for the geographically-picky, there’s a slight connection to the mainland) Macau totaling less that 30km2 of area. A former Portuguese Colony (returned to China in 1999), Macau packs in a jumble of colonialism, Chinese culture and western ostentation.
Oh and what ostentation, as if there is anything else. I’m sure you’re aware of the casinos .The largest in the world – Venice Themed The Venetian (complete with indoor canals, bridges and piazzas.); The Lisboa a monstrous vase of light and colour; its all a competition for bigger and better.
Luckily, Macau has been smart enough to keep their history. The stunning Ruins of St Paul remains the focal point of the city, while the fortress of Monte Fort watches over the city.
For all the gaudiness, Macau is serious gambling. There’s no Vegas-esque debauchery, no wild bar shows. Whether its billionaire high rollers or middle-class mainlanders keen to blow off some steam (and their wallets)- everyone is here to play. You can see in the intense glare, chain smoking and beaded sweat.