While Las Vegas goes down the gurgler apparently Macau is becoming the new gambling mecca of the world, going by the number of veteran US casino developers who are spending big bucks here, it may be true.
Here’s an incomplete list of Macau’s Casinos, there’s plenty more than this, but these are the ones that stood out to me while I was there. You can read more comprehensive guide to casinos and things to do in Macau here. But here’s my take.
The new, modern and recently finished:
Joining the islands of Taipa and Coloane is Cotai. This little piece of reclaimed land is home to some of Macaus newest and most opulent hotel casino developments. This whole area is a landmark development primarly by the US Las Vegas Sands Corp. who originally planned for seven resort hotels and casinos.
The more than 2 billion dollar Venetian Macau hotel casino was completed in 2007 and and it’s easy to see why it’s the flagship building of the whole development. It’s massive and it’s grand. Apparently it’s the largest hotel structure in Asia and the second largest building in the world. I’ll let the pictures say more:
Taipa Island is joined to Macau by three bridges being the Sai Van Bridge, Macau Taipa Bridge and the Friendship Bridge. Tapai and Coloane where once separate islands, but the two are have been joined as one land mass due to the land reclamation and formation of Cotai.
Taipa features a university, ferry terminal, Macau International Airport, the Macau Jockey Club along with a mix of old casinos and new casinos. There’s also several temples and a church in the area including Pou Tai Un Temple, Small Kun Yam Temple, Tin Hau Temple, Sam Po Temple, Pak Tai Temple, Four-faced Buddha, Church of Our Lady of Carmel where tourists are welcome.
Macau is a little bit like Hong Kong in that it is still part of China but has it’s own administration, legal system and economic system, and it is also referred to as a Special Administrative Region of China.
What makes Macau very different from Hong Kong is that for one, it’s much smaller, secondly it’s former Portuguese rule has forged a unique culture and thirdly, most noticeably, is the legalised casinos.
I was heading to Macau from China, so for the most part it’s just like going to another country, meaning that I was officially departing China, and also requiring the normal customs checks and an entry visa for Macau.