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6 Things to do in Macau

My friend and I went abroad to finally see what the Macau hype was all about. It’s actually more fun than I had imagined. However, our low budget restricted us to a few brief but exciting outings. Casinos lined up against each other, great food, and beautiful women (some were working women) are just some of the sights you take in as soon as you set foot on the island. Even if your pockets aren’t that deep, there are still many things to do.  We stayed there for about three to four days, and here are the things you must do while you’re in Macau.

  1. Macau Tower
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    The Macau stands 338 meters tall and is located right at the foot of the bridge that connects the northern and southern part of Macau (Macau is divided into two main islands). The view from the observation deck is breathtaking, although fog hazed our vision throughout our time there. Parts of the deck are made with glass so you can peer straight down to the ground floor (which is quite disturbing for people like me who are afraid of heights). From the observation deck, you can take the elevator up to the upper observation deck, where the roof is semi-open. The entire experience up there freaked me out because of the high altitude, but I soldiered on, taking pictures as quickly as possible.
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    There are two extreme attractions at the Macau Tower: the Sky Jump and the Sky Walk.
    As you can probably guess, the Sky Jump means bungee jumping from the tower. The Sky Walk is walking outside on the ledges of the main tower. Oh don’t worry, you can’t fall off and plummet to your death because you’re roped to the tower. I saw the promotion videos for the attractions and it seemed fun, but everything is ten, nay, hundred times scarier when you don’t have the safety of the ground beneath your feet.
  2. Poker
    Though there are a lot of casinos in Macau, gambling is quite expensive unless you’re willing to bet 500 Hong Kong Dollars (roughly 70 USD) per hand. Thus, I stuck to Texas Hold’em at the Live! Poker Room in the City of Dreams. The minimum buy-in was 2000 HKD for the 25-50 game. Poker isn’t too popular in Macau because it doesn’t generate as much revenue as the Baccarat tables. However, because the poker games are cash games, you can just have fun playing against other players, and you can even participate in the tournament game (2000 HKD buy-in). Like I said before, if you have the money, go nuts on the other casino games, but if you’re not really looking to gamble a lot but want to get in on some casino action, poker is your safest bet. Oh, did I mention you don’t have to tip the dealer?
  3. The Venetian
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    The Venetian Macau is the largest casino in the world. That is no boast. I’ve been to Vegas and the Venetian there is smaller than the one in Macau. My friend and I lost our way more than a couple of times while we were sightseeing there. The artwork at this massive casino is very intricate and the architecture jumps out at you. It really makes you think about the other casinos on the Cotai Strip (kind of like the Vegas strip) and how they fade when compared to the Venetian.
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    The Bellini Lounge in the Venetian was amazing. The bar features live music and the waitresses are ready to cater to your every needs. Plus, it’s one of the few bars where smokers can enjoy their drinks and smoke simultaneously (most bars are non-smoking).
  4. House of Dancing Water
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    This is a MUST. Make this one of your top priorities when you get to Macau. The show is so popular tickets sell out quickly. I reserved my tickets a month prior to my arrival.
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    Acrobats, tons and tons of water, dangerous stunts, motorbikes – need I say more? Ticket prices range from 700 – 2000 HKD, depending on your seats. If you sit close enough to the stage, you’re in danger of getting splashed with water – multiple times. But don’t worry, the staff provides you with towels well before the show so that you can keep dry (but where’s the fun without a bit of watery risks?). Also, as long as you’re not videotaping or using flash photography, you can take as many pictures as you want (unlike shows in Vegas). I won’t ruin the story for you, but it keeps you occupied and really has you on the edge of your seats. Did I mention the amazing acrobatic stunts? Imagine cirque du soleil but with a huge pool of water and motocross.
  5. Senado Square / Ruins of St. Paul
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    Welcome to the shopping district of Macau. The entire area, decked out in beautiful Portuguese-style buildings, is filled with places to go shopping. At the forefront are modern shops you expect to see in any major shopping district around the world. However, take to the back alleyways and you find yourself immersed with traditional Macau shops. It felt kind of like Seoul’s Myeongdong district. As you explore and go eye-shopping, you’ll easily wind up at the infamous Ruins of St. Paul, which is a staple landmark of Macau.
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    All that stands of the once divine cathedral is nothing but the southern stone façade. The cathedral was once the biggest of its kind in Asia during the 17th century. Unfortunately, a fire in the 19th century brought the entire structure to what it is now. Still, it’s a true mark of Macau’s religious history, and you can’t help wonder about the local history and how it shaped Macau as it is today.
  6. Egg Tarts
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    No trip to Macau is complete without tasting these small delectable pastries. The pastry is originally from Portugal, but Macau bakers have found an outstanding recipe to make them truly stand out. There are many bakeries in Macau that boast of having the best egg tarts, but because of my tight schedule (as well as insufficient funds), I had time only to try one bakery. Lord Stow’s Bakery & Café had delicious egg tarts. There are two shops in Macau – one at the Venetian and the other in Coloane. Because we were hopelessly lost, we had to settle for the one at the Venetian. At nine HKD per tart, the investment is more than worth it. Whatever you do, be sure to make time for authentic Macau egg tarts.20140506_121738

I wish I could’ve explored Macau a bit more, but thanks to my lavish spending on booze, I was limited to a few select sites. If you’re interested in enjoying the gambling scene, Macau is the biggest place in Asia. Even if gambling is not your forte, there are many things to see and experience while you’re there. In terms of partying, Macau may be a bit dull compared to its Western counterpart. But that’s not to say you won’t enjoy a few drinks with your buddies while you’re there. Macau is definitely one place you will want to visit if you want to explore Asia.

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Written by Isaac Kim

Hey there, I’m an aspiring journalist who is in the prime of his life. I’ve lived in America most of my life, but because I can adapt to anything, I’ve integrated quite well in Korean society. I hope to see the world and write about and share what I see. I like places with large bodies of water (especially the ocean), and one day, I will have a kickass beach house where I’ll spend my time writing and sipping mojitos.

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