Monday, April 29, 2013

Macau: A Sleepier Sin City

Although best known for gambling, Macau is an impressive city-state with a wide range of unique cultural attractions in addition to a fair share of drinking establishments.

Consistently contrasted with Hong Kong and often considered to be Asia's "Las Vegas", Macau has an identity that is all it's own.

Extremely rich in attractions and atmosphere resulting from it's blend of European and Chinese cultures,Macau is a fascinating place to just walk around and explore.  There are hundreds of narrow alleyways forming a maze in the old part of Macau where the people of Macau carry out everyday life.

Gambling is Macau's biggest industry and a major draw for busloads of gamblers from mainland China to try their luck. The original Casino Lisboa is a bit dated but it's 1970's decor provides a trip back in time to visitors.  Most of the city-state's casinos are located along the waterfront on the southern side of Macau Peninsula. North of the Lisboa is a strip with many smaller casinos, a number of hotels and bars, and quite a few restaurants.

The glitzy and modern Cotai Strip, aspires to be "The Las Vegas Strip of the East". The biggest casino in the world, Venetian Macao, opened its doors in August 2007 and the not-much-smaller City of Dreams followed in 2009, with many more still to come.

Despite the constant comparisons to the City of Sin, Macau doesn't share Las Vegas's reputation for rowdy raucous partying. Macau is largely aimed at serious focused gamblers, to whom drinking and partying may come only as a celebration for a big win at the tables.  Entertainment still rolls around the roulette table and the options outside the major casinos are limited. That said, Macau does have decent selection of local drinking holes in addition to a few large upscale nightclubs and lounges to entertain those not inclined to gambling.

The biggest conglomeration of bars is in an area known as Docas along the Avenida Sun Yat Sen close to the Kum Iam Statue and the Cultural Centre. The Docas neighborhood can provide a good and lively night out although it's more than likely to be low-key.

The fairly new development of Fisherman’s Wharf does have a few bars, pubs and restaurants that have been known to lure a naive tourist or two; however, the wharf is worth avoiding based on its tacky touristic traits alone.

Most of the casino based lounges washed up gamblers arrive, down a drink and then scuttle back to the tables. There are exceptions, with the Xanadu, inside the Sands serving up some of the best drink deals in town the Bellini Lounge, now styled as a Playboy club.

If you haven't been convinced that Macau is a must see party destination for you, one could always turn your home into a personal casion by cracking a few beers at home and gambling online at a site like

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