Any Plans for the Weekend? Gambling in Macau

Weekend Getaways

Living in Dongguan (for those who are not familiar with our current location: Dongguan is located in central Guangdong province, China) has its perks – weekend breaks in Hong Kong and Macau. If we get tired of China and Chinese food, we can pack our backpacks, take a bus and head either to the City of Life or the City of Gambling.

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Us in Hong Kong

 

We have recently paid Hong Kong a few short-term visits as we were applying for our visas. Now we decided to go to Macau, pop in a few casinos (hopefully wining a lot of money), explore Portuguese architecture and try some local food. It is not going to be our first time in Macau (we were there last June) but this time we would like to focus more on gambling, having fun and chilling.

Macau Island Scenery
Macau Island
The stunning view of Macau
The stunning view of Macau

 

China’s Las Vegas

Macau island is mostly known for its luxurious casinos. Since 1847, when gambling was officially legalized, the place is attracting millions of people (over 27 millions last year) who mostly come here for gambling. The casinos, springing up like mushrooms after the rain, have had a massive impact on island’s architectural and cultural development  Once you go there, you can notice how posh and glamorous the city is and while strolling down the streets at night you will feel like in Las Vegas.

One of the casinos Casino Lisboa in Macau
One of the casinos

Casino in Macau

What we did not like in Macau for the first time was the fact that we were surrounded by massive shopping malls, luxurious hotels, massive flashy casinos and expensive restaurants. After few hours of walk, we were tired of its modern and posh look and noticed Macau’s culture, cuisine and stunning architecture were often neglected by visitors due to their interest in casinos and gambling.

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Our Gambling Experience

As for me, I have never been interested in gambling. My first experience was to play roulette in Macau last year. I had a few goes both wining and losing. In the end, I lost £10 in total but left casino with a smile on my face – at least I tried my best and had a lot of fun.

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As for Cez, he tried his luck with online casino back in UK. It started with few winnings and quickly changed the direction. He lost what he invested, but lessons stayed. Cez still enjoys gambling, but only very occasionally and with a set limit of money to lose and to win (so he knows when to stop).

Getting to Macau

We have two options. We can either go to Hong Kong Kowloon first and then get a ferry to Macau which is going to cost us HK$150 ($19) each way (takes 1 hour 20 minutes) or we can go to Macau directly by bus which takes over 2 hours and costs 70 yuan ($11). We need to have a proper look at the bus and ferry schedules and prices before making our final decision.

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Macau on the Cheap

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We still do not know what our exact budget is going to be for those 2 days, but we know one thing for sure – it can’t be more than $25 per day on our accommodation, transport and food. We are taking some extra cash for casinos but it should not be more than $50 (and if we’re lucky we’ll get it back). We are considering couchsurfing to cut down the costs.

The food inside casinos is very cheap, much cheaper than street food so we treated ourselves with some fruits, sushi and Macau beers
The food inside casinos is very cheap, much cheaper than street food so we treated ourselves with some fruits, sushi and Macau beers

 

Question to You

  • Has anyone of you have ever been to Macau and can recommend a cheap hostel/motel?
  • Do you have your favourite casino in Macau? If so, what is its name? We might be going there as well.
  • Are there any must see places in Macau such as cathedrals, interesting exhibitions, etc.?

Thanks for your help! We are looking forward to our weekend!

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About Agness

Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"


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27 Comments

  • I did a day trip over there whilst I was in Hong Kong and it was great. No advice on hostels, but I can certainly recommend using the free transport from the casinos to get into town from the port (assuming you’re coming in by boat).

    Don’t be surprised if you can’t take photos in the casinos too, they’re strict about that.

    Here’s the post I wrote on it. Hope it help –

    http://www.thecounterintuitive.com/destinations/asia/hong-kong/hong-kong-and-the-freeish-trip-to-macau/

    A

    • Cheers mate! We have been to Macau once so we know about taking photos being prohibited inside casinos and free transport from the bay to the casinos ;-), but thanks a lot for mentioning it! Will check out your post for more info.

  • I didn’t realize you were that close to HK or Macau. Lucky for the both of you to have easy opportunities to get to these tourist hotspots and cheaply. I haven’t been to either place but have always wanted to visit Macau, I have visited Las Vegas often enough times that I would probably like Macau a lot. I have read great things about the Venetian and Wynn Hotels in Macau. if they’re anything like the hotels in Vegas, then thy should be wonderful places to walk around with free attractions, Good luck!

    • Thanks Mary! We live very close to Hong Kong, close enough to head there every weekend if you get tired or bored with China :-). I bet Las Vegas looks stunning at night! I doubt we can stay at the Venetian or Wynn hotels as we simply wouldn’t afford them but walking around sounds great!

  • The accommodation options in Macau aren’t that great overall (unless you have a ton of money to spend), but you’ll find most of the budget places (100 Macau dollars and up) on Rua da Felicidade and the surrounding streets.

    That’s right downtown and a few minutes walking from all the historic sites in the World Heritage area. It’s near a bunch of the main bus lines too, so you can get anywhere for a few Macau dollars. And there’s a really great dumpling place on the corner that’s open late and fills up with locals drinking at night.

    Among the sites, I especially liked the fortress, since it was free to climb up and you get great views of downtown from the top. If you go really early, it’ll be full of people doing Tai Chi (like any park in China, I guess).

    I have no idea what casinos are good though. I lived in Las Vegas for a year, so that part of Macau didn’t interest me at all.

    • Awesome Daniel, thanks for that. We are heading to Macau in two weeks when I get well. Been really sick recently, but we will definitely visit the fortress. Sounds so exciting and interesting! :)

  • Sounds like a great weekend trip! I’ve never been there, but one thing I love about the casinos in the states (Las Vegas, Atlantic City) is that as long as you are sitting at a table or machine, you get free drinks! Not sure if it’s the same there?

    • Hey Jess. Thanks for stopping by. We didn’t get any free drinks when we were there last time, but hopefully we will get some this time. Anyways, we will let you know :-).

  • I’ve been to Macau twice and my favourite casino by far was the Venetian – but make sure you don’t go there first or else the rest just won’t look anywhere as good in comparison! Maybe try the MGM Grand or Wynn first, and work your way up to the Venetian… it’s three times as big as its sister casino in Vegas, which is already huge to begin with!

    • Awesome, thanks for that. We want to try many different casinos to compare them and then make a review :)

  • Haven’t been to Macau, but would be interesting to check it out when compared to Vegas. Actually, gambling cities can be good for non gamblers as a lot of things like accommodation can be quite cheap. It’s great to sit back and observe people losing their money!

    • Hahah that’s so true, but it’s not that much fun when it’s you sitting there losing your money :)

  • This sounds like such a great weekend trip! I would love to visit Macau someday — it must be so exciting to experience the merge of Asian and Portuguese culture there. And if your budget is really strict, I bet you could live of cheap pastéis de nata for a weekend. They are simply the best :) Good luck gambling!

    • Yes, it’s a great feeling to experience the merge of Asian and Portuguese culture. You should try it one day :-)x.

  • Macau looks like an interesting place. CNN occasionally runs pieces about all the development that is going on there that peak my interest. One day I’ll make it over to Asia and I’m sure I’ll check it out.

    • It’s a very interesting place indeed. Good to know, I often watch Discovery channel. You should definitely make it to Asia :):) and don’t miss China and Hong Kong when visiting Macau.

      • It’s funny ’cause those egg tarts are a Portuguese thing but I found the ones I tried in Macao to be quite different than the ones in Portugal… not as good, actually! For extra creaminess you gotta come to Portugal and try the real deal! ;)

      • We’re planning our next trip to Portugal. Hope to make it there this summer… :)

  • Oh man… I have frustrated memories of our trip to Macau end of last year!

    The places looks great and being Portuguese I was curious to see the last influences of Portuguese people and culture on that side of the world… but I had a TERRIBLE experience at the Venetian, where I lost my head and let a small part of our travel budget fly away in what I like calling the “slut machines”.
    All I can say is: have fun but gamble responsibly guys!! ;)

  • I really enjoyed my last trip to Macau. It’s a lot different than Vegas. Everything in Vegas is something that was created in the desert, but Macau actually has a history and some historical sites that makes it much more interesting. I thought it was interesting at how differently gamblers act at casinos in Macau, compared to what you’ll see when you gamble in the US.

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