By Assunta Ng
With a population of over 560,000, Macau, a former Portuguese colony settled in 16th century, is an exciting city to see. Its proximity to Hong Kong makes it convenient for tourists to visit in place of Mainland China. No special visa is required if you are a U.S. citizen, and a ferry makes the trip from Hong Kong to Macau every 15 minutes. It costs under US$20 per person to ride the one-hour ferry.
Macau’s casinos are much larger and fancier than Vegas’. Its newest ones, the Galaxy, Venetian, and City Dreams hotels, are splendidly done with similar extravagant features to the Bellagio and others.
While the island I stayed on didn’t have any casinos, it had calm beaches and fantastic Portuguese-Chinese fusion food. My husband and I dined at Fernando and Miramar Restaurants; both serve excellent fusion dishes.
The museum to population ratio is also very high to attract tourists. Even the island’s pawnshops and souvenirs have their own museum. The most worthwhile museums to visit are museums about the history of its earlier Portuguese settlers. The Portuguese population might be small (under 10 percent compared to 90 percent Chinese), but its descendants are still visible in Macau, especially in restaurant business. Most have integrated into the Chinese community through interracial marriages. They speak at least three languages, Chinese, Portuguese, and English. (end)