That place is today an amazing blend of Chinese and Portuguese feel, within a Las Vegas heavy touch so my post is about the eight reasons why you should travel to Macao!
-1- An amazing Portuguese historical center
Due to its long Portuguese history, Macau has an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Historical Centre. The beautiful façade of the Saint Paul cathedral ruins is one of the most famous landmarks and travel photography spot.
The Friendship Statue at the foot of the façade of the Saint Paul cathedral stairs is a great photography spot, especially if you get lucky that the stairs (normally crowded) got closed to tourists 😎.
-2- An unique fusion of cultures
Macao Chinese, Portuguese, and Vegas fusion make it a very special place for visitors and as a photographer. Walking in the historical center, you’ll see many beautiful traditional 18th-century tile fountains and walls mixing Chinese & Portuguese styles.
From Saint Paul Cathedral, you have a great view of the historical center and you can see some of the casinos, mixing the crazy Grand Lisboa architecture with the old houses.
Even walking in the historic streets like the famous and beautiful Travessa da Paixao can offer photography opportunities to shoot the contrasts of that city …
-3- The most densely populated place in the word… with contrasts
Macao, with around 630 000 people, is the most densely populated country in the world: 58 000 people per square mile! Like in many booming economies distribution of wealth remains a challenge like that image of the local building at the foot of the Grand Lisboa …
And yes, that golden stuff is tall, almost intimidating…
An old picture: The first time I went there in 2006, I was lucky to shoot the construction of the 300 M$ Grand Bilboa casino with bamboo scaffolding, already showing some of the Macao contrasts …
-4- Las Vegas is actually tiny
When we think about casinos, what comes to mind is normally Las Vegas like my picture below right?
Macau is often referred to as Las Vegas of the East. Actually, Las Vegas should be called the Macau of the West as the Chinese territory has been bigger than Las Vegas in casino revenue since 2007. It is generating 4 times more revenues from gaming than Vegas!!
This is mostly because Macau is the only place where gaming in China is legal, tourists and money is flowing there. Vegas Gross Gaming Revenue was (before covid) 6,5B$ including 2.,2 B$ purely from gaming. Macau generates 28 Billion with 12 B$ just from gaming …
Ok, the Paris Casino in Las Vegas and the Parisian in Macao both have a half-size Eiffel tower so that’s a draw at least for this 😊.
-5- Macau has 5 out of the 10 worlds largest casinos
The largest casino in Macau is the Venetian with 550,000 square feet. Only the Winstar Casino in Oklahoma is bigger with 600,000 square feet!
The Venetian in Macau is in my view more impressive and beautiful than the Vegas one (a high benchmark). Casinos feel actually more “premium” in Macao.
The city of Dream is the world’s third-largest, then comes the beautiful Wynn in the fifth position…
By the way, don’t miss the fountain show, it is pretty cool and another must for travel photography when you’re there.…
-6- The Cotai strip keeps expanding
The Cotai strip name is patented (with the help of The Las Vegas sands corporation that keeps investing massively there) and combines the names of the two islands it is connected to (Coloane and Taipa). The second wave of expansion is in process. With 30 million visitors a year (90% from China), Macao is in the world’s top 10 fastest-growing economies (before Covid) so no doubt that the strip will exponentially develop in the come decade. It is already pretty beautiful and a photographer‘s paradise!!!
-7- They replicate even the Colosseum…
Macau fisherman Wharf is an integrated waterfront with dining, retail, and entertainment so a nice place to visit. The outdoor roman amphitheater with 2000 seats welcome concerts and other shows
Yes, this is the Rome Amphitheater… Who said that Chinees copy stuff?
-8- May the fun be with you
Beyond being a fantastic fusion of cultures, and photography heaven, Macao is (like Vegas) a very fun place with endless entertainment and party opportunities…
Probably less known, Macau a UNESCO creative city of gastronomy!. The fusion of influences makes the food there amazing. Do not miss some of the high-end buffets of the most famous casinos. Those are truly exceptional (especially some of the weekend brunches) and high value for money!
So, what are you waiting for?