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Travel, Teach, Live in China

How to Plan a Short Visit to Macau

When visiting Hong Kong, it is easy to take a day trip to sightsee, eat and gamble in one of the world's premier gaming hot spots, Macau. A unique blend of cultures, Macau has great food, amazing casinos and gorgeous European architecture, making this region of China a must-visit.

Decide how you want to get to Macau. The most common way is by ferry, which takes about an hour. The adventurous also can opt to take a helicopter, which takes about 16 minutes.

Go to the tourist tourist office and pick up the free brochure "Macau - Walking Tours by Day and Night." Begin your sightseeing in the downtown area, called Avenida Almeida Ribeiro, or San Ma Lo. Cantonese, Mandarin and Portuguese are widely spoken in Macau. English is spoken only in major tourist areas. Hail a cab and ask to go to San Ma Lo.

Stroll the cobblestone lanes, check out the shops and cafes and sample some of the excellent food Macau is known for. Macau is best known for fresh seafood and excellent Portuguese cuisine. Antiques and various nut candy offerings are big draws.

Travel about town on one of the casino buses. These are ostensibly for gamblers but they're open to anyone. You also can take city buses or taxis, which are inexpensive but Lonely Planet warns that the drivers are the world's grumpiest.

Gamble. The casinos in Macau are opulent and exciting, even for the non-gamer. Try your hand at the dealerless blackjack or roulette, and if you're feeling really lucky, get in on any number of traditional Chinese gaming tables. For a free event, visit the Bubble in the City of Dreams casino for what Lonely Planet describes as a "dazzling visual show of lasers, lights and fire displayed in a giant dome."

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