What you need to know about Macau
Macau, known as ‘Vegas of Asia’, is an interesting place. I lived in Macau for a full year and got my second Bachelor Degree from the local Institute of Tourism Studies. This provided me with some interesting facts and some great insider tips:
TAXI DRIVERS CANNOT READ MAPS
It took me a while before I figured this out. Taxi drivers do not know street names and they cannot read maps. Make sure you remember a landmark at the place you’re staying or where you have to go to (such as the name of the casino, university or park). Or even better: have someone write it down in Cantonese for you. Many taxi drivers do not speak English either.
DO NOT BOOK A ROOM AT HOTEL LISBOA
It is actually the place where you take the local prostitutes to. It sounds insane but underneath the hotel is an area where prostitutes walk around waiting to be picked-up (note: the prostitutes do not look like prostitutes, they actually look very formal and not cheap at all). The weird thing is that the prostitutes are allowed to offer their services but are not allowed to stand still, therefore they keep on walking from one point to the other point. It is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen (and remember: I am from Amsterdam).
THERE ARE FREE BUSSES BETWEEN THE CASINOS
All casinos have free shuttle busses. You can just go in there for free and use this means of transport for your trip around Macau. Local busses are also really cheap (25MOP, which is 25 eurocents). You do need a bus pass, which you can purchase at Seven11.
MACAU IS WEALTHY
Although it doesn’t always seem that way, most people in Macau are wealthy. The unemployment rate is below 2% for years already. Because of the tourism (which the whole region relies on) everyone can get a job. There are also great subsidies for every inhabitant. The remarkable thing is they spend their money on different things than many Europeans would do. The uni of HK once researched this and found out that students do not have their own desk, but do have a Louis Vuitton bag…
MACAU WAS NO GAMBLE CITY A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO
I met a lot of people that lived in Macau before all the casinos were built. It is insane how fast a place can change (made me think of Dubai). It’s only been since 2003 that foreign casino operators were first allowed in and look at the place now.. I left Macau three years ago but there are so many new casinos (e.g. Parisian) and tourism is growing and growing.
NIGHTLIFE IS BETTER THAN HONG KONG
There are no big clubs in Hong Kong like the ones in Macau. There is just so much choice of places to go to and many expats from HK come over for some awesome nights out. Definitely go to: Pacha, Club Cubic and Lion’s Bar. Actually, just go to the place where they have girl’s night (free drinks for girls all night), that’s where you’ll have the most fun – also for guys 😉