Finding the family-friendly in China’s gambling mecca

Peering through the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, an iconic facade that justifiably serves as one of Macau’s most instantly recognizable tourist attractions, you can, if you position yourself just right, catch a profound glimpse of the “real” Macau. Framed by one of St. Paul’s stone doorways, the city’s skyscrapers glimmer alluringly in the distance, a striking juxtaposition that neatly summarizes the core appeal of this former Portuguese colony. In Macau, you see, the sacred rub shoulders with the sinful, the high-brow walk hand in hand with the low, and the city’s intoxicating mix of Mediterranean mystique and Pearl River Delta divinity is unforgettable.

However, whereas most go to try their luck in roulette and ribaldry, I was unsure how Macau would be with two hyperactive rugrats in tow. It’s a playground for adults with cash to burn, yes, but can this city of serial sin keep the family entertained? In short, yes. Though it’s famous as being Asia’s Las Vegas (which is an understatement because it far surpasses Vegas in terms of gambling revenue), it’s also a city of history, culture, and leisure—if you know where to look.

Macau is inundated with top-class hotels, from the iconic geodesic dome of the Grand Lisboa Hotel & Casino—an eye-catching structure that resembles a giant lotus leaf and includes a much-lauded Michelin Star restaurant—to funky old-town ex-flophouses that still retain the gritty glamour of the city’s glory days. Macau has something for everyone, accommodation-wise.

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Macau About That? is a story from our issue, “Taobao Town.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


David William Kay is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

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