A Night in Macau
I hold my hands up, we did not have time to research Macau. We booked an overnight trip on a whim. It wasn’t till we reached the ferry port that we realised Macau wasn’t just a different city to Hong Kong (like we thought), it was a totally different country – our bad, sorry! Very naive. However, we did know that Macau was branded ‘The Vegas of Asia’ and we have been to Las Vegas, and that was incredible!
Macau however, is not like Vegas, not at all. Yes, there are some similarities, but these similarities do not equate to a ‘Vegas of Asia.’ Yes there are themed casinos, there’s a fake Eiffel tower, there’s neon lights, but there is no party.
In Macau, the casino’s are split across two islands, some on Macau Penninsula and some on Taipa. They have free coaches that drive in circuits around the casinos. But not all the coaches go to all the casino’s, so you might have to walk a little once departing the bus. There are no maps or clear signposts to help either. Sometimes you could be waiting up to 30 minutes for the right coach to arrive. They also stop at 11pm, hindering any cheap way home. So they don’t go to every casino and they finish really early. This does not help create any kind of party atmosphere.
…they charged £7 for water!! But you can just get a bottle free from the casino! Baffling.
Also in the casino’s there is no music, no laughing, nothing. There is no ambience. Soulless. Yes you may find the odd table where someone is on a winning streak and have gathered a crowd. But if the table gets too loud, the looks start, you hear tutting and people mocking their cheers. The lack of the party atmosphere is probably all down to point number three….
Alcohol. In Vegas, if you sit at a game long enough a scantily clad waitress will come and take your drink order, and you can get anything you wish for free. You are spending enough money with them anyway! In Macau, you do get a free drink, water or tea. Hummm. There is no alcohol served at the games, none. To get a drink you have to stop playing, and walk for ages to try to find a bar or restaurant within the hotel grounds. The bar we found in The Venetian was expensive, they charged £7 for water!! But you can just get a bottle free from the casino! Baffling.
Another baffling point, and even after researching it I can’t understand why… Going back to my introduction, I’ll admit again that we didn’t realise Macau was its own country. This meant that when we arrived, we had to change our Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) to Macau Pataca’s (MOP). Rookie mistake! Arriving at our first casino we tried to pay into a machine with our Pataca, nothing happened. We tried again, and again it spat it back at us. Different machine, same thing. Reason being, the machines only take Hong Kong Dollar! ‘You’re kidding right?!’ So, over to the cashier to change our money BACK to HKD, and guess what, there’s a charge! Of course there is! The best part is, so we’d played our games, had a bit of HKD left, went back to the cashier to get it changed back into Macau Pataca….no. They don’t change your money back! WHAT? How does that make any sense? You must have tonnes of MOP from everyone changing it and you can’t change it back? Now we’re stuck again with Hong Kong dollar in Macau! Livid. We can only imagine this is a rule due to the sheer number of Hong Kong and Chinese tourists that come to Macau, probably a lot easier for them to play with HKD.
I can only think that Macau is for the real, serious gamblers, not those looking for the ‘Hangover’ experience…
I will say this, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino was the only saviour. They had a Hard Rock Cafe upstairs, still away from the casino, but at least here you could listen to a band and have a few drinks. A bit more of the party atmosphere we were after.
I can only think that Macau is for the real, serious gamblers, not those looking for the ‘Hangover’ or the ‘What Happens in Vegas’ experience. According to Fox Business, Macau generated $22.5 billion more in gaming revenue last year compared to Las Vegas. So it must be doing something right!
So, with a mix of a few Macau pennies and Hong Kong dollar in my purse, pretty much empty from the expensive drinks and our feeble attempts at gambling, with a confused brain and a new love for Russian Roulette, we left Macau. We are now ready to go back to the actual Vegas of USA and party with the rest of the rowdy lot there.
Note: The casino’s do not allow any photography, so none of these photographs are ours.