At the end of June, my family enjoyed a two-day trip to Macau, a country previously occupie by Portugal but now stands onit's own as a special administrative region of China. The vacation was one planned at the last minute, and therefore had a very strict budget that we were to adhere to. Considering that Macau is the "Las Vegas of Asia", the budget-friendly hotels were few and far between. However, our family decided upon staying at the Holiday Inn Cotai Strip, which turned out to be a very nice hotel located close to all of the major tourist attractions in Macau.
After we had settled in to our hotel rooms, we set out to explore the city. The tourist part of Macau is quite small, so we were able to get to wherever we wanted to go on foot. Our first stop, just across the street from our hotel, was The Venetian. Built to resemble the atmosphere of Venice, Italy, The Venetian is a spectacular (but expensive) hotel. It also contains numerous restaurants, and a full-size shopping mall with a river running through it. On the river were men rowing gondolas, singing ancient Italian opera whilst doing so. The place was amazing, and our family agreed that we would return later that evening to shop.
We moved on to some of the little, privately owned stores around the area, and strolled around, absorbing the cityscape. Come dinnertime, we were starving. Many people had told us about this small restaurant about 20 minutes outside of Macau called Fernando's. We dressed up, and caught a cab. Sure enough, about 20 minutes later we found ourselves on a beach, standing in front of a barn that was practically falling apart. We walked inside, and was in awe of what Fernando had done with the place. It was simple, rustic, but amazingly efficient. The menu was fantasic, based on food from Southern America and Portugal.
After dinner, we went back to The Venetian and "shopped til we dropped". The most popular souveniers that people were interested in were the paper mache masks made in Italy, as well as the traditional Venetian t-shirt. With a casino also located inside of the massive hotel, many poker chips and packs of cards were for sale as well. We spent hours wandering around The Venetian, weaving in and out of designer stores. Once it closed at 11:30 PM, we returned to our own hotel, and swam in all seven swimming pools until early in the morning. Returning to our rooms, we crawled into the oversized beds covered in down-feather pillows, and we went to sleep.
Since the Holiday Inn is located inside a mall as well, we were able to go to McDonald's for breakfast the next morning. After cleaning ourselves up, eating a nice breakfast, and making sure all of our bags were packed, we headed out for another walk around the town, this time stopping at the City of Dreams, a smaller mall with several different clothing stores inside. After wandering around there for an hour or so, we took our suitcases and headed for the ferry port, where we would depart Macau and return home.
Our trip to Macau was amazing. It is an extremely relaxing city, but it also contains a wild nightlife comparable to Las Vegas. If you aren't a gambling person, then you're left with only shopping to entertain you, unless you pay big bucks to see one of the many shows hosted at The Venetian during the evenings.
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