Michigander Luke Lienau’s relationship with Macau began in 2002 with a visit to see his girlfriend, a native of the Chinese Special Administrative Region. In the course of traveling back and forth for nearly a decade, he became fascinated with the city and its changes. When Luke finally decided to move to be with his now-wife and daughter, leaving behind his corporate job to work as an English tutor, his passion for Macau only grew. “I am proud to be able to observe and participate in what is likely the most important era in the city’s history since its founding nearly 500 years ago,” he says. Here are a few of Luke’s favorite things about the Monte Carlo of the Orient.

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Macau Is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is the 16th-century Ruins of St. Paul’s.

You can see my city best from Macau Tower or Guia Lighthouse.

Locals know to skip Senado Square and check out the islands Taipa or Coloane instead.

The small streets in the Inner Harbor area are the places to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

Macau Tower (Photograph by golfyk, Flickr)

Macau Tower (Photograph by golfyk, Flickr)

In the past, notable people like business billionaire Stanley Ho, poet Luís Vaz de Camões, and actress Michelle Reis have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is the Macau Museum of Art because it has amazing temporary exhibits highlighting local artists from mainland China.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that you can walk almost everywhere, but beware of the taxis during peak season. It helps to get to know the bus system.

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is in Hac Sa Beach.

My city really knows how to celebrate Lunar New Year because Macau puts together some of the best displays and functions in a celebration that lasts nearly two weeks. The feeling in the air is electric.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they complain about the influx of mainland tourists.

Just outside my city, you can visit Hong Kong, Zhuhai, Hengqin, and Guangzhou.

My city is known for being the new gambling capital of the world (it overtook Las Vegas several years ago), but it’s really a city with rich Chinese history that’s sprinkled with Portuguese flavor.

The Macau Museum of Art  (Photograph by kleinmatt66, Flickr)

The Macau Museum of Art (Photograph by kleinmatt66, Flickr)

The best outdoor market in my city is likely any of the city’s many wet markets, including its largest, the Red Market.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read the Macau tourism website or any of the major casino websites.

My city’s biggest sports event is the Macau Grand Prix. Watch it in the fall; it’s usually held in November.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I just walk to any destination since most attractions are free or very cheap. Street food is also a good way to save.

The dish that represents my city best is a pork chop bun, and rice wine is my city’s signature drink.

The 19th-century Guia Lighthouse is my favorite building in town because of the magnificent view it yields.

The most random thing about my city is the speed of construction and change.

The Venetian Macao hotel or the Cultural Centre is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out the Hard Rock Hotel Macau pool area.

A Lunar New Year celebration in Senado Square (Photograph by traveloriented, Flickr)

A Lunar New Year celebration in Senado Square (Photograph by traveloriented, Flickr)

Selling diapers and baby formula in the same place as gold watches and pork chop buns could only happen in my city.

In the spring you should check out the various gardens.

In the summer you should stay inside; it’s very hot and humid.

In the fall you should visit for Mid-Autumn Festival or the Macau Grand Prix.

In the winter you should come for Christmas or Lunar New Year.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because Macau represents the best of East-meets-West.

Comments

  1. Abihaha
    Indonesia
    August 23, 12:29 am

    Strolling around old neighborhood near ‘largo do lilau’ was stunning!

  2. Luke Lienau
    Macau
    August 21, 10:38 pm

    Geeky Explorer:

    There is still a significant Portuguese presence here but it’s being drowned out very quickly. I don’t think it will ever disappear entirely but I recommend that if anyone wishes to still have an authentic experience that they get here as soon as possible before the history and local culture is entirely submerged by the mega casino resorts. This especially pertains to Macanese cuisine! It’s getting harder and harder to find well made and authentic Macanese food.

    When Anthony Bourdain visited is few years back for No Reservations he did an ok job highlighting the problem and made some decent suggestions. I’d recommend giving that episode a look before making any plans to come to Macau.

  3. Geeky Explorer
    PT
    August 21, 4:53 pm

    Lovely! Can I ask just out of curiosity: do you see a lot of Portuguese presence yet?

    Thanks!