photo of Macau, China

The skyline of Macau, China (iStockPhoto/ThinkStock)

What to do in Macau

Western tourists might call Macau “the Vegas of the East,” but in China, this glitzy peninsula across the river from Hong Kong gets the more utilitarian moniker of “Special Administrative Region.” The actual place is hardly so stuffy. In this pirate enclave turned gambling epicenter, casino hotel lobbies flash a blinding amount of gold and crystal, and resorts bring world-renowned acts to entertain gamblers between rounds of roulette. There are some seedy elements—think pickpockets and pirated goods—but there are also beaches and incense-steeped temples (like the 15th-century A-Ma Temple on Barra Hill). Whether gambling or sightseeing, vacationers should come with an appetite. Macau's famous cuisine, a fusion of Southeast Asian and Portuguese flavors, is as much of a draw as its five-star hotels and high-stakes baccarat tables.

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