A staple stop on the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour is in Macau, a city of China known as the "Oriental Las Vegas" for good reason — that’s exactly what it is. Imagine all of your favorite Las Vegas casinos like The Venetian and Wynn picked up and placed on a couple of Chinese islands.
• Language: Cantonese, Mandarin, some English
• Climate: Cooler and less humid in November, but still sub-tropical.
• Currency: Macanese Pataca is the official currency, however, the Hong Kong Dollar is widely accepted also. Please visit xe.com for current exchange rates.
• Voltage: 220 volts
Direct flights are available from within Asia, but the most popular way to get to Macau is to fly into Hong Kong International Airport and take the ferry from the international terminal. Ferries leave approximately every hour until 10 p.m. If you arrive later, or simply want to check out the extraordinary skyscrapers of Hong Kong on your way, you can take a taxi to another ferry terminal in the heart of Hong Kong. The Airport Express train is also available, which is a much faster and cheaper option for getting into Hong Kong's city centre, just be sure to check the schedule. Either ferry trip takes approximately one hour for roughly HKD$230.
The HKD$30,000 buy-in PokerStars.net APPT Main Event will take place from Nov. 23 through 27 at the can't-miss iconic hotel and casino, Grand Lisboa. It’s an extraordinary building set in the heart of Macau. It features approximately 150 table games, including the PokerStars Macau Poker Room, which is run by APPT President Danny McDonagh.
The 430 luxurious rooms and suites of the hotel are guaranteed to impress even the most extravagant traveler. The bathroom mirror has a disguised television that appears like magic next to your reflection when it’s turned on. The spacious shower turns into a tropical oasis when you turn on the "rain" from the ceiling and the steam from the floor — and don’t get us started on the Hermès amenities. The rooms are said to be seven-star inspired, and we have no arguments against that — they truly are.
After a long day at the tables, indulge yourself with a therapeutic treatment at the calming and beautiful surroundings of the Lisboa Spa by Clarins or dine at one of the many amazing restaurants. My personal recommendation is the Noodle and Congee Corner for lunch — it’s directly underneath the PokerStars Poker Room. And for dinner, try The Kitchen, to enjoy a steak you’ll likely never forget.
Outside the extravagant walls of Grand Lisboa, and the many other casinos, is a maze of narrow streets thriving with rich colonial tradition dating back to the 16th century. The ancient temples, cobblestone streets and pastel buildings are such a severe contrast to the modern high-rise casinos.
Macau has become an entertainment destination full of gambling nightlife, shopping, and cuisine, so you’ll never be short on something to do. Don’t be fooled by the size of this tiny island; according to Bloomberg, it actually surpassed its idol, Las Vegas, by an estimated half billion U.S. dollars in gaming revenue for the first time in 2006.
The most popular natural attractions are the Ruins of St. Paul, which begin with famous stone steps leading up to the Mother of God cathedral, the largest Christian church of its time. You’ll find the ruins after a short walk through the small alleys from Senado Square, the cultural center of Macau, and the one place most evident of the city’s Portuguese history. Taking this walk slowly is a great way to spend an afternoon exploring Macau, enjoying the rich culture of the streets jam-packed with vendors.
The timing of Season Five’s APPT Macau stop couldn’t be more perfect if you’re a racing fan, because the 58th Macau Grand Prix will be running through the streets of Macau from Nov. 17 through 20. Perfect reason to extend your trip and arrive a few days early.
For the adventure seeker, head up to the top of the Macau Tower, the 10th tallest freestanding tower in the world, where you can bungee 233 meters to the ground. You can then slow down your heart rate by taking a seat in the 360-degree revolving restaurant and enjoy a sky-high view of the city lights.
Now, to visualize most of what's been mentioned above, check out the tour around town from our visit last year.