Streets of Hong Kong Premium Private Tours--Dispatch #0011: THE OLD LISBOA CASINO AND MACAU


CASINO LISBOA (All Rights Reserved, WilliamBanzai7, 2016)

Everyone who meets me quickly learns that I love Old Macau! I love Portugal as well and have been there many times. Perhaps that is why I can say Macau is like a Lisbon on the South China Coast.

The old city of Central Macau is a treasure trove of lovely old mosaic streets, quiet public sitting areas, old fortresses, gritty old Chinese temples, incensed street shrines and majestic cathedrals, lush parks teeming with Cantonese style street activity and some very old and relatively undisturbed Chinese neighborhoods with very old houses (think time warp). Naturally, it is full of history.

That history and uniquely mixed Macanese culture spans the period from the mid-1500s to date. It is my view that Macau and Hong Kong go hand in hand and that in order to get a complete picture of the history of the Pearl River Delta, one should try to visit both cities as well as Old Canton (Guangzhou), if possible. Remember, when the British landed in the area, they got started in Macau. The Americans as well. Would it surprise you to learn that many of the gravestones in the old Protestant graveyard mark the remains of young seamen from New England? Think Yankee Clippers.

Although I go to Macau all the time (my wife has family there), I am not a gamber, and as a general matter, I have no interest in entering the casinos. Why go to the Venetian when you have been to Venice? All the big players from Las Vegas have done a fine job of replicating the Las Vegas strip in an isolated area that like much of modern Macau and Hong Kong, began as landfill. Thankfully it is no where near the center where I love to wander, photograph the street life and bring fellow visitors.

There is, however, one casino I love to shoot from many angles. The Casino Lisboa founded by Stanley Ho, also known as the "King of Gambling". Here again is a connection to Hong Kong. Stanley Ho is a grand nephew of Sir Robert Ho Tung , the famous Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist whom I cover on my Hong Kong walking tours to Victoria Peak.

As you can see above, there is plenty of neon at the old Lisboa. It has the look of old school Las Vegas and there is always a pack of gaunt bicycle rickshaw men lined up in front. If anyone asks to see a seedy old Macau casino, this is my go to destination. And if anyone asks where to find the saunas, I send them to those rickshaw men.

After Stanley Ho lost the casino monopoly in Macau and Vegas players like Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson entered the local scene, he went and built a spectacular casino hotel just across the street, The Grand Lisboa. It is shaped like a giant mirrored lotus flower, which figures in the official emblem and flag of Macau as well. By the way, the peninsula that became old Macau was originally shaped like a lotus bud. The building can be seen from points all around the center and thankfully, although imposing, it is an interesting work of modernist architecture.

Evening time, the area surrounding the hotel is drenched in neon emanating from various commercial establishments, including a multitude of nearby pawn shops eagerly awaiting your Rolex watch. How else does one finance one's losses at the tables?

I regularly do day tours to Old Macau. To view more of my images of Macau, please visit my Flickr Stream or visit me on Instagram: @williambanzai7.

Hope to see you soon on the Streets of Hong Kong or Macau!


End of Dispatch

Central Macau In The Shadow of The Grand Lisboa Casino  (All Rights Reserved WilliamBanzai7)

Central Macau In The Shadow of The Grand Lisboa Casino (All Rights Reserved WilliamBanzai7)

Streets of Macau  (All Rights Reserved, WilliamBanzai7)

Streets of Macau (All Rights Reserved, WilliamBanzai7)


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I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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