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SEE ALSO Hongkong fun guide | Hong Kong shopping | Hong Kong business hotels | Beijing guide | Shanghai guide | Taipei spas | Asian casino hotels JUMP TO Getting to Macau | Vanishing heritage | Casino hotels review | Taipa, Cotai Strip casinos, Coloane resorts | Dining guide and Portuguese flavours | Macau nightlife and bars | Museums | Shopping | Historial Macau Walks | Hotel Contacts Glittering casino neon begins to loom over old Macau where life proceeds at a slower pace, winding through historic walks, churches, cobbled streets and past aromatic egg tart shops. ONCE upon a time, travellers flocked to Macau to nibble egg tarts on the crumbling steps of St Paul’s ruins and marvel at the entwined Chinese and Portuguese culture in the city’s historic quarter.

Latter day adventurers drove sputtering open-top 'Mokes' carting wailing kids from Macau to Taipa and Coloane across thin chicken-neck causeways that flooded in the monsoons.

Crowds dodged firecrackers at the A-Ma Temple before heading off to feast on Macanese salted cod balls in cosy European-style taverns.

It was merry mayhem, unpredictable, absurd, absorbing, languorous, and fun.

Then came the casinos and Muscle MICE (a silly acronym for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions).

Suddenly, the limelight shifted from this UNESCO World Heritage Site to spinning roulette wheels, Italian gondolas and hallucinogenic neon, while one survivor, Lord Stow's Bakery (that made Macau famous for its egg tarts), determinedly hung on, even expanding from its Coloane base to The Venetian hotel and elsewhere. More on some fabulous Macau fun walks and food in the historic old quarter and the outlying islands.

The showy extravagance of this flamboyant Special Administrative Region (SAR) didn’t stop there.

Soon came the fiery Dragon’s Treasure in the world's largest special effects projection dome, followed by a Michael Jackson museum, the 3.7m gallon aquatic spectacle House of Dancing Water and an onslaught of pro boxers and Biebsters.

Many have shunned Hong Kong in favour of Macau’s swanky venues, where dancing sirens, Dreamworks characters and digital mermaids join in the fun.

Slide Show E-mail Page Print Hotel Contacts Las Vegas saw Macau looming large in its rearview mirror and by the end of 2006 had been eclipsed on casino revenues.

In 2013, gambling revenue in Macau hit a staggering US$45 billion – up 18.6 percent from 2012 and seven times more than the Las Vegas Strip.

This once sleepy enclave has indeed woken up – fast. A China government crackdown on extravagant spending by officials had a huge impact on Macau’s high-rolling revenues in 2014 to 2016.