I’ve only made my first passport last year, a couple of months before embarking on my maiden trip overseas. I went to Macau for one month as a graduation celebration, funded by myself (or rather, what was left of my study loan), before I officially began my career correcting people’s atrocious punctuation and grammar. 😆 (I’m really not one to talk, as I often come across typos in my posts here.) And just recently, my posts of late have been about my latest and second trip overseas, which was Bangkok for vacation. My beautiful vacation lasted four days and they were the best four days this year despite the unrelenting heat and the few sour moments when we were swindled by locals making a quick buck off us.
So anyway, whenever I think about Bangkok, I also think about Macau. Being the first two cities out of the country that I have visited, they hold a special place in my heart. They couldn’t be more different than each other, though!
The first difference that struck me was that Macau was scenic as Bangkok was not. Bangkok is not a beautiful place, in my opinion. Perhaps I did not go to the right places? Macau, on the other hand, is beautiful, especially in the city. It is not difficult to find a nice view in Macau. They have plenty of beautiful gardens, and the casinos try to outdo each other with spectacular lightings at night. Macau Tower is the best place to view the best of Macau.
The second difference between Macau and Bangkok would be the people. In Macau, I look like another Macanese until I open my mouth and my strangely-accented Cantonese comes out. I don’t remember exceptional rudeness from Macau people, and I do remember the salesgirls in shops being pretty polite, at least providing better service than their Malaysian counterparts. However, the taxi drivers were quite nonchalant and brusque. It could be just my luck. In Bangkok, you could tell I was definitely not local. Someone even asked me if I was Japanese. 😕 So perhaps that might be a reason I felt Thai people are friendlier in my contact with them. The salespeople were mostly polite, save some of them from Chatuchak market, probably because I was just one of the many tourists there. I might be biased here, but I would say Thai people are friendlier than Macau people.
The third difference is food, of course! I have spent a month in Macau, so even though I might not have had the best of food there is to offer there, I would say I could judge it pretty well. And my verdict is that Macanese food is bland. Whatever dish they have that is labelled ‘spicy’ is totally not. And I am someone who cannot really take food that is too spicy. Not only is Macanese food bland, it is also much too porky for my liking. In Malaysia, it’s all about chicken, beef or fish. In Macau, it’s all about the pork. Meanwhile, in Bangkok we only managed a semi-decent Thai meal at a seafood restaurant. There, I got to sample an exquisite tom yum goong! That was easily the best dish I savoured during my vacation. Other dishes I fondly remembered are the fried rice and pork noodle stew that Angel and I bought from the streets just outside of the hotel. I don’t think it was very Thai, but it is Thai street food and it was good.
The fourth difference is toilets!! I’m not too sure which city has better toilets. There will always be bad toilets, of course, but I think Macau is slightly better in this department. The memory of their impeccable bathrooms at the University of Macau had a lot to do with my decision. 😀 In Bangkok, clean toilets are more accessible if the place you’re at is of a higher ‘class’. Siam Paragon mall had clean toilets, of course, as did our hotel room. Best toilet in Bangkok, our hotel room.
The fifth and final difference is… shopping, what else!!! Needless to say, Bangkok wins this hands down. Bangkok is excellent for cheap but tasteful shopping for every kind of budget. You would not need to look hard or far to find something you like; you would need determination to resist buying excessively! Which I miserably failed at. 😀 Shopping in Macau is quite similar to shopping in Malaysia. Price wise, it is slightly cheaper in Macau but the fashion is so safe and boring. Just walk down the street of both Bangkok and Macau and you can see the clear difference. Girls on a Bangkok street would be colourfully and skimpily attired to various degrees. Girls on a Macau street are pretty much the same – short-sleeved T-shirt with jeans or shorts.
So, all that said, which do I prefer, Macau or Bangkok?
It depends, of course. If I am looking for a quick getaway, 3 days 2 nights, Macau would be my choice. You can cover all the major tourist spots by the second day because they’re all so near each other; Macau is a small place, after all – which is an advantage for people who dislike commuting too long during their travel. You would not need to spend much here because there isn’t much variety, in my opinion. Must-try local delicacies would be the Portuguese egg tart, a pork burger and perhaps Portuguese cuisine if you can afford it. Food is expensive in Macau, I forgot to mention. Must-buy souvenirs would be biscuits from famous Chinese bakeries.
If you’re looking for a longer vacation, Bangkok will keep you entertained for weeks, certainly! That is, if you have the money to burn. 😀 Bangkok is a big city and there are innumerable places to shop and temples to visit and interesting activities to experience. From floating markets to elephant rides to risque shows 😉 there’s something for everyone in Bangkok. Thai food is famous worldwide and for good reason, surely. I have yet to taste the best of Bangkok food, so I’d think food is better than what I’ve eaten during my vacation. And if you’re adventurous, there are always the fried bugs to try. 😀
One might think Bangkok is a better destination to head than Macau, but I wouldn’t necessarily agree. It depends what is your budget and what is your objective. If you’re looking for a relaxing, quick getaway, Macau is a great choice. If you’re looking for new experiences and a crazy, hectic holiday, Bangkok would suit you better. 🙂
Okay, that’s all the tourism promotion for my currently two favourite cities! 😆