How We Visited a Country For Free

For three months, in 2010, we lived in the Chinese city of Zhuhai. We had our two eldest children with us and we (royal we) were pregnant with the third. We would often climb this mountain there which had an amazing lookout at the top of it. It was really magical. We could see the bright lights of Macau from there and thought we had to make a day trip there at some stage.

We left earlyish in the morning and headed to the border. We took a bus part of the way, then we had to disembark to go through customs and reembark (is that a word) to go through to Macau. We didn't have any Macau money and thought we would be able to exchange Chinese cash when we needed to.

We arrived on the Macau side, not sure exactly where we should go. There were all these buses lined up with reps trying to hustle people onto their bus to go to their casino. We had seen pictures of a place called the Venetian, so we decided to jump on their free bus. Also, we knew that it was on the other side of the island, so we might get to see some things on the way there. There were some cool sights and we thought about going to see them later.

Inside the Venetian

We were awestruck by the sheer audacity of the Venetian. It is modelled after the city of Venice with its old buildings and canals. We were not sure what we could do there as we don't gamble and kids aren't allowed on the gambling floor anyway. They have this amazing replica of Venice with shops and canals and those boat things (gondolas). Can you believe that this picture is actually inside, with a fully enclosed roof that looked just like the sky? Wow! It was worth the trip, just for that. So far it hadn't cost us anything. We had food that we had brought with us and we had a snack before jumping on a bus that would take us to another casino.

I can't remember anything about the next casino. We only went on their bus as it was next to the waterfront. There was a replica of the Colosseum in Italy. Okay, not a full-size replica, but still impressive. Next to it was a volcano and then a Chinese temple. It was amazing. Great for mandatory photo ops. In any other city, you would quite happily pay to see these, but Macau has too much money, I guess.

Ruins Thingy

We did this casino hop to see the rest of the city. And we got off to see one of the famous sights, the old ruins thingy. It wasn't that impressive, to be honest, but it was worth seeing the older part of the city. It was at this stage in the afternoon when we were taking a rest, that we thought of something crazy. That we could do a day trip to a country or city and see and do everything we wanted for free. We had the last bit of food that we had with us and headed to the next destination. The kids were starting to get really tired. We decided to look through one building on the way to the bus and headed home.

So there you have it, although Macau isn't technically a country, it does have it's own currency and we didn't spend any of it. I am sure this will be frowned upon by many people. But, we had a lot of fun. I am not sure how many cities or countries that you can sightsee in completely for free. Let me know if you know of one.