If you’re looking for somewhere to experience a whole world of different cultures for your summer travels, head to Hong Kong and Macau to open your eyes to something new.
Asia’s colorful capital Hong Kong plays host to some of the most awe-inspiring festivals throughout the summer. If you’re quick, you can catch the world famous Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival
from June 6-8. This ancient Chinese festival will see some of the world’s best dragon boat athletes competing in the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races. The three day festival also features a San Miguel Beer Festival, live music and live entertainment, so you’ll have plenty of photographs to take home with you.
For peace and quiet
Whatever time of year you visit, you can always be inspired by Hong Kong’s ancient Chinese temples. Between Hong Kong’s buzzing metropolitan city skyscrapers, you can escape to the serenity of Buddhist and Taoist religions, while followers of local deities will perform ancient rituals.
The Man Mo Temple is the one sight that students cannot miss – dedicated to the God of Literature (Ma) and the God of War (Mo), this temple is famous for its giant hanging incense coils and has been standing since 1847.
For a wild night out
After an afternoon of meditation in Hong Kong, a boat ride over to nearby Macau is an absolute must for any sabbatical year traveler. The Special Administrative Region of Macau is the only location in China in which gambling is legal, and it’s certainly capitalized on this: in January 2014, it was reported that Macau made seven times more than Las Vegas in gambling revenue, around $45 billion.
If you want to feel a little closer to home, Macau houses some of America’s biggest casino chains including the Venetian and the MGM, so you can have a taste of home while you play on the slots. The region was a Portuguese colony until 1999 and as such has plenty of European influence, particularly the Casino Lisboa
, so you can experience even more cultures without leaving the region.
One word of warning however – if you’re going to play in one of the world’s strictest gambling zones, make sure you get in a little practice beforehand. Games like immortal romance
are great practice for the slots before you graduate to the blackjack tables.
If you’re still debating where to take your sabbatical year, I really cannot recommend Hong Kong enough – with color, culture and high thrills entertainment in one place, it’s guaranteed to give you some great memories.