Over the sea (but not that far away), Macau is the fail-safe option for many a Hong Konger’s night out on the town. With its sprawling casinos, luxury hotels, expansive nightclubs, and frequent patronage by some of the world’s biggest acts (Bon Jovi and Katy Perry are among the legions to have performed recently), it’s clear to see why the reputation has developed. But beyond its hedonistic highlights, the +853 plays host to a whole load of other fun activities. Here are our favourites.
1. Zero Latency
A trip to Macau can sometimes feel like leaving the real world, but in Galaxy Hotel’s Broadway on Cotai, you really can escape reality. Zero Latency is the latest in Virtual Reality (VR) gaming and already has a huge following in Singapore, Australia, and the US. The company takes a team of eight players and fits them out in tech-laden waistcoats, VR headsets, headphones, and laser guns, and gives a thorough briefing before entering the games room. Inside this large, dark empty room you put on your headsets and are transported to another world. There are currently a choice of three games on offer: Engineerium, a fun and playful world to explore; Singularity, a space adventure full of drones and droids to shoot down; and Zombie Survival, a heart-racing zombie attack scenario. Although the graphics are very much computer game rather than real life, once you’re playing, you’re quickly immersed and it’s easy to forget where you really are. The opening promotion gives you a 45-minute session for 400MOP per person, which can include any two of the three games. Having tried it ourselves, we can confirm that this is more than enough to tire you out, but we definitely plan to go back for more zombie shooting soon!
Zero Latency, Shop E1010, Broadway Macau, Avenida Marginal Flor de Lotus, Cotai, Macau, (+853) 2871 1901
2. Taipa Village Art Space
Having opened in 2016, the Taipa Village Art Space is an exhibition space for international and local artists and the perfect place to visit for those looking for a Macanese experience that focuses on contemporary art and culture. Situated in a converted traditional shophouse, the art space has developed a reputation as a cultural hub in the area, and has earned itself a spot as a firm fixture on the tourist trail. Don’t miss out on their full programme of family-friendly festivities this summer, including a balloon twisting workshop (August 18), portrait painting sessions (every Sunday in July) and face-painting (every Sunday in August).
Taipa Village Art Space, 10 Rua dos Clerigos, Taipa, Macau, (+853) 2857 6118
3. House of Dancing Water
The House of Dancing Water is the world’s largest water-based production. The $2-billion acrobatic show has been delighting crowds since its debut in 2010. Hauntingly beautiful music, breathtaking sets, and nail-biting stunts combine in this epic tale of love conquering evil. Performances run every day, except Tuesday and Wednesday, with tickets prices ranging from $580 to top tier ‘splash seats’ ($980) and VIP sections ($1,480). Packages including accommodation are also available on the ticketing page. If there’s one show you see this year, make sure it’s this – and we definitely recommend the splash seats!
The House of Dancing Water, City of Dreams, Cotai, Taipa, Macau, (+853) 8868 6688
4. Macau Tower Bungy Jump
As the world’s tallest commercial bungy jump, Macau Tower invites brave souls to jump off the edge and fall 233 metres before being pulled back to their starting point. Jumps are operated by AJ Hackett, an internationally recognised extreme sports franchise. For the ever-so-slightly less daring among us, there’s also the option to keep your feet firmly on land by taking a leisurely stroll along the Sky Walk which runs around the outside of the tower. Here you can take in the sights and sounds of the city around you without having to take the plunge. Definitely a more relaxing experience!
Macau Tower, (+853) 8988 8656
5. Senado Square
Though its reputation as the “Vegas of the East” is by no means unwarranted, Macau has held on to its rich history and heritage. A stroll through Senado Square, with its colonial-era buildings and mosaic tiled pavements, makes this clear. The UNESCO Historic Centre attracts tourists in their droves, but an early morning or late evening visit can bypass the worst of the crowds. The square is lined with shops and cafes and is home to a 16th Century Dominican church, St. Dominic’s, which is well worth a look.
6. Coloane Trail
Macau’s hiking trails are lesser-known than its sister SAR’s, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth venturing to. The Coloane Trail, which spans more than eight kilometres, is a circular loop that covers Macau’s largest island. The trail intersects with many others, so you can opt to venture further afield or to end at Hac Sa Beach – famed for its unusual black sand.
7. Lord Stow’s Bakery
Twenty nine years ago, Andrew Stow set up shop on a quiet corner of Coloane, selling an array of baked goods which included Pasteis de Nata – the iconic Portuguese custard tarts. To date, Lord Stow’s Bakery boasts eight shops in Macau and countless franchises across Asia. A trip to Macau is almost incomplete without a treat, or two.
Lord Stow’s Bakery, 1 Rua de Tassara, Coloane Village, Macau, (+853) 2888 2534
8. A-Ma Temple
One of the buildings that make up the UNESCO historic centre of Macau, A-Ma Temple holds a better claim to fame than most. The 15th Century temple was built in dedication to the sea goddess, Mazu, and is widely believed to be the origins of the territory’s name. A-maa-gok roughly translates to the Pavilion of the Mother, and this was the response given to Portuguese settlers when asked about the area.
A-Ma Temple, Rua de Sao Tiago de Barra and Calcada da Barra, Macau, (+853) 2836 6866
9. The Ruins of St. Paul’s
The Ruins of St Paul’s are one of Macau’s most iconic landmarks and a frequent fixture on fridge magnets and postcards at tourist trinket shops in the area. The 17th Century buildings included a Catholic church and college. The buildings were destroyed by a fire in 1835, leaving behind only the southern façade. Today, visitors climb the stone steps to the ruins, taking in the unique architecture, which features hand-crafted carvings by Japanese Christians.
The Ruins of St. Paul’s, Calcada de Sao Paulo, Macau, (+853) 2836 6866
10. Try Your Luck
No guide to Macau would be complete without a mention of its endless array of casinos. Of these, there are plenty, so you’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. If your visit is going to centre around a trip to one of the large-scale, entertainment multiplexes, then taking the ferry to Cotai is your best option, with frequent shuttle buses available to most hotels on Taipa and Macau. If you’re looking to turn a day out into a weekend away, pay a visit to the newly-opened Morpheus Macau in the City of Dreams.
Morpheus Macau, Morpheus at City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau, (+853) 8868 8888
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