As this ultimate bucket list reveals, there’s a lot more to Macau than first meets the eye. Take a gamble on this intriguing city and you won’t regret it.
See the world’s largest water–based show
Numero uno when it comes to the city’s entertainment offerings is by far The House of Dancing Water. Housed in its own purpose-built theatre, the US$250 million production is one that you will want to see time and time again. Combining water stunts, acrobatics, aerial arts and theatre from the best performers in the business – it’s nothing short of magical. The technical wizardry of the show is mindblowing – it’s worth a visit to Macau just to see this. A world-class production that has continued to make a splash since it first opened in 2011. Not to be missed!
Explore Macau beyond the casinos at Coloane Village
Beyond the casinos, Macau comes into its own. Coloane Village is like stepping back in time to visit the old Macau. It’s full of pastel Portuguese-style houses and narrow lanes. Among them is the beautiful Catholic St. Francis Xavier Church that sits mere yards away from traditional Chinese temples like Tam Kung, Tin Hau and the tiny Sam Seng Temple. Within walking distance, you can see several monuments that represent Macau’s unique mix of East and West influences.
Stay in Macau style
If you’re visiting the home of Eastern extravagance you might as well stay in style. The options are numerous as there are upscale resorts on every corner of this city. A good option is the mansions at Sofitel Macau. Tucked away in their own private wing, each mansion has its own elaborate theme, private swimming pool access, and enough room for you and your entire entourage. The prices are surprisingly reasonable for five-star mansion accommodation. For an added bonus, the hotel is located on the doorstep of all the best sights in the city, including Macau’s Historic Town Centre – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sofitel Macau, Rua do Visconde Paco de Arcos, Macau, +853 8861 0016
Try the world’s first fusion cuisine
With a culinary heritage dating back over 400 years, Macau’s native “Macanese cuisine” is believed to be the world’s first fusion cuisine. A blend of both Portuguese and Chinese ingredients and cooking styles, you can try some of its signature dishes, such as minchi and African chicken, at Riquexo – an authentic Macanese restaurant run by 102-year-old Aida de Jesus, dubbed “the godmother of Macanese cuisine”, and her daughter Sonia Palmer.
Riquexo, Songbo Village, 69 Av. de Sidonio Pais, Macau, +853 2856 5655
Enjoy the city’s edible icon
On the topic of food, be sure to try what has become the city’s own edible icon. The delicious Macanese egg tarts are a variation of the pasteis de nata from Portugal, but with their own local flavour. With their flaky pastry crusts, delicious egg custard centres and crispy crème brulée tops, they taste twice as nice when piping hot. Buy a box from Lord Stow’s, the original Macau egg tart baker, which is located in the quaint Coloane Village.
Lord Stow’s Bakery, 1 Rua do Tassara, Coloane Town Square, Macau, +853 2888 2534
Take a leap of faith, or not
According to the Guinness World Records, Macau is home to the world’s highest commercial bungy jump. Situated at the top of the striking Macau Tower, jumpers leap from a platform 233m (764 ft) above the ground and experience the ultimate freefall experience.
Not fond of throwing yourself off the side of a building? Fear not. Macau Tower is also home to the city’s highest and only 360° revolving restaurant – enjoy a more leisurely experience here. Sample a delicious array of international delicacies, including afternoon tea, lunch and dinner buffets, and take in the stunning views as the restaurant slowly rotates.
Enjoy a lucky flutter in the world’s largest casino
With Macau being the casino capital of the world, you can’t help but try your luck in one of them. A good bet is the Venetian Macao – it’s the world’s largest casino resort. The casino space measures upwards of 34,000 square metres. It’s home to 878 gaming tables and 3,300 slot machines and is three times the size of the biggest casino in Vegas. Even if gambling isn’t your thing, The Venetian is vast with numerous restaurants, entertainment offerings, swimming pools, a canal with gondolas and even its own golf course. You’ll find something that will win your attention.
Catch a rare glimpse of red pandas
Not only is the Macau Panda Pavilion home to giant pandas, called Kai Kai and Xin Xin and their newborn twins, the 3,000-square-metre facility also gives visitors a chance to catch a rare glimpse of the pavilion’s two red pandas named Luo Luo and Tong Tong. They hang out in the building adjacent to the giant pandas. Like the giant pandas, red pandas are also facing the threat of extinction in the wild due to illegal logging and to climate change threatening their habitats. Red pandas are relatives of the giant panda, and also of the raccoon, with which it shares a ringed tail.
Visit Macau’s largest “black sand” beach
The largest and best-known beach in Macau is Hac Sa Beach. The name “Hac Sa” is a translation from the Chinese words, 黑沙, which literally means black sand. Located on the south side of Coloane Island, the beach is a kilometre long and famous for its black sand. It gets its unique colour from minerals in the seabed that are washed ashore. In recent years, the government has added yellow sand in order to top-up the beach, so it’s not as black as it used to be. However, the water is relatively clean and suitable for swimming (the dark sand makes it look dirtier than it really is). If you’re visiting in summer, by all means take a dip.
Take a cable car to see panoramic views of the city
Flora Garden is Macau’s largest public park. This European-style garden features a stone pathway that winds upward, past small waterfalls and belvederes, to the top of Guia Hill – the highest point in Macau. Alternatively, you can ride the cable car to the top of the hill and enjoy the panoramic views of the city below.
Flora Garden, Avenida do Sidónio Pais, Macau, +853 2833 7676