Go on a night bus tour
"Cotai Strip at night"
Cotai Strip at night
Only in Macau can you have a night bus tours as an amazing tourist activity. When the city lights come out, the entire city, but particularly the Cotai Strip, come alive in a mesmerising way. You can book tickets for a night bus tour here. The tour covers both Cotai and the Old Macau parts but I reckon Cotai is where the real casino and luxury hotel neon light show is most amazing, don’t you think?
Decide who does egg tart’s best
Egg tarts are an eminently local food in Macau. They are a Portuguese dessert and snack that came to Macau and have remained one of the most recognizable symbols of the city. They are everywhere and sold in many stores, but there are three brands that are the most famous ones: Lord Stow, Koi Kei Bakery and Margaret cafe e Nata.
If you are a foodie or have a sweet tooth and are wondering what to do in Macau why not make your own decision on the best egg tart. Do like me and try them all three, then compare and decide. Who did it best?
Lord Stow’s Bakery
Lord Stow’s Bakery
Lord Stow’s Bakery
The first egg tart was invented at Lord Stow’s Bakery in Coloane and that continues to be the original outlet. However, the brand has opened several other outposts, including some outside of Macau.
Though the English baker Andrew Stow passed away, his cafe across from the original Bakery continues to serve the famous pastéis de nata that are so famous of Portugal. This location is quite removed from the rest of Macau, located at the very farthest tip of Coloane, it is an interesting place to come to for a bit of a nostalgic feel. Coloane is green and has a fishing village feel. Stay for breakfast at the calm bakery then have a stroll in the village.
Margaret’s Café e Nata
Margaret’s Cafe e Nata
Margaret’s Cafe e Nata
Opened by Stow’s ex-wife, Margaret’s Cafe e Nata offers more sophisticated options as well as the regular ones. The custard filling here is said to be creamier, runnier and sweeter and its location behind the Lisboa Hotel is a convenient stop in the crazy neon-filled area. Take one of the outdoor tables if available but expect queues and crowds.
Koi Kei Bakery
Koi Kei Bakery
The third contender to the egg tart battle is Koi Kei Bakery, a humble nut stall turned largest confectionary chain in Macau. The variety here is the name of the game with over 300 types of products on sale, but you can also try the regular cookies or egg tarts if you want something more popular. If you want to try something more exotic, this is the place, sweet or sour or both. And you can also taste before purchasing.
Go on an eight-shaped ferris ride
"The Eight Macau"
The Eight Macau
Studio City is a luxury hotel at one end of the Cotai Strip that is themed around Hollywood and movies, as the name indicates. Here you can find all sorts of entertainment around movies and sci-fi but perhaps the most interesting of the Macau attractions is Golden Reel, an eight-shapes ferris wheel, the only one in the world, which you can ride for about fifteen minutes.
The ferris wheel is visible from pretty much anywhere on the strip and is housed right in the middle of the building, but don’t expect the compartments to actually go on an eight-shaped ride, instead, they stay on the outside following the outer edge of the number.
"The Eight Ferris Wheel Macau"
The Eight Ferris Wheel Macau
As cheesy as this may sounds, it is a worthwhile attraction in Macau because you get views from both sides, towards Old Macau and the river, as well as towards the Cotai Strip. The entire structure is quite impressive too. Built in silver and dark golden steel, encrusted inside the building and going around to the soundtrack from the movie Inception, it all felt quite futuristic and fun. You can also reserve your ticket online here so you don’t have to queue and wait (we spent 15min queuing).
Ride with Batman
"Batman Dark Flight Studio City"
Batman Dark Flight Studio City
This cool show at the Studio City Hotel, next to the Golden Reel ferris wheel, is where you can join Batman on a 3D fight across Gotham City in Batman Dark Flight. The show is quite cool, Universal Studios style, with 3D close ups, movement, your seat being shaken, etc. If you are dropping by the ferris wheel, then make sure to get the tickets that include also access to the show.
See magic happen before your eyes
Wondering what to do in Macau with kids (or not so young ones)? What about a magic show?
Macau is a place where magic is found everywhere but one of the most obvious ones is the magic show at House of Magic, at the Studio City complex. The show takes places in more than one space and the magic tricks increase in complexity and well, magic level. Towards the end you may be so wowed by the stuff i front of your eyes that you may believe in magic again!
Have a pork chop bun
Tai Lei Loi Kei
Tai Lei Loi Kei
South China’s most famous pork-chop bun is made here, at Tai Lei Loi, in Taipa Village, at a shop founded in 1960 as a street stall by the mother of the current owner. Slices of pork with crunchy buns are served daily from 2pm.
Get lost at The Venetian
"The Venetian Macau"
The first casino to open on the Cotai Strip in Macau was the Venetian. If you have been to Las Vegas, you will recognise the same architecture and design. The Shoppes at the Grand Canal complex is filled with restaurants and shops, beyond the large casino gambling area and there are lots of things to do and plenty of shopping.
Walking inside the corridors of The Venetian is worth it on its own and there are many photo opportunities along the way. It is also easy to get lost because the complex is made of several corridors and there is no natural light as the ceilings are painted with clouds and sunshie.
Go on a gondola ride
"Gondola at the Venetian Macau"
Gondola at the Venetian Macau
Also at The Venetian you can marvel at the large fountains, dancing to the tune of the music, or take a gondola ride along the canals complete with a singing gondolier and picture yourself against the famous backgrounds of St. Marc’s Square or the Ponte vecchio, you just need to be in the right frame of mind. Reserve your gondola ride online here. Even if it can sound a bit tacky, travel to Macau is about bringing out your inner child and just letting go.
Marvel at the art installations at the original Wynn Macau
Another one of the first casinos to open in Macau in 2006 was the Wynn, followed by a newer Wynn Palace property in Cotai which opened in 2016. The original Wynn is in Old Macau and is as flash as it gets in the area, so much so that you may be blinded by the amount of gold. But the hotel is also known for the many art pieces and installations, like an interesting Tree of Prosperity sculpture that is gold plated.
Dance with a fountain
"Fountain at Wynn Macau"
Fountain at Wynn Macau
While the Wynn Palace in Cotai has a performing lake with a cable car, the Wynn in Old Macau has a performing lake that dances to the sound of music with lights and even flames to go with it, and is great fun. The show lasts about 3min or a song and is every 15min which means you can easily send an hour there dancing and then taking rest to go back at it. I enjoyed dancing on my own.
Take a free cable car ride above a performing lake
The Wynn Palace in Cotai is equally as golden as the original Wynn in Old Macau and it even has a Skycab cable car that you can ride for free as many times as you like and which takes guests from the ground level by the lake to the entrance in the first floor flying above the water.
It is particularly fun when the lake fountains are on because the cable car rides right around and above the Performance Lake as it dances to the music a few times every hour, a signature of Wynn properties in both Macau and Las Vegas. Needless to say, this is one of the best free activities in Macau, great for the whole family.
Explore amazing floral displays
"Wynn Cotai art installation"
The Wynn Palace is every bit as exuberant as all the other luxury hotels in Macau then some. But its most unique feature are the floral displays that were created with floral designer Preston Bailey. These are so gorgeous and so perfect that I did not realise they were fresh flowers. Look out for the ferris wheel as well as for the carousel, both of which are magical.
Hác Sá Beach
Hac Sa Beach in Macao
Hac Sa Beach in Macao
Hác Sá Beach (Black Sand) is Macau’s most popular beach. The sand is blackish in colour which makes it less appealing, but it is actually quite clean. Summer months see lifeguards on duty and you can rent parasols for MOP$60 a day with a deposit. Here is my guide to the best beaches in Macau, if that’s how you’d like to spend a day of travel.
The House of Dancing Water Show
This incredible show in The City of Dreams was created by Cirque du Soleil extraordinaire Franco Dragone and takes place on a stage that goes from dry to completely underwater, with high dives, acrobats, swimming, gymnastics and theater. The House of Dancing Water is a stunning show and a must-see attraction in Macau, I can’t recommend it enough. So much so that on my second trip to Macau I went to see it again.
Tickets for the show need to be bought ahead of time because they are always sold out and you need to make sure o get good seats, trust me, you will not regret it.
Go up the Eiffel Tower
"The Parisian Eiffel Tower Macau"
The Parisian Eiffel Tower Macau
The Parisian is a major tourist spot in Macau. It is decorated and designed like the Versailles Palace, complete with performers dancing about in the hotel’s various halls and corridors, a dancing fountain, perfectly French bakeries and cafes and, of course, a replica of the Eiffel Tower you can go up to. From above you can have a panoramic view of the strip below and also a great perspective on the area, with all the ongoing developments.
On your way out, stop at the souvenir shop for a truly Parisian souvenir, even if you have never been to Paris, it is a pretty quirky and tasteful shop.I recommend going up at night when the strip is really stunning to watch with all the lights on. I did it then. During the day, the area, and Macau in general, tend to be engulfed in the grey pollution that is common in the city and the views are far less impressive. Reserve your ticket to the Eiffel Tower Observation Deck here so you don’t have to queue.
If you are in Macau, take half a couple of hours to visit this picturesque part of the city. Taipa Village is not a man-made entertainment hub but rather a tourism concept aimed at promoting visitors to this heritage part of Macau that is otherwise only associated with Cotai’s gambling reputation.
Taipa used to be a fishing hamlet made of narrow alleyways in cobblestone, pale coloured buildings and pretty temples. There are lots of dining options as well as shops and historical buildings. Do not miss Pak Tai Temple and the Taipa Houses Museum (see next point).
Taipa Village is a place to simply come and have a stroll in a quaint area. Look out for street art, inviting cafes and galleries. Check out Cunha Street for Macanese favourites like egg tarts or pork chop buns. You can also rent a bike to explore the area. Weekends will see a flea market.
"Taipa Houses Museum"
Taipa Houses Museum
The green pastel-coloured villas from the 1920s called Taipa House Museum were the summer residences of wealthy locals and are considered living museums showcasing the famous trades of the time. The area used to be surrounded by a swamp and is now preserved by the government. It is nice to stroll around but also to visit them inside.
See the Diamond show
The Fortune Diamond show at the Galaxy Hotel is a stunning display of music and lights at the Diamond Lobby inside the Galaxy hotel that happens every 20min. The Fortune Diamond is a large piece measuring 3m that sinks into a fountain for the show. The fountain is shaped like a roulette and the entire art piece is meant to symbolize prosperity, a common theme in Macau given its gambling focus.
Cheoc Van Swimming Pool
One of Macau’s best-kept secrets. With an entrance fee of only 20MOP, Cheoc Van swimming pool is a large public pool near the sea.
Drink and party in Macau
Macau is not a party destination and if you are coming with the same mindset as going to Las Vegas you will be disappointed. casinos don’t even serve alcohol, except for at the highest bidding tables or private rooms.
If you look around you will see the players sipping tea with milk or a Coke. It is therefore not surprising that the nightlife is rather quiet. There are a few bars and clubs but nighttime activity usually means shopping till late, eating and enjoying the shows or entertainment from the few casino hotels, rather than partying the night away at a club.
The MacCallan Whisky Bar & Lounge
Source: Galaxy Macau
This is Macallan’s signature bar and lounge and has the largest Macallan collection in Asia. You can expect the usual: big leather sofas, big chunks of ice, big choice and even a fireplace. This is a sort of gentlemen’s club in countryside England, only that you are still in Macau. Have a look at the first whisky in the world which is on display.
Source: Galaxy Macau
Located at the Galaxy, China Rouge is a red Shanghai lounge that takes you back to the time of the opium trade. It combines glamorous velvety interiors inspired by Art Deco and cutting-edge art pieces with live performances.
An elegant and relaxing wine lounge featuring fine art and great music in the heart of historic Macau Senado Square where you can sample tasty street food.
Party at CUBIC Club
"CUBIC Club in Macau"
CUBIC Club in Macau
The most famous club in Macau is CUBIC Club, located in The City of Dreams complex, is a dashing neon filled club is open every night and is one of the few party places in the area. But don’t expect a dance floor, this is the more Chinese oriented book a table type of club where winners come to celebrate with champagne bottles and sparkles and losers come to drown their sorrows.