Beyond the casinos: top 5 things to do in Macau
Macau’s ever-changing landscape offers plenty of new and alternative attractions to the casinos. Here are some of our favourites...
Explore Taipa Village
Taipa Village is one of the few areas in Macau where you can step back in time and enjoy quiet strolls along pedestrianised alleys and hidden lanes to linger and browse in cosy shops that offer a window on the real Macau.
Home to Portuguese architecture and Mediterranean influences, alongside Chinese architectural features, the village offers rich cultural heritage and historic beauty. It’s located in the best-preserved area of historical Taipa Island and is a welcome alternative to the Cotai casino area. Here you will find museums like Taipa House Museum built in 1921 (a former residence for the Portuguese governor and other high-level civil servants and their families.) Today, it’s rated among Macau’s top eight sights for its beauty and architecture.
Elsewhere, colonial churches like the beautiful Our Lady of Penha Church juxtaposed against Chinese temples like Pak Tai, seamlessly blend all that marks Macau as the charming city locals know it to be. Food is high on the list of reasons to visit Taipa Village too – sample some of the best Portuguese food in town at Antonio’s Restaurant while authentic Macanese cuisine is available just a stone’s throw away at Fat Siu Lau and Solmar restaurant. Top it off with a visit to the recently opened Taipa Village Art Space and be more than impressed by the high standards of local art on display here.
Macau Grand Prix
Now in its 63rd year, the event offers something for everyone to enjoy. For the avid motorsport fan, it is a chance to see the Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel or Daniel Ricciardo of tomorrow, as well as the world’s leading GT and touring car drivers, and courageous road-racing motorcyclists. For car aficionados, there is the technical brilliance of the Formula 3 single-seaters, and a grid full of the world’s finest sports cars. For those looking for excitement and glamour, there are celebrities, fast cars and plenty of intrigue. No other street circuit has the combination of elevations; tight, twisty sections between stone walls; long, sweeping straights; and one of the tightest hairpin bends in the world.
Apart from the weekend’s three major races, the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix which this year celebrates its Golden Jubilee, is another highlight, featuring former and present racers in the Superbike World Championship. There will also be three support races, including the Macau Touring Car Cup, the Suncity Group Macau Road Sport Challenge and the Suncity Group Chinese Racing Cup. All the action takes place from November 17 to 20, with the main Formula 3 race on the final day.
No longer in Hong Kong’s shadow, Macau is fast becoming the party destination of the region with new and larger venues attracting top international DJs and music stars to join the party. Last year Pacha Macau opened, the biggest name in Ibiza’s clubbing scene from the party capital of Europe. Now, on a typical night out in Macau, it’s not unusual to be able to dance the night away to top name DJs like Tiësto, Steve Aoki and Afrojack and even music stars like Chris Brown, Jason Derulo and Flo Rida, all of which have recently added their star power to Macau’s party scene.
It’s not just Macau’s clubs, the local bars have significantly improved too with wine lists that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best. A favourite is Macau Soul, a cosy wine bar yards away from the Ruins of St. Paul’s which specialise in award-winning Portuguese wines and ports and offer more than 600 different labels and food pairings.
If you’re a fan of indulging in a bit of retail therapy then a trip to Macau could be well worth your time. The recent opening of two mega-resorts in the city has brought with it enough new retail space, that if you were to visit it all, you’d probably need until Christmas. Nevertheless, it’s a shoppers’ paradise. Both the US$4.2 billion Wynn Palace and the newly opened US$2.7 billion Parisian Macao bring with them 18,580 square meters and 28,000 square metres, respectively, of luxury retail space. Together that’s over 200 shops offering the latest in haute couture, luxury accessories, jewellery and timepieces including all the big name brands as well as labels that are new to Macau like Antonia, Sonia Rykiel, Temptation, Garel Paris, Herzo and Isabelle Langlois.
Entertain the kids
A good place to start is Studio City, the US$3.2 billion cinematically-themed leisure resort which opened last October. With a focus on attractions and family fun, it offers several entertainment options like Golden Reel: the world’s first and highest figure-8 Ferris wheel; The House of Magic - a theatre show where you can witness some of the world’s greatest magicians and Batman Dark Flight: a 4d flight simulation ride, the first of its kind in the world. Meanwhile, over at Sands Cotai Central, Planet J is the world’s first live action role-play theme park and it's just opened. Visitors are invited to become the lead player in their own unique adventure. The theme park features over 200 games for kids to enjoy spread out over eight different themed zones and is highly interactive.