Macao by day
By Julie Baxter | December 2015
Macao may be famous for its vibrant nightlife but this exciting destination, just 40 miles from neighbouring Hong Kong, also has plenty to keep people entertained by day. Whether visitors are looking to soar through the air on the world’s tallest bungy jump or shop ‘til they drop in the designer malls, visit the residents at the Giant Panda Pavilion or relax on the beaches of Coloane, travellers young and old will find no shortage of fun to be had in Macao.
“Macao is renowned for its nightlife but there is a vast diversity of things to see and do by day too. Be sure your clients don’t miss out!”
Sue Whitehead, Macao Government Tourism Office
While a stroll around the beautiful Historic Centre of Macao is an absolute “must-do” with its fascinating UNESCO World Heritage listed architecture, it is only the starting point for hours of fun in Macao, whether you want to chill out or get active.
Those looking for adrenaline-fuelled excitement should head to the 338m Macao Tower, which is one of the world’s tallest towers. Take a tethered SkyWalk experience around the 1.8 metre-wide outer perimeter 233 metres above the ground or take things one step further through a five-second freefall in the world’s tallest commercial bungy jump.
For a gentler option, the sandy beaches of Coloane are ideal for swimming and watersports, such as canoeing, windsurfing, fishing and boating. Hác Sa beach is within walking distance to playgrounds, picnic areas, restaurants, as well as an Olympic-sized swimming pool while the smaller Cheoc Van Beach offers golden sand and a sheltered cove.
Coloane’s scenic hills and valleys also offer land-based sporting activities from hiking, cycling and rock climbing to golf. Macao’s two highest hills, Taipa Grande and Taipa Pequena, are circled by nature trails and reward their visitors with panoramic views with bicycles available to hire for people who want to cover more ground. Golfers can tee off at the Macao Golf and Country Club, with spectacular view over the South China Sea, or at Caesars Golf Macao, situated at the end of the Cotai area.
Museums & Attractions
For somewhere so small, Macao is surprisingly well endowed with high quality museums. The city’s unique culture can be discovered at the Macao Museum, while the Maritime Museum showcases the role the sea in Macao’s history. The Macao Grand Prix Museum focuses on this highlight of the city’s calendar, while other highlights include the Wine Museum and the Macao Museum of Art.
The A-Ma Cultural Village is a 7,000m² replica of a Qing dynasty palace compound celebrates the goddess A-Ma, after whom Macao was named, and features a bell tower, drum tower and temple. Within walking distance is the A-Ma Statue, at the top of a 170m high peak with sensational views of the Pearl River Delta.
Other great options include the Macao Science Centre, the Giant Panda Pavilion and the 3D Museum – see Highlights for more details.
Apart from its sporting options, sleepy Coloane Village is home to charming Portuguese-style Eduardo Marques Square surrounded by cafés and restaurants where visitors can enjoy lunch along the waterfront. Other attractions here include traditional houses built over the water and boatyards when you can still see wooden junks being hand carved. Taipa Village is a colourful village with Chinese shophouses, small temples, old-fashioned street lamps and pretty hanging baskets and is a lovely place to stroll around.
As a result of its rich history, Macao has gardens of every style from classical Chinese to traditional European. The most Chinese of Macao’s gardens is the Lou Lim Leoc Garden, built by a wealthy 19th-century merchant in 1906. Its narrow paths wind through groves of bamboo and flowering bushes, past a large pond filled with golden carp and lotus. The Flora Garden is a European-style garden at the base of Guia Hill, which includes a small zoo and aviary with a stone pathway that winds upward, past waterfalls to the top of Guia Hill. An easier route up is via the cable car, in which visitors are treated to a panoramic view of the city.
As you would expect from a destination with such a wide choice of quality hotels, Macao is home to a host of elegant and peaceful spas offering a range of traditional and cutting edge treatments to boost health and wellbeing. Some of the best include the Banyan Tree Spa, the Six Senses Spa at MGM Macao and Isala Spa at Grand Hyatt Macao.
For more information about Macao, visit www.macaotourism.gov.mo
Daytime must do
Thrills and spills at the Macao Tower: The 338m high Macao Tower offers panoramic views across the Pearl River Delta and a 360-degree revolving restaurant. For a more dramatic way to enjoy the views, adrenaline seekers can enjoy the world’s highest commercial bungy jump, as well as a Skyjump, Tower Climb and Skywalk.
Shopping: Macao has plenty to attract shoppers, from mega malls and designer boutiques to humble market stalls selling characterful goods. Within the Historic Centre of Macao, certain streets are lined with antique shops while the roads leading from Senado Square are bustling places to shop. Clothing markets around found around Sao Domingos and in the Three Lamps district leading from the Red Market, which is also worth a browse to find fresh fish, vegetables and more. In complete contrast, world-leading designers Dior, Gucci, Cartier and many more grace glittering malls in hotels like The Four Seasons, The Venetian and The Wynn and the flagship mall One Central.
Digital Spectacles: Fans of high tech experiences will be impressed by Macao’s state-of-the-art offerings. At the Science Center you can journey into a solar storm in the Planetarium which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, boasts the world’s highest resolution 3D screen. 2015 saw the launch of Macao’s first large scale 3D museum. ‘Pier 16 Macao 3D features seven theme zones and over 100 photography points to take the ultimate snap. Themed areas include Jurassic World, Romantic Story and Macao Journey, where visitors have the chance to take stunning 3D photos with Macao’s famous attractions in the background.
Chilling out in Coloane: The pretty countryside in this southern part of Macao is a Macao highlight. Just a short drive from the bustling city, Coloane’s landscape is defined by green hills, small villages and a tranquil coastline. The laid back ambiance continues on the island’s two beaches, Cheoc Van and Hác-Sá, as well as in sleepy Coloane Village, where the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier and mosaic paving are a reminder of Macao’s fascinating past. Another Coloane attraction is the fan-shaped Giant Panda Pavilion, where visitors can meet Kai Kai and Xin Xi, gifted by the government of the People’s Republic of China.
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