Often overshadowed as a tourist destination by neighbouring Hong Kong, the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Macau has a lot to offer for its size. Like Las Vegas, Macau is known for its casinos and gambling industry and there are many similarities between the two places.
One of the big ones is that there has been a diversification away from gambling to other forms of entertainment. Macau offers loads of live shows, shopping (particularly high end brands) and replicas of famous landmarks like those found in Las Vegas.
As a result Macau has a lot to offer travellers, including families. This tiny little region is packed full of awesome Macau things to do. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like gambling as you may not have time for it anyway!
We went to some amazing shows, ate some great food (it definitely beats Vegas here), visited some fun attractions and also enjoyed learning about the history of Macau which is quite unique. We were surprised by just how much we loved spending time in Macau. I’m surprised I don’t see more people writing about it.
Below, you will find our guide to what to do in Macau, Macau kids activities, a Macau attractions map, how to get around, where to stay in Macau and other practical information to help you have a great visit too!
It’s not all about the casinos and their attractions in Macau. Thanks to its Portuguese colonial heritage there’s some wonderful old colonial structures and features to check out, especially around the original Macau settlement, close to the border.
The most iconic of these is the ruins of the Church of St. Paul. It’s image is used heavily as a Macanese icon and it’s at the top of just about any list of what to see in Macau.
Completed in 1640, this Jesuit church was built to honour St. Paul the apostle as well as serve as the Jesuits’ headquarters (which included Asia’s first western style university) in the Orient. At the time the church, magnificently positioned atop of a hill overlooking Macau, was one of the largest in Asia. The Jesuits were later turfed out after losing favour in Portugal and the church was taken over for other uses.
Until 1835 that is, when a fire triggered by a typhoon saw everything but the front facade destroyed. Now it is a unique structure whose vantage point makes it both incredibly photogenic and alluring. Unsurprisingly it leads Macau’s list of UNESCO recognised sites.
You can walk right up to and under the facade. To the rear you can see some of the foundations and other surviving remnants of the original structure.
S and Z didn’t really find it that interesting, being more interested in their Macanese egg tarts. I really enjoyed St. Paul’s – it really is one of a kind when you’re thinking about where to go in Macau. Even if time is short and you want to know what to do in Macau in one day, I’d definitely visit St. Paul’s.
Be warned though: it is very popular and both times we have visited on our respective trips it’s been super busy.
Entry to the site is free.
Macau has a number of beautiful churches thanks to the Portuguese. The Church of St Lawrence is one of the oldest and largest of Macau’s churches still operating.
From what we saw, the Portuguese seemed to like bright yellow buildings with white wooden shutters and this was evident in the Church of St Lawrence.
We went inside and were impressed by its bright interior and sunlight vestibule at the alter.
The church can get quite crowded. When we were there, the lone worshiper was well outnumbered by the tourists. There’s also plenty of shops in the area, and the church offers free guided tours on the weekend. It’s definitely worth adding to your list of Macau places to visit.
Largo do Senado, which is Portugese for Senate Square, is a large and lovely square central to old Macau. The whole area has quite a European feel to it.
Bordered on one side by the Leal Senado building, from which it takes its name, the square is a wonderful showcase of historic Macau and its architecture with a mixture of buildings of different ages and styles.
The square is near to some of Macau’s original and still operating markets as well as many shops selling the famous Macanese Egg Tarts.
Monte Fort is located right next door to the ruins of St. Paul and the Museum of Macau and should definitely be on your list of Macau places to go. When we visited, we had to battle through a throng of people visiting St. Paul’s, but it was well worth it.
We walked around the fort first. Bigger than the Guia Fort, it was almost as high and would have commanded excellent views back in the day. Now it is surrounded by high buildings on two sides. The fort was stocked with cannons of different vintages.
There wasn’t much to see inside the fort, but there were some gardens and a pond and good views of Macau.
I can imagine the climb would be very difficult on a hot day, especially for kids. However there is a free escalator that takes you to the top making it one of the easier things to do in Macau for kids.
Access to the fort is free.
When we were planning what to do in Macau with kids, visiting the Museum of Macau was a must.
You’ll find the Museum of Macau located at the top of the hill in the Monte Fortress near to the ruins of St. Paul’s. It is the largest museum in Macau and it’s very well laid out for tourists.
The permanent exhibits are spread over 3 floors with two of the floors located underground and the top floor on the ground level of the fortress. We found the layout great for exploring different aspects of Macau’s culture and history. The first floor featured exhibits that focused on Macau’s ancient history right up until the 17th century. The second floor featured the popular arts and the 3rd floor featured some contemporary exhibits.
The museum is a fascinating walk through Macau’s history and should be high on your list of things to see in Macau. Most of the exhibits focus on the previous 100 years of Macau’s history but we enjoyed learning about the influence of the Portuguese and Chinese. The museum did lack information on how gambling gained such popularity however!
There is a gift shop and open air tea house as well.
The museum is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm Tuesday to Sunday and is closed Mondays. Admission is 15 patacas for adults, 8 patacas for kids between 5-10 and adults over 60, and free for kids under 5. You can read more about the museum on their website.
Outside of the mega casino resort complexes, of all the places to visit in Macau none offer as much variety as Macau Tower. This 332 metre high tower offers great views and the chance to walk around the outside tethered to a special rail – you can even jump off! There’s a nice revolving restaurant at the top as well, wittily called 360°.
We enjoyed high tea in the revolving restaurant. For four people we got two little tiered cake stands and two plates of warm food. When we arrived the stands were already on the table and the warm food came almost immediately after we sat down. The coffee and tea were made from a machine which would disappoint a few high tea doyens but didn’t really bother us.
The warm food was nice enough but the cakes and other stuff on the tiers were really good. Adding to the occasion was the chance to watch people bungy jump off the top of the tower as well. The kids liked the food but loved the fact that the restaurant moved around as they ate. It was a great source of entertainment.
Combined with the best views of Macau in all directions, it was a great experience that we all enjoyed and a great alternative to simply going up to the observation deck.
At the bottom you can watch the bungy jumpers descent in its 230 metre entirety.
Overall the Macau Tower is one of the best attractions in Macau (with or without kids).
We bought our high tea tickets off Klook and it cost us about $80 AUD for two adults and two kids which is a decent discount on paying 360° directly. Klook also have bungy jumping tickets amongst other Macau Tower offers.
If you’re staying on or near the Cotai Strip there is a free shuttle bus that runs from the City of Dreams, via Studio City to the Macau Tower and back again every 20 minutes between 10am and 6pm.
Of all the things to do in Macau, it is having a wager in the casinos that is both the best known and most popular. There’s more gaming tables here than anywhere else and thanks to hordes of gamblers from Hong Kong, China and elsewhere those tables see more action and make more profit (on average and in total) than any other place on earth.
Macau has some 30 odd casinos ranging from some very small ones in Macau that date back to the days of the gambling monopoly held by SJM, to mega casinos on the Cotai Strip like the Venetian with 800 gaming tables (making it world’s largest). In fact of the top ten casinos (by gaming tables) in the world, seven are in Macau.
If you’re interested in having a gamble you’ll have plenty of choice. For historic charm it is hard to go past the original big casino, SJM’s Lisboa Casino. If you’re after sheer scale and a wide choice of games the main floors of the Grand Lisboa in Macau, the Sands or the Venetian in Cotai are solid choices. These places do get very busy though.
The Wynn Casino in Macau offers a good range of tables and games in a less frenetic and classier atmosphere.
All casinos use Hong Kong dollars. Some accept Macanese pasetas to be used as well (usually with different chips). Even on the main floors the minimum bet sizes can be quite large. Few tables have a minimum of $100 HKD – often it is $300 HKD. A casual bet in Macau doesn’t come cheap.
Even if you’re not up for a bet, a walk on the floors of the big casinos is an experience in itself. There you can watch the hard core gamblers bet hundreds (or even thousands) of HKD on a single card (in a game like War, that’s literally all there is to it – one card for the player against one for the dealer).
The Cotai Strip is the place to discover Macau’s major casinos and resorts. It’s quite similar to the Las Vegas strip (albeit smaller) and has a very different feel to other attractions in Macau.
Even if you’re not interested in the casinos you must visit the Cotai Strip. There’s loads of shops and restaurants around and the strip can be quite alluring, especially at night when the casinos light up.
Walking around is nice and easy and there’s a lot of paths and bridges but it does lack the entertainment of Las Vegas strip.
You can get a free shuttle to the strip from the ferry terminal.
No self-respeting imitation of Venice is complete without gondola rides on artificial canals. So naturally you can enjoy a ride in a genuine replica of a Venetian gondola on one of The Venetian’s three artificial canals. It’s one of those things to do Macau that you know is a bit frivolous and maybe even a wee bit tacky, but it’s fun at the same time.
The Venetian has three canals of roughly the same length, all with gondolas on them. The rides are short, about fifteen minute in which you go up the canal of your choice and back again. The gondoliers – true to the originals – will sing as you cruise along (without requiring a fistful of additional Euros first). Our gondolier, a lady from Italy (coincientally), had an amazing voice which filled the artificial street and this was probably the best bit.
For such a short ride it isn’t cheap, although cheaper than a real Venetian Gondola. The kids really enjoyed the ride and I liked the singing. I woudn’t do it again but it’s one of those things that are nice to have done at least once.
We were able to get cheaper tickets from Klook – with a roughly 20% saving off the full price. Otherwise you can buy tickets in the Venetian at shops or booths near the starting point for the rides at each canal.
If you want to know what to do in Macau other than the usual sightseeing, you should definitely consider going to The House of Dancing Water.
The House of Dancing Water is the largest water based show in the world and it is just amazing. I was awe struck for the majority of the show. It is similar to a Cirque du Soleil production with awesome acrobatics, dancing and music. Add a whole lot of water to that and it’s a dazzling combination.
The stage is quite amazing and switches between a usual floor stage to being a huge pool to something inbetween. In many parts, people are flying across the air, diving from dizzying heights and somersaulting seemingly forever into the water.
The performers are hugely talented and I couldn’t believe some of what they were achieving even though they were doing it right in front of my own eyes.
There are many shows in Macau to choose from and it does feel like the shows are attractions in Macau you should include, like those shows in Las Vegas. This show is a great choice since it is something different that you won’t see elsewhere.
My only complaint is that it went about 20 minutes too long. The show is 90 minutes long but the last part did not have many stunts and I found my mind wandering. It’s such a shame it didn’t end with one of the amazing stunts from earlier in the show. There’s also a motorcycle section right before this which is very cool but out of place.
Otherwise, me and Mr 5 loved this show. It’s a good show to visit with kids as well since there is no talking and lots of music so they aren’t disturbing anyone with their questions! Plus, all the action kept Mr 5 as enthralled as me (although he was also bored by the end part).
All in all, this is a fabulous production and I loved it.
We saved a fair bit of money on our tickets by booking beforehand with Klook. If you can afford it, consider getting the better seats. We had C reserve and did miss parts of the show (although you do still see all the amazing stunts I think!)
Within Studio City is the House of Magic. Founded (or fronted) by Franz Haray it’s home to a troupe of magicians who put on daily shows. It’s one of the many places to see in Macau that the vast casino resorts provide. If you’re keen for some magic there are a couple of options: an hour long show in the afternoon or a three hour extravaganza which is made up of three different shows (including the one hour show) which includes dinner.
S and I went to the hour long show. While we waited to enter the theatre (the earlier show was running late) we were treated to a more intimate magic demonstration in an anteroom – an impressive close up show of sleight of hands and card tricks. I actually liked it more than the main show.
The main show was a large scale production with a lot of noise and props, but not a lot of tricks per se. Although I was underwhelmed S loved it. If your kids like magic or shows then the House of Magic is another options of the many things to do in Macau with family or kids.
The show was not cheap although thanks to a discount through Klook it wasn’t outrageous at $30 AUD. The three hour dinner show at $100 could be quite good value. It’s one of the Macau attractions for kids (and their parents) that seem easier to go to than elsewhere.
House of Magic has daily shows. You purchase discounted tickets with Klook here.
This is another of the Macau things to do in Studio City. Billed as a “Batman 4D flight simulation ride” you basically go on an adventure riding in the batmobile over Gotham City while all the bad guys try to take Batman (and you) down.
It’s a fun ride with some good themes. It started with us arriving at Wayne Enterprises before the Joker attacked and we all had to escape on the Batmobile.
We enjoyed being on the flight simulation ride and it did feel like we were flying over Gotham City at times. However, I think it’s incorrect to call it 4D – there are no glasses so there is no perception of depth. You do get air in your face and the seats move so you feel like you are moving around, but it’s not 4D like other rides I have been on.
You also need to buy tickets for this at the box office, or you can save money and buy tickets with Klook beforehand.
The ride operates 12pm to 8pm Monday-Friday and 9am-11pm on weekends. You can pre-purchase discounted tickets with Klook here.
One of the many novelty attractions in Macau is the Golden Reel at Studio City. This massive “figure 8” ferris wheel in the middle of the Studio City building makes for quite a landmark. The Golden Reel is the highest figure 8 ferris wheel in the world at 130 metres above the ground.
It’s a fun experience to visit. We went on a week day and did not line up at all. It was a very smooth experience and myself and Mr 5 enjoyed going around the circuit. I had thought previously that the compartments would make a figure 8 shape themselves but they don’t. While on board, it doesn’t really feel any different to a normal ferris wheel.
The compartments themselves have plenty of glass and it’s easy to take photos. A cool addition is a glass panel on the floor. Mr 5 loved this. I found it a bit scary!
We had relatively clear views but there was not all that much to see. Studio City does not face much at all so it’s kind of a waste if you are looking for a view.
If you visit this attraction, the box office to buy tickets is near the top of the escalator for the third floor. Make sure you buy tickets before getting to the attraction. I recommend buying tickets beforehand on Klook to save money. It’s easy to use these vouchers.
You can ride the Golden Reel Ferris Wheel from 12pm to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 11am to 9pm on weekends. You can save by pre-purchasing tickets on Klook.
Just like Vegas, Macau too has it’s own Eiffel Tower located at the luxury Parisian Macao. Only recently completed, the replica Eiffel Tower is a half scale model of the actual Eiffel Tower.
The tower is impressive and definitely adds to the experience of the area. From the Cotai Strip it’s easily accessible and there’s also loads of shops and restaurants around.
You can see views of the city on the observation decks which are located on both the 7th and 37th level. Crowds can get quite large though and waiting times can be long.
Following tradition there’s also a light show at night.
The tower is open daily from 11am to 11pm, with last entry at 10:30pm. You can read about prices on their website.
At what was once the southern shore of Taipa Island is Taipa Village. The village lies to the north of the Cotai strip and has a very different feel. With its narrow streets of buildings new and old it is much more relaxed than the frenetic casinos and malls nearby. It’s lovely for a walk around.
The area is full of restaurants serving a wide range of cuisines. Prices are not much cheaper than in the casinos but the range is much greater, plus there are a few cheaper options. Several times a week there’s also a street market, mainly selling artwork, crafts and souvenirs and some street food.
Culturally there’s some places worth visiting. The I Leng Temple and Our Lady of Carmel Church – high on the hill overlooking the rest of the village – are beautiful buildings. Around the Carmel Garden is the Casa Museu Da Taipa with a history of the area and nearby is the Taipa Houses Museum (see more below).
Just around the shore of the lake from where the Houses Museum sits is a small playground. For younger ones it might be worth putting this on your Macau kids activities list.
taipavillagemacau.com has lots more information, including some recommended walking routes. From the Venetian Taipa Village is accessible by undercover walk way that starts near the northern lobby’s carpark (the first stage is a bridge). Other Cotai strip properties have shuttle buses. Public buses 11, 15, 22, 28A, 30, 33 and 34 all stop somewhere in or near the village.
The Taipa Houses Museum is a collection of old houses from the early 20th century complete with period furniture. Sharon and I visited when we first came to Macau and found it surprisingly interesting.
Despite being small these houses managed to contain furniture for a family of four or more and it was a fascinating insight to how simple life used to be. Maybe not for the younger kids but the Taipa Houses Museum is a candidate of things to do in Macau with kids.
The Taipa Houses Museum is open 10am to 6pm Tuesday-Sunday and closed on Mondays.
For a break from the casinos Coloane is an island in Macau which has retained some essence of it’s history. The island is connected to Macau Peninsula by a bridge and it’s easy to access by bus.
You’ll find some beautiful Portuguese architecture and cobble stone streets on the island. We started at Coloane at the furthest end of the island. It was a small but very pretty village. We had a good Portuguese lunch in the main square. We also checked out the main church which was quite small and very cute.
The town has a map to guide you around the attractions. It was a nice place to walk around and it wasn’t overly overly crowded when we visited.
You can access Colane Island from Macau on bus routes 21A, 25, 26, 26A and 50.
Hong Kong is easy to reach via ferry. Fast ferries do the trip between Macau and Hong Kong in under an hour. This makes a day trip to Hong Kong (or to Macau from Hong Kong) achievable.
There’s two main ferry companies that make the crossing: Cotai Waterjet and Turbojet and there are two ferry terminals at each end. In Macau there’s a ferry terminal on the Macau Peninsula near the border and another on the eastern side of Cotai. Turbojet mainly departs from the first and Cotai Waterjet mainly from the second although both companies have services leaving from each.
In Hong Kong you can arrive at either Hong Kong Island at Sheung Wan (near Central) or at Kowloon. Each company has services to both and between them there is a service from either Macau terminal to either Hong Kong terminal regularly. You need to clear immigration at both ends but the queues are much shorter than in the airports and move quickly.
There’s also services between Macau and Hong Kong airport. The ferries depart right from the airport and clearing immigration and customs in Hong Kong is not required. The trip takes 45 minutes.
Tickets can be bought either at the terminals or from travel agents located around the town or in the casinos. Each trip we’ve taken has been lightly loaded although the afternoon can get busier.
You can read our guide to Hong Kong for ideas about how to fill up a day (or several days!) in Hong Kong.
Macau is quite far from other major cities in China (excluding Hong Kong) but if you have time to spare you may be interested in visiting another city.
Zhuhai is a gateway between mainland China and Macau which makes it a popular stop. It can take around 40 – 90 minutes to reach Zhuhai by bus, and from there you can travel to other cities. Guangzhou is a popular city to visit and from Zhuhai it takes about 45 minutes on the fast train.
Note that depending on your country you may need a visa. Most people won’t require a visa for a stay of up to 6 days if you go with certain tour groups.
Macau is a great place to visit with kids. We know because we went with our baby and 5 and 6 year olds. They just loved it!
There are so many things to do in Macau for kids. Below are some choices for what to do in Macau with kids that we think are worth considering.
Qube is a massive “activity center” in the Venetian which is perfect if you are looking for things to do in Macau with kids.
It’s like a normal play centre for younger kids but it also has quite a lot of computer games and activity tables, like foosball and air hockey, making it great for older kids as well. There’s also some huge slides including a free fall slide.
It’s not cheap and initially I thought it was a bit of a rip off as the kids did get sick of the (admittedly big) climbing structure and they were too scared to go on most of the slides. However, we then started playing the games and had SO MUCH FUN!
We played foosball for the first time. I taught them how to play air hockey and we couldn’t get enough of another game which projected onto the floor and basically involved us jumping around and stepping all over the place.
There are toddler areas as well. Baby J stayed back in our room and it wouldn’t have been worth paying entry for him. Mr 5 and Miss 6 loved it though and didn’t want to leave.
The cost is based on time. The initial entry charge includes 2 hours and then you pay in hour blocks. Kids 6+ can be left and you don’t need to stay with them. Younger kids will need an adult to supervise. Socks are required for any kids or adults attending and long sleeves and pants to use this big slides (you can borrow these for free).
We paid MOP130 per child when we visited (one adult gets free entry per child). It costs more on weekends.
Like much of Macau, you can get a free shuttle bus to Warner Bros Fun Zone from the Venetian making it super easy to visit.
There’s a good range of rides and activities for kids of all ages, but many of the rides had a minimum height limit of 100cm. Because of this most rides aren’t recommended for children under 8, but luckily our kids are tall.
Most rides are child friendly for all ages. The kids loved driving their own car and there is play equipment for younger kids too.
Again, you pay for the initial 2 hours and pay in hour blocks thereafter. Your kids can easily spend a couple of hours here and there’s also quite a few dining options and shops to browse through.
Warner Bros Fun Zone is open daily between 10am and 7pm. We recommend you pre-purchase discounted tickets with Klook here.
Dreamworks Experience is a great place for kids to visit in Macau. They have activities for kids throughout the day allowing kids to meet some of their favourite Dreamworks stars. You can book to have breakfast here with stage performances, and your kids can go on a treasure hunt collecting cards at checkpoints on the way.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit this time, but it’s on our Macau things to do list for next time!
The collections are free to visit and open daily from 10am to 9:30pm. You can read more on their website.
One of the places to visit in Macau for kids is definitely the Macao Science Center. The center is lots of fun for the whole family and is relatively cheap compared to many of the other places to visit in Macau for kids.
There are three parts to the science center – the exhibitions and science museum itself, a planetarium and a McDonalds and small play area great for toddlers. The latter area is free to enter.
We visited the main science museum. The planetarium did look great and holds a Guinness World Record for the highest resolution 3D planetarium.
There are 14 different rooms that make up the exhibition center. They range from a room about space to sport science to music to water areas to food science. There is a good variety of exhibits and everything is very hands on. The exhibits themselves are generally in three languages – Chinese, Portuguese and English.
There is a lot to do and we all had fun. I found the explanations (in English anyway) were quite technical and it took a fair bit of effort for me to understand them and reword them for the kids (and I was a science teacher!). However, if your kids are young, like ours, and it’s more about having fun with hopefully learning something along the way then this place is perfect.
My only other complaint is that there were many exhibits that weren’t working or didn’t seem to be fully operational. There was still plenty to do and our kids have been to enough science museums around the world that they are used to this happening and it didn’t bother them.
We visited on a Saturday morning and there were a lot of people but we were still able to do everything we wanted without an issue.
When we visited, it was MOP80 for two adults and two kids (with under 2s free). You can find more information on their site. As a bonus, if you stay at the Venetian, like us, there is a free shuttle bus to The Sands Macao which is just a short walk from the Science Center.
There heaps more kids attractions in Macau. Below are some more ideas…
The below map shows all of our places to go in Macau.
There are plenty of options of where to stay in Macau. We stayed at the Venetian this time which we loved. I also list some other options below.
Intended to be a replica of its Las Vegas sibling, the Venetian Macau is even grander. The entire complex is, by floor space, the 7th largest structure on earth. The casino has over 800 gaming tables and 3200 slot machines making it the biggest on earth. The hotel has approximately 3000 rooms. The scale of everything is awe inspiring. This is a place where nothing is done by halves.
For our second trip to Macau we had the pleasure of staying in a family suite. We had booked a different room but at check-in S pointed out a picture of a family suite and on hearing her the receptionist offered to upgrade us! It was a stunning room, one of the best we have ever stayed in.
We enjoyed a king sized bed at one end of the very large room with a sunken kids area at the other end complete with their own TV, bunk beds, table and chairs, beanbags as well as some colouring in stuff. The kids received a gondolier teddy bear, and Sharon and I got a box of chocolates.
The bathroom was huge – we’ve stayed in whole rooms that size. And it came with kids and baby toiletries as well as kids stool to reach the sinks. There was even a potty.
Everyone loved the space. We could work up one end and the kids could play down the other without an issue. And with everything there was in the complex it was fun just to explore. Facilities wise this place had everything you could think to need.
Everything was luxury; it is one of the nicest rooms we’ve stayed in.
There’s a couple of minor drawbacks to the Venetian though. First: it can take ages to get around, especially with kids. Getting from the main reception to our room took us about 15 minutes. It is easier without kids as you can go through the casino floor.
Secondly, it is not cheap. We managed to get a special which cost us about AUD$300 a night (which is very good value). It’s hard to keep costs down too as the convenience stores are pricey and the closest supermarket is in Taipa.
The upside is that everything else is right there. We were only an elevator away from a great food court, shops and many cool attractions. We could have spent a few days just at the hotel easily. They also have many other facilities like multiple swimming pools and mini golf.
Staying here is definitely an experience and we highly recommend it. If you have the budget then the Venetian Macau is a strong contender for the best hotel in Macau for family.
Grandview Hotel – Located away from the main casinos, this hotel has its own restaurant and sauna. Rooms have free WiFi and premier rooms are both affordable and large. Click here to see the latest prices.
Royal Macau Hotel – A 5 star hotel with affordable rooms for couples and families. The hotel has a free shuttle service, an indoor pool, fitness center and is well located for the Grand Lisboa Casino. Click here to see the latest prices.
Ole London Hotel – One of the cheap hotels in Macau, located close to Senado Square and walking distance from St. Pauls, this hotel has comfortable double rooms at an affordable price. Free WiFi throughout the hotel. Click here to see the latest prices.
Casa Real Hotel – Large rooms, free WiFi and located walking distance to Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal. The hotel also has a swimming pool, fitness center and casino. Click here to see the latest prices.
There’s several options for getting around Macau. It’s also nice to walk around in parts like Largo do Senado and the Cotai Strip.
One of the best ways to get around are the free buses that the larger casinos/resorts run. For example The Venetian runs free buses from the border gate, both ferry terminals and the airport to its resort. Other resorts like the City of Dreams and Studio City do the same. These buses are free and no one checks if you’re a guest of the bus providers or not.
Similarly, those resorts or casinos that have branches on Cotai and on the Macau Peninsula or a relationship with another hotel will have shuttles between them. For example The Venetian and the Sands Cotai have a bus running to the Sands Macau and back again. There’s a shuttle bus running from The City of Dreams in Cotai to The Emperor Hotel in Macau. This last bus in particular is great for getting from Cotai into Macau to see the old city or vice-versa.
There’s also a shuttle from Macau Tower to City of Dreams and Studio City (and vice-versa).
If you want to go between places on Cotai without walking (which can be difficult between some of them) there’s a bus called the Cotai Connection which links them in two circular routes (one clockwise and one anti-clockwise).
All of these buses start service from 10am and run on schedules of 20 minutes or less – some are very frequent. Buses will run to at least 6pm. Buses between casinos will run to at least midnight. As crowds build after lunch, these buses can get very busy until 5pm and sometimes later.
All of Macau’s territory is well covered by public buses. Prices vary depending on the route and tend to be fixed for the route depending on how long it is.
Payment is by coins into a fare machine. You don’t have to pay the exact fare but there is no change. Anyone over 100cm is required to pay – there is no difference between an adult and child fare.
The Macanese agency that runs public tranport – DSAT – has a website listing the fares and the routes.
Macau has no shortage of taxis – especially if you are staying at one of the big places at Cotai. The rates are not too excessive although if taking one in the afternoon or early evening the traffic will increase the price substantially. An example is a trip we took around 2pm from The Venetian to the Macau Tower. Despite the short distance our fare was 77 MOP due to the fact it took nearly half an hour to get there.
Taxi drivers have varying degrees of English: from enough that there’s no language barrier to basic but functional to none at all. All will recognise the English names for major attractions, landmarks and places to stay (there’s sometimes no specific Chinese/Cantonese translation). Beyond that if you are after a lesser known place you may need it written in Chinese.
One other important note: there is a charge of 5 MOP for any and every bag placed into the boot/trunk – regardless if the driver even touches it.
Macau has it’s own currency call the pataca which is pegged to the Hong Kong dollar although the Hong Kong dollar is worth slightly more. They are interchangeable to use but you will save money by sticking to the pataca.
Macau is not cheap – double so for a family. From accommodation to food to attractions budget options are near non-existent.
There’s cheaper accommodation on the Macau Peninsula and some older and cheaper options in Taipa. However, that’s in a relative sense when compared to the five star hotels. Our stay in the Venetian was not cheap, but we did think it was great value.
For food the large hotel/casino resorts will typically have a food court with cheaper places to eat but even here a meal would cost around 90 MOP or more (~$15+ AUD). Even when we tried to share dishes, a cheap meal would still cost the equivalent of around $50 AUD (without drinks).
Sadly, fast food options like McDonalds tended to be the cheapest option by far.
The top attractions in Macau can also add up. We saved a lot of money by buying out tickets beforehand on Klook (you can find them here). You can save money by sticking to the historical attractions and you could spend a great day exploring Macau without going to a single paid attraction.
We really enjoyed Macau. It’s amazing to see how much it’s grown in the nine years since Sharon and I visited last time.
That growth has seen Macau further cement it’s position as the Las Vegas of Asia. While this has seen huge number of visitors come across daily from China, it has also meant a massive rise in the number of “attractions” and things to do for families and those travelling without kids.
Our kids really enjoyed some of the more novel attractions, like the House of Dancing Water and House of Magic shows. The visit to the Macau tower was a highlight and they enjoyed the Science museum. We barely scratched the surface of what there was to see and do.
And, unlike Las Vegas, there’s some great historic and cultural attractions as well. There’s Coloane, the Taipa Historic Village and the old town of Macau with it’s historic buildings, streets and the iconic facade of St. Paul’s. The kids didn’t enjoy the older attractions we visited quite as much but they did like getting out and exploring with a Macanese egg tart in hand.
For adults Macau is a great combination of the history and culture plus the casino resorts that are like big adult playgrounds. And that’s before you get to the casinos themselves.
If there is a downside to Macau it is the cost. It is no budget destination. If you wish to see the more modern attractions it takes some savvy bargain hunting to make Macau work as a mid-range destination. Forsaking these and sticking to “old Macau” will help but accommodation and eating can still add up.
However if you’ve got the budget then Macau is a fantastic and fun destination for adults and kids alike. I’m sure we’ll return some day.
Have you visited Macau? What was your favourite attraction in this city?
You can also read our guide to the top things to do in Hong Kong with kids here.
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