Macau, China travel tips and things to do: 20 highlights

1 GET SHREKED

Munch on Shrek's donkey pop cakes and dragon eggs cooked sunny side up while Princess Fiona, Kung Fu Panda and a stream of DreamWorks Characters prance around on stage. Shrekfast is a themed breakfast that will delight the kids as well as provide an entertaining way for the whole family to start the day. Each DreamWorks character enthrals the audience for few minutes on stage before mingling with guests in the dining hall. It's a great opportunity to have photos taken with Shrek and the gang. Breakfast with Shrekfast costs MOP238 ($40) (adult) and MOP138 (child). See sandscotaicentral.com.

2 PLAY AT QUBE

Qube is an attraction that will keep the children occupied for hours. Located within the Venetian Hotel, this massive playground has a six-metre climbing attraction with slides and nets. While the little ones tire themselves out jumping and climbing, teenagers have the option of playing video games, computer games and shooting pool. It's a good spot to hold a birthday party as there are two themed party rooms. See venetianmacao.com.

3 VISIT GIANT PANDAS

Visit the giant pandas at the Giant Panda Pavilion in Seac Pai Van Park. The park on Coloane Island has been home to giant pandas from the Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre since 2011. There are fewer than 2000 giant pandas left in the world and the species, typically found in bamboo forests in the mountainous areas of western China, is considered endangered. Admission is free for children under 12. See macaupanda.org.mo.

4 LEARN SOME SCIENCE

The space-age structure of the Macao Science Centre looks like something out of The Jetsons. Designed by internationally renowned architect I.M. Pei, the centre looks spacey on the outside and has a host of futuristic displays. Twelve galleries are packed with exhibits that are high-tech and hands-on. Visitors of all ages can learn about a variety of space-age subjects, from space travel to food technology to robotics. There are galleries with exhibits that are perfect for children and a planetarium showing 3-D documentaries about space exploration. See msc.org.mo.

5 SEE THE MUSEUM OF MACAU

Adjacent to the historic Mount Fortress, the Museum of Macau is an impressive showcase of history and culture throughout the centuries. Wandering through the museum is better than a classroom history lesson. There are plenty of educational displays and exhibits that offer insights into traditions and customs of Macau, including Chinese and Portuguese culture. The museum has interactive displays and cultural workshops that children will enjoy. See macaumuseum.gov.mo.

6 FIGHT CRIME AT STUDIO CITY

One of Macau's newest attractions is the thrilling 4-D Batman Dark Flight. The action-packed ride is a crime-fighting adventure the kids will love. Studio City is also home to The House of Magic, which has magic shows performed by illusionists from around the world, and Asia's highest Ferris wheel. Golden Eye is a ride in the sky in a figure-eight ferris wheel. See studiocity-macau.com.

7 RUSH MACAU TOWER

When it was completed, Macau Tower was the 10th highest tower in the world. The highest observation level of the 338-metre tower is the Outdoor Observation Deck on Level 61. The deck has a fabulous view of Macau and there's a range of adventure activities suitable for all ages. They include climbing the mast, bungy jumping, walking around the perimeter of the tower and base jumping, which is leaping off the tower like a stuntman while attached to a wire cable. See macautower.com.mo.

8 SEE THE FOUNTAINS

There's more to Macau beyond the casinos, roulette tables and slot machines. The enchanting display of water fountains illuminated by coloured lights in front of Wynn Macau is an enthralling nightly water show. Three hundred water nozzles shoot out jets of water synchronised to music. The water is augmented by bursts of flames and is a wondrous sight for visitors of all ages. See wynnmacau.com.

9 MEET THE DRAGON OF FORTUNE

Dragon lovers should make a point to head to the atrium in Wynn Macau to see the Dragon of Fortune. The dragon is a dramatic display of sculptured art, lighting and audio effects. The giant dragon emerges from a mist and rises towards the elaborate cupola ceiling, which features the 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac. The dragon's head is impressive. Its eyes glow and puffs of smoke escape from its nostrils. The show is in the Rotunda atrium of Wynn Macau from 10am to midnight, every half hour. See wynnmacau.com.

Advertisement

10 WANDER SENADO SQUARE

Senado Square is a piazza with Portuguese-style cobblestone paving, featuring patterns of black-and-white waves. The square has a European feel, with colourful buildings. Around the square, there are local cafes and shops selling pork jerky and almond cookies. Stock up on souvenirs, gadgets and children's clothes from the local shops and factory outlets around the square.

11 SNAP A SELFIE AT ST PAUL'S

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the ruins of St Paul's is Macau's most famous landmark and the most recognisable spot to snap a selfie. The 16th-century facade of the college and cathedral in the background is also a favourite place for wedding photographs. The buildings were destroyed in a typhoon and by fires.

12 CATCH A WAVE IN THE GALAXY POOL

Cool off and splash around in 1.5-metre simulated waves in the giant man-made pool at Galaxy Macau. The 4000 sq m outdoor wave pool is edged by a sandy beach, where the little ones can have a ball building sand castles. There are cabanas and beach chairs and Galaxy also has plenty of dining options for families, such as hot dogs at New York Fries and Haagen-Dazs. See galaxymacau.com.

13 EXPLORE A-MA TEMPLE

A-Ma Temple is Macau's most famous Taoist temple and an intriguing sightseeing spot. Built in 1488 into a rocky hill, it has winding paths that connect prayer halls, pavilions and courtyards. There are moon gates, gardens and fabulous views from the top of the hill. It's the place to learn and observe traditions as locals come to this temple to burn incense and pray for good fortune.

14 WATCH THE FIREWORKS

One of the most exciting times of the year to visit Macau is during the Macau International Fireworks Display Contest. Macau lights up like a fairyland. The international pyrotechnic shoot-out is held each year in September and October. Teams travel from around the world to take part in the competition. The spectacular fireworks displays can be viewed from various spots around Macau and is an experience to remember. It's worth putting on your list to take the kids there next year. See fireworks.macautourism.gov.mo.

15 RACE IN A GRAND PRIX

Fans of the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix should mark this museum down at the top of the list. Known as a challenging course with tight corners, the Macau Grand Prix has had world-class drivers compete here: think Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard. Macau's Grand Prix Museum is packed with racing cars, bikes and other racing paraphernalia. Sit in some of the cars and have your photo taken in a line-up of historic racing cars. It's the best souvenir for racing fans. There's also a racing simulator for kids. See museums.gov.mo.

16 RIDE THE GONDOLA

Ride a gondola while being serenaded by a gondolier at The Venetian. It's fun to glide along the Grand Canal beneath bridges, balconies and through a Venetian streetscape. Afterwards, the kids can have fun putting at the mini golf pavilion. See venetianmacao.com.

17 WATCH A DAZZLING SHOW

Of all the shows in Macau, The House of Dancing Water is the one that has everyone gawking in amazement at the spectacular special effects and acrobatic feats. The set is a high-tech, purpose-built theatre designed with a huge stage pool that holds 3.7 million gallons of water, the equivalent of five Olympic-sized swimming pools. There are dazzling costumes, daring jumps and snazzy special effects. The show cost $US250 million ($330 million) to create and produce and will enthral children and adults. See thehouseofdancingwater.com.

18 VISIT COLOANE ISLAND

Spend a day at the beach on Coloane Island. Hac Sa Beach (or Black Sand Beach) is a long stretch of black sand and one of the few real beaches where the kids can go water-skiing and swimming. There are picnic areas, a children's playground, tennis and water sport rentals. Coloane Island is also home to the original Lord Stow's bakery, which is where the Macanese egg tart was invented. See lordstow.com.

19 CHILL OUT IN A CHINESE GARDEN

Take a walk through Lou Lim Leoc Garden and chill out beneath a pagoda. The traditional Chinese garden was built in the late 1800s by a wealthy Chinese merchant as a gift to his wife. These days, it's where locals escape to admire a maze of lotus ponds, bridges and bamboo groves. The former family house is a gallery that exhibits traditional Chinese paintings.

20 EXPLORE OLD TAIPA VILLAGE

Escape the glitzy side of Macau and head to Old Taipa Village, a traditional village where the Taipa Houses Museum consists of restored colonial homes. The homes show how Portuguese families lived in the early 1900s. It's a quiet corner of Macau and a journey into the past. See macautourism.gov.mo.

Christina Pfeiffer was a guest of Macau Government Tourism Organisation.

Comments