Macau’s often touted as the Las Vegas of Asia: but there’s much more to do just get stuck into marathon sessions of poker, baccarat or blackjack. After the eating – the city does fusion with finesse – and the shopping (where else has a mall with gondoliers paddling along an indoor canal?) there’s a whole raft of attractions and lots of fun things to do in Macau.
They do this courtesy of New Zealand’s best-known birdman, Alan John Hackett, whose altar to derring-do is set 233m above the ground, making it the highest in the world.
Apart from simply throwing yourself into the void, there’s the option of taking a sky walk around the tower, or scrabbling to its very top (not for scaredy cats).
Prices are fairly steep – 3,000 patacas (approximately A$490) for the jump – but you can always just opt to look at the view, which is pretty amazing especially via the glass floor.
Anyone who prefers to keep their feet on terra firma, and their hand in their pocket, should head for the Coloane Trail, which winds its way round the upper slopes of Coloane Island.
There’s no trekking fee here, and – assuming you are hiking mid-week – it’s quite probable you’ll only see a couple of other folk along the whole of the trail’s eight kilometres.
There’s a neat contrast too, with the north-facing section providing metropolitan views, and the South China Sea doing the marine bit in the other direction. As yet, nobody has set up a snack bar here, so it’s very much a case of BYO everything.
House of Dancing Water
Nobody’s calling the Cotai Strip “The Broadway of Asia”, but the House of Dancing Water is pretty impressive whichever way you look at it.
It’s a brilliantly choreographed extravaganza, playing to packed houses night after night (getting on for three million since it launched in 2010).
Motorbikes, contortionists, sharks and 80 artistes take to the stage at the centre of a 270-degree theatre in the round.
Needless to say, the show’s been inundated with awards, but the true accolade is the look of amazement on the faces of the audiences as they emerge after the final curtain.
Macau’s other high octane celebration takes place every November, when the city’s streets are given over to the Grand Prix. For the rest of the year, a trip to the Grand Prix Museum will have to suffice. It’s not by any means a “world-class” exhibit – “home-grown” is more apposite – but that’s really part of the appeal.
The vehicles are close enough to touch (but forbidden to sit on) and the staff are all dedicated enthusiasts. For more fun activities with kids try the Fire Services Museum which is great for seven-year-olds of all ages.
In a similar vein, the wheels go round and round at the Macao Motorsports Club where plucky punters can hire a go-kart for 180 patacas for 15 minutes.
Ed Peters lives in Hong Kong and spends his free time finding fun things to do in Macau.
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