Macau (also known as Macao) is a shining gem in Asia. It’s so surreal to find stunning casinos that sparkle late into the night in the midst of Asia — which is known for it’s traditional architecture and culture that dates back to hundreds of years. Macau is no stranger to culture though. It traces its roots to the Qin Dynasty of China and later on to the Portuguese Empire, where it was once a colony.
It was a trading post of Portugal — so the flavours and a lot of the architectural influences of its past are still alive in Macau. In 1999 it was returned to China and now stands as a special administrative region with a separate political and econoimic system from the mainland.
Macau is currently known as the gambling capital of the world — which has fueled its econoy making it one of the world’s richest regions with a highest GDP per capita by purchasing power in the world.
How to Get to Macau
We took the Cotai Water Jet from Sheung Wan in Hong Kong to Taipa in Macau. For this trip, we only had two days to spend in Macau. The Water Jet is pretty cool. One leaves every two hours so crossing over to Macau is fairly easy. Ticket prices depend on your seat and the day — weekdays, weekends and nigh sailings have different prices as do Cotai Class, Cotai First and VIP cabins. The average price is about HK$300 per person. It takes about an hour to get between the two islands. The seats are comfortable and we actually fell asleep both ways. If you want to work, there’s also WiFi on-board.
When you get to Macau, there are free shuttles that will take you to different hotels. Just do a bit of research on-board Cotai Water Jet so you know ahead of time which one to board. Even the shuttles in Macau have free WiFi.
Macau also has an international airport, so you you could choose to fly in directly.
Macau for Kids
Despite the presence of casinos, there’s actually a lot of things you can enjoy in Macau with your kids. First off, is sightseeing. The casinos in Macau are similar to those you’ll find in Las Vegas. There’s a lot of entertainment to enjoy and a lot of things to see. We spent a full 6 hours just walking from one casino to another! At night, some of the casinos have water shows that the kids will love.
Planet J is one of the newer attractions for kids. You’ll find this at Sands Cotai Central. They say this is the first ever player-centric, live action role-playing theme park. It’s really huge — around 9,3000 sq meters — so plan to spend an entire day there.There’s plenty to do. You can start in the cosplay area so you can get dressed while walking around. It’s best to visit when you’re with kids who are avid gamers or can understand game instructions.
If your kids are a bit too young for game play, they’ll still enjoy the place because there’s simply so much to see. When they get tired of walking around inside the theme park, you can head out and visit Kids Cavern *a huge toy store) in the top floor of Cotai Central Mall.
I also recommend a quick trip to the older sections of Macau. You’ll be able to feel the stark difference of the traditional versus the modern when you visit Ruins of St Paul and the colourul and lively Senado Square. It can get pretty crowded as most tourists visit this area, so keep a close eye on your kids. This is the perfect place to buy amazing Macao food like the jerky, almond cookies and the famous egg tart.
The last thing I’d recommend for your itinerary when you have kids in Macau, is to have dinner at the Food Street in Broadway. It’s an open air food street with lots of wonderful choices. Winter nights can get chilly so keep the little ones wrapped up in layers. I recommend trying the pork chop bun.
Hope you find this post useful. If you have other recommendations for a Macau itinerary, post them in the comments section.