When you are presented with the dilemma of whether to drink coffee from Café Vong Kei or Starbucks, you know you’re in for an exciting time at Macau, where Asian and Western cultures collide. Eager to get the most out of your Macau trip? Wish to gain a more holistic feel of the city and observe a unique blend of Portuguese and Chinese cultures other than casino-hopping? Read on to find out 5 memorable and free activities you can enjoy in Macau.
1. Enjoy free city tours
Most prominent hotels offer free shuttle bus services to and fro Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal, so you can make full use of these services to plan your way around the different distinctively unique neighbourhoods. I recommend that you spend a day at Cotai—a district where most casinos and entertainment outlets are situated—and board a bus at one of the five-star hotels heading for the ferry terminal. Along the way back to the main island of Macau, you will get to admire a gorgeous panoramic night view comprising the visually stunning and brightly coloured buildings located at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf. Also watch out for the majestic Macau Tower that will arrest your attention.
2. Enjoy free serenading
Make your way to The Venetian Macau and park yourself at Lord Stow’s Bakery which arguably serves the best Portuguese egg tarts in Macau. If you are lucky enough to get seats overlooking the Gondola River, you will be able to see boatmen and women serenading their guests with their powerful and melodious singing. Donned in colourful period costumes, these friendly gondoliers will make eye contact and smile at on-lookers. They are even game enough to pose for pictures as you start clicking your shutter away. Who knows, you may be so struck by their soprano singing that you would be prompted to sign up for a gondola ride!
3. Enjoy free artistic shows
The House of Dancing Water show held at City of Dreams is said to be one of the highlights in Macau, but if you have neither the time nor the budget to watch this extravaganza, the free water show in front of Wynn Macau is a great alternative. Since it takes place from 11am to midnight every day and lasts for about 5 minutes each time, it is an easy activity to fit into your schedule. However, the best time to watch this show is when dusk falls, so take a break from your shopping and feasting then and relax your soul as you take in the impressive jets of water dance sensuously in tune to therapeutic classical music.
4. Enjoy free museum visits
At Taipa, the Taipa Houses-Museum boasts of five stylish green houses that will provide a charming and authentic Portuguese-style backdrop to your photos. If you are keen to find out more about the lives of the Portuguese who had resided in Macau a few centuries ago, this museum offers free admission on Tuesdays. For those of us who are F1 enthusiasts, while away a lazy afternoon at the Grand Prix Museum located at the Rua Luis Gonzaga Gomes. It showcases famous formula cars and motorbikes, enables you to gain a better understanding of Grand Prix Racing in Macau and best of all, doesn’t cost a Macanese pataca!
5. Enjoy free food
Now, we have come to a topic that resonates with the foodie in all of us: food! The founder of Heong Kei Jerky Macau who kick-started the trend of bak kwa (barbecued pork) in Macau apparently honed his craft first in Singapore. However, the delicacy of bak kwa has since taken on a life of its own in Macau, with the shops there offering a dizzyingly myriad of tantalizing flavours ranging from beef to veal and duck. How does one decide which flavour of jerky to buy for his family and friends back home? Thankfully, the shops leading up to Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral at Rua de São Paulo generously offer free sampling so that you can make an informed decision. Other than jerky, be sure to try out samples of treats like almond cookies and other pastries.
One final tip for all prospective travelers: Free Wi-Fi is available at all public parks in Macau! So what are you waiting for? Partake in these great experiences, snap photos and share them with your family and friends on the go!