There’s so much more to the “Vegas of the Orient” than casinos and egg tarts
Revel in nature
Despite holding the invidious title of being the most densely populated region on the planet, Macau still has room for green spaces. Gather your traveling companions around a picnic table instead of a roulette wheel at Hac Sá Reservoir Country Park (Estrada de Hac Sá, Coloane). You can also rent a pedal boat, explore the park’s numerous hiking trails, go camping and more.
Birdwatchers should flock to the Baía de Nossa Senhora da Esperança Wetland Ecological Viewing Zone (North of Estrada da Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperança; +853 2888 0087; nature.iacm.gov.mo/c/info/default.aspx), a recreational park where you’ll find over 30 migratory bird species, as well other wildlife like crabs, toads and fireflies.
Hit the beach
Some of the most beautiful seascapes in Macau include Hac Sá Beach (Estrada Nova de Hac Sá, Coloane), an intriguing black-sand stretch that’s great for swimming and kayaking, and Cheoc Van (Escadaria da Praia de Cheoc Van, Coloane), a crescent-shaped beach with a swimming pool and several restaurants. Get your tan on!
Squeal over pandas
Few visitors know that Macau is home to two giant pandas, who can be found at the Seac Pai Van Park (Estrada de Seac Pai Van; www.macaupanda.org.mo) — less than 10 minutes away from the buzzing Cotai Strip by taxi. As well as the adorable duo Kai Kai and Xin Xin — who more often than not can be spotted munching lazily on bamboo strips or snoozing — you can ogle monkeys, lemurs and flamingos.
Enjoy gorgeous views
Head to the roundabout called Praça de Ferreira do Amaral for splendid views of its surrounding casinos, including the Grand Lisboa Hotel — a gilded, glittering building shaped like a lotus flower. To get there, look for escalators that descend into a car park. Then, ride the glass lifts in the middle of the car park to emerge above ground at the roundabout.
Walk the trails
Scarfed down one egg tart too many? Burn off some of the calories by tackling the 4,000m-long Taipa Grande Trail (along Estrada Coronel Nicolau de Mesquita), which will take you to the highest point on Taipa Island, 159.2m above sea level. For something a little less rigorous, opt for the relatively easy 2,300m-long Taipa Pequena Trail (Estrada Lou Lim Ieoc) where you’ll find outdoor fitness areas, a children’s playground and several other leisure zones along the way.
Also read: 8 beautiful hiking trails to conquer in Asia
Get a dose of history
Pay a visit to Fortaleza do Monte (Rua do Monte; +853 2835 7911), a military fort that was built by the Jesuits between 1617 and 1626 to ward off pirates. You’ll find 32 cannons still strategically placed around the battlements, a museum and a landscaped garden where you can soak up wonderful vistas.
Go hotel hopping
In the event of wet weather, seek amusement indoors by exploring what the city’s many lavish hotels have to offer. Most casinos operate regular shuttle services that will whisk you from one hotel to another, free of charge. From fountain shows at Wynn Macau (Rua Cidade de Sintra, Nape; +853 2888 9966; wynnmacau.com) and gondola rides at The Venetian Macao (Estrada da Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperança; +853 2882 8888; venetianmacao.com), to the world’s first figure-8 Ferris wheel at Studio City (Estrada Flor de Lotus; +853 8865 8888; www.studiocity-macau.com), there are plenty of diversions to keep you entertained.