The quickest boarder to cross…
With the trip taking record time, it’s no surprise Macau is a go-to quick break for Hong Kong families. There are countless things to do with kids in Macau. From amazing resort swimming pools, to parks, playrooms, exploring nature and, of course, learning about another city and its history and culture. While you might have already been to Macau, venturing over with a family can be a different experience. We’ve lined up a step by step guide so that you know all the best places to stay, tour, eat and play…
Getting to Macau:
The ferry to Macau has two main ports of arrival. Macau side, often written on the ferry ticket as Outer and Cotai, which is Cotai strip more on the Taipa side. You must bring your passport, unless your HK ID card is permanent. Don’t make the mistake many make of having a temporary HK ID card and not bringing a passport. Visas are issued for most western counties on arrival and you don’t need to fill in any paper – its all electronic! Ferries usually run every 15 mins but stop between 2.30- 6am. You can book online, buy in advance, or buy just before you are planning to go. Keep in mind big tourist groups travel to Macau daily and sometimes buy out whole boat times. If you’re travelling to Macau during any Chinese holiday period or holiday, pre-booking is recommended!
On arrival after immigration there is a tourist booth, grab a few maps and head to the shuttle bus for your hotel. Both arrival ports are lined with free hotel shuttle buses taking everyone to their respective hotels. They generally depart every 15 minutes, so you won’t have to wait long. You can use hotel busses during your stay to help you navigate between resorts and around town as public transportation can be challenging sometimes.
Where to Stay:
Everywhere in Macau is relatively easy to, so where you stay really is a personal choice. These places tick the box for affordable, kid friendly and convenient…
Grand Coloane Resort
Located on Coloane Island, it is Macau’s only beachfront hotel and boasts large outdoor swimming pools and grass areas to run around and have fun. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the staff are used to families and kids. It’s also walking distance to Hac Sa beach and Hac Sa village, which is full of local snack shops and the famous Portuguese Restaurant Fernadoes. Hac Sa Beach is a calming alternative to the fast paced action of the casinos on Cotai strip if you are looking for something more relaxing for your family hotel stay.
Grand Coloane Resort, 1918 Estrada de Hac Sa, Coloane,+853 2887 1111, www.grandcoloane.com
Sheraton Grand Macau
Reasonable room rates and convenient location combine to make Sheraton a favourite among many. Featuring two towers, the Sky and Earth, the hotel boasts 4,001 guest rooms, three swimming pools, three signature restaurants and is connected to the Sands Cotai food area and walking bridge over to Venetian Macao. It also is one of the only hotels in Macau to have family suite option, where the kid’s rooms are decked out with bunk beds and decorated with colourful designs and famous cartoon characters. Make sure to request this early!
Sheraton Grand Hotel Macau, Estrada Do Istmo, Cotai, Macau, www.sheratongrandmacao.com
JW Marriott Hotel Macau
Located in the Galaxy complex, think of staying here as a retreat within the city. You practically don’t have to leave the property unless you need a culture fix. With a huge selection of dining options from Michelin to their Taste of Asia food court, there is something for everyone. Take the little ones to the JW Kids’ Club that features an array of interactive activities for children designed to both educate and entertain. Or the big kids can access the Grand Resort Deck at Galaxy Macau. The Resort deck stretches over 75,000 square meters and has the world’s longest sky top aquatic adventure river ride as well as waterslides, beach lagoons, white water rapids, geysers, waterfalls and Macau’s largest kids aquatic zone. Prices for entry into the Grand Resort Deck vary over the summer, so double check when booking.
JW Marriott Hotel Macau, Galaxy Macau, Estrada Da Baia Da Nossa Da Esperanca, S/N, Cotai, Macau, www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mfmjw-jw-marriott-hotel-macau
The Venetian Macao
The Venetian Macao is a great place for a staycation when travelling with a family. Their rooms are very spacious and comfortable. It has a variety of entertainment options available for young guests – such as riding on the gondola or heading to the Qube for some playtime. It also has an array of different street performers wandering around the shopping boutiques, which makes for a fun and enjoying stroll around the canal. Don’t leave without making the most out the large food court! It serves up more choices than you can imagine, and though there are big crowds here, it’s nothing Hong Kong parents can’t handle.
The Venetian Macau, Estrada Da Baia De N. Senhora Da Esperanca, S/N, Taipa, Macau, www.venetianmacao.com
Sassy Mama Tip:
If you choose to stay on Macau side (at hotels like MGM Macao, Wynn Macau, or Grand Lisboa), it’s worth knowing they don’t offer as many kid-friendly entertainment options. Whilst most hotels have swimming pools and lush rooms, they would better suit family visits with older children. However, you are very close to the Macau Science museum, which is fantastic for kids, offering 10 floors of cool fun, and very close to the cultural centre of Macao.
Where to Play:
Macao Science Center
A favourite for kids and adults alike (we’re all young at heart!). The Planetarium features 3D shows and is priced at MOP $80 while 2D is priced at MOP $60 and Exhibition Centers are MOP $25.
Macao Science Center, Avenida Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, Macau, +853 2888 0822, www.msc.org.mo
Qube at The Venetian is one of the most popular indoor playrooms in town (it is also the most crowded!). It has something for everyone, from climbing walls and slides to video games. Some of the play equipment does have age requirements but there is a separate play space for babies and toddlers, and parents can join their kids on the slides or through the mazes.
Open Monday–Sunday, 9:30am–9:30pm. Priced at MOP $130.
Qube at the Venetian, Level 3, Grand Canal Shoppes (next to shop 957), Estrada da Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperanca, Taipa, Macau, www.venetianmacao.com/kids-at-venetian
Qube 2 at Sands Cotai Central is a lot smaller than the one at The Venetian, and a lot less crowded. The room is designed to make it easy for parents to keep an eye on their children although teens might not find it as entertaining, although there are air hockey and foosball tables and of course the shopping mall in Sands Cotai to wonder around. Its super convenient if you are staying at Sheraton Hotel or any other hotel in the Sands Cotai strip.
Open Monday–Sunday, 9:30am–9:30pm. Priced at MOP $110.
Qube 2 at Sands Cotai Central, Shop 2201, Level 2, Shoppes Cotai Central, Estrada do Istmo, www.sandscotaicentral.com/qube2
Kids’ City in City of Dreams is a favourite among local Macau parents for many reasons. Firstly, it has something for all ages, from art corners, dressing up rooms, bouncy space and an arcade area. Secondly you can control the arcade-spending budget with a barcode bracelet given out to kids so there is no confusion or over spending. Thirdly, the large glass walls and high ceilings provide a much more enjoyable atmosphere with all the natural light pouring in. If you aren’t planning to stay in COD, this place is easy walking distance if you are staying on Cotai strip or at Wynn Palace.
Open Monday–Sunday, 10am–7pm. Weekdays MOP $130. Weekends MOP $150
Warner Bros Fun Zone
Located at Studio City, this is an indoor haven for kids of all ages. It’s located on the 3rd floor and features multifunctional areas that cater to creative and interactive activities. The Bounce-O-Matic is one of the main attractions, and kids will love the racing track and climbing wall. Don’t forget to visit The Warner Bros Studio Store, where you can buy your favourite heroes and characters from DC Comics, Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera.
The standard admission fee is MOP $200 for one adult and one child for the first two hours.
Warner Bros Fun Zone, Studio City Level 3, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, www.studiocity-macau.com
Sassy Mama Tip: Besides the great indoor playrooms for kids, Macau also offers a great mix of outdoor activities and ways to explore the local culture. Plan for when the weather is on your side and head out to explore the streets!
Where to Tour:
Hac Sa Reservoir Water Park
If you stay out on Coloane island or find yourself out that way and fancy some fun on the water, head on over to the Reservoir Water park for a ride on the paddle boats with a magnificent view of the mountain around the reservoir. Plan a picnic and take a walk around the family trail for a day filled with adventure.
Hac Sa Reservoir Water Park, Estrada de Hac Sa, Coloane, www.iacm.gov.mo
Macao Giant Panda Pavilion
Also on Coloane Island but tucked away on a hillside in Seac Pai Van Park, is the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion. Endearingly known as the Panda park, this pavilion is home to two rare giant pandas from China. There is also an aviary, small zoo and exotic plant garden to keep you busy. The admission fee is only MOP $10 and the ticket allows access to two pavilions. It’s a great place for kids to learn and explore.
Macao Giant Panda Pavilion & Pavilion of Rare Animals, Seac Pai Van Park, Av.de Seac Pai Van, Coloane, www.macaulifestyle.com/city-guide/macao-giant-panda-pavilion
One of the best ways to get a panoramic view of the city of Macau is by walking up this historic hill. It is home to the UNESCO heritage site—the Guia Fortress and Guia Lighthouse. There are two ways to reach the top, either by walking up the paths that start near the Guia Hotel or taking the cable car up which is only MOP$2 and takes 2-3 mins. Guia Hill is the highest point on the Macau peninsula and it offers a unique way to see some of the Old Portuguese influence left on this amazing city.
Guia Hill, Guia Fortress, Estrada do Engenheiro Trigo, Macau Guia Fortress, Macau, www.macaulifestyle.com/city-guide/guia-fortress
Where to eat:
Most of the integrated resorts are jam packed with eating options for the fussiest of eaters to the most indulgent of eaters. If you can’t find something to suit the family here, then you wont find much else out in the city. If local Macanese food or Portuguese food is something you want to try or you simply don’t want to eat inside the resort walls, head on over to Taipa Village or into the Centre of Macau
Taipa Village is home to a great selection of authentic Portuguese, Macanese and Chinese restaurants that have been around for decades. Most have picture menus with English description to make it easy but don’t let this fool you into thinking its catering to tourists taste buds. O Santos, A Petisqueira and Antonio’s are still cooking up fantastic Portuguese cuisine just how you would have it in Portugal. Taipa Village is also home to the famous snack street- Rua do Cunha- where you can try the famous Macau Pork Chop Bun, Egg tarts and almond cookies! It’s also a great place to pick up some souvenirs of your trip or buy some almond cookies to take back for workmates. There are also some great local artisan coffee shops hidden within the streets of Taipa Village if you fancy some delicious coffee. If you are staying at Galaxy, Sands Cotai, Venetian or City Of Dreams, it’s a short easy 15 min walk to the Village and I highly recommend it.