Our first full day in Hong Kong began with a torrential rainstorm. Hoping for some good weather to kick off our itinerary of sightseeing in Macau, it was a little disappointing. But we’re not ones to be put off by a little rain and no umbrella. We ducked into a cafe for brunch, and discovered Black Sugar Coffee & Lifestyle. Being so used to relying on websites, marketing, and Google reviews, it’s definitely something new for me to have to wing it with cafes in Hong Kong. We stopped here before going to visit the Cotai Strip, Macau’s answer to Las Vegas.
Black Sugar Coffee & Lifestyle
Looking pretty hipster and a little Vancouver, we dodged the rain in this cafe. It’s very cute, pretty small, and has a Shiba theme. The decor was adorable, with tiny dogs hidden in the plant pots.
We each ordered a latte, and Lucy went for avocado and scrambled eggs on toast while I went for salmon eggs benedict.
The latte was delicious but service for the food was incredibly slow, and took around forty minutes to arrive. A little frustrating when we had a day planned to spend in Macau. When it did, I can’t fault the presentation – I’ve never had pink glitter on an eggs benedict before! All in all, it was a fairly reasonable meal and experience at the cafe.
The Hong Kong to Macau Ferry
Next stop – Macau! Thankfully, the rain had eased somewhat by now. We caught the MTR (our new best friend) down to the ferry terminal on Hong Kong Island. From here, you can catch a ferry across to Macau, which takes around an hour. You can either get to the Cotai Strip via the Cotai Water Jet, or the old town of Macau. We picked the Cotai Strip, which is like Macau’s version of Las Vegas. Stopping off at a 7/11 (our other new best friend), we grabbed some beers and snacks for the day ahead. Wonton flavour chips are certainly a novelty for us both, just beware of the smell.
The ferry ride itself is a great experience. You get a designated comfy chair, and a beautiful view across the South China Sea and the Macau skyline. You can watch out of the window in admiration.
Don’t forget your passport when you go to Macau. As it’s its own Special Administrative Region, you have to get a visa issued at the border.
Once you get off the ferry, you’ll find dozens of shuttle buses travelling to the various resorts on the Cotai Strip. All of these are free. Capitalize on this and jump into a shuttle that takes you to hotel of your choice. We started off at The Venetian.
The Venetian Macau, Cotai Strip
Macau’s Cotai Strip has all of the biggest casinos, hotels, and nightclubs. It’s actually an attempt to copy the original Strip of Las Vegas, just on a bigger scale. Proving extremely popular, today it’s home to the biggest casino in the world at the Venetian, and more gambling takes place on the Cotai Strip than anywhere else in the world. Also going by the name of the Estrada do Istmo, the casinos are all along the strip, with dazzling skyscrapers everywhere you look. The Cotai Strip takes its name from the Island of Cotai, from which it begins at one end to Studio City in the south.
Our shuttle bus dropped us off outside the gondolas of The Venetian. I was intrigued to see how it would compare to the Nevada original. It’s Macau’s flagship casino resort on the Cotai Strip. This isn’t a surprise with 550,000 square metres of casino in the world’s biggest gambling space. It’s truly gigantic, and is considered the world’s sixth largest building. There’s even a Manchester United Experience in the casino resort selling memorabilia. In fact, the players were the first ever visitors to stay in the hotel itself.
Just like the Las Vegas original, you can expect to find the Venetian’s iconic canal network. You can take a gondola ride on the canals, or simply take in the transformative skies. Although not quite as impressive as the original, it’s still pretty fascinating to watch.
We hit up the Food Court afterwards for an impressive range of eateries. From noodles to dim sum to burgers, you can get stuck into whatever you fancy. I grabbed some delicious Singapore noodles and took in the bustling atmosphere. We then wandered along the plethora of luxury designer stores to the next resort, The Parisian Macau.
The Parisian Macau, Cotai Strip
The equally impressive Parisian hotel has, as the name suggests, a full French theme. It even has its own Eiffel Tower, much like Paris Las Vegas. The Eiffel Tower is half scale, but surrounded by manicured gardens making it feel as though you really are in the City of Light. Let’s just ignore those overcast skies.
As if its own Eiffel Tower wasn’t enough, the Parisian Macau also boasts its own waterpark, a huge casino, and an elegant French lobby. You feel a little like you’re in Versailles thanks to the inspired decor, and you’ll even find some French-Asian fusion cuisine here. It’s fascinating simply to walk around the impressive hotel and soak in the luxury shops.
You can even take a trip up the Eiffel Tower for views across the Cotai Strip. Bearing coupons for the eighth floor, we passed the love lock bridge and looked out across the scenery. Although it doesn’t have quite the same drama or the party atmosphere as Vegas, it’s very cool to see. Macau, and the Cotai Strip in particular, seems to simply drip wealth.
Of course, we had to get a cheesy picture next to Macau’s own Eiffel Tower. After our exploring in the extremely humid heat, it was time to find somewhere to cool off.
Pool Time in Macau
Despite some slight drizzle and the grey skies, Macau was extremely hot during our visit. We went back to the Venetian to use the pool there. It was very peaceful and we were just two of a few people there. There are several swimming pools – one for kids, a delightful jacuzzi, and an adults’ pool.
The whole area retains its beautiful Renaissance decor with fountains, sculptures, and art everywhere you look. There aren’t many places in the world where you can take a dip next to a Venetian statue with a view of the Eiffel Tower, are there?
A dip to cool off and a couple of cold beers did just the trick to help cool us down. The Venetian Macau is a truly beautiful hotel, and one I’d certainly stay in if I returned to Macau.
For now, as much as we enjoyed some pool time, it was time to discover the colonial Portuguese roots of Macau’s Historic Center. Catch my next blog post for more on what we got up to in Macau.
Have you visited Macau’s Cotai Strip? If so, what did you get up to there? Let me know all your Macau recommendations in the comments below.