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Staying in Macao for the Easter break? Here are some things you can do

A four-day holiday is coming up, but if you’re not hopping on a plane, don’t worry – there’s plenty of exploring you can do locally.

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Many people in Macao are planning to get out of town to make full use of the upcoming Easter holiday from 29 March to 1 April – and a canny few are taking off the days between Easter and Ching Ming, which falls on 4 April, to stretch out the break.

But if Easter has taken you by surprise, don’t be hard on yourself. After all, its dates change every year. According to traditional reckoning, Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the vernal (or spring) equinox, which itself can take place between 19 and 21 March, depending on the year. 

[See more: City of the Name of God: A guide to Catholic Macao]

It isn’t too late to book a last-minute getaway – and the list of destinations you can get to directly from Macao is growing all the time. But there’s lots going on if you’re planning to stay in town. As a deeply Catholic city, Macao’s public observances of Easter are colourful and historic. Many hotels, retailers and restaurants are also organising special Easter promotions and activities. 

The long weekend also gives you an opportunity to see parts of the city and its neighbours that you may not have explored before – so how about finally paying a visit to Hengqin, taking yourself on a food tour of northern Macao, or going walking on Coloane or Taipa? And don’t forget nipping across the estuary to Hong Kong.

Read on for more details. 

Get to know Hengqin

Get to know Hengqin
A view of Hengqin just before sunset with Macao in the background – Photo by Weiming Xie

Hengqin and Macao are becoming more assimilated with every passing day. Over 11,000 people from Macao now live and work in Hengqin and it’s estimated that in just over ten years from now more than a quarter of Macao’s population will have moved there. 

At the same time, it’s surprising how many Macao residents have never bothered to visit Hengqin, which is a district of Zhuhai only divided from Macao by a narrow strip of water. If you’re one of them, why not take this plunge this Easter holiday? SAR residents with a home-return permit can go back and forth freely. Foreign passport holders need visas, which are available on a multiple-entry basis, with five-year validity, and are straightforward to obtain.

[See more: Macao-based foreigners should have visa-free access to Hengqin, says legislator]

The easiest way to get to Hengqin is via Hengqin Port, by bus numbers 50, 25B, 102X, 701X and, at night, buses N6 and 25BS. There’s lots to see, especially for families.

Check out Chimelong Ocean Kingdom (長隆海洋王國) – reportedly the world’s largest ocean-themed park and one of the big local attractions. It boasts a world-record 22.7-million-litre aquarium, featuring everything from manta rays to whale sharks, and many other displays besides. 

Lionsgate Entertainment World is another must-visit destination. Lionsgate’s first-ever theme park features some of the franchise’s most popular films brought to life through more than 25 rides and virtual reality experiences. There’s a prison-break game based on the movie Escape Plan, which starred Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a replica of the lobby of the Capitol from Hunger Games.

[See more: Here are 10 of the best things to do in Zhuhai]

Other attractions in Hengqin include the National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, the China Red Sandalwood Museum and the Hengqin Flower Corridor.

Planning to stay over? Try the Hengqin Sumlodol Camping Park. Despite its name, it’s actually quite a sophisticated resort with chalets and swishy villas and hardly a tent in sight. Prices on Trip.com range from 850 patacas to over 4,500 patacas a night. Another hotel to check out is the newly opened Artyzen Habitat Hengqin Zhuhai, with rooms in the 1,000 to 1,500 pataca range.

Enjoy a taste of northern Macao

In Macao for the Easter break? Here’s some things you can do- Northern Macao
Photo by Joey Chung

Tourism officials have long made efforts to promote Macao’s mostly residential northern districts. While there are a number of bona fide attractions – we’re thinking of Dr Sun Yat Sen Municipal Park, as well as the 13th-century Kun Iam Tong temple, indoor skateboard park, and museum dedicated to the hugely influential, Macao-born composer Xian Xinghai (1905-1940) – it’s the area’s restaurants that tend to get Macao locals most excited.

[See more: True North: Images of Urban Macao]

There’s a great cluster of eateries to check out in the Fai Chi Kei district. Try Hongdae BBQ, one of the best Korean barbecue spots in town; DauDau HotPot (兜兜火鍋-筷子基店), a Chinese hot pot restaurant; and Yakiniku Ginza (銀座燒肉), a Japanese eatery famed for its mouthwatering skewers. 

There’s even a tapas restaurant, Wolfpack, about a 10-minute walk away. Remember to save some space for the famous glutinous rice balls and mango smoothies at Tong Seoi Pou (糖水鋪), the nearby Chinese-style dessert shop.

Go for a walk

In Macao for the Easter break? Here’s some things you can do - An aerial shot of the Hac Sá Reservoir Family Trail
An aerial shot of the Hac Sá Reservoir Family Trail – Photo by Xinhua News Agency/Cheong Kam Ka

Macao may be compact in size, but it has some perfectly good walks. Easter, with time off work and mild temperatures prevailing before the uncomfortable heat of summer, is a great time to slip on a good pair of walking shoes.

There are several trails to choose from. If you’ve got young children, try the Morro de Hac Sá Family Trail, a pleasant two-kilometre loop, or the Hac Sá Long Chao Kok Coastal Trail – at just 1,200 metres, it’s perfect for little ones and offers great views of Macao’s rugged coastline. The 4,000-metre Taipa Grande Trail meanwhile offers great views of the city, as does the Mong Há Hill Fitness Trail, which at 1,000 metres is short and sweet. 

[See more: These are the best things to do with kids in Macao]

Eric Leong, co-founder of the local walking club, Associação de Juventude San Ngai de Macau, offers more suggestions here.

Hop over to Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Art Central fair showcases cutting-edge artists over the Easter weekend
Hong Kong’s Art Central fair showcases cutting-edge artists over the Easter weekend – Photo courtesy of Art Central

Easter is a great time to visit Hong Kong if you’re an art lover. Macao’s neighbouring SAR is playing host to the sprawling Art Basel fair from 28 to 30 March, as well as the satellite event Art Central from 28 to 31 March. Hundreds of top galleries from around the world will be showcasing the latest artists. Both fairs also have active outreach programmes, with talks, film screenings, pop-ups, public art and more. You can also check out the family-friendly WestK FunFest and the HKWalls Festival of graffiti art.

Like Macao, Hong Kong can get very busy during major holidays, but there are suburban staycays for those wanting to escape the crowds. The Auberge hotel in Discovery Bay – a coastal enclave on Lantau Island – offers seaview rooms, a spa, and a pool. The town has a great, kid-friendly beach and a wide choice of international dining, from Middle Eastern to Italian to Thai. Macao vacationers will enjoy the Auberge’s location – just a 15-minute taxi ride from where the Macao-Hong Kong bus sets you down.

Another great choice is the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin, located on the shores of Tolo Harbour in Hong Kong’s north. The hotel offers some of Hong Kong’s more affordable suites, and rooms are large by local standards. Facilities include a lavish outdoor pool, spa, and kids activity centre, while there are plenty of things to do in the area, from renting bikes to checking out the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and nearby Science Park.

With reporting by Mani Fong

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