More to this city than casinos

BREATHTAKING: Macau has more to offer than just casinos. Visitors can enjoy events like the annual Macau International Fireworks Display Contest, the largest event of its kind in the world, and visit the iconic 338m-tall Macau Tower, the world's 10th-tallest tower.


    Nov 13, 2013

    More to this city than casinos

    ASIDE from the glitz and glamour of Macau's 30-odd casinos, the territory's unique year-round events and festivals are bound to enthral visitors.

    The Macau International Fireworks Display Contest is an annual event that has been held for the last 25 years, and is the largest event of its kind in the world.

    The contest, which takes place from the middle of September to the beginning of October, often gives the casinos a run for their money in lighting up the night sky, with spectacles of fireworks set off over Nam Van Lake and Waterfront, close to the iconic Macau Tower.

    Over the years, more than 100 international teams - from countries as far as Spain, Britain and Switzerland - have travelled across the globe to participate in this world-class pyrotechnic shoot-out. This year, SAS Brezac Artifices from France won the grand prize of US$8,000 (S$9,975).

    Firework experts aside, the festival attracts throngs of budding photographers who flock there to test their photography skills.

    "It's all about the timing, to be able to capture the firework trails," said process technician Chan Dai Mun, 32, who travelled to Macau in September after he was inspired by photos from last year's contest.

    Having been fascinated by firework photography for eight years, Mr Chan decided to put his skills to the test by participating in the Experience Macau Photo Contest held by Singapore Press Holdings' online portal, AsiaOne.

    Luckily for him, the timing of his trip coincided with the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations - which exposed him to an array of sights and sounds - and it was to his surprise that his photo of a lantern in front of the historic Ruins of St Paul clinched the top prize in the Macau Events & Festivals category.

    Other events in Macau that attract tourists all year round include the Macau International Marathon, the Procession of Our Lady of Fatima, the Drunken Dragon Festival and the Macau Grand Prix.

    Don't forget another tourist attraction: The iconic Macau Tower, the 10th-tallest tower in the world which stands at 338m.

    Its indoor and outdoor observation decks - on the 59th and 61st floors, respectively - offer visitors a bird's-eye view of the peninsula.

    Visitors can also be treated to a daredevil experience by taking part in activities such as bungee-jumping in Bungy Jump, walking around the perimeter of the tower in Skywalk X, or climbing the tower's mast in Tower Climb.

    One of the exciting activities there is the Sky Jump, which takes guests on a 20sec flight at 233m above ground over the breathtaking cityscape. It takes visitors even higher than the only other Sky Jump in the world at the Sky Tower Auckland in New Zealand.

    Mr Lim Kian Hwee, 37 - who won in the Macau Tower category of the Experience Macau Photo Contest with his shot of the Macau Tower reflected in a lake at night - said he plans to return for the Skywalk X this month.

    The deputy general manager said he missed out on the activities in the tower during his last trip, due to work commitments.

    He said: "I'm not afraid of heights, so I think the Skywalk X will be fun."