Bungee jumps and celebrity bars in Macau

Simon Lovell

There's plenty to see and do in Macau - just a 55-minute ferry transfer from Hong Kong across the Zhujiang River estuary

It's best known as the Las Vegas of Asia, but there's more to this place than just gambling.

Here are seven things to do when you're there...

1. Make the biggest jump of your life

If you're going to do a bungee jump, you may as well do the tallest commercial one in the world and jump 233-metres off the Macau Tower - you'll be following in the slipstream of Lewis Hamilton, Kanye West, Warwick Davis and Karl Pilkington. Gasps from spectators watching from the observation tower just below accompany each thrill-seeking plummet. It's an unforgettable experience that is over all too quickly, although video and photos provide an excellent reminder. Jumps costs PS335 ($A590) from ajhackett.com/macau

2. Dine on Portuguese-inspired food

There are some fantastic restaurants in Macau. Although many people seek out the dim sum at restaurants like The Eight at the imposing Grand Lisboa hotel, where there is a strict dress code, I preferred the more intimate feel of smaller places, such as Antonio (antoniomacau.com) and Litoral (restaurante-litoral.com), which specialise in Macanese food and remind you of the country's Portuguese connections. The ameijoas (clams) and serradura (biscuit mousse) at the latter were a lunchtime treat, which cost around PS20 ($A35), washed down with Sagres.

3. Drink it like Beckham

You won't go far wrong if you follow in the footsteps of David Beckham and head for Sky 21 Bar (skyconceptmacau.com/sky21). The USP of this trendy spot is the panoramic view of the city it provides. A cocktail and a beer will cost around PS15 and if you rock up as the sun's going down, there are few better shows in town.

4. Watch wild (and wet) acrobatics

Ok - so the competition for good shows is high here. One of the best is the House of Dancing Water play at the plush City of Dreams complex (cityofdreamsmacau.com). The love story is played out on a stage, which transforms into a pool, and features actors who perform a stunning display of acrobatics - even involving motorbikes. Tickets for the 90-minute show start at around PS60 for adults and PS40 for children.

5. Check out the architecture

The Historic Centre of Macau was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, and there is plenty to see. The iconic ruins of St Paul's church and the 17th century Mount Fortress are popular places, as is the A-Ma Temple. But it's worth heading off the beaten track too. You'll see plenty of Portuguese touches in the pastel shades and architecture, and it's easy to forget you're only a few miles from the bustling centre of the peninsula when you're watching fishermen in the quiet village of Coloane.

6. Sleep in a hotel with its own giant fish tank

The MGM Grand (mgm.mo/en) is arguably the grandest hotel of the lot in Macau - it was chosen for an episode of America's Next Top Model and also features an eye-catching 8.3-metre high cylindrical aquarium, which is home to thousands of fish. There's a VIP room for seriously high-stake gamblers. Rooms cost from PS170 per night with breakfast.

7. Have a flutter - it's the done thing

Many of Macau's visitors are here for the casinos, with many making the short hop over from China, where betting is illegal. Baccarat and blackjack are both popular, and if you don't want to dabble, it's fine to watch the drama unfold. There's a good crowd at the Sofitel at Ponte 16 (ponte16.com.mo) - and with a beer and sandwich costing around PS3.50, it's a cheap spectator sport. It may be one of the smaller fish in a very big pool - but that doesn't detract from the experience.