Macau, the casino haven only short ferry trip from Hong Kong, offers a bizarre blend of Portuguese and Chinese culture. Casinos, fine dining, luxury hotel, and craft cocktails are plentiful here – be warned, however, that there is no real gay scene to speak of.
Previously the only gay bar in Macau, Boom Bar, could be found on Taipa Island and it was not a stretch to call this the heart and soul of Gay Macau since there is absolutely no competition. However, Boom Bar closed it’s doors in 2018 leaving gay locals and tourists to rely on hookup apps to connect with each other, with Blued and Grindr being the most popular with gay men in Macau.
Gay rights in Macau – and LGBT visibility – have a long way to come still in a culture where traditional values are still held in high-regard but queer travelers here are unlike to experience any open discrimination. Just don’t expect to see the rainbow flag flying high.
Public displays of affection in China are uncommon, though becoming increasingly normalized in modern Macau. Surprisingly enough Chinese people are far comfortable showing affection with members of the same sex in public. Therefore when you see men with arms draped over each other’s shoulders or girls walking hand in hand – it probably just means they are friends!
In 2013 the “Rainbow of Macau” group was registered and has been striving to protect the rights of Macau’s LGBT community ever since. Despite there best efforts, however, in LGBT activism, gay life in Macau remains very much invisible. A stark contrast from the vibrant gay scene across the straits in Hong Kong – or in fabulously queer cities in Asia like Taipei and Bangkok.
Gay travelers looking for hedonistic queer nightlife or an open LGBT community should skip Macau for this reason. However, if you want world-class luxury on a budget, incredible food, glitzy casinos and to explore the effects of treasures left after 300 years of Portuguese rule, then Macau is definitely for you!
Gay Macau Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Macau China
In this article we will cover...
Attractions in Macau China
Obviously being gay does not define which attractions most of us will want to see in each city and most queer travelers will simply want to check out the top things to see in Macau during the day!
There is so much to do here – but we found our favorite memories were wandering through the historic old town, stuffing our face with all the delicious food we could and gawking at all the megalithic casinos.
One of the best tips we can give you for exploring Gay Macau is to pre-order a travel SIM card for easy airport pickup and activation the moment you arrive so you will not pay a fortune in international roaming charges. Get restaurants recommendation and reservations on the fly, public transport instructions up to the minute, bar opening hours and if it is your thing – access to gay hook up apps to find out more about the local scene.
Mobile data is fast, cheap and available almost everywhere in Asia so it is no wonder most travelers chose to stay connected and to get off the beaten track (without ever worrying about getting lost). So why wait? Pre-order the best local SIM card now to have it waiting for you in Macau when you arrive.
Still – it helps to have some idea what is going on, so here are the most popular attractions in Macau, excluding all the casinos. Sorry, that would entail a whole other guide!
- Macau Sightseeing Day Tour – Choose to depart from Hong Kong or Macau and enjoy a fun day tour in Macau with local guides. Explore Macau’s oldest attractions, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of A-Ma Temple and the Ruins of St. Paul’s then experience Macau’s modern-day beauty with a stop at the Macau Tower – the world’s 11th highest tower – and explore the city’s famous casinos. The top highlights of Macau all checked off in one day!
- Macau Tower Skyjump – What’s more thrilling than throwing money away on the casino slot machines? Jumping feet-first from a height of 233m off a building. Skyjump is a less scary option than the bungy and you remaining in an upright position the entire time while you safely experience a 17-second descent? Do you want to try other exciting activities in Macau? Bungy Jump, Skywalk and Tower Climb are waiting for you!
- Chimelong Ocean Kingdom Sleepover – Enjoy an unforgettable night sleeping by Whale Shark Aquarium where you can watch the majestic animals up close. Go on an abundance of fun rides, visit themed zones, see immersive theatre shows and visit exotic animal exhibits including white belugas, sharks and polar bears.
- The House of Dancing Water Show – This is the Vegas of the East, so you know there is going to be some magnificent show to watch …Even if Gaga or Britany Spears is not in residency! Feel your jaw drop as you watch The House of Dancing Water Show, one of the world’s most substantial pool-based performances. The 17m diving acrobatics will undoubtedly have you on the edge of your seat, and you know you can always enjoy great views with the specially designed 270-degree theatre. Easily one of the best shows currently on offer in Macau!
- Try the famous Portuguese Macau Egg Tart – Yes, the humble egg tart is found all over Canton and China but there at subtle differences in taste between Cantonese and Macau Portuguese style egg tarts. The visible traits are quite clear due to the slightly burnt top, which creates a hint of caramelization (think crème brulee), that you only get with the local Macau egg tarts. While they have egg tarts on every street corner in Macau there are two clear standouts- Lord Stow’s Bakery, founded by Andrew Stow, or Margaret’s Cafe / Margaret Egg Macau, found near the Historic City Centre in Macau. Interestingly enough, founder Margaret, was formerly married to Andrew Stow. At some point, they parted ways, and now there are two separate egg tart giants in Macau they are both excellent choices and far out-shine the competition so go with whichever is closest or better yet, try both!
- Macau Eiffel Tower at the Parisian Macao – Marvel at the newest Macau landmark, the Eiffel Tower – a replica of Paris’ most famous icon. Feel those romantic French vibes, and marvel at the fantastic light show up close. Get fantastic views of the city from the large observation deck located on the floor 7th and the small deck on the 37th floor at the top of the tower from which you can look as the entire city comes alive at night.
- Golden Reel Ferris Wheel – How could you pass up a trip on the world’s first figure 8 Ferris wheel operating a monstrous 425ft above the ground! Spot Macau’s landmarks from your pod as well as breathtaking views, all conveniently located in Studio City – Macau’s latest hotel and entertainment hotspot
- Macau Open Top Bus Tour – Wanting to explore Macau on your own but not sure where to go? See Macau’s best sights from your seat or by exploring 16 bus stops of your choice with this easy Hop on Hop off bus route with complete sightseeing flexibility covering most of the major landmarks in Macau.
- Macau Tower – Enjoy an international afternoon tea set with a large selection of savory bites and sweet delights alongside tea or coffee in this icon of Macau. The 360-degree rotating restaurant lets you enjoy your meal over spectacular changing views of Macau. To save time consider getting the VIP treatment with the SkyHigh package including fast-track lift access, and stop by the Macau Tower Observation Deck after for more breathtaking views and to watch as adrenalin junkies bungee jump from the top!
- Macau Cotai Water Jet – Enjoy the quickest and most convenient transfers to from Hong Kong to Taipa. If you are making a day trip to Macau (or across to Hong Kong), book in advance a time that suits you with departures every 30 minutes, and avoid waiting for hours at peak periods. Tickets are also cheaper by booking in advance so you can recline in comfortable, cushioned seating for the journey knowing you got the best possible deal!
Gay-friendly Hotels In Macau
Basically, all hotels in Macau can be considered gay-friendly, and none of our readers have ever experienced any issues, nor have we.
Having said that, everyone likes to be surrounded by people with common interests, and as such there are a few well-known gay-friendly hotels in Macau that are hot spots for gay travelers to stay – mainly because of their opulent design and inclusive vibes.
The following hotels in Gay Macau have all had a glowing recommendation from gay travelers in the past, but of course, there are hundreds of other hotels in Macau if these are not quite what you are looking for. Prices are low by Western standards and especially outside of peak travel times you can score bargain room rates for iconic properties that you will never, ever forget.
Whether you want a cheap place to crash after a night of partying, to sit poolside tanning or an ultra-luxurious suite with views to match – Gay Macau has something for you!
- Mandarin Oriental ☆☆☆☆☆ – One of the most exclusive hotels in Macau, the Mandarin Oriental is a decidedly sophisticated five-star retreat. With a modish, contemporary design, magnificent restaurants, and legendary service, they offer a sophisticated atmosphere, waterside setting, and unbeatable luxury. All the fabulous rooms offer expansive views, as does the gym and an outdoor heated pool.
- Encore at Wynn ☆☆☆☆☆ – Sophisticatedly designed in luxurious grandeur – the Wynn offers every ounce of serenity and vibrancy you are searching for. While we loved the stylish, refined rooms and options of 11 restaurants and bars, the dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows visible when you enter the lobby allude one of the signature elements of this award-winning resort: the beautifully serene pool and cabanas. There is also two posh spas and views overlooking Nam Van Lake from many rooms.
- Ritz-Carlton Macau ☆☆☆☆☆ – Towering above the glittering Cotai Strip, The Ritz-Carlton propositions travelers with a superior vantage point, cutting-edge modernity and classic sophistication. Luxury all-suite accommodations, 5-star amenities and immaculate service combine for remarkable results at The Ritz-Carlton – not to mention the three dining options, stylish spa, gym, and two outdoor pools – with a fabulous pool bar.
- Studio City Hotel ☆☆☆☆☆ – Live like a Star in Asia’s Entertainment Capital and surround yourself in rich décor, upscale facilities, and exceptional comfort. Offering a ludicrous 1,600 rooms, all elegantly furnished and complete with services and amenities to match. Studio City combines classic elegance with cinematic touches, so as you can imagine everything here is over the top. Amenities include a casino, 19 restaurants and bars, two gyms and an indoor pool, plus a graceful spa, beauty salon, and a high-end shopping complex, a figure-of-8 Ferris wheel – and an outdoor water park. Go big or go home right?
- The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel ☆☆☆☆☆ – The most popular resort hotel in Macau that is full of surprises. The sophisticated suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows And present the perfect combination of the classical charm of Venice and a fashionable modern style. There are also four outdoor heated pools, an adults-only Murano pool, and heated Jacuzzi, in addition to gondola rides along the resort’s indoor canals.
- MGM Macau ☆☆☆☆ – A upscale hotel with a glass exterior and well-appointed rooms, all of which offer either a panoramic city or estuary view. There are two bars and five restaurants, plus a delicious pastry shop. We loved the infinity pool – although it is seasonal – and there is also a shopping center, spa area, and gym.
- IFU Hotel ☆☆☆ – Not interested in the casino high-roller lifestyle? This bespoke hotel is one of the very, very few in Macau not managed by a casino. Conveniently located only a 7-minute walk from the Ruins of St. Paul’s church and Old Macau, this straightforward hotel offers affordable and squeaky clean rooms, helpful staff, and a delicious breakfast. What else could you ask for!
Gay-Friendly Bars & Clubs in Macau
The gay nightlife scene in Macau is underwhelming, to say the least – and it appears the only gay bar in Macau, Boom Bar, is now closed. Check out their Facebook page to see if they have sorted their licensing issues.
While a flourishing clubbing scene is slowly but surely emerging within the city, it is not orientated towards LGBT travelers, and in many ways, you should save yourself for Gay Hong Kong. A mixology scene is, however, emerging in Macau – lead by the major hotels, it really is worth stopping into a few craft cocktail bars. Shaken and stirred local style.
Most nighttime activities here still involve the roulette table or slot machines and nightlife options outside of casinos are limited. We have even put together a few of our favorite spots for you to enjoy a drink, but a good idea might be to organize to meet someone beforehand on a gay hook-up app.
Even if it is just for a drink.
- Xanadu @ The Sands – Some of the best drink deals in Macau with nightly performances, shows, and entertainment. There is always something going on at this dynamic venue, even if it is starting to show it age. The drinks are still as strong as ever, however.
- Bar Cristal @ Encore at Wynn – An opulent cocktail spot designed around a spectacular 19th-century French chandelier. This plush, sophisticated lounge evokes comparisons with an exquisite jewel box, from its gilt-frame mirrors to its etched-glass details. This is not your typical hotel bar, but a real work of art and a destination in its own right. Try the innovative cocktails including the incredible East meets West Ginger and Lemongrass Margarita.
- Vida Rica Bar @ Mandarin Oriental – A dramatic masterpiece of design, these three interactive bars are fit out with chic marble, shimmering crystal, and chrome design. They also boast extraordinary double-height windows framing glorious views of Macau’s striking evening skyline. The cocktail bar proposes several signature cocktails inspired by the local environment, and the Ginja Turtle drink is perfect for paying homage to Macau’s colonial roots.
- Heart Bar @ Ascott Macau – The original mixology concept bar in Macau tempting you with sophisticated concoctions and lower prices than its glitzy competitors. Try the Man About Town with a Rye whiskey base and artichoke liqueur, for a flavor you will never forget.
- Sky 21 – A fabulous oasis floating atop a downtown high-rise giving wild and glamouring city views like no other spot in town. Sky 21 is a place where no desires are judged, no attitudes are tamed, and no tastes are ignored. If you want to mingle, splurge, dance, party or simply chill under the stars, the sky is the limit. Our favorite time to do is sunset, and our beloved cocktail is the French Beach. A very smooth cocktail that reminds you of the beautiful beaches in France. A smooth Vodka based cocktail with crème de cassis, peach liqueur and pineapple juice – perfect for dreaming of Montpellier or Paris.
- Ritz-Carlton Bar & Lounge – Delivering the over-the-top extravagance expected from Macau and the Ritz-Carlton, this world-class bar features a custom-cut curved marble bar, hardwood floors, luxurious sofas, insane metropolitan panoramas. A highlight has to be the signature gin and tonic menu – complete with of 20 gins from around the world, half-a-dozen tonics, botanicals, and spices- all brought to you on an old world gin and tonic trolley and mixed tailored-made for you. Bonus tip, there are daily specials on most drinks running Sunday-Thursday from 18:00-21:00 – making the whole experience all the most sweeter.
- Live Music Association – A one-of-a-kind venue in Macau, a dive venue inside an industrial building hosting live indie/alternative music from the home soil and overseas. Not open every night, but check their Facebook for upcoming gigs if you are interested in emerging music or being surrounded by artsy / hipster types.
- Club Cubic – The biggest and best club in Macau with 3,000 square meters for sound and light to keep revelers happy night-after-night. There is generally a line up of international DJs and frequent performers. Big and bold but still rather different than most European or US clubs. There isn’t a big dancefloor as such, only small areas between the seat booths and like a great many places in Asia it is very much “Look at me and all the Champagne I am buying!”. Still, it’s epic fun and an experience you will forget.
Gay Saunas in Macau China
For anyone looking for hot and steamy sauna fun, Gay Macau may not be the right place for you…
This doesn’t mean you can’t have any naughty fun while on your Macau holiday. Because much of LGBT life in Macau takes place in private, we recommend gay hookup apps as the most effective way of meeting other gay men in Macau.
As a foreigner, you will generally be expected to host so you might want to consider your own private apartment in Macau.