Macau, maybe not the city that you could think of when you are thinking eco-friendly travel, but in the recent years the city has made drastic efforts to improve its footprint and become greener. Here is how you can travel greener there.
The Special Administrative Region of Macau may not be the first Asian destination that springs to mind when you think of sustainable travel. Over 38 million people now visit Macau each year, but there are ways to still enjoy this beautiful place in an eco-conscious way.
It is a former 16th-century Portuguese colony, which was handed back to the Chinese government just 20 years ago. Macau offers an intriguing blend of east-meets-west culture to all who pass through. From the distinctly Mediterranean architecture to the profoundly spiritual A-Ma Temple, it’s a fascinating city to discover.
Read on to find out how to keep green during your trip to Macau.
Macau award-winning ‘Green’ hotels
The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) and the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) recently launched a series of awards for hotels that are taking effective environmental measures. The Macao Green Hotel Award recognizes environmentally friendly hotels. Criteria are reducing energy, water consumption, and enforcing recycling activities. Since the awards were first granted, as a whole, the hotel industry in Macau has reduced waste levels by 30%, with electricity and water usage also decreasing.
The Conrad Macao hotel in Cotai is one of the Gold Award winners, as well as one of TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Luxury Hotels in China. Offering a personalized level of service to all guests, this hotel makes going green a luxury experience thanks to the award-winning Bodhi Spa and beautifully-designed rooms and suites.
Silver Award winner, the Banyan Tree Macau has always been committed to the cause. Measures include only serving sustainable ingredients in its world-class restaurants, using natural lighting in its spa and leisure areas. And it is even promoting green practices by gifting green souvenirs and messages to hotel guests.
Activities and Entertainment: environmental friendly in Macau
Entertainment is a serious business in Macau. Sprawling mega-casinos are home to world-class professional tours like the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, as well as entertainment extravaganzas such as the famous House of Dancing Water at the City of Dreams in Cotai. The booming casino industry here may well be outperforming Las Vegas in terms of revenue, but it’s not always to everyone’s taste. Even though some of the casinos, such as the Venetian Macau and Babylon Casino are spectacularly beautiful and well worth a visit just to admire their architecture.
If you’ve forgotten to pack your cocktail dress or tux and want to do something in Macau that doesn’t break the bank, the best thing to do is to get out for a walk. Many of the hotels run free shuttle buses to the major tourist attractions like Senado Square, the A-Ma Cultural Village and the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral. While they are undoubtedly convenient and a great way to reach the most popular attractions when you’re in a pinch, the emissions do add up, so try to choose a shorter itinerary that you can walk each day.
Sustainable shopping and Dining in Macau
Eco-conscious shopping and dining also start to pick up the pace in Macau. Restaurants here may still be behind some other destinations in terms of sustainability and zero-waste, but you can find several BYOC (bring your own container) restaurants by checking out Natural Friendly. It is a local site that shares updates on plastic-free campaigns in Macau as well as selling its range of environmentally-friendly items.
Mai Lon Store, on Rua Nova de S. Lázaro, is a grocery store that promotes zero and reduced waste by not using plastic bags or containers. Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own bags, boxes, and containers with them. You’ll find all the basics here, including zero-waste cleansing products, grains, dried fruits and essentials like rice and spaghetti.
Finally, Ho Ho Market Macau, on Rua de Nossa Senhora do Amparo offers a small but growing, selection of natural, zero-waste and reusable products. You’ll find stainless steel straws, bags made from natural materials, eco-friendly mugs and coffee cups, a range of liquid soaps, and cleansing washes ‘on tap.’ All of these places provide for an excellent eco-friendly stay in Macau.