Cotai, also known as the Cotai Strip, (路氹 - Lou Tam in Cantonese, Lùdàng in Mandarin) is advertised as the "Las Vegas Strip of the East", and not without reason: it houses huge hotels and casinos, upscale shopping, sports facilities, golf courses and more. If you've been to Las Vegas it will seem very familiar, a playground for visitors from China and all over the world.
Cotai is built on reclaimed land between what used to be Taipa and Coloane islands in China's Special Administrative Region of Macau. The strip's unimaginative name is coined out of the contraction of Coloane and Taipa.
See the Macau guide for ferry services to Macau. The Taipa Ferry Terminal is close to Cotai, and there is a shuttle to the Venetian and light rail service. Cotai Water Jet runs HK-Macau ferries to the Taipa Ferry Terminal.
By light rail
Service from Taipa, including the airport and Taipa Ferry Terminal.
The AP1 bus from Macau airport stops a short distance from the Venetian a couple of stops after leaving the airport. Also services the Taipa Ferry Terminal.
Some hotel/casinos provide free shuttle buses, which you can take even if you're not a guest. For instance, the Venetian has free shuttles that run to the ferry wharf and the border gate frequently from early until late. Hotels with a Peninsula property and a Cotai property may provide shuttle buses between the two locations.
Some of the casinos are connected by convenient indoor walkways, full of upscale shops.
Walking around outside may take longer than you expect. Just like in Las Vegas, the casinos are large and tend to look closer than they are.
The main attraction is gambling, but all the casinos also have restaurants and bars, and many also include hotel/resort facilities. Anyone with money can have a fine time in the casinos without gambling.
Budget travellers should spend most of their Macau time either downtown or on Coloane, but even they might enjoy a look at some of the casino architecture or shows and there is reasonably priced food in some of the food courts; see #Eat.
- 1 The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The Venetian is touted as the largest casino, and fourth largest building, in the world by floor area. At a cost of nearly $2.4bn, it is hardly a surprise. There are close to 3,000 suites, 16,000 staff members, 840 gaming tables and 3,400 slot machines. In addition it has a 15,000-seat sports arena. The concept is Venice meets China and there are even indoor canals replete with gondola and sampan rides, as well as a shopping mall, and indoor Venetian styled squares.
- 2 The Parisian Macao.
- 3 Wynn Palace. Like its counterpart on the Macau Peninsula, the Wynn Palace has a performance lake with light and fountain shows. The fountains do some low-key dancing constantly, but the real shows, set to music, are every 20–30 minutes and are more spectacular than the ones at the other Wynn. The hotel/casino also has cable cars that carry you through the air around the performance lake on your way into the building.
- 4 Galaxy Macau.
- 5 Studio City Macau.
- The House of Dancing Water (at City of Dreams). A 90-minute water-based performance of a love story with acrobatics and elaborate special effects.
- The go-kart track on the southern end of Cotai. You can reach it by bus from Macau and Taipa on route 21, 21A, 25, 26 and 26A, and from Taipa on route 15. Casual rates (as of Jan 2007) 100/180MOP for 10/20 min. You can also book the track for a private event but they require 7 days notice. The track itself is quite good taking about a minute to navigate, at a leisurely pace.
- 6 Macau Dome (澳門蛋). Is a bowling centre of international standard, constructed in 2005 for the East Asian Games. There are 24 lanes, the first four of which may be used by children as these lanes are equipped with raisable borders. A lane costs MOP20 per person a game during the day, MOP30 in the evening. The Macau Dome can be reached from Macau and Taipa by bus 21, 21A, 25, 26, or 26A, or from Taipa by bus 15 (get off at Rotunda Flor de Lotus).
The casino and entertainment complexes feature a lot of upscale shops. Lots of jewelry and other accessories.
Each of the hotels and casinos offer several restaurants and bars. A few worth looking for include:
- 1 City of Dreams. a large clump of hotels, casinos, restaurants and entertainment venues located just across a road from the Venetian. As elsewhere in the strip, there is quite a wide choice of restaurants, mostly upmarket, with many different styles of food.
- 2 Hard Rock Cafe, City of Dreams, Hard Rock Hotel, 2/F, Coloane-Taipa (inside City of Dreams).
- Food Paradise (City of Dreams, 2nd floor, off to the left as you enter the main building). A food court with a good range of choices generally at better prices than elsewhere in Cotai, albeit with less sumptuous decor and service.
- 1 Blue Frog Bar and Grill, Shop 1037, The Venetian (Opposite the Cotai Arena), ☏ . 7AM to 2AM. Outlet of the famous Shanghai joint, with large portions of American food plus one of the widest selections of shots, cocktails, liquor and wines in Macau. HKD500-1000.
- 1 Pousada Marina Infante Hotel, Marina de Taipa Sul, Aterro Cotai, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 2 Conrad Macao, Cotai Central, Sands Cotai Central, Cotai Strip, ☏ , fax: , ✉ Conrad_Macao@conradhotels.com. A hotel by Conrad, complete with spa, fitness centre, business centre and meeting rooms and three restaurants. Five minutes from the airport via shuttle bus.
- 3 Four Seasons Hotel Macau, Estrada da Baia de N. Senhora da Esperanca, S/N, ☏ , fax: . Has five outdoor pools, a spa, salon, business centre, and multilingual concierge.
- 4 Grand Hyatt Macau, City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Has 791 rooms and suites overlooking the Pearl River. Facilities include: two restaurants, a lounge, spa, fitness centre, outdoor infinity pool and 8,990 sq m in event space.
- 5 Hotel Okura Macau, Galaxy Macau, Avenida Marginal Flor de Lotus (Within the Galaxy Resort), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Part of a Japanese hotel chain. US $149 & up.