The Macau International Fireworks Display Contest is a chance for the family to enjoy dazzling pyrotechnics from viewpoints all around the city

Capturing the Macau fireworks on camera

Capturing the Macau fireworks on camera

Now in its 27th year, the annual Macau International Fireworks Display Contest is one of the most impressive events on the city calendar, attracting international fireworks companies keen to showcase their artistic prowess. Teams from Malaysia, Finland, Taiwan, Korea, Italy and Portugal have already shown what they’re made of this year. The competition continues with performances on Sunday 27 September (during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and World Tourism Day) from France at 9pm and Austria at 9.40pm. Rounding off the proceedings on Thursday 1 October (Chinese National Day) is a display from Australia at 9pm, followed by China at 9.40pm.

Tourists enjoy the revelry as much as the locals and the citywide excitement is palpable. Young and old congregate eagerly as Catherine wheels, rockets, waterfalls and Roman candles boldly explode and colour the night sky above the mosaic-tiled streets of Old Macau.

A food stall selling fish balls

A food stall selling fish balls

Downtown, crowds jostle as they line the curve of the Nam Van Lake, their phones lighting up like candles as they ooh and ahh, trying to capture the fleeting hues blistering the darkness and reflecting off the lake's placid waters. The bangs reverberate as the beat of electronic music synchronises in time to the colours. Like giant dandelions, multiple red, green and blue orbs pulse as they explode and dissipate, morphing into a splintering dazzle of fragmented light.

Tourists enjoy the revelry as much as the locals and the citywide excitement is palpable

Further along the bay, under the watch of the Macau Tower, the atmosphere is carnivalesque as crowds throng the lakeside walkways. Yellow-bannered food stalls, a stage with performers and flashing neon lights resemble a fairground, the air thick with the caramel scent of popcorn. Teenagers munch traditional Cantonese fish balls washed down with ice lemon tea. Kids clutch their candyfloss. Couples snap selfies. Families pose for group portraits trying to capture the instant the fleeting flashes of light dye the inky sky behind them, an eternal record of an ephemeral moment.

Macau’s casino hotels make for great firework viewing

Macau’s casino hotels make for great firework viewing

Aside from the downtown lakeside, Macau’s rooftop bars and restaurants also afford prime views, where you can watch the show in comfort over a multiple-course dinner or cocktail. At Mandarin Oriental, Macau, the floor-to-ceiling windows at the Vida Rica Restaurant and Bar frame the spectacle 

From across the channel, Taipa Island’s sky-high waterfront venues also offer an excellent panorama of the Macau peninsula, replete with views of the Nobre de Carvalho and Sai Van bridges framing the iridescent waters of the South China Sea.

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