Two Days One Night in Macau

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Flag of China  ,
Sunday, July 20, 2008

Macau
Macau Special Administrative Region is situated on the Southeastern coast of China in the Guangdong Province, at latitude 22.4' North and longitude 113.5' East. It is 60 kilometers west of Hong Kong and 145 kilometers south of Guangzhou. The territory comprises a peninsula and two islands (Taipa and Coloane) and the total area is 23.8 square kilometers.

The journey starts from Ruins of St. Paul, at 9 a.m. Saturday morning. In this journey I will take you to experience the most adventurous moment in Macau, spend the most enjoyable evening, as well as to taste local street food in which only in this small territory you can find.


STOP 1 ~ Ruins of St. Paul and Na Tcha Temple
Ruins of St.Paul was used to be a church of the Mother of God and was built from 1602 to 1637. In 1835, a fire burned it to the ground, leaving only the façade, the staircase and portions of a wall. It remained unchanged until a restoration was undertaken and completed in the summer of 1991. That façade is crowned by the cross of Jerusalem, below which are three tiers with niches containing statues that were cast from bronze, at a local cannon and bell factory.

Located near the heart of the city. It is the most visited site both by tourists (during the day) and local residents (at night). This place is always crowded as a main tourist attraction, and it is because of this reason, today I get up a little bit earlier than usual to avoid the crowd so that I can take pictures without many people on my photo. There is a staircase at the back of the monument in which people can climb upstairs and view the area around from a different angle.

There are two temples of Na Tcha in Macau. One located at Calcada das Verdades (on the left) and the other (on the right) situated behind the Ruins of St. Paul.

Behind the Ruins of St. Paul, it stands the Na Tcha Temple, which was built in 1888, dedicated to the worship of the deity Na Tcha. The temple opens daily between 8 o'clock in the morning and 5 o'clock in the afternoon. In this area I witness the mixture of Chinese and Portuguese culture harmoniously maintained and developed in hundreds of years.

After taking some photographs of the sites, I move on to the next world heritage, Mount Fortress.


STOP 2 ~ Mount Fortress and Museum of Macau
The Fortress was built in the 16th century for protecting the properties of Jesuit in Macau. Later it was seized by the Governor, for the defense of Macau. Within the interior of the fortress, you can see the Museum of Macau which was built on the hill in the 1990s. The museum presents the history of the city and territory of the former Portuguese colony of Macau.

At around 9:30 a.m. I arrive at the Mount Fortress. The tree covered park at the top of the fort has a panoramic view of the mainland area of Macau. After taking some photographs I visit the Museum of Macau, which is located just inside the fortress.

The total area of the museum is 2,800 square meters. There are 3 floors in the museum, in which the 1st floor displays the beginnings of Macau and the arrival of Portuguese traders and Jesuit missionaries in the 16th century. In the 2nd floor of the museum, it exhibits the daily life and traditions of old Macau. The top floor, the only one above ground, shows the modern Macau and its plans for the future.

Look at the watch it is 11:30 a.m. I only had a slight breakfast this morning so now I'm feeling a little bit hungry. There are some coffee shops near the exit of the museum, but they are quite expensive than others, also the taste is not as good as others with lower price. Follow the route back to the Ruins of St. Paul then descend ahead to a souvenir street I find some delicious Portuguese egg tart. It tastes sweet and crunchy and it only cost MOP5 to MOP7 per each.


STOP 3 ~ Souvenir Street
Here you can find T-shirts, antiques, jewelry, porcelain, pottery, paintings, pork chop bun, Portuguese egg tarts and many food souvenirs, such as almond cookies, chess cookies, wife cake and husband cake.

Many tourists will get home some food souvenirs when they visit Macau. :D Some famous food souvenirs are almond cookies and chess cookies. Both of them are type of Chinese pastry. Those cookies are small, crunchy, sometimes crumbling on first bite. "Koi Kei Bakery" and "Tsui Heong Yun" are the famous food souvenir shop as their food quality remain them a good reputation.


STOP 4 ~ St. Dominic's Church and Cathedral
Founded in 1587 by three Spanish Dominican priests who originally came from Mexico, and it is also connected to the brotherhood of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was here that the first Portuguese newspaper was published on Chinese soil, A Abelha da China, on 12th September 1822. Later in 1929, this church integrated the worship of Our Lady of Fátima into its religious service, based on the account of the miraculous sighting that three shepherd children witnessed in Fátima, Portugal. After its establishment in Macau, through this church, the popular cult of Our Lady of Fátima expanded to other places in Asia.

Five minutes walk from the souvenir street, I come to the St. Dominic's Church. The church is beautiful in the outside and the inside. After taking some photos of the site I follow the route to the Leal Senado Square. Before Leal Senado Square, there is a narrow street which head to the Cathedral (a narrow street next to Mcdonalds). Within 2 minutes of walk I come to the Cathedral Square and the Cathedral is on my front.


STOP 5 ~ Holy House of Mercy, Senado Square and The Leal Senado Building
The Senado Square, is a paved area in the center of Macau, enclosed by the building of the Leal Senado, the General Post Office, and St. Dominic's Church. The square is paved in the traditional Portuguese pavement. Now it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Centre of Macau".

The Holy House of Mercy, Senado Square and The Leal Senado Building are located in the same place, in the Leal Senado Square. Here, is the heart of Macau and is a place where something is always happening.

This is the Senado Square, the heart of Macau. On the right of the photo you can see a white building which is the Holy House of Mercy, Macau's first charitable institution for the Portuguese community.


STOP 6 ~ Lunch Time (Portuguese Food)

In Macau, people can enjoy both Chinese and western style food. Chinese food is characterized by Guangdong Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Shanghai Cuisine and Chaozhou Cuisine, etc. Western food in Macau is characterized by the styles of Portugal, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asian Countries. Since Macau was ruled by the Portuguese for over 400 years, it influenced the food culture quite deeply. Therefore, the most representative of local food is Portuguese Cuisine and people who visit Macau should never miss it.
Portuguese food in Macau can be divided into two styles, the original Portuguese style and Macau-Portuguese style. When the original Portuguese food was improved and adapted for local consumers, it evolved into Macau-Portuguese style, combining the food cultures of various countries and regions at the same time.

To taste original Portuguese food (we should go to Portugal!! :D), otherwise to taste pure Macau dish, people usually go to Taipa Puppet Restaurant, which is located in the urban area of Taipa Island.
Besides, there are also many good Portuguese Restaurant near Senado Square. They are Escada n.8, Solmar, Dragon Restaurant, etc.
Around 1 p.m., I get inside a Portuguese Restaurant around the area of Senado Square to have lunch.

Green Vegetable Soup is a special and unique Portuguese dish. It is cooked with potato jelly, Portugal-produced sausage, and lettuce.

Bacalhau (cod-fish) Balls are a typical dish made up of potatoes, dry salted codfish, eggs, parsley, and some minor ingredients.

Portuguese Chicken is one of the major dishes in Portugal. This dish combines the diet culture of India and Africa, and is characterized by freshness and lasting aroma.

Oxtail with red wine

After the lunch, around 2 p.m., I leave the restaurant and try to get a taxi to the next stop "Maritime Museum" (in Macau it is very difficult to catch a taxi). In case fail to get a taxi, bus number 5, 10, 10A go to Maritime Museum, and it only takes 5 to 7 minutes.


Going to Macau Maritime Museum by bus:
From Leal Senado Building, turn right (you facing the main entrance of Leal Senado Building). Go straight ahead until you see a bus stop in front of the "Banco Weng Hang" (Weng Hang Bank). Wait here, take bus number 5, 10 or 10A to "Barra". The bus fee is MOP2.50 (up to year 2008) for each person. People need to put the exact amount or higher into the box near the bus driver. "Barra" is the final stop of all the buses (n. 5, 10 and 10A). The journey from "Banco Weng Hang" to "Barra" it only takes 5 minutes. No worry about when to get off the bus. When the bus arrive at the final stop "Barra", the driver will ask everybody to get off the bus.

"Barra" bus stop is located in front of the "La Lorcha Portuguese Restaurant". When you get off the bus you will see the restaurant is located just in front of you. Turn right and walk within 2 minutes you will see the Maritime Museum and the Temple A-Ma.


STOP 7 ~ Maritime Museum & A-Ma Temple


Macau Maritime Museum
Occupying an area of 800 square meters, the Macau Maritime Museum was built on the site where the first group of Portuguese explorers landed on Macau in 1553. Enlarged in 1990, the museum follows the typical museum layouts of a European style. The exhibits explore major themes in the history of the maritime industry in Macau, China and Portugal. The main building is a three-storey white building, architected in the shape of a boat in full sail. Big glass windows provide the illusion of an observation tower of a boat. Moreover, the museum is divided into five sections. The exhibits on the first floor portray traditions and techniques of the fishermen in Macau. On the second floor, the exhibits survey the history of the Portuguese explorations and geographical discoveries. The top floor houses exhibits on marine technology and transport, dredging and navigation. The Aquarium Gallery in the museum has four tanks, each devoted to a different theme of the sub-water world.

The museum is located just opposite the A-Ma Temple. After visiting the museum, it is recommended to visit the A-Ma Temple, which is the oldest temple in Macau, and in 2005, the temple became one of the designated sites of the Historic Center of Macau enlisted on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

A-Ma Temple
The name Macau is derived from this temple. It is reported that when the first Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside A-Ma Temple, they asked the name of the place, the natives replied "A-Ma-Gao". Then, the Portuguese named the peninsula "Macau".

Around 4:00 p.m. I leave the Maritime Museum and visit A-Ma Temple and at 4:20 pm I walk back to the bus station where I get off the bus, and from here I wait for a taxi to the next stop "Macau Tower".


STOP 8 ~ Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre
The tower measures 338 m (1,109 ft) in height from ground level to the highest point. An observation deck with panoramic views, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and the Skywalk X, a thrilling walking tour around the outer rim. It offers the best view of Macau and in recent years has been used for a variety of adventurous activities. At 233 meters, the Macau Tower's tethered "skyjump" and Bungy jump by world renowned AJ Hackett from the tower's outer rim, is the highest in the world. The tower was created by the architecture firm of Craig Craig Moller.

There is a harbour view Cafe located on the level 4 of the Convention & Entertainment Centre, next to the theater. It has many delightful desserts with reasonable prices. I stay there for half and hour to enjoy the delicious dessert and to relax.

After enjoying the dessert, around 5:45 pm, I go to the observatory deck of the tower to look for some activities to do. Some activities, like Mast Climb, Bungy Jump and Skyjump, need 1 week of advanced booking, and others need one hour for advanced. I choose to do the Skywalk X (MOP$488, includes a certificate, a t-shirt, a membership card and a CD including all the photos), it is a thrilling walk around the main outer rim of the tower, 233 meters above ground. :D

I feel the excitement in the very first moment when I step out the gate. It is very windy outside and I have to say that the view is so stunning and breathtaking! Imagine you are standing at 233 meters high above ground of the tower looking down the city without handrails! I'm so excited! It is awesome and it feels really great!


Skywalk X (7pm)
Don't miss the chance to sit on the edge and look down! Although it looks so scary down there but it is a wonderful experience that I never forget!



List of adventurous activities at the Tower:
- Mast Climb;
- Bungy Jump;
- Skyjump;
- Skywalk X;
- Long Ironwalk;
- Sport Climbing.


STOP 9 ~ Dinner at Rua de Felicidade "Fok Long San Kai"
Follow Rua do Dr. Soares uphill behind the Leal Senado building until you reach Rua de Felicidade "Fok Long San Kai", then turn right. Continue down past the restored 19th century shop houses in what was once a thriving red-light district, and you will find a part of town that is less visited by tourists and a fascinating place to browse among shops selling jewellery, curios, dried beef and even live snakes.

STOP 10 ~ The Venetian Macau Resort
I stay in a Royale Suite at the Venetian Macau Resort, and this is simply the best hotel experience that I have ever had in terms of quality, service and value for money!

Royale Suite:
· with a floorspace of 70 sq metres or 750 sq feet
· a king-sized bed
· marble bathroom with a bathtub, shower enclosure, twin vanity basins an separate WC alcove
· sitting area with sofabed and plasma TV
· another plasma TV in the sleeping area
· a working desk with personal copy/fax/print machine
· bathrobes, bedroom slippers, iron and ironing board provided
· full-stocked minibar
· a round dining table with 3 chairs

Maybe I am lucky because the check-in service is very quick and the staff is very friendly as well.

On the following day, I walk around the Grand Canal Shoppes. It is a huge shopping paradise with elegant "streetmosphere", providing the most unique shopping experience in South East Asia!

After a whole day spent at the Venetian Macau Resort, I have to let you know that the story of "Two Days One Night in Macau" reaches its end. I hope you all enjoy reading this entry and expect you to visit Macau soon.

~ End of Trip~



To view more photos of Macau, please follow the link below:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ristinw/sets/72157600267620696/
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