AsiaMacau

Macau Part I: Central Macau by day and night

Macau Travel Blog

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Largo Do Senado

People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip:


The perfect word that i can think of for Macau is 'crossroads'. In almost every meaning, Macau is somewhere that sees a collision of East and West. From colonial cobbled streets to towering casinos, grey tower blocks to yellow Portuguese churches, Mandarin and Portuguese with English thrown in for good measure, Dim Sum, dumplings and noodles or would you prefer Heineken, Roast Dinner and McDonalds? Even the majority of the people don't quite look Chinese, but have their own specific features. All of this leads to a country full of surpises and beauty. Here are my other impressions...


As the plane descended into Macau airport, my first emotion was to go 'wow'.

Santa Casa Da Misericordia on the Largo do Senado
Situated on a reclaimed area of land and only a short distance from the centre, the views on arrival were fabulous. I was equally impressed to see a plane been shuttled onto the runway via a bridge! Ok, its a small bridge, but still i can never remember witnessing such a thing before. Having passed through immigration pretty painlessly my first task was to withdraw some cash and i was surprised when the bank paid out in Hong Kong Dollars. I figured they must be worth the same as the Macau patacas and therefore spent them the same. As it turns out the HKD is actually stronger than the MOP so if you stay here a while and spend a fair amount of money, it would actually make sense to change your money from HKD into MOP. I found that rather strange to say the least!


After standing for a few minutes outide the airport, a bus turned up, but when i showed the driver my $20 bill, he pointed at the sign saying 'no change given'.

Church of St Dominic
Saying this was a bus that collects people from the airport, you would certainly think they would recognise that ATMs dont dish out small change and have a facility available to break money. I skulked back into the airport and went into the only shop that i saw open to ask for change, which a rather grumpy man begrudgingly gave me. I guess he's pretty sick to death of such requests, or at least that was the impression i got!


Boarding the next bus to come along, i noted that its route map showed it did a loop of the city, so decided to sit down and try to follow where we were on my map and then choose the correct place to get off. Macau is only a small country, but somehow we seemed to go to every section of it other than where i wanted to go! I worked out where would be the best to get off on the way back and continued to bide my time.

Tilting the 330ft high Macau Tower, now thats strength!
I was therefore horrified when the driver insisted i get off the bus at the Chinese border, where the bus turned around to make its way back to the airport. I showed the map and pointed where i wanted to go, but the guy didn't want to know and just kept shouting at me. I couldn't believe how hostile he was been and with no other choice i had to take my stuff off the bus. As he kept shouting at me all through this i finally snapped and began shouting back some words that i believe he understood, i'll let you use your imagination, but at least it shut him up.


At last i met a friendly, helpful security guard who helped me get on another bus, that took me to the centre of town. 2 hours after setting off, i made it to the street where my hotel was on.

Sculpture in front of the Ruins of the Church of St Paul
I couldn't see any numbers on the buildings, so showed a female shop owner the name in my book. She shook her head then led me to a hotel a couple of doors down, which was out of my price range. Back on the street i ended up spotting a sign for my hotel and incredibly it was right next door to the womans shop! She had just been trying to get commission by putting me into the other hotel. What a start!


My day didn't really get much better when i saw what $15 (120MOP) would get me. I was informed that the room i was shown was a double and was the last one available. I protested that it only had a single bed in and was the size of a matchbox, but both they and I knew that this was about the only budget place going in town! The walls reached neither the ceiling nor the floor and were only temporary and seemed no thicker than cardboard, but at least the bed was comfortable! I did have a sink in my room, but the bathrooms themselves were located in a different postcode and i half expected there to be a shuttle bus running every 5 minutes :)


I was feeling mentally and physically exhausted and didn't want the hassle of finding somewhere to eat so ended up going to McDonalds, which was an easy option.

Ruins of the Church of St Paul
On the way to eat i passed through the beautiful Largo do Senado and was blown away by the colourful colonial architecture. Every building seemed to be an architectural gem, from the yellow Church of St Dominic to the information centre and Post Office. I decided there and then that whoever is responsible for Macau's building preservation needs a pat on the back.


I made it back to the room around 6pm, just as the sun was setting and it was beginning to get a bit chilly. I was struggling to keep my eyes open, but knew if i fell asleep i wouldn't sleep all the way through, so did some crosswords to keep me awake until 9pm. At this point i tried to get some shut eye, but the light filtering in kept me awake, as did the noise. By 10.30pm i decided i needed a valium and couldn't believe that even this didn't help! Around 12.

Macau Tower and the bridge connecting Macau and Taipa
30am 2 drunk local guys came into the room next door and crashed around for an hour or so, so i put my walkman on and guess i finally fell to sleep around 2am!


I managed to drag myself out of bed around 11am the following day and after showering, headed out to see the sights. I have a real love of walking around places and Macau was to prove a pedestrians delight. Macau island isn't really that big and the whole country including Taipa and Coloane only adds up to 28.6km2. I set off along the narrow, hilly and often cobbled streets and didn't seem to be able to go more than 20 paces without wanting to take a photo. I was also delighted by how few people there were and it often felt that you could be alone at any time you wished. I guess thats what comes with a country only having 500,000 inhabitants!


My route took me via the yellow Church of St Augustine, which was opposite the blue Dom Pedro V Theatre and then on to the yellow Church of St Lawrence.

Largo do Senado
I sat here for a while to enjoy the warm sunny day and eat some sandwiches that i bought from the local bakery, before moving on to the pink government house. It was interesting to see the Chinese flag flying in the centre of the building and the Macau one just off to one side. It highlighted who really is in control now. Walking along Avenida da Republica i got my first sighting of the 330ft Macau Tower, looming on the horizon. Closer to the ground were the Mateus Ricci College and the Portuguese Consul, which is housed in the former Bella Vista Hotel.


The next part of my trip became slightly more difficult as i decided to ascend firstly Barra Hill and then the Cathdral topped Penha Hill, which offered sweeping vistas of the country. Slightly sweaty, i made my way back down to sea level to walk around to A-Ma Temple, where countless incense coils were burning throughout the temple.

Colourful cobbled street
My circuit brought me back to Largo do Senado, where i took another look around. Now that the sun was beating down, it seemed to give the buildings even more character than the day before.


I carried on past the Church of St Dominic and up some tight cobbled streets that led to the magnificient ruins of the Church of St Paul. There is only the front of the Church left standing after the rest was destroyed in a fire, but it just looks so surreal, left stood there all on its own! Been a sucker for punishment i then climbed another hill, which led to Monte Fort and once more the views from the summit were superb. The day was drawing to a close, but i decided that i had just enough time to fit in St Anthonys Catholic Church and the Protestant Cemetery, which contains the grave of Henry John Spencer Churchill, Winstons great great Uncle! Completely shattered i headed home around 6pm for a well deserved lie down.

The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel area


By 7pm i was able to rally myself to go back out and get some food. I found a tiny eatery with queues going out of the door and decided that it was as good a place as any to eat. For only 12MOP ($1.50) they served up a soup, 5 dumplings and noodles with beef, which by Macaus standards is remarkable! I realised why it was so popular. Re-energised i had a bright idea flash into my head.... why not do exactly the same walk at night as i had done in the day!!! Oh my, what a fool i am! But once i get an idea in my head, its hard to get it out, so i set off on foot on what became a 7 hour marathon! Not only did i re-visit all the sites from the day, but i also headed into the casino district to look at the flashing glizty buildings and also took a walk along the sea front to get a close up look at Kim Iam Statue.

MGM Grand Hotel and casino
I eventually crashed out at 2am, exhausted, but delighted with the way the day turned out. Unsurprisingly i had little trouble sleeping :)

Deats says:
Stop been so modest, some of your photos that ive had the pleasure of seeing are really good! Ya big drama queen :)
Posted on: Feb 20, 2009
JeAr says:
i hate u, your pix are 110% better than mine :(
Posted on: Feb 19, 2009
Deats says:
Im really behind with my blog at the moment, Hong Kong was good, i have photos but not my blog on line yet :)
Posted on: Oct 17, 2008
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Largo Do Senado
Largo Do Senado
Santa Casa Da Misericordia on the …
Santa Casa Da Misericordia on the…
Church of St Dominic
Church of St Dominic
Tilting the 330ft high Macau Tower…
Tilting the 330ft high Macau Towe…
Sculpture in front of the Ruins of…
Sculpture in front of the Ruins o…
Ruins of the Church of St Paul
Ruins of the Church of St Paul
Macau Tower and the bridge connect…
Macau Tower and the bridge connec…
Largo do Senado
Largo do Senado
Colourful cobbled street
Colourful cobbled street
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel …
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel…
MGM Grand Hotel and casino
MGM Grand Hotel and casino
Post Office building on Largo do S…
Post Office building on Largo do …
Tourist information building on La…
Tourist information building on L…
Largo do Senado
Largo do Senado
Busy pedestrain street in the cent…
Busy pedestrain street in the cen…
Macaus impressive skyline, the Gra…
Macaus impressive skyline, the Gr…
Macaus impressive skyline
Macaus impressive skyline
Largo do Senado
Largo do Senado
The little road i stayed on
The little road i stayed on
Hilly Macau street
Hilly Macau street
Beautiful architecture in Macau
Beautiful architecture in Macau
Church of St Augustine
Church of St Augustine
Church of St Augustine
Church of St Augustine
Dom Pedro V Theatre
Dom Pedro V Theatre
Dom Pedro V Theatre
Dom Pedro V Theatre
Church of St Lawrence
Church of St Lawrence
Stained glass window in the Church…
Stained glass window in the Churc…
Church of St Lawrence
Church of St Lawrence
Government House
Government House
Government House
Government House
Macau Tower
Macau Tower
Macau skyline
Macau skyline
Some shrubbery, with Macau Tower a…
Some shrubbery, with Macau Tower …
Mateus Ricci College
Mateus Ricci College
A pretty street just off the Aveni…
A pretty street just off the Aven…
Former Bella Vista Hotel - now the…
Former Bella Vista Hotel - now th…
Avenida da Republica
Avenida da Republica
Macau Tower and the bridge conncet…
Macau Tower and the bridge connce…
A view of the bridge linking Macau…
A view of the bridge linking Maca…
A view of Macau Tower and Taipa be…
A view of Macau Tower and Taipa b…
A view of Macau Tower and Taipa be…
A view of Macau Tower and Taipa b…
Looking across to China
Looking across to China
A view of the bridge linking Macau…
A view of the bridge linking Maca…
The church atop Penha Hill
The church atop Penha Hill
A view of Macau from Penha Hill
A view of Macau from Penha Hill
A view of Macau from Penha Hill
A view of Macau from Penha Hill
The church that sits atop Penha Hi…
The church that sits atop Penha H…
A view of Macau Tower, the bridge …
A view of Macau Tower, the bridge…
A view of Macau from Monte Fort
A view of Macau from Monte Fort
A view of one of the bridges linki…
A view of one of the bridges link…
Church at the top of Penha Hill
Church at the top of Penha Hill
A view of Macau, seen from Penha H…
A view of Macau, seen from Penha …
Avenida de Republica
Avenida de Republica
Pretty architecture on Avenida da …
Pretty architecture on Avenida da…
Bridge connecting Macau with Taipa
Bridge connecting Macau with Taipa
The bridge linking Macau with Taipa
The bridge linking Macau with Taipa
A sunken canoe
A sunken canoe
A boat sails between Macau and Chi…
A boat sails between Macau and Ch…
The bridge linking Macau with Taip…
The bridge linking Macau with Tai…
The bridge linking Macau with Taipa
The bridge linking Macau with Taipa
Buildings near the Maritime Museum
Buildings near the Maritime Museum
Entrance to A-Ma Temple
Entrance to A-Ma Temple
Incense coils burning at A-Ma Temp…
Incense coils burning at A-Ma Tem…
Boat drawing at A-Ma Temple
Boat drawing at A-Ma Temple
Buddha at A-Ma Temple
Buddha at A-Ma Temple
Burning incense in A-Ma Temple
Burning incense in A-Ma Temple
Largo Do Senado
Largo Do Senado
Santa Casa Da Misericordia on the …
Santa Casa Da Misericordia on the…
Santa Casa Da Misericordia on the …
Santa Casa Da Misericordia on the…
Largo Do Senado
Largo Do Senado
Church of St Dominic
Church of St Dominic
Inside the Church of St Dominic
Inside the Church of St Dominic
Small cobbled street in central Ma…
Small cobbled street in central M…
Ruins of the Church of St Paul
Ruins of the Church of St Paul
Ruins of the Church of St Paul
Ruins of the Church of St Paul
A view of the square in front of t…
A view of the square in front of …
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
A view from Monte Fort
A view from Monte Fort
A view of the Grand Lisboa from th…
A view of the Grand Lisboa from t…
Canons at Monte Fort
Canons at Monte Fort
A view at the back of the ruins of…
A view at the back of the ruins o…
Canons line the wall of Monte Fort
Canons line the wall of Monte Fort
A view from the ruins of the Churc…
A view from the ruins of the Chur…
A view from Monte Fort, Grand Lisb…
A view from Monte Fort, Grand Lis…
Entrance to Monte Fort
Entrance to Monte Fort
Canon at Monte Fort aims at the Gr…
Canon at Monte Fort aims at the G…
A view of Macau from Monte Fort
A view of Macau from Monte Fort
A view of Macau from Monte Fort, C…
A view of Macau from Monte Fort, …
A view of Macau from Monte Fort
A view of Macau from Monte Fort
A view of Macau from Monte Fort
A view of Macau from Monte Fort
At Monte fort, with me reflected a…
At Monte fort, with me reflected …
At Monte fort, with me reflected a…
At Monte fort, with me reflected …
Pretty cobbled street
Pretty cobbled street
Colourful cobbled street
Colourful cobbled street
Colourful cobbled street
Colourful cobbled street
St Anthonys Catholic Church
St Anthonys Catholic Church
Gardens next to the Protestant Cem…
Gardens next to the Protestant Ce…
Playing Mahjong
Playing Mahjong
Protestant Cemetery
Protestant Cemetery
Grave of Henry John Spencer Church…
Grave of Henry John Spencer Churc…
Protestant Cemetery
Protestant Cemetery
Largo Do Senado
Largo Do Senado
The street i stayed on
The street i stayed on
Beautiful architecture in Macau
Beautiful architecture in Macau
Church of St Augustine
Church of St Augustine
Dom Pedro V Theatre
Dom Pedro V Theatre
Church of St Lawrence
Church of St Lawrence
Government House
Government House
Government House
Government House
Macau Tower
Macau Tower
Macau skyline
Macau skyline
The bridge connecting Macau and Ta…
The bridge connecting Macau and T…
Mateus Ricci College
Mateus Ricci College
Former Bella Vista Hotel - now the…
Former Bella Vista Hotel - now th…
Macau Tower
Macau Tower
Macau Tower and the bridge connect…
Macau Tower and the bridge connec…
Macau Tower and the bridge connect…
Macau Tower and the bridge connec…
Macau Tower
Macau Tower
Macau Tower and the bridge connect…
Macau Tower and the bridge connec…
Macau Tower and the bridge connect…
Macau Tower and the bridge connec…
Macau Tower and the bridge connect…
Macau Tower and the bridge connec…
Church at the top of Penha Hill
Church at the top of Penha Hill
A view of the bridge linking Macau…
A view of the bridge linking Maca…
Macau Tower
Macau Tower
A view of the bridge linking Macau…
A view of the bridge linking Maca…
A view of the bridge linking Macau…
A view of the bridge linking Maca…
Pretty architecture on Avenida da …
Pretty architecture on Avenida da…
A view of the bridge linking Macau…
A view of the bridge linking Maca…
Entrance to A-Ma Temple
Entrance to A-Ma Temple
A-Ma Temple
A-Ma Temple
Calcada de Barra
Calcada de Barra
Lanterns light this bakery
Lanterns light this bakery
Post Office building on Largo do S…
Post Office building on Largo do …
Largo do Senado
Largo do Senado
Largo do Senado
Largo do Senado
Santa Casa Da Misericordia on the …
Santa Casa Da Misericordia on the…
Largo do Senado
Largo do Senado
Church of St Dominic
Church of St Dominic
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
The ruins of the Church of St Paul
A view of the square in front of t…
A view of the square in front of …
Sculpture in front of the Ruins of…
Sculpture in front of the Ruins o…
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel …
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel…
The section dedicated to casinos!
The section dedicated to casinos!
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel …
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel…
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel …
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel…
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel …
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel…
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel …
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel…
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel …
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel…
The bridge linking Macau to Taipa
The bridge linking Macau to Taipa
The bridge linking Macau to Taipa
The bridge linking Macau to Taipa
The bridge linking Macau to Taipa,…
The bridge linking Macau to Taipa…
MGM Grand Hotel and casino
MGM Grand Hotel and casino
Kim Iam Statue
Kim Iam Statue
Kim Iam Statue
Kim Iam Statue
Kim Iam Statue
Kim Iam Statue
Casino
Casino
Casino
Casino
Casino
Casino
Casino
Casino
Casino
Casino
Casinos
Casinos
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel …
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel…
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel …
The Grand Lisboa casino and hotel…