Thursday, January 29, 2009

Macau: Historic and Modern Structures


     We arrived in Macau on Sept. 9 at around 10:30 PM.  Since one of my companions has a friend in Macau, she helped us find a nice hotel right in the center of the city.

     We checked in at East Asia Hotel located in Rua da Madeira for only MOP 850 per night.  This older hotel’s prime location is just 5 minutes walk from Macau’s Historic Centre – Senado Square which makes it a good choice for budget travelers like us.

     The next day, we woke up early to start our sight seeing around Macau.  But before that we looked first for a money changer to change our remaining HK dollars to Pataca.  We found one not that far from our hotel .

     While walking on our way to KFC, we saw this new grand building of Casino Lisboa and in front of it was the old building.  After 15 minutes walk, we saw the Circle of Arc, and from there you could see the Guia Fort and Lighthouse stands on the Guia Hill.  The fort was built in 1637, the lighthouse which is still in use, in 1865.

     After our lunch, we went to the classically constructed Senado Square.  Its famous fountain has been renovated several times.  The Senado Square is paved with a wave-patterned mosaic of colored stones created by Portuguese.  From the main road to the church of St. Dominic, the pavement extends to the ruins of St. Paul.



     We strolled around Senado to find the entrance to Ruins of St. Paul but we end up to Cathedral situated near Rua de S. Domingos.  It was built in 1576 and many important relics of the 16th and 17th centuries are stored here.  The Cathedral is one of the grandest church in Macau.

     We returned again to Senado to find the entrance to St. Paul and at last a local instructed us to the right direction.  According to them, tourists visit Macau just to see the Ruins of St. Paul.  The church was built in 1602 and only the magnificent stone façade and grand staircase remain of the iconic church of St. Paul’s.  A trip to Macau wouldn't be complete without a visit to this historic ruins.

     Beside Ruins of St. Paul is the Na Tcha Temple.  Na Tcha Temple and Ruins of St. Paul’s are both part of the Historic Centre of Macau but reflect profoundly in different cultures, a uniqueness that can also be found in the territory’s food, religion, and other culture mores.  Na Tcha Temple is a small, simple, peaceful Chinese temple founded over 400 years ago; it remains of strong historic value and is inseparable from the daily life of Macau’s citizens.

     A “Section of the Old City Walls” comprises part of the Historic Center of Macau-inscribed on the World Heritage list and was constructed in 1569.  This wall, located near Na Tcha Temple and the Ruins of St. Paul’s, bears evidence of local artisanship and materials, especially the use of a solid compound named “chunambo”, which was an elaborate mixture of clay, soil, sand, rice straw, crushed rocks and oyster shells compacted in successive layers.

     After our Historic tour, we went to Venetian Macau.  The Venetian is located in the Cotai Strip of Taipa Island.  Upon arrival, I was surprised how luxury and grand the architecture of this building with Venice touch and fake sky that also changes from day to night.

     Then at St. Mark’s Square I guess, where we had our dinner, I ordered a roasted Peking Duck.  It was so delicious, crisp and tender.  I would love to try some other viands but there was no room for my stomach to eat more.  :P

     One reason why I really want to see Venetian is the Gondola Rides, because it was my long time dream to ride a gondola.  Their gorgeous Italian gondolier serenade us with O Solo Mio (My Sun), Kahit Kailan of South Borders (from our Phil. Band, because he knows we’re Filipinas), and a song from Lea Salonga, as we drift through the San Luca, Marco Polo and Grand Canals aboard our beautifully crafted gondolas.  

     During our last day in Macau, we went to Macau Tower.  The tower is 338 meter high at its highest point.  The main observation level is 223m above the ground.  It is the 10th tallest free standing tower in the world, the 8th tallest in Asia.  It is for views of the Pearl River Delta by day or the city lights by night.  If you love adrenaline rush and adventure, you can try the AJ Hackett’s Mast Climb, Bungee Jump, Sky Jump, and Skywalk X.  At 360 Café you can savour delicious cuisines.  Or shop for souvenirs and other items at the ground floor.

     Next we went to MGM Grand Casino.  All within a 3-tier shimmering golden glass structure on a prime waterfront site in the central Nam Van district.  Straight off the Chihuly and Dali themed main lobby, you’ll find their breath-taking 1,088 m2 Grande Praça, which extends 25 meters above the floor to a glass ceiling.

     Not far from MGM is the Wynn Casino.  It showcases a grand opening of the money tree and the crystal chandelier.  We just stayed there for an hour playing slot machines.

     Then we headed back to Ruins of St. Paul again to buy presents for our friends and love ones.  Before you buy a tart or sweet meat, they offer you a free taste.  Popular among tourists for presents or souvenirs.

     We have little time then to roam around and there's many more to see.  I hope I could go back to this place again.  Not very soon but I hope someday.

More pictures at this link Macau Album

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