Macau The City that Crosses Historical and Modern


The City that Crosses Historical and Modern

By Jenny Chen & Rick Lin / Photographs courtesy Macau Tourism
I have been to Las Vegas four times in my life and I love the scene in Las Vegas so much.  At first, I thought Macau would be the same since they have something in common: the various entertainments and casinos. However, my trip to Macau told me that I was wrong. Macao is the city that criss-crosses between historical and modern, and probably more.
Historical Attractions
senado-square-jpgMacau was administered by Portugal from the mid-16th century until late 1999, when it was the last remaining European colony in Asia. Macau has been an important gateway through which western civilization entered China.  The city is the product of 400 years of cultural exchange between the western world and Chinese civilization, which made this city the oldest, most complete, and consolidated array of European architectural legacy standing intact on Chinese territory.The two most famous historical places are Ruins of St. Paul’s and Senado Square.The Ruins of St. Paul’s refers to the façade of what was originally the Church of Mater Dei built in 1602-1640, destroyed by fire in 1835, and the ruins of St. Paul’s College, which stood adjacent to the Church. Close by, the archaeological remains of the old College of St. Paul stand witness to what was the first western-style university in the Far East, with an elaborate academic program. Nowadays, the façade of the Ruins of St. Paul’s functions symbolically as altar to the city, and is always full of tourists no matter daytime or nighttime.The route to the Ruins of St. Paul’s is a small hill with a lot of stores on either side. Most of the stores are bakeries that sell local traditional snacks such as almond cookies, peanut candies or meat jerky. Enjoy tasting them and be sure to buy if you really like them. I think the reason that I don’t feel so tired climbing up the hill is because I am so full after tasting all those delicious snacks.Senado Square has been Macau’s urban center for centuries, and is still the most popular venue for public events and celebrations. Located close to the former Senate building, Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple is also a reminder of the active participation ofthe local Chinese community in general civic affairs, providing a good example for the multicultural part of the Macau community. The square is surrounded by pastel-colored neo-classical buildings, creating a consistent and harmonious Mediterranean atmosphere. Nowadays, the Square is also surrounded by many stores and filled with tourists, making it less classic and more modern.Besides those two most famous attractions, there are also several churches, such as St. Anthony’s Church and St. Lawrence’s Church; some Chinese Temples, such as A-Ma temple and Na Tcha Temple. These are all well-maintained as important historical attractions around the city, and are symbols representing the fusion of western and Chinese. They are also all good examples of Macau’s multicultural identity and religious freedom in the city


The historical fusion found in Macau has a definite effect on what you eat. Besides Chinese cuisine, people can enjoy really good Portuguese cuisine here as well. There are some good Portuguese restaurants for people to choose from, including the one I chose to eat at, “Domgalo Portuguese Food”. The restaurant may not have a good appearance, but it has its own distinct style and very good food.  My recommended plates would be the Fried Bacalhau Ball and African Chicken.

Bacalhau is a kind of dried and salted cod (bacalhau is cod in Portuguese), and is very common in Portuguese cuisine. Fried Bacalhau Ball is a mixture of potato and bacalhau, and has a refreshing taste. African Chicken is a dish of Portuguese cuisine, which is barbecued chicken coated with spicy piri piri sauce. The taste may be a little strong but it won’t make you feel oily and it’s actually good with fries.

Be sure that you don’t forget to eat the famous Portuguese Egg Tart, or “pastel de bata” in Portuguese. I tried this at the two most famous tart eateries, Margaret’ Café e Nata and Lord Stow’s Bakery.  Portuguese Egg Tart is not like a normal tart that I’ve had before.  It’s more of a crispy tart with creamy filling. It’s most famous characteristic is the black color on the surface caused by heated sugar.



Hotel Lisboa - Magic hourBesides the historical part, the modern part in Macao would be where you find the casinos and entertainment.Macau’s economy is based largely on tourism. Starting in 1962, the gambling industry had been operated under a government-issued monopoly. That monopoly ended in 2002, and several casino owners from Las Vegas attempted to enter the market, including the Sands Macau and Wynn Macau. In 2007, Venetian Macau, at the time the second largest building in the world by floor space, opened its doors to the public. As time passed, some numerous other hotel casinos, including MGM Grand Macau, and Galaxy Cotai Megaresort, also opened. The gambling revenue has made Macau the world’s top casino market, surpassing Las Vegas.In addition to the gambling businesses, there are also some top-notch, world-class shows and entertainment, including the famous show House of Dancing Water, concerts, industry trade shows and international art crossovers.Recently, the most famous show in Macau is House of Dancing Water, which is considered “the must-see show”. The show is a combination of music, entertainment, excitement, love story and water. The House of Dancing Water Theater was designed by architects Pei Partnership and scenic designer Michel Crete. Uniquely one-of-a-kind, the House of Dancing Water Theater’s special design creates a climate of intimacy between the audience and the performers.

Experience Macao like never before and interact with your favorite DreamWorks characters.

Become an honorary Ogre and join Shrek and friends for a fairytale feast fit for a king. Guests staying with a DreamWorks Experience Package at either Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central or Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central will have the chance to enjoy an amazing breakfast with all of the DreamWorks Gang. Guests of all ages are sure to have a blast at this exclusive experience like no other!

Upon check-in, guests will be assigned to one of two Shrekfast seatings. The breakfast begins with a DreamWorks character performance on stage, after which the characters make their way through the seating area to interact with guests.



Culture and Marvel 

The Handover Gifts Museum of Macao is located next to the Macao Museum of Art in Avenida Xian Xing Hai (N.A.P.E.). The location of the Museum is also the area that was used for the handover ceremony on 20th December, 1999 in which Macao was returned to the Mainland. When the hall was dismantled after the ceremony the area became part of the Macao Cultural Centre. The Museum was officially opened December 2004.The main aim of the Handover Gifts Museum of Macao is to commemorate the handover for its significance in Macao’s modern history. The inauguration of the Museum on the 5th anniversary of the handover is also indeed significant and momentous.The Handover Gifts exhibition hall mainly exhibits the handover gifts presented by the State Council of The People’s Republic of China, its country-wide provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The designated topic exhibition hall is used to hold different exhibits, which are mainly themed at the local culture and history of Macao.In the coming years, the Handover Gifts Museum of Macao will not only display the handover gifts, but also hold a range of quality exhibitions to promote cultural development and enhance the living standard of local citizens. The Handover Gifts exhibition provides a better understanding among Macao residents and tourists as to Chinese history, geography and culture. For more information, please Feast of the Drunken Dragon, also known as the Drunken Dragon and Lion Dance Gala, is a unique traditional folk festival celebrated by the fishmongers of Macao. Traditionally, on the evening of the seventh day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, Macao residents engaged in the wholesale or retail trade of the fishing industry gather in the market, where they sit around the table to dine, which gradually evolved into the tradition of the ‘longevity rice’ feast. During the feast, a wooden dragon was made to dance on the incense burner table to pray for blessings.The tradition of the Drunken Dragon dance soon developed into a regular festival jointly celebrated by all fishmonger associations on the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, and became a unique and influential traditional folk festival in Macao, celebrated by all walks of life. The festival features a variety of activities, including the consumption of ‘longevity rice’, the ‘Drunken Dragon Parade’ and the distribution of free ‘longevity rice’, as well as two major performances of the ‘drunken dragon dance’ and ‘lion dance’.

Stay in Luxury

 Mandarin Oriental

Times change, but the Mandarin Oriental’s dedication to perfecting the travel experience continues.  One of the most exclusive hotels in Macau, Mandarin Oriental, Macau is a truly elegant and lavish resort. Its chic, contemporary design, fabulous rerstaurants and legendary service provides a sophisticated atmosphere with an unbeatable sense of relaxed luxury.     The Mandarin Oriental, Macau is ideally located for all of Macau’s major attractions. The hotel has 186 spacious rooms, each with large floor-to-ceiling windows, offering serene views over the lake and bay.  Dining options include gourmet Asian cuisine at Vida Rica, cocktails and lite bites at Vida Rica Bar, refreshments and afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge, and delicious delicacies at the Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop.

The Mandarin Oriental, Macau, continues to set the standard for luxury in Macau.

Royal Tower - Lisboa Tower

The Four Seasons

Much admired, and not easily replicated, the Four Seasons culture is firmly grounded in their staff – in who they are, what they believe, and how they treat their guests. The Four Seasons Hotel Macau, Cotal Strip allows its guests to enjoy the amazing sights from within its 19-story tower, and bask in rooms with neo-classical decor with Oriental accents.  The hotel has up-to-the-minute technology, including broadband wireless Internet connections and 42 inch plasma screen televisions in every room and suite.

With five pools, including a lagoon and two shallow wading pools, there’s a place for every member of the family to cool off. The lagoon pool, located adjacent to the hotel lobby, also boasts a hot tub.

You’ll find their fitness center on the fourth floor, complete with cardiovascular equipment, weight – training machines, and free – weights. Machines feature individual LCD televisions and headphones for your personal enjoyment.

The Four Seasons Hotel, Macau, Cotal Strip offers memorable experiences and access to one of the most captivating places on earth.

 Galaxy Macau 

Galaxy Macau is the World-Class Asian resort destination in Macau.

Galaxy Macau™ includes more than 2,200 rooms, suites and villas across three World-Class Asian hotels: the award-winning and ultra-exclusive Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, Japan’s legendary Okura Hotels & Resorts, and the five-star Galaxy Hotel. Facilities include a selection of more than 50 food and beverage outlets, including the widest selection of pan-Asian cuisine in Macau; distinctive retail shopping; lush oasis gardens covering 52,000 square meters, and the world’s largest Sky Wave Pool covering 4,000 square meters and featuring a 350-ton white sand beach.

Galaxy Macau is your premier destination for luxury by the beach.



Spa at Mandarin Oriental   

Providing holistic therapies in a peaceful setting, their tranquil spa offers a comprehensive range of treatments

The award-winning Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Macau offers a seductive escape from day-to-day stress by introducing you to a healing sanctuary of calm.  The spa’s atmosphere is one of tranquillity, inviting you to relax as soon as you set foot inside.

Your experience begins in their heat and water complex, where you can dissolve stress and soothe aching muscles. We recommend you arrive 45 minutes prior to the start of your treatment to take full advantage of these facilities.

You will then be taken to your luxurious treatment room where, following a consultation with one of their experienced therapists and a relaxing foot ritual, your highly personalised treatment will begin.

Includes four single treatment rooms and three treatment suites with private changing facilities, steam shower and Jacuzzi

One Oriental Spa Suite with heated scrub table, Thai massage beds, steam room and an experience shower for two.

A separate men’s and women’s heat and water experience, including vitality pool, amethyst crystal steam room, sauna room, and rainforest experience shower.  There is also a Nail Spa offering luxurious manicures and pedicures.

Banyan Tree Spa 

Located inside Banyan Tree Macau, the renowned award-winning Banyan Tree Spa offers a myriad of Asian health and beauty treatments and therapies as well as Banyan Tree Gallery products, which help make Galaxy Macau™ the most complete holiday destination in the city.  Discover a Sanctuary for the Senses amidst 3,400 square meters of treatment rooms and facilities, staffed by gracious and professional therapists and framed by twin tropical pools. It’s world-class relaxation delivered with an Asian heart…only at Galaxy Macau.

More Macau’s Attractions

1. Night tour, including a stop at the Hotel Wynn Macau for the in-house shows “The Dragon Show”, “Music Fountain”, and “Tree of Prosperity”.

2. A Portuguese barbeque style dinner at Manuel Restaurant on Taipa Island

3. “Eight”, a 3-star Michelin rated Chinese restaurant located in

the Grand Lisboa Hotel, the only hotel property with 3 Michelin- rated restaurants under one roof.

4. Macau Science Center

5. Bird’s eye view of Macau from the Macau Tower – the world’s most exciting tower and the venue for the world’s highest commercial Bungee Jump.

6.International buffet dinner at the Macau Tower’s revolving restaurant.

7. The Old Chinese Neighborhoods and the Old Christian City in Macau

8. Inner Harbor, with visits to the Chinese temple dedicated to the Monkey King, followed by a visit to Camoes Garden and opportunity to participate in a local Tai Chi class.

9. Café Litoral in Taipa Island (Macanese Cuisine)

10. Taipa Village

11. Portuguese fine-dining at Antonio with live performance of Portuguese Fado

12.The Macau Giant Panda Pavilion

13. The Tasting Room restaurant in the City of Dreams (French fine dining)

14. Eat Tai Pai Tong Chinese seafood style dinner at Ng Tim al fresco restaurant on Coloane Island.

Special thanks to Macau Tourism for sponsoring this trip.

For more information visit