A Travellerspoint blog

Macau

Macau Two Casinos, Islands and Festivals.

More about Macau

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Chinese New Year.

Casinos.

I am so not into gambling and you would never find me in a casino. In fact, two American guys stopped me and my husband in the street during our last Macau visit and asked where they could find some cheap tables. We both started talking about furniture much to their amusement. When we all realised we were talking at cross purposes, we explained that we did not gamble and they looked amazed and asked "Why are you here then?" I could answer that with food, history etc but even I have to admit the casinos can look attractive lit up at night and the new Grand Lisboa adds an interesting shape to Macau's skyline.

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Casinos.

The Venetian.

The Venetian Hotel is located on the Cotai Strip, Taipa. It is currently the most expensive place to stay in Macau and one of the most popular. I have not stayed there and this was my first visit. The outside of the hotel is designed to look like Venice complete with the Bridge of Sighs, gondolas and all the other sights of Venice. It is a fun place to look around and photograph. I personally did not like the inside of the hotel. It was garishly painted, crowded and noisy. Like most new Macau hotels it has a large casino. During our visit the hotel was decorated for carnival. The Venetian Macau is owned by the Las Vegas Sands Group and has a sister hotel in Las Vegas - The Venetian, Las Vegas. The Venetian has the largest casino in the world. The Venetian first opened for business in August 2007. It has four swimming pools. The Venetian cost around 2.4 billion US dollars to build.

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The Venetian.

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The Venetian.

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The Venetian.

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The Venetian.

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The Venetian.

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The Venetian.

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The Venetian.

The City Of Dreams.

The City of Dreams is located opposite the Venetian Hotel. It was built by the Melco Crown Entertainment Group. Inside there are three hotels: The Crown Towers Hotel, the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the Hard Rock Hotel. There are also many restaurants including Chinese, Japanese and Western. In addition there are many, many shops. The City of Dreams is also an entertainment complex which contains a theatre currently showing The House of the Dancing Water and Taboo. Another show housed in The Bubble Theatre is called the Dragon's Treasure. It is also possible to visit Vquarium a virtual reality screen designed to look like a huge aquarium with fish, jelly-fish, penguins and even mermaids. Every time a mermaid appears people go crazy trying to photograph her. I liked the reception of the Hard Rock Hotel with its huge inscription on the wall "Hello, I love you, won't you tell me your name." It also had lots of guitars and rock star memorabilia on display behind a glass wall. I also liked the superhero store and the gift shop of the house of the dancing water theatre. We had a tasty meal in the restaurant in the Hard Rock Hotel.

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The City Of Dreams.

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The City Of Dreams.

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The City Of Dreams.

Sands Macau.

I decided to have a look at several Macau hotel/casino complexes on one trip. One of these was Sands Macau. This was right next door to our hotel and had a very convenient free shuttle bus to the Macau Ferry Terminal and to the ferry terminal on the Cotai Strip. We had a great view of the Sands from our hotel bedroom and liked the way it was lit up at night. Inside it there are several restaurants, a casino and a 289-suite hotel. In its main lobby it has an enormous chandelier. Sands Casino opened on May 18th, 2004 and cost $240 million. It is owned and operated by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

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Sands, Macau.

MGM Macau.

MGM Macau is 35 stories high, has 600 rooms, a large shopping centre and a casino. It is owned by MGM Resorts International and Pansy Ho, daughter of the famous Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho. It was opened on 18th December 2007 at a cost of US$1.25 billion. The only part of it that impressed us (we don't gamble and hate shopping so are not the right people for this place) was its lion which is rather cute. Oh, and its free shuttle service to and from the Macau Ferry Terminal. If you like shopping, you will probably love its large shopping centre. It also has some restaurants.

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MGM Macau.

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MGM Macau.

Wynn Macau.

Wynn Macau is owned by Wynn Resorts. It consists of a hotel, restaurants, shops and a casino which apparently was featured in the James Bond film Skyfall. It opened on the 6th of September 2006. In the rotunda of Wynn Resorts you can watch two free shows. On the hour there is a show called The Dragon of Fortune and on the half hour The Tree of Prosperity. Shows start at 10am and continue until midnight. We watched both. The roof of the rotunda is decorated with the animals from the Chinese zodiac. Under this there is a dome decorated with the symbols of the western zodiac. In the tree of proserity show a huge chandelier descends from the roof and a tree sprouts out of the floor below. It changes colour several times. In the dragon show a long coiling dragon ascends out of the floor. These shows get very busy with mainland tourists. The Wynn also has a performing lake with musical fountains. We were told off for crossing the road near them, so did not see them properly. They would be better viewed from the further side of the lake. We saw them by day. Apparently they are lit up and colourful by night.

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Wynn Macau.

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Wynn Macau.

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Wynn Macau.

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Wynn Macau.

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Wynn Macau.

Hotel Lisboa.

The Hotel Lisboa has been around for a long time and is a well known Macau landmark. It was built in the late 1960s and was owned by Stanley Ho. Even with all the competition, the Hotel Lisboa still has the largest casino in Macau. It has an interesting lobby which is worth taking a stroll around to see several works of art such as porcelain vases, Chinese carvings, large fish tanks and the dragon wall. This hotel has several restaurants and stages shows such as the famous Crazy Paris Show.

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Hotel Lisboa.

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Hotel Lisboa.

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Hotel Lisboa.

The Parisian.

The Parisian Hotel is the latest addition to the Macau hotel and casino scene. It is owned by the Las Vegas Sands Group. The hotel is new to Macau. It officially opened on the 13th of September 2016. It is located on the Cotai Strip next door to the Venetian. The Parisian has a half-scale Eiffel Tower and a town square under a dome done up to look like an ever changing sky. It also has a fountain in the main lobby that constantly changes colour. The Parisian provides lots of photo opportunities as it is possible to pose for photos with stereotypical French characters dressed in stripy black and white tops, Pierrot and elegant Parisians from yesteryear out for a stroll. The Parisian has more than 3,000 rooms and suites, a casino, restaurants, shops and a theatre.

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The Parisian.

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The Parisian.

Catch A Show.

Macau is the Las Vegas of South East Asia. It is becoming more and more popular to come here to catch a show in one of the many hotels. We just went to our first ever Macau show. We saw the excellent 'Thriller' in the newly opened Parisian Hotel and very entertaining it was, too. The theatre in the Parisian is comfortable with good acoustics and lots of space. There is plenty of choice for live entertainment here. Google what is on before you visit.

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Catch A Show.

Old Taipa Village.

Continual land reclamation in Macau is joining the mainland and islands more and more together. One interesting area to visit in Taipa is Old Taipa Village with its beautiful old blue and green colonial houses and yellow Church of Our Lady of Carmel. Some of the old houses are now museums. Food Street with its many restaurants is nearby.

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Old Taipa Village.

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Old Taipa Village.

Coloane Island.

Coloane is the furthest away island from mainland Macau. There are several things to see here. First of all, there is Coloane Village with its fish hanging up drying in the sun, its picturesque old houses, its little Chapel of St Francis Xavier and its Lord Stow Bakery, this is the best place in Macau for the Portuguese egg tart. Delicious! Chris Patten was a regular. Then there is the statue of Tin Hau perched on its hill top. We spent a very pleasant day hiking up to the base of that. Furthermore, there are its beaches: Hac Sa with its black volcanic sands and the much quieter Cheok Van. Many people come to Coloane purely for the most famous restaurant in Macau - Fernando's.

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Coloane Island.

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Coloane Island.

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Coloane Island.

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Coloane Island.

Hac Sa Beach, Coloane Island.

We recently returned to Hac Sa when I took my husband to the Hotel Westin for his birthday. Hac Sa means black sands and it is located on Coloane Island. The black sands refer to the 4KM long crescent shaped volcanic sand beach located here. As the beach erodes, the local authorities are bringing in yellow sand to replace it, so the beach is currently a mixture of the two types of sand. Behind the beach there is a village with restaurants, a park, barbeque pits and lots of marine themed statues. Hac Sa is popular with locals and is a relatively peaceful place away from the crowds and casino madness.

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Hac Sa Beach, Coloane Island.

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Hac Sa Beach, Coloane Island.

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Hac Sa Beach, Coloane Island.

Hac Sa Park, Coloane.

Just behind the main bus stop for Hac Sa there is a park which is a pleasant place to visit. In addition to flowers, greenery, drinks machines, it has a huge swimming pool (waterless during our visit), tennis courts and a basketball court.

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Hac Sa Park, Coloane.

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Hac Sa Park, Coloane.

Fernando's Restaurant. Hac Sa.

Many people travel to Hac Sa to go to Fernando's restaurant. This is a famous Portuguese restaurant in Macau. It is normally very busy and you cannot reserve a table there. We tried to get in several times in the past, but as we dislike queuing, always ended up in the Hac Sa Parque Restaurant next door. This time there was no queue at Fernando's, perhaps because it was such a miserable day, but as we have now developed a fondness for the Hac Sa Parque Restaurant, we went straight there instead.

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Fernando's Restaurant.

The Rubber Duck.

The rubber duck Dutch designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman was in Macau when we visited in May 2016. We had come across this duck before as it has also been to Hong Kong. The duck has been sailing around the world since 2007. The duck was located near Macau Science Museum. It was generating lots of interest with lots of people photographing it. There was even a couple having their wedding photos taken with it when we visited.

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The Rubber Duck.

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The Rubber Duck.

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The Rubber Duck.

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The Rubber Duck.

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The Rubber Duck.

Rubber Duck Garden - Fisherman's Wharf.

To celebrate Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's huge floating rubber duck being in Macau, Fisherman's Wharf opened a Rubber Duck Garden. Essentially this meant that Fisherman's Wharf had lots of wonderful rubber duck models to photograph or pose with. There were also rubber duck stalls and songs about rubber ducks blasting away day and night. It was all quite good fun.The Rubber Duck, Macau.

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Rubber Duck Garden - Fisherman's Wharf.

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Rubber Duck Garden - Fisherman's Wharf.

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Rubber Duck Garden - Fisherman's Wharf.

Chinese New Year.

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Chinese New Year.

Dragon Dancing.

We have been lucky enough to spend several Chinese New years in Macau. During one when we were staying at the Hyatt Hotel on Taipa, we brought the new year in with fire crackers, dragon dancing and lion dancing. Dragon Dancing started in China during the Han Dynasty. The emperors of Ancient China considered themselves to be dragons. The dragon represents supernatural power, goodness, fertility and dignity. Dragon dances are a common feature of Chinese New Year celebrations to usher in good luck.

Lion Dancing.

Lion dancing started more than a thousand years ago. The lion is seen as a protector able to drive away evil spirits. This is why many Chinese temples and palaces have lion statues guarding their entrances. A lion dance is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity, therefore, it is often performed on special occasions, such as festivals, weddings, the opening of a new business and at Chinese New Year. Performances normally involve two dancers. One is hidden under the head of the costume; the other is under the tail. The dance is accompanied by the sound of a drum, cymbals and gong. The loud noise drives away bad luck and evil spirits. Performances are often very acrobatic involving balancing on ropes or jumping from stand to stand. The dancer under the head also portrays the emotions of the lion by making its head and eyes move.

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Lion Dancing.

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Lion Dancing.

Fire Crackers.

During the lion dance and dragon dance ceremonies fire crackers are lit. These make an incredible deafening sound like multiple gun shots. They are supposed to drive away bad luck and evil spirits. Fire crackers are allowed in Macau but banned in Hong Kong (though you can still hear them from time to time). As well as being very loud, they are also a fire hazard and quite terrifying.

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Fire Crackers.

Chinese New Year.

At Chinese New Year many animal decorations will be placed around the streets, shopping malls, hotels etc representing the animal whose year it is changing to. This decoration must be from 2005 the last year of the rooster.

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Chinese New Year.

Welcoming In The Year Of The Horse 2014.

Just returned from a 3 day/2 night visit to Macau over Chinese New Year. We were impressed by the lovely year of the horse decorations we came across.We often visit Macau for Chinese New Year and always enjoying welcoming in each animal.

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Welcoming In The Year Of The Horse 2014.

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Welcoming In The Year Of The Horse 2014.

Other Chinese New Year Decorations.

As well as decorations about horses Chinese New Year decorations consist of colourful fruit, flower, plant and red packet displays. We love to go to Macau for Chinese New Year. There is always lots going on.

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Chinese New Year Decorations.

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Chinese New Year Decorations.

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Chinese New Year Decorations.

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Chinese New Year Decorations.

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Chinese New Year Decorations.

Posted by irenevt 02:58 Archived in Macau Comments (0)

Macau. History, Hotels and Food.

An ever changing friend.

Macau.

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The Mandarin's House.

Many visits to Macau.

We have been to Macau many, many times since we live in Hong Kong and Macau is only around an hour away. Things I like about Macau are: it has kept a lot of its historical remains whereas Hong Kong has not; it has got lots of excellent restaurants and very tasty food; you can get a good selection of Portuguese wine here, too. We always buy a couple of bottles from the huge Johann near the ferry pier to back with us. (Please note on our latest visit - January 2014 - the Johann near the ferry had closed and been made into a casino). There is a small Johann in the ferry terminal itself, but I don't think it has a supermarket. There is a huge Johann in the centre of town with a supermarket on the seventh floor. It no longer had a good selection of Portuguese wine. We bought these instead from Sun Supermercado.

A refuge.

At one point, during the SARS crisis in Hong Kong (2002-2003), Macau became our adopted home. We still lived in Hong Kong but went to Macau at every opportunity. Why? Well, the whole of Hong Kong had gone crazy, everyone was wearing masks, the price of alcoholic hand gel had gone through the roof, places like Causeway Bay had become ghost towns. In Macau, on the other hand, everything was blessedly normal and we could forget about our fear of dying horribly from a dreadful respiratory disease for a while. During this time hotel prices in both Hong Kong and Macau were dirt cheap due to lack of tourism.Sightseeing was not as crowded as usual. Service in restaurants was friendly and welcoming (even in Hong Kong, believe it or not) due to lack of customers. We were in some Macau restaurants so frequently the staff thought we were locals. We felt our stresses evaporate the moment we stepped off the ferry. It really was our home from home.

Then it all went sadly wrong.

I do not know exactly when our last visit to Macau was (I reckon this was 2008), but it was our last for good reason. Restrictions on opening casinos had been removed or relaxed and a building frenzy was taking hold of Macau. This began, I believe, around 2004. We foolishly thought this would not affect us, we don't gamble, never, ever go to casinos. We turned up a couple of hours before hotel check in time, as we always did, and walked to the restaurant we always went to in a lovely little park near our hotel. The restaurant had been demolished and the park ripped up to build a casino. Yes, yet another one to go with all the other ones that had shot up everywhere. That green space provided by the park in such a small, claustrophobic and built up place was essential. It was loved and needed by locals not just visitors like us. Locals are not even allowed to gamble. The casinos don't improve their lives. Deeply saddened we went to the Holiday Inn Hotel where we always stayed. We decided to cheer ourselves up with a relaxing swim. Not a bit of it; they had just ripped out the pool in order to extend their casino. (I believe nowadays they have a new pool). We felt like we were watching an old friend being destroyed by greed. We have not been back since. Scared to see what else has changed.
Well, we finally took the plunge and returned in January 2014. It did not start well; we discovered the Johann was a casino and we were plagued on arrival by SMS after SMS from casinos. However, we were delighted to see our park had not been torn apart. It was still there. They must just have been renovating it. Even the little cafe we loved was still there. The historical parts of Macau were as lovely as ever and were even improved. We loved our visit to the newly renovated Mandarin's House. Our favourite restaurants were still there. Yes, there were changes, even more casinos, lots of land reclamation, new roads, more people, higher prices, but there is still a well preserved history and culture and there are still peaceful places to sit in the sun and relax as the world passes by. We will not wait so long till our next visit.

Sightseeing in Macau.

Largo Do Senado - Senate Square.

Largo do Senado - Senate Square - is a public square in the centre of Macau occupying an area of around 3,700 square meters. In 2005 it was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List. The square is called Senate Square because Macau's Senate Building stands at one end of the square. At one time there used to be a statue of a famous Portuguese soldier named Mesquita in the centre of the square. However, as he was responsible for the deaths of many Chinese soldiers during the hostilities with the Qing Dynasty this statue has been removed and replaced by a fountain instead. In the early 1990s the Macau authorities comissioned Portuguese experts to re-pave the square with a wave-patterned mosaic of coloured stones. The square is lined with beautiful old European style buildings. The beautiful St Domingo's Church with its religious icons museum is near the far end of this square. The square is always busy and is used to host various local events.

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Largo Do Senado - Senate Square.

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Largo Do Senado - Senate Square.

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Largo Do Senado - Senate Square.

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Largo Do Senado - Senate Square.

Largo Senado At Night.

There is always something going on in the lovely, but eternally busy, Largo Senado. On one visit it was beautifully decorated for the year of the horse and was stunningly illuminated at night. Well worth seeing.

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Largo Senado At Night.

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Largo Senado At Night.

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Largo Senado At Night.

Leal Senado - Loyal Senate Building.

The Leal Senado building faces onto the beautiful Largo de Senado - Senado Square. The Leal Senado was built in 1784. It is Macau’s municipal chamber. Leal Senado means Loyal Senate. This name comes from the fact that Macau remained loyal to Portugal even during the sixty years from 1580 to 1640 when Portugal was occupied by Spain and the Portuguese king was exiled in Brazil. I have never been inside the building, but its courtyards are beautiful with seating areas, statues, fountains, plants.

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Leal Senado - Loyal Senate Building.

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Leal Senado - Loyal Senate Building.

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Leal Senado - Loyal Senate Building.

The Ruins Of St Paul's.

The Church of Mater Dei - the Mother of God- was built between 1602 and 1640. It stood near St Paul's College, the first western-style university in the Far East. Both of these buildings were destroyed by fire in 1835. The Ruins of St Paul's refers to the beautiful ornate facade of the Church of the Mater Dei and the ruins of the college. These buildings together with the nearby Mount Fortress were all built by the Jesuits. The Ruins of St Paul's have become the symbol of Macau. They stand high on a hill with excellent views over Macau below.

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The Ruins Of St Paul's.

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The Ruins Of St Paul's.

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The Ruins Of St Paul's.

Mount Fortress.

This fortress was built by the Jesuits between 1617 and 1626. The fortress's full name is the Fortress of Our Lady of the Mount of St. Paul but is more commonly known as Mount Fortress. The fortress stands on a hill 52 metres above sea level. From its gardens you can see spectacular views over Macau. Several old cannons can be seen in the fortress gardens. The fortress was originally built to protect Macau against attackers arriving from the sea. In 1965 the fortress became a weather observatory. It changed to a tourist site in 1996 when the observatory moved to Taipa. In September 1998, the government opened the Macau Museum in the former observatory buildings. This fortress is one of three mountain top fortresses in Macau.

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Mount Fortress.

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Mount Fortress.

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Mount Fortress.

The Old Protestant Cemetery.

I would strongly recommend a visit here if you are at all interested in history. This cemetery is located next to the lovely Luis de Camoes Gardens. Near the entrance to the cemetery stands an imposing colonial villa. This was constructed in 1770 by a wealthy Portuguese merchant. Later the house was leased to the British East India Company, who used it as accommodation for their high ranking officers. Nowadays, the house is used by a local cultural foundation called The Orient Foundation. The Old Protestant cemetery was first used in 1821, when The British East India Company bought this small piece of land. At that time this land was just outside Macau's city walls. There was no place within Macau itself where it was permitted to bury non-catholics. The cemetery is well maintained and has several beautiful tombs, but the reason it is so interesting is that the tomb stones are extremely informative about the individuals buried in this lovely spot. Many were sailors who had come to Macau to trade. Some were killed through accidents on the ship like falling from the crow's nest. One man fell down a trap door that had accidentally been left open. Many people came to Macau from overseas and contracted terrible tropical diseases such as malaria. Some people died soon after arrival weakened by the dreadful sea voyage they had endured to reach here. Many women died in childbirth. I even found the grave of one of the Spencer family - a distant relative of Winston Churchill and Lady Diana Spencer.

Take Your Bird For A Walk.

In both Macau and Hong Kong most people live in small, cramped apartments. Few people can have the luxury of having a big pet so caged birds or pet fish are popular. It is a common practice in both places to take your pet bird out for a walk to give it a bit of fresh air. People also take their bird cage to the nearest park and hang it on a tree for a while for the same reason. The caged birds in the photos are taking the air in the lovely Luis de Camoes Park. This park is called after Portugal's national poet. One of the park's main attractions is the grotto where the famous poet worked on his epic poem, Os Lusíadas, while he was living in Macau. At the entrance to the grotto there is a small bust, commemorating Camoes and his poem. At the entrance to the garden there is a fountain with an abstract bronze statue, called the Embrace. This statue symbolizes the ties of friendship between Portugal and China. The park is across the road from the lovely St Anthony's Church and right next door to the fascinating Protestant cemetery.

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Take Your Bird For A Walk.

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Take Your Bird For A Walk.

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Take Your Bird For A Walk.

A-Ma Temple.

Macau takes its name from the A-Ma Temple. The A-Ma Temple is dedicated to the Chinese sea-goddess. It was built in 1488. The temple has six parts: the Gate Pavilion, the Memorial Arch, the Prayer Hall, the Hall of Benevolence, the Hall of Guanyin and the Buddhist Pavillion.

The Maritime Museum.

I am not really a museum person, but this museum is interesting and all the more so because of Macau's strong links with the sea. Last time we did not visit. We just had a drink in the peaceful little cafe located just outside. We used to enjoy doing boat trips from here, but now with the construction of a new road I'm no longer sure they run. The museum is as you would expect, near the A Ma Temple - a temple to the goddess of the sea from whom Macau takes its name. There are stalls selling windmills and incense for the temple nearby. The museum was originally housed in the lovely old colonial building in the adjacent square. Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. The Museum closes on Tuesdays. Admission: 10 to 17 years old: MOP$5.00 (Mon. to Sat.); $3.00 (Sun.) 18 to 64 years old: MOP$10.00 - standard ticket (Mon. to Sat.); $5.00 (Sun.) Free admission - children under 10 or senior of 65 years old or over. Address: 1, Largo do Pagode da Barra, Macau.

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The Maritime Museum.

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The Maritime Museum.

The Mandarin's House.

The Mandarin's House was a new sight for us. I believe it had not been renovated during our previous visits. This beautiful house was built around 1869. It was once the ancestral home of Zheng Guanying. The building of the house was started by Zheng Wenrui, who was the father of Zheng Guanying. Entry to this house is free and visitors can wander around the many rooms and courtyards of the complex. The building's many circular doorways make an excellent frame for any photos you may take. There were seats in the main courtyard, a well and a beautiful tree festooned with red lanterns. Inside the building there was an exhibit about the renovation of the house, flower displays and examples of traditional Chinese dark wood furniture. The site also had free, clean toilets and a gift shop. I loved this building and could have spent hours here. Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (No admission after 5.30 p.m. closed on Wednesdays, except public holidays) Address: No 10, Travessa de António da Silva, Macau
Bus 18 or 28b to Lilau Square.

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The Mandarin's House.

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The Mandarin's House.

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The Mandarin's House.

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The Mandarin's House.

Lilau Square.

This pretty little square has seats, a kiosk and colourful Portuguese style buildings. It is near the mandarin's house, the Moorish barracks, the Ama Temple and Penha Church. A pleasant place to sit and relax.

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Lilau Square.

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Lilau Square.

The Moorish Barracks.

These barracks are located near Lilau Square. They date from around 1874. They were designed by an Italian architect to house around two hundred Muslim Indian policemen who came to Macau from Goa. We were not able to go inside. I'm not sure if that is always true or if they were just closed when we visited.

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The Moorish Barracks.

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The Moorish Barracks.

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The Moorish Barracks.

Balconies.

I love the old Macau houses with balconies, especially the ones enclosed behind long metal bars. They are quite picturesque and well worth having a look at. There are lots around the Barra and Penha areas.

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Balconies.

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Balconies.

Throw Yourself Off A Tall Building.

The Macau Tower has a viewing area, a revolving restaurant, a shopping centre with cafes and restaurants. It also has, what it advertises as, the highest bungee jump in the world. I am no sensation seeker. This is not for me, but as we wandered around looking at the horse displays and wind-mills below, we were occasionally disturbed by the terrified screams of the mad people who had just leapt from the tower.

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Throw Yourself Off A Tall Building

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Throw Yourself Off A Tall Building

The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

The Chapel of Our Lady of Penha sits on top of Penha Hill on the Barra Peninsula. The original chapel was built here in 1622 by the crew and passengers of a Portuguese ship which had only just narrowly escaped capture by the Dutch. The chapel became a common place of worship for those about to set out on dangerous voyages. There are good views from this location and the steep walk up the hill involves passing some interesting buildings. This is a lovely old church. There are several statues of the Virgin Mary here - on the roof, outside the church and in a little grotto below the church. There are lovely views from here too. On our visit to the Lady of Penha Chapel we came across two sets of stone lion guards. They are smaller than most sets of stone lions and I thought they were quite cute.

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The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

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The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

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The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

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The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

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The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

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The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

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The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

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The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

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The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

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The Chapel Of Our Lady Of Penha.

Miradors Or Lookout Points.

One legacy of the Portuguese in Macau is that there are lots of little lookout points dotted around the hillsides. We noticed several on our trip up Penha Hill. Near the church there was a lookout over the harbour and another one out towards the Macau Tower. We were also fortunate that there were good views from both of our hotels on our last visit.

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Miradors Or Lookout Points.

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Miradors Or Lookout Points.

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Miradors Or Lookout Points.

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Miradors Or Lookout Points.

The Wine Museum.

Macau Wine Museum first opened on December 25, 1995. It occupies an area of 1400 square meters and has a collection of more than 1115 brands of wine. The museum is divided into three parts: the history of wine-making, collections of wine and wine displays. A visit here also involves the chance to sample some newly created wines. Mannequins wearing national dress from different regions of Portugal are also on display. Admission: free. Opening Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (Closed on Tuesday) This museum is inside Macau Tourism Activities Centre together with the Grand Prix Museum. Well, the information I found says admssion free, but we went here because we bought a Macau Museums Pass and visited every museum on Macau during one trip.

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The Wine Museum.

The Grand Prix Museum.

We went here because we bought a Macau museum pass and it was next to the Museum of Wine. Macau may be famous for its Grand Prix but neither of us have an iota of interest in cars and yet we really enjoyed our visit!!! I would happily go back. How come? Well, either it was down to the exhibits or maybe the free samples of wine we consumed in the Wine Museum beforehand. Either way we had a great time and I would heartily recommend it. The Grand Prix Museum houses many exhibits related to worldwide Grand Prix races. It includes photos, videos, cups, records of champions and commemorative items. This museum was built in 1933 which was the the 40th anniversary of Grand Prix Racing in Macau More than twenty cars and motorcycles once driven by famous drivers such as Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard, are on display here. The most memorable exhibit is a racing car that was once driven by Aryton Senna, who died at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. His racing cloth and helmet are also exhibited. If you want to experience the thrill of a race, there are also two racing car simulators here. Admission: Free Hours:10:00-18:00 (Closed on Tuesday) How to Get there: The museum is inside the Macau Tourism Activities Centre.

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The Grand Prix Museum.

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The Grand Prix Museum.

Macau Museum Of Art.

We visited this museum long ago when we bought a Macau museum pass. We did not visit this time, but were rather impressed by the design of the building with its unusual sloping roof and the garden in front of it with its rather attractive sculptures.

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Macau Museum Of Art.

The Kuan Yin Statue.

Kuan Yin is the Chinese goddess of mercy. There is a lovely statue of her standing on a lotus flower. The statue juts out into the sea. Inside the statue complex there are exhibitions about Kuan Yin, some stalls and a library. We sat downstairs for a while: me - falling asleep while listening to the deeply meditative music; my husband - making use of the free Wifi. You can also sit outside and listen to the music while gazing out over the sea. Very relaxing.

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The Kuan Yin Statue.

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The Kuan Yin Statue.

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Golden Lotus Square.

This square is near the Grand Prix Museum and Wine Museum. In the centre is a large golden lotus. Its layers represent Macau mainland, Taipa and Coloane. It was placed there to commemorate the end of Portuguese rule and the return to Mainland China.

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Golden Lotus Square.

Dr. Carlos D'assumpcao Park.

This park near the Kuan Yin statue is a peaceful place for a stroll, a seat in the shade on a hot day or a visit to the little tea house. It is not a must see site, but it is a lovely quiet local area to sit down and relax in.

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Dr. Carlos D'assumpcao Park.

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Dr. Carlos D'assumpcao Park.

Fisherman's Wharf.

Fisherman's Wharf was located very close to our hotel so we went to take a look. At the moment, May 2016, it is a bit of a mess as there is lots of redevelopment going on. Fisherman's Wharf is a sort of theme park. It has buildings designed to look like various European buildings including a sort of open air theatre set in a model of the colliseum. Its buildings house restaurants and shops. It is also home to several hotels such as The Rocks Hotel, The Harbourview Hotel and the Babylon Casino. This place has good places to eat and drink and when the redevelopment is over it may even look nice.

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Fisherman's Wharf.

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Fisherman's Wharf.

The Guia Fortress: The Guia Lighthouse.

The Guia Fortress was built between 1622 and 1638. Along with the Mount Fortress this fortress played a huge role in driving off the attempted Dutch invasion of Macau in 1622. Inside the fortress is Guia Chapel which was set up by Clarist nuns in 1622, and Guia Lighthouse, which dates from 1865. This lighthouse was the first modern lighthouse on the Chinese coast. Macau takes its co-ordinates from the location of the lighthouse. Guia Fortress sits on top of Guia Hill. It is possible to walk here or take the cable car up the hill. Near the foot of Guia Hill there are pleasant gardens and a small zoo and aviary.

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The Guia Fortress.

Sun Yat Sen Park.

The Sun Yat-Sen Park is located in the northwest of the Macau near the Chinese border. The park is 390 meters long and 130 meters wide and covers an area of about 70,000 square meters. The park was originally created in 1987. Then in 1990 a bronze statue of Doctor Sun Yat-sen was placed at the entrance to the park and the park became known as the Sun Yat Sen Park. Doctor Sun Yat-sen is the Father of the Revolution in China. The park has two main parts. The northeast part has traditional Chinese garden with lakes, zig-zag bridges and towers. The southwestern section is more European and has sports facilities and greenhouses. In the centre of the park there is a steel statue of two shaking hands. This symbolizes the friendship between Portugal and China. The park also has an open-air theatre and a swimming pool. There are good views from the park into Mainland China.

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Sun Yat Sen Park.

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Sun Yat Sen Park.

Accommodation in Macau..

We have stayed in many different hotels in Macau. Some of these are listed below.

The Westin Resort: Peaceful, Relaxing Location.

We stayed in the Westin Resort, Macau for one night. We got there by taking their free shuttle from the Macau Ferry Terminal. To access the hotel shuttles, exit the ferry terminal and go into the tunnel that will take you under the road to the bus stands for hotels shuttles and casinos. Casino buses are to the right, hotel shuttles to the left. The shuttle stopped to pick people up on Taipa and outside the Venetian Hotel on the Cotai Strip on the way. Check in was efficient and friendly. Our room was large, comfortable and clean. It had a huge balcony with a beautiful ocean view. On the balcony there was a table and two chairs. We bought ourselves sandwiches before reaching the hotel and ate them for breakfast on the balcony the next day. Our room had two double beds which were very comfortable, a fridge with minibar and four free bottles of water. We had a kettle, two coffee bags, a cafetiere, lots of tea-bags. Our room had an in-room safe, a hairdryer and an iron and ironing board. The bathroom had a bath and shower, though the water was lukewarm when I took a bath. Free toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel were provided. There is no free wifi in the room, though it is available in the lobby. The hotel has an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool. Unfortunately the outdoor pool was closed for cleaning during our visit, which was a shame as it looked lovely. There was a children's pool and a whirlpool outdoors, too. There was also a play area for children. The indoor pool was very warm and pleasant. It stayed open till 10pm at night. There was also a well equipped gym and in the changing rooms there was a sauna and a steam-room. We did not eat in the hotel. The hotel is quiet and peaceful, but is not near many other things. Next door to it there is a golf course. On the other side you can walk along the Hac Sa - black sands beach into Hac Sa Village. There is a restaurant called the Miramar very close to the hotel and near the beach. We walked into Hac Sa in around 10 - 15 minutes and ate in the Hac Sa Park Restaurant which is very good. Next door to the Hac Sa Park restaurant is the famous Fernando's Restaurant. The hotel provides a free shuttle to the Venetian and the Macau ferry terminal every half hour. You must book the return shuttle in advance to get on. Our hotel package was supposed to include a free plate of fruit and a free half bottle of wine. We had to ask for this in order to get it, which always annoys me. Free offers should be given without you having to ask in my view. The hotel has a driving range and putting green. The grounds of the hotel are pretty. Check out involved a bit of a queue but was accurate and efficient, just busy. Check-in time is 3pm and check-out is midday. We had a lovely, relaxing, comfortable and enjoyable stay here and would happily stay here again. All the hotel staff were very pleasant and polite.

The Metropark Hotel: Good Central Location.

We stayed in the Metropark Hotel for two nights. We know the area it is located in well as we have stayed many times in the nearby Holiday Inn. The Metropark does have a shuttle from the ferry, but we did not wait for it and just walked from the ferry terminal. Check-in was quick and efficient, though the girl was a bit brisk - language difficulty, I would guess. The man working on reception was much more pleasant and gave us a free map of Macau. We could have swiped our credit card for expenses but the girl kept saying the bank would hold the money for a month. We were not really sure what she meant but we ended up giving her HK$500 in cash instead of swiping the card. We got a receipt and had no problem getting our money back when we left. The hotel was decorated for Chinese New Year though it looked Christmasy to me and the corridors looked pretty. The room was good. It was clean and had everything we needed: a very large double bed which was very comfortable, a kettle with four tea bags, no coffee, an in-room safe, a fridge, a TV. The bathroom had a shower and a bath. They provided toothbrushes, combs, shampoo, no conditioner. Our next door neighbours came home around 4am on the first night and put their TV on at high volume which was annoying. The next night it was very quiet and we slept really well. On the third floor of the hotel there is a swimming pool, long and thin, not that big but each time we went we had it to ourselves so it was great. There was also a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and a gym. The swimming pool stayed open till 10pm, which was also great. We were very pleased with these facilities. The hotel has a revolving restaurant on its roof but this is only for special pre booked functions. On the second floor there is a Chinese restaurant on the third floor there is Ciao Restaurant. Food there is more local than Italian. On our last day we had the lunch buffet there. The food was plentiful and tasty and very cheap at MOP58 plus 10%. It was MOP28 for a bottle of Macau beer. At check-in we had been given a MOP50 discount voucher if we spent MOP200 or above in the restaurants. We had to drink lots of beer to get the price up enough to get the discount. No hardship there. I was very impressed with the buffet which had a salad bar, caldo verde soup, bread rolls, main courses, dessert - the creme caramel was delicious, tea, coffee. The location of the hotel is very good. There is a 7-eleven straight across the road, from which we purchased breakfast each day. It's a short walk to casinos if that is your thing; it is a short walk to the Largo do Senado and Macau's historical centre. There are lots of restaurants around. Exit the hotel, go left, walk past the park and there are lots of restaurants in this area plus a supermarket. There are good bus transport links to everywhere. Room prices on the hotel site are high. We got a much better rate than they advertise. I would not stay here at the full rate, but then I remember Macau when it used to be cheap. If we find a deal again, we would love to go back.

The Grand Lapa: Relaxing and Refreshing Stay.

We stayed in the Grand Lapa Hotel for one night in May 2016. This hotel used to be the Mandarin Oriental. The hotel is easy to get to from the Macau Ferry Terminal. It has a free shuttle bus. To get it exit the ferry terminal, go through the underpass and turn left. The hotel is right next to the Sands Hotel/casino which has a more frequent shuttle bus. To get this go through the underpass and turn right. Walking to the hotel from the ferry terminal is easy. It should take around 10 to 15 minutes. Exit the ferry terminal, go left and follow the waterfront, you will soon see it. At check in we were given a free upgrade to a room with a balcony. This was great, but the receptionist gave us almost no information about the hotel, not even where the lifts were or how to access the wifi. She just seemed concerned with making sure we paid and charging us a deposit. Our room was large and clean and comfortable. The bed was huge and we slept really well here. We had a balcony overlooking the pool. It had a table and two chairs. The room had a fridge/minibar, free water, a safe and tea/coffee making facilities. The bathroom provided toothbrushes, comb, nailfiles, bath gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. We loved the hotel's pool which was open till 10pm. It had fake waterfalls, a kids' pool with a waterslide and a jacuzzi with three waterfalls. The pool was set in a lovely grassy garden with flame trees and play areas for the kids. There was also a gym and sauna, but we did not use these. The hotel provides free wifi and this worked well. The hotel has restaurants and shops, but we did not use these, there were plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. When we checked out, the receptionist tried to charge us for the room though we had already paid. He apologised profusely for this and I got the impression the girl who checked us in had messed up. Despite this we enjoyed our stay and would happily stay here again. Address: Address: 956 Avenida da Amizade, Macau.

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The Grand Lapa.

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The Grand Lapa.

Riveria Hotel: Peaceful and quiet Macau Hotel.

We stayed in the Riviera Hotel for one night in May 2016. The Riviera Hotel Macau used to be the Ritz Macau. The easiest way to get there is to take its free shuttle bus from the Macau Ferry Terminal. Get it by exiting the ferry building, going through the underpass, then going left. This hotel is located on Penha Hill and has lovely views out towards the Macau Tower. Check in was quick and efficient. Our room was located on the first floor which has just been renovated. The corridors have strange twisty lighting and music. Our room had twin beds, no double beds were available. It also had a small patio area with one seat and some plants. The room was clean, the beds were comfortable. We had a safe, a fridge and tea/coffee making facilities. Lots of toiletries were provided in the bathroom. The hotel had tennis courts on the roof. Each floor had some interesting decorations. Some floors are still in need of renovation. The hotel had two restaurants and a music lounge. The hotel provided free wifi. We ate breakfast at this hotel. It provided teas, coffees, juices, cereal, congee, cooked food such as bacon, eggs, noodles, samosas, chips, corn, sweet potato, breads and salad. Breakfast was quite good. Our room had free bottled water and snacks and drinks were on sale at reasonable prices. There were two snack vending machines in the lobby. Check out was fine, but a bit slow. Address: Rua Comendador do Kou Ho Neng, No. 7-13, Macau.

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Riveria Hotel.

Eating in Macau.

Macau has some interesting restaurants . Some are listed below.

Aruna's: The best Indian food in Macau.

We have lived in Hong Kong for about 18 years now. At one time we used to go across to Macau frequently. Especially during the time of SARS we were there practically all the time. Then around 8 years ago we stopped going as we saw casino after casino being built, construction everywhere, and it felt like watching an old friend being torn apart. Aruna's was our favourite Indian restaurant every time we visited. We always went there. We returned after a six year absence, not expecting anyone to remember us at all, and the first thing Aruna's aunt said to us when we entered was: "It has been a long time since I saw you two". In Hong Kong you could go to the same restaurant every day and they would never remember you. Macau is much more friendly. In some ways Aruna's was the same, in some different. It was more expensive than before, so was all of Macau. We paid about the same as we would in Hong Kong. It had more choices on the menu. One thing that was the same was that the food was excellent. We had wonderful crispy poppadoms, vegetable samosa, lamb rogan josh and chicken kadai. Aruna's does fantastic freshly made chappatis. They used to make them more or less right in front of you. Now it is back a bit in the kitchen. The aunt told us that the original Aruna's is going to close and that there is one facing onto Golden Lotus Square and in the Sheraton Food Court. It is sad to see the original going, but we will certainly be back to try the new ones. A great restaurant. Favorite Dish: Make sure you try the freshly made chapatis.

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Aruna's.

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Aruna's.

Hac Sa Parque Restaurant: Friendly restaurant with good local food.

Like many people, we first encountered the Hac Sa Parque Restaurant when we were trying to visit Fernando's next door. Fernando's had a long queue so we turned to the Hac Sa Parque instead. That was years ago. Now I would not dream of visiting Hac Sa without visiting here. There's an outdoor area, Norman's bar and a restaurant area. We always sit in Norman's bar. The wait staff are very friendly and pleasant. The overall atmosphere is relaxed. The restaurant serves Portuguese, Asian and international food and stocks Portuguese wine and beer as well as other brands. We have always enjoyed our food here. On this occasion my husband had fish and chips, while I had baked pork chop rice. Both dishes were very good. We drank draft Carlsberg and Asahi with it. One oddity is that it is more economical to order the smaller measures of beer with the jug being the worst value of all size wise. Not sure why. The owner is clearly into music and the walls are decorated with musical memoribilia especially the Beatles. This is a very pleasant location for a relaxing meal and the food is good value for money.

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Hac Sa Parque Restaurant.

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Hac Sa Parque Restaurant.

Hard Rock Cafe: Good food, pleasant service.

The Hard Rock Cafe in Macau is located in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel in the City of Dreams. The staff were very pleasant, cheerful and friendly. The restaurant did not serve draft beer so I had a bottle of Macau beer and my husband had a bottle of Tsingtao. The food took quite a long time to come, but was worth waiting for, as it was very tasty. I had the club sandwich which I really enjoyed. My husband had fish and chips. This came with an absolute heap of chips, more than we could eat, but they were good and crispy. Our main meals cost MOP108 and the beers were between MOP 30 and 40 I think depending on whether they were local or imported. The overall price was comparable with a similar restaurant in Hong Kong - perhaps a bit cheaper. The City of Dreams is easy to get to as there are free shuttle buses to it from the Macau Ferry Terminal. As the food was good and service pleasant we will certainly go back.

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Hard Rock Cafe.

The Ciao Restaurant Metropark Hotel: Excellent value.

The Ciao Restaurant is located on the third floor of the Metropark Hotel. Despite its name, food there is more local, Chinese and Portugueses, than Italian. On our last day at the hotel we had the lunch buffet there. The food was plentiful and tasty and very cheap at MOP58 plus 10%. It was MOP28 for a bottle of Macau beer. I was very impressed with the buffet which had a salad bar, caldo verde soup, bread rolls, main courses, dessert - the creme caramel was delicious, tea, coffee. I noticed the lunch buffet was very popular with tour groups. The restaurant was busy and as it was Chinese New Year during our visit, had quite a festive atmosphere.

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The Ciao Restaurant.

Talay Thai: Thai Restaurant in Fisherman's Wharf.

This Thai restaurant is located in Fisherman's Wharf. It has indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating is on the waterfront. We sat inside. Service was friendly and efficient. We had pork with green beans, a fish dish and a fried rice with pork dish. I liked the food, but my husband did not. He found the meat too chewy. We drank bottles of Portuguese superbock beer and got two free ones, which was rather nice. I enjoyed my meal and would eat here again. Peter would not have the same food again. The service and location were good. The price was reasonable.

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Talay Thai.

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Talay Thai

Ali Curry House: A victim of its own success.

We used to like this restaurant and eat here regularly when we came to Macau, but no more. We arrived at around 5.40pm and were told they would be busy later so could we return the table by 7pm. Not a generous amount of time but we said OK. At 6.50pm we were suddenly given the bill and told to leave as the people who had reserved the table had arrived. There were other empty tables in the restaurant. We had finished eating and my husband was just finishing off his beer. We would have left voluntarily within the next five minutes, so such rudeness was totally unnecessary. My advice to this restaurant would be train your staff to have better manners. As for the food here we like the cod cakes and the chorizo. The samosas are also quite nice. Everything else we had was mediocre, so there is really no redeeming feature to make anyone put up with rude service. I was particularly upset by this experience because we have been coming to Ali Curry House on and off for years.

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Ali Curry House.

Transport in Macau.

Getting To Macau From Hong Kong: Ferries.

It is easy to get to Macau from Hong Kong. You can catch a ferry from the Shun Tak Centre, in Sheung Wan or from the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. Nowadays from Sheung Wan you can go to the Macau Ferry Terminal or the Cotai Strip Ferry Terminal. There is no need to pre-book. Departures are frequent. You need a passport or Hong Kong permanent I.D. card. Price depends on time of day and day of the week. Turbojet economy class for adults on weekdays is HK$159; back from Macau $148. Economy class weekends and public holidays is $172; back from Macau is $161. Night service, weekdays, weekends and holidays is $195; back from Macau $184. Journey time is around an hour. Snacks are available on board. Toilets on board.

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Getting to Macau by ferry.

Getting Around Macau: Buses

There are plenty of public buses for getting around Macau. Plus now there are lots of free casino buses. When you exit the Macau ferry terminal go through the tunnel and go right you will find lots of free buses such as the blue coloured Venetian one or the purple coloured City of Dreams one.

Nowadays you can also get to Macau by bus on a bridge across the sea. We have not done this yet.

Posted by irenevt 02:50 Archived in Macau Comments (4)

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