Fantasy Friday – Macau with a dash of Portuguese

What an interesting place I just found on the internet this morning, as I sat down with my first (but not last) steaming cup o coffee.

Macau, part of the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (phew!) sounds quite unique and enticing to morning-dream about today. What is especially fascinating is the strong Portuguese influence in this area.

Here’s what my agenda would look like:

Island hop

The island of Taipa is a busy, colourful place with interesting shops and colonial Portuguese offices in narrow streets and alleys, where many traditional crafts are still followed. The larger of Macau’s two islands, Colôane Island, is perfect for a day trip. Nature trails thread among the hills in Seac Pai Van Park, which also has a walk-in aviary. The best of the beaches is the black-sand Hác Sá. Enjoy spectacular views from the A-Ma Statue, which stands on the highest point on the island.

Seac Pai Van Park

Festivals

Macau’s colourful festivals include the Dragon Boat Festival in June; the International Fireworks Display Contest, which sees 90 countries competing for honours in September/October; and the Macau International Music Festival, which presents works in Chinese and Western styles throughout October.

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Historic Old City

Ascribed UNESCO World Heritage status in 2005, the old city has eight squares and 22 historic buildings. The narrow lanes, markets and sloping cobbles combine the architectural drama of backstreet Porto and the bustling energy, cooking smells and Cantonese dialect of southern China.

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Architectural jewels

The ruins of the Church of St Paul’s are probably the most famous sight in Macau. The church was originally built in 1602 and rebuilt in 1835 after a disastrous typhoon. The 40m-high (130ft) Gate of Understanding, which looms over Praia Grande Bay, is a symbolic structure representing the goodwill between China and Portugal. The finest expression of colonial architecture is probably the Largo do Senado Square.

Praia Grande Bay

Kun Iam Tong

Explore the complex of temples known as Kun Iam Tong, the biggest and wealthiest of Macau’s temples. It dates from the time of the Ming Dynasty, about 400 years ago, and contains a small statue of Marco Polo as well as other works of art.

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Take a leap

Enjoy panoramic views – or bungee jump – from Macau Tower, an entertainment and convention centre situated on the waterfront on the Nam Van Lakes. The 338m (1,109ft) landmark is the 10th tallest freestanding tower in the world.

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I think I will save this last adventure for a daydream, this morning dream does not feel like taking that leap just yet. Maybe another coffee will help…

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