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                      Travel in Macau

                      Macau (ào mén 澳門), located on the southeast coast of China, is a special administrative region of the country. Being Asia's well-known gambling Mecca, Macau is a place to find the traditional Chinese culture while enjoying the exotic Portuguese buildings. The name of the city is derived from the word Magao (A-Ma Temple), which was the shrine dedicated to Mazu, a sacred sea goddess respected by the local people. It was said that in the middle of sixteenth century when the Portuguese first set foot there, one of the officers asked a fisherman the name of the land. The man misunderstanding the officer’s meaning, answered “Magao” - the name of A-Ma Temple in front them. The word became the Portuguese name for the land and for nearly 400 years, the Portuguese ruled here prior to Macau's official return to the People's Republic of China on December 20, 1999 as a special administrative region.


                      MacauMacau is a city with two faces. On the one hand, the fortresses, churches and food of its former colonial master Portugal speak to a uniquely Mediterranean style on the China coast. On the other, Macau is the self-styled Las Vegas of the East. And while that comparison might sound overblown, it’s not. During the past few years charismatic-but-sleepy little Macau has experienced the sort of boom usually associated with cities like Shanghai (shàng hǎi 上海). But rather than skyscrapers and office towers, the construction here is all about Vegas-style mega-casinos and hotels. The reason, of course, is that casinos are legal in Macau, while in China and nearby Hong Kong they’re not.

                      There is, however, much more to Macau than gambling. The peninsula and the islands of Coloane (lù huán dǎo 路環島) and Taipa (dàng zǎi dǎo 氹仔島) constitute a colorful palette of pastels and ordered greenery. The Portuguese influence is everywhere: cobbled back streets, baroque churches, stone fortresses, Art Deco buildings and restful parks and gardens. It's a unique fusion of East and West that has been recognized by UNESCO, which in 2005 named 30 buildings and squares collectively as the Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site. There are also several world-class museums.


                      Especially if you’ve been in China for a while you’ll also find there is a distinctly different feel to Macau. While about 95% of residents are Chinese, the remainder is mostly made up of Portuguese and Macanese (people with mixed Portuguese, Chinese and/or African blood). It’s this fusion of Mediterranean and Asian peoples, lifestyles, temperaments and food – oh, the food – that makes Macau so much fun.


                      The Portuguese settled in Macau between 1554 and 1557 during the great era of Portuguese exploration initiated by Prince Henry the Navigator. Vasco da Gama made his historic voyage to India at the end of the 15th century, and early in the 16th century the Portuguese explorers moved further east and then turned north.

                      History of MacauJorge Alvares became the first Portuguese to set foot in Southern China in 1513 and this visit was followed by the establishment of a number of Portuguese trading centers in the area. These were eventually consolidated at Macau which boomed with a virtual monopoly on trade between China and Japan and between both nations and Europe.

                      Macau also served as a vital base for the introduction of Christianity to China and Japan, an activity which provided the city with some of the most glorious, and tempestuous, moments in its history. Because of the prosperity it was enjoying and its privileged location, other European nations began casting covetous looks at Macau and plotted to seize it from Portugal. The Dutch actually tried to invade the city in 1622 but were repulsed.

                      As time passed and other trading nations from the west sent missions to China, Macau became the summer residence for the taipans (great traders) who retreated from their "factories" in Guangzhou (better known perhaps as Canton) to await the opening of the trading season.

                      History of MacauThen in 1841, the British settled in HongKong, an island 40 miles east-northeast of Macau. Its deep-water attracted ships and trade shifted to the Crown Colony. The economic importance of Macau declined as Hong Kong developed into one of the world's major commercial centres. Nevertheless, Macau is still regarded as an important distribution outlet for rice, fish, piece goods and other Chinese products and enjoys an active manufacturing and exporting business, mainly of textiles and garments, toys, electronics and footwear.

                      Although it has witnessed many changes during its 440 years of existence, Macau has always been a stronghold of Portuguese presence and culture in the Far East. Macau has proudly flown Portugal's flag continuously even when the Motherland's throne was occupied by a foreign king, in the 17th century. When Portuguese rule was re-established, 60 years later, the city of Macau was granted the official name of:


                      The climate is moderate to hot, with an average annual temperature of just over 20°C (68°F) and a yearly mean variation between 16°C (50°F) and 25°C (77°F). The humidity is high with an average range between 75% and 90%. Rainfall is also high with the yearly total between 40 and 80 ins. The best season is autumn (October - December) when days are sunny and warm and the humidity is low. The winter (January March) is cold but sunny. In April, the humidity starts to build up and from May to September the climate is hot and humid with rain and occasional tropical storms (typhoons).


                      Macau is situated 60 kilometers (37 mi) southwest of Hong Kong and 145 kilometers (90 mi) from Guangzhou (guǎng zhōu 廣州). It also has 41 kilometers (25 mi) of coastline, yet only 310 meters (1,000 ft) of land border with Guangdong. It consists of the Macau Peninsula itself and the islands of Taipa and Coloane, which are now connected by landfill forming the Cotai

                      Strip. The peninsula is formed by the Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) estuary on the east and the Xi

                      Jiang (West River) on the west. It borders the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone in mainland

                      Geography of Macau

                      China. The main border crossing between Macau and China is known as the Portas do Cerco (Barrier Gate) on the Macau side, and the Gongbei Port of Entry on the Zhuhai side.

                      Macau Peninsula was originally an island, but a connecting sandbar gradually turned into a narrow isthmus, thus changing Macau into a peninsula. Land reclamation in the 17th century transformed Macau into a peninsula with generally flat terrain, though numerous steep hills still mark the original land mass. Alto de Coloane is the highest point in Macau, with an altitude of 170.6 metres (559.7 ft). With a dense urban environment, Macau has no arable land, pastures, forest, or woodland.


                      Portuguese and Chinese are the two official languages, with Cantonese the most widely spoken. English is Macau’s third language and is generally used in trade, tourism and commerce.


                      The pataca (composed of 100 avos) is the ficial unit of currency in Macau. It is available in coins and banknotes in denominations of:

                      currency of Macau

                      Coins: 10, 20, 50, avos; 1 & 5 patacas.
                      Banknotes: 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, & 1000 patacas.

                      The Macau pataca can be freely converted into Portuguese escudos or Chinese yuan. It is pegged to the Hong Kong dollar - which is circulated freely in Macau at the rate of 103.20 patacas =HK$100.00, with a permissible variation of up to 10%.


                      Ruins of St. Paul’s

                      The Sam Ba Sing Tzik is the remaining front wall of the Sacred Ruins of St Paul's Church (dà sān bā pái fāng 大三巴牌坊). The holy church was designed by a Father of Italian nationality Ruins of St. Paul’sand was constructed with the help of the Japanese technology of superlative craftsmanship. The foundation was laid in 1602 and it was completed in 1637. However, because of an indissoluble cause, the church caught fire three times one after another and it was rebuilt after each fire three times one after another and it was rebuilt after each fire, which is a living historical testimony.

                      The last fire that set the church into flames occurred in 1853 which was the most serious one. After the conflagration, only the front wall, the most valuable part remained. At that time, the architecture of St Paul's Church mixed together the style of the European Renaissance period and that of eastern architecture with a good continuation of the Chinese and western elements and fine workmanship of carving. From the relief sculpture on the Sam Ba Sing Tzik, one can see that the Dai Sam Ba is divided into four floors. On top of it, there stands aloft the Cross.

                      Underneath it is again subdivided into storeys. In the niche of each floor, a bronze statue is stored, which was cast by the Macao Cannon manufactory. Under the Cross, there is a bronze statue in the shape of a pigeon, representing the holy god, and around it, there are stone sculptures of the sun, the moon and the stars symbolizing the pregnancy of St Virgin Maria in a flash of light and below is a picture of Holy Son - Jesus Christ. Beside it are the tools used to Ruins of St. Paul’scrucify Jesus. Right in the middle of the third floor, is carved the statue of St Virgin Maria surrounded with peony and chrysanthemum on both sides, the former represents China and the latter, Japan. On the left are carved "Eternal Crowd", a "Sailing Boat in Portuguese Style" and a "Monster with Ferocious Features". On the right are carved statues of the Life of Tree and St Maria conquering the monster and piercing through the death's head, all of which symbolizes the conquest of death. And still below is the niche floor, on which there is a statue of four figures with Jesus meeting with the sage. At the bottom of the Sam Ba Sing Tzik are three doors. On the main door is inscribed the Latin words MATER DEI, representing Goddes St Maria. On both sides of it is inscribed the mark "HIS" of Jesus Christ. On the whole, the front wall has two sets of meanings. One, at the two floors of the architecture below in the form of a square, reflects the work of the disciples of the Jesuits and the missionaries belonging to the sect of

                      This Life Christian Church who travel around the world for missionary work. The other one in the form of a triangle mainly represents the saints’ model of three saints (Holy Father, Jesus Christ and Holy God) and Virgin St Maria praying for mankind in the presence of God.

                      Location: Rua de Sao Paulo, Macau.
                      Tel: 0853-2831 or 0853-5566
                      Transportation: Take Bus 10、10A、11、21A、2、3、3A、4、5、6、7、8A、26A or 33 and get off in Xinma Toad (xīn mǎ lù 新馬路) ; Take Bus 17、18、8A or 26 and get off in Baigechao Station (bái gē cháo zǒng zhàn 白鴿巢總站).
                      Opening Hours: The whole day
                      Admission Fee: Free

                      A-Ma Temple

                      The A-Ma Temple (mā gé miào 媽閣廟) is located in the southeast part of the Macau Peninsula, a short distance away from the historic Macau city centre area.  It is the oldest temple in A-Ma TempleMacau, built in 1488 during the Ming Dynasty to commemorate Mazu, the scared sea goddess who blesses the fisherman of Macau. 

                      There are four pavilions dedicated to the worship of different deities in a single complex that make A-Ma Temple an exemplary representation of Chinese culture inspired by Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and multiple folk beliefs.  In the entrances a large boulder with ancient engravings of a traditional sailing junk, other nearby boulders have cared red Chinese characters invoking gods or to make prayers.  There is also a shrine dedicated to Kun Lam that can be seen at the A-Ma Temple.

                      Location: It is located facing the sea at the bottom of Rua do Admirante Sergio, on the southwest tip of the Macau Peninsula, with Barra Hill behind it.
                      Tel: +853 2831 5566
                      Transportation: Tourist can use bus route 6, 8, 9, 28B to visit the A-Ma Temple or take a short taxi ride form the Senado Square or St. Paul's Ruins area. 
                      Opening Hours: 10:00am-18:00pm
                      Admission Fee: Free

                      Monte Fort

                      Of all the forts in Macau, the Monte Fort (dà pào tái 大炮臺) is the oldest, lying to the east of the Ruins of St. Paul's. Built in 1616, it originally belonged to St. Paul's Church and was used toMonte Fort defend the church from the pirates. It later became solely a military fort.

                      The fort is quadrilateral with bastions at each corner and about 100 meters (328 feet) in circumference. Barracks, cisterns and storehouses were the main buildings of the fort. An ancient tower situated here was one of the sites of the Society of Jesus. With cannons on the four sides, the fort was strongly fortified. Though the cannons have lost their military function, they still remain.

                      In 1838, a fire destroyed the fort buildings as well as the Jesuit College and St. Paul's Church. Only see the fore wall of the church now remains and is known as the Ruins of St. Paul's.

                      In 1965, a single-storey barrack in South European style was transformed into the Macau Monte FortMeteorological Bureau. To its right hangs an ancient bell made by an expert in casting cannons. In 1998, the Macau Museum was established here, detailing the development and the customs of Macau.

                      The landscape surrounding the fort is quite charming. Standing on the platform, visitors have an excellent view across Macau, making the Monte Fort a very popular attraction for both tourists and natives alike.

                      Tel: +853 2831 5566
                      Transportation: Bus No.8A, 17, 18, 19, 26
                      Opening Hours: 06:00-19:00 (May - Sep.) 07:00-18:00 (Oct. - the next Apr.)
                      Admission Fee: Free


                      Senado Square

                      Senado Square (yì shì tíng qián dì 議事亭前地) is a public square in Macau. It is located in the central area of the Macau Peninsula. Covering an area of 3,700 square meters (4,425 square yards), this is one of the four largest squares in Macau; the others being Pra?a do Centro Cultural, Pra?a do Lago Sai Van and Pra?a do Tap Seac. In 2005 the Senado Square was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List as it forms part of the Historic Centre of Macau.

                      Senado SquareThe square is so named as since Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) it has been in front of the Leal Senado Building. During the era of Portuguese control this is where the Macau authorities used to review the troops on their inaugurations. In 1940, there was a statue of a Portuguese soldier named Mesquita in the centre of the square. He was responsible for the deaths of many Chinese soldiers during the hostilities with the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Understandably, the statue has been destroyed by Chinese people and replaced by a fountain; this is why the square is also called "the Fountain".

                      In the early 1990s, the authority hired some Portuguese experts to pave the square with a wave-patterned mosaic of colored stones. From then on this area has become a popular place for cultural activities in Macau. The buildings around the Senado Square have a long history and have many western features, so they have been well protected by the authority and no one is allowed to alter the facades of these buildings.

                      There are shopping centers and traditional Chinese restaurants around the square. Fashion clothes, famous snacks and the scenic environment make it a famous attraction in Macau. Firework displays, lion and dragon dances are usually held on special days such as the Chinese Spring Festival and Christmas. One can go and enjoy those activities.

                      Location: Around the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro (xīn mǎ lù 新馬路)
                      Tel: +853 8399 6699
                      Transportation: Take the No. 3, 3A, 4, 8A, 10, 10A, 11, 18, 19, 21A, 26A, 33 buses to the Av. De Almeida Ribeiro (San Ma Lo).
                      Opening Hours: The whole day
                      Admission Fee: Free

                      Grand Lisboa

                      Grand Lisboa (xīn pú jīng jiǔ diàn 新葡京酒店) is a 58-floor, 261-metre-tall (856 ft) hotel in Macau, owned by Sociedade de Turismo e Divers?es de Macau and designed by Hong Kong architects Dennis Lau and Ng Chun Man. Its casino and restaurants were opened on February 11, 2007, while the hotel was opened in December 2008. The casino offers 800 mass gaming tables and 1000 slot machines. The hotel contains 430 hotel rooms and suites. The Grand Lisboa is the tallest building in Macau and the 118th Tallest Building in the World (by architectural structure). The casino is the first in Macau to offer Texas hold’em poker ring games. It was also the first to offer craps, though several other casinos in Macau now offer the game.

                      Grand LisboaJo?l Robuchon joined the group in 2007 as the head chef of the hotel restaurant, Robuchon a Galera, which in 2008 was awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide. The wine list features over 7,400 wines and has won the Wine Spectator “Grand Award”. The Star of Stanley Ho is on permanent display at the Casino Grand Lisboa. According to the Gemological Institute of America, the 218.08 carats (43.62 g) diamond is the largest cushion shaped internally flawless D-color diamond in the world. Grand Lisboa Hotel, is an iconic building set in the heart of Macau, is a testament to extraordinary elegance. With its distinctive location and architectural design, 12 acclaimed restaurants and 24-hour entertainment, the Grand Lisboa has truly earned its reputation as one of Asia's finest casino hotel.

                      Location: It is located in the heart of the Macau Peninsula and is easily accessible by all means of public transportation. Being one of the tallest buildings in Macau, it can be seen from most locations and is well known by locals as the new landmark.
                      Tel: +853 2828 3838
                      Transportation: Grand Lisboa offers a two-way free shuttle bus service from the following points of arrival in Macau.
                      Opening Hours: 24 hours daily
                      Admission Fee: Free

                      Macanese Dishes

                      African chicken

                      African chicken African chicken (fēi zhōu jī 非洲雞) probably wouldn't win any "oohs" or "ahhs" on looks. This signature dish from Macau -- a crispy, blackened barbecued chicken covered with a red, spicy, savory sauce -- is more about substance than style. The first whiff of this comes when the smell of the sauce wafts through the air. A flavorful blend of red chili, coconut milk, garlic, paprika and butter, the aroma is savory enough to persuade even the snootiest of diners to have a taste.

                      Galinha portuguesa

                      Galinha portuguesaGalinha portuguesa
                      (pú guó jī 葡國雞) refers to one of the popular Macau or Macanese dishes, a chicken cooked in the oven together with potatoes, onions, egg and saffron. Galinha portuguesa, whose meaning is “Portuguese-style Chicken’, is a dish of Macanese cuisine. Despite its name, Galinha portuguesa did not originate from Portugal as such; rather it came from Macao, where the dish was given the “Portuguese” name to enhance its status. Galinha portuguesa is served as pieces of chicken, potato and sometimes boiled rice with a mild, coconut-based, curry-like sauce, baked till golden and with a distinctive aroma.


                      Minchi is a traditional dish from Macau. There is several versions of minchi, using different ingredients. Minchi can be served in any occasion and everybody loves it. In Macau there is a Minchisaying, "you only know how to cook, when you know how to prepare Minchi".

                      Cooking Minchi is a relatively simple process that most people can accomplish in about 30 minutes. This dish, as a traditional entree in Macau, a province in southeast China, features ingredients and cooking methods familiar in the Western world. Common ingredients include potatoes, ground beef, pork sausage, garlic, soy sauce and cumin. Cooking Minchi does not require special kitchen appliances -- a deep fryer or large pot and a stovetop wok are sufficient.


                      Location: Macau is situated 60 kilometres (37 mi) southwest of Hong Kong and 145 kilometres (90 mi) from Guangzhou.
                      Tourism Hotline: +853 2833 3000
                      Recommended Golden Season: October through December
                      Travel Tips: A 10% service charge is added to most hotel and restaurant bills. A small tip should also be left.


                      By Air

                      Macau International Airport opened in late 1995. It is linked by scheduled air services to Bangkok, Beijing, Brussels, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City, Kaohsiung, Kuala Lumpur, Lisbon, Pyongyang, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and other cities in China including Chongqing, Changsha, Dalian, Fuzhou, Hainan, Qingdao, Shenyang, Xi'AN, Xiamen, Yantai and Wenzhou.

                      These routes are operated by Air Macau, Air China, China Northern, China Northwest, China National Aviation Corporation, Asiana, Air Koryo, EVA Airways, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Pacific Airlines, Sabena, Singapore Airlines, TAP-Air Portugal, Thai Airways, TransAsia Airways and Xiamen Airlines.

                      In addition there are charter flights by All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Japan Air System from Niigata, Osaka, Sendai and other cities.

                      Air Macau is represented in Europe by TAP and Sabena, in Australia/New Zealand by China Express in Sydney (tel. 61-2-290-1148, fax 612-290-1153), in HongKong by the China International Travel Service and in other parts of Asia by airlines operating into Macau. Air Macau (airline code NX) can be contacted direct, tel (853) 396-555 or (853) 396-6888, fax (853) 396-6866.

                      There is also air service between Macau and Hong Kong, by the eight-seat helicopters of East Asia Airlines, which make about twenty-two roundtrips a day between Hong Kong and Macau Ferry terminals. Travel time is 20 minutes. Tickets cost (from HK) HK$1,206 weekdays, HK$ 1,310 weekends and holidays; (from Macau)

                      By Sea

                      Several fleets of hight-speed vessels serve the 40-mile route between Hong Kong and Macau: jetfoils, turbo-cats, jumbo-cats and hover ferries. There are more than 100 sailings throughout the day and evening, with all-night service by jetfoils.

                      Passengers are advised to be at the terminal at least 30 minutes before departure in order to complete immigration formalities. Those arriving early can join stand-by lines for earlier sailings. Children over the age of 12 months pay full fare on all vessels. There are two terminals in HongKong. The main sea terminal and heliport are located in Shun Tak Centre, on the waterfront West of Central District on Hong Kong Island. It stands over the Sheung Wan station of the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) and adjoins a terminal for public buses and minibuses from many parts of Hong Kong, including the A2 Airbus from the airport. The terminal has passenger wharves and helipad, ticketing offices for current and advance sailings and flights, reservation offices of Macau hotels and travel agents, the Macau Government Tourist Office representative office and information counter. The China Ferry Terminal, which offers ferry services from the Kowloon side, is located on the Tshimshatsui waterfront alongside Harbour City, and is used for Jumbocats, and Hover-ferry sailing to and from Macau. It contains ticketing offices for current and advance sailings.

                      The Macau Maritime Terminal and heliport is situated in the Outer Harbour. It contains ticketing offices for travel to Hong Kong, Macau Hotel reservation of offices, car hire offices, travel agencies selling tours in Macau and to China, duty-free shops and restaurants, as well as luggage lockers, automatic teller machines a computerized information guide, money exchange and post office facilities.