An Asian Holiday: Part 7 – Historic Sites, Street Food & a Show in Macau

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Emily Jablon:  Daraius and I celebrated Christmas in Macau and Hong Kong with his family for ~8 days.  It was our 1st time to Macau and Hong Kong and we were very excited to visit!

What To Do In Macau

The House of Dancing Water – An Amazing Vegas-Style Show

An Asian Holiday – Trip Report Index:

This post highlights a number of activities most notably:

An Asian Holiday: Part 7 – Walking Tour and Other Adventures in Macau

Emily Jablon:   We really enjoyed walking around the city, so we decided to go to Old Macau for another historical self-guided walk from the Frommer’s Hong Kong guide book.  This walk is for the UNESCO World Heritage sites around St. Paul’s, which includes Senado Square, St Paul’s, the Macau Museum and the fortress, old churches, and gardens.

Our Frommers Hong Kong guide book had descriptions of the sites.  Plan on each walk taking ~3 to 4 hours, depending how long you visit sites and shops along the way.

There’s much to do in Macau.  You can either go to the casinos…

What To Do In Macau

Macau Has So Many Casinos, It’s Known as the “Monte Carlo of the Orient”

…or explore the old city.  Exploring the city was a blast!

Self-Guided Walk #2 – Around St. Paul’s

Our first stop was Senado Square, which is a large plaza surrounded by pastel colored neoclassical buildings.

What To Do In Macau

Colorful Buildings and Wave Patterned Stone Streets of Senado Square

The square was beautifully decorated for Christmas.

What To Do In Macau

A Vibrant and Festive Christmas Display in the Square

Behind the square was a wide pedestrian street with garlands strung from either side.

What To Do In Macau

Christmas in Macau Mixes Portuguese and Chinese Traditions

The festive decorations really got me in the holiday spirit.  I didn’t even miss having snow on Christmas!

What To Do In Macau

Daraius Is Full of Holiday Cheer

There’s a tourist center in the square with English pamphlets on what to see and do in Macau, along with maps.

What To Do In Macau

Guidebooks and Maps in English, Chinese, and Portuguese

Next was St. Dominic’s church which was founded in 1587.  The current structure dates from the early 17th century.

What To Do In Macau

St. Dominic’s Church is the Oldest Church in Macau

What To Do In Macau

The Church Is Dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary

We walked up to the Macau Cathedral.

What To Do In Macau

The Cathedral Was Plain Compared to Other Macau Churches

On our way walking down the streets, we decided to stop for bubble tea.

What To Do In Macau

The Bubble Tea Shop Seemed Very Popular With Locals

We stopped at Comebuy, which had a large selection of drinks.

What To Do In Macau

Comebuy Is an International Chain Specializing in Teas and Fresh Juices

I ordered a lychee juice with lychee jelly.  Lychees are a fruit from Asia with a sweet grape-like appearance and taste.  They are 1 of my favorite fruits outside the US!

What To Do In Macau

Emily’s Lychee Drink Was Sweet and Refreshing

There was a lot of street food, including meat on a stick that was then put into soup bowls…

What To Do In Macau

Anything You Can Imagine on a Stick

…Daraius ordered a bun with meat filling.

What To Do In Macau

Daraius Enjoyed His Portable Snack

We walked through crowded streets to find a local specialty food.  There were shops selling bak kwa, which are sheets of dried, preserved meat.  The flavor is sweet and salty, with a texture like beef jerky.  

What To Do In Macau

Sheets of Dried Meat or “Bak Kwa” Are a Macanese Delicacy

The Macau Museum was a recommended site by our guidebook, so we decided to take a peek.

What To Do In Macau

The Macau Museum is Located on a Hill

What To Do In Macau

Admission Was 15 Macanese Patacas (~$2)

There were reproductions of life in old Macau, along with an exhibit on Macau today.

What To Do In Macau

The Old Macau Exhibits Were Detailed and Colorful

However, the highlight for me was the rooftop, where you can see the old fortress.  Daraius didn’t care much for the museum, but loved the rooftop!

What To Do In Macau

The Fortress Was Originally Built From 1617 to 1626

There are gorgeous sweeping views of the city…

What To Do In Macau

Lots of Buildings, Old and New

What To Do In Macau

The Biggest Buildings Were the Casinos

…as well as cannons from another era.

What To Do In Macau

The Fortress Protected Macau From Attacks

What To Do In Macau

The Jesuits Originally Built the Fort to Protect Their Property, but Then the Government Took It Over

After touring the museum and fortress, we went to see the ruins of St. Paul’s church.

What To Do In Macau

Emily on the Steps of St. Paul’s Church

This is 1 of the most famous (and most photographed) sites in Macau.  A fire destroyed most of the church in 1835 and only the facade remains.

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The Stone Facade Was Almost Eerie

While almost the whole church was destroyed, the statues of the saints survived.

What To Do In Macau

The Church Ruins Were a Highlight of Our Walking Tour

Behind the ruins, are a small temple and the remains of an old wall of the city dating back to 1569.  Unfortunately, there’s only a small section left of the wall.

The view from steps…

What To Do In Macau

Tourists Everywhere!  Looking Down From St. Paul’s Church

What To Do In Macau

City Wall Ruins and Na Tcha Taoist Temple

On the way to the next site on our walk, we were surprised to see a Sesame Street car.

What To Do In Macau

Where’s Bert?

We also saw some interesting exercise equipment in a public park, so I decided to try it out.

What To Do In Macau

This Sure Isn’t Like the Nautilus Equipment at the Gym Back Home!

Some of them I didn’t know how to use, but it was fun trying!  Some locals were looking at me quite funny.

What To Do In Macau

I Felt Just Like a Kid Again!

The walks were interesting because you got to see real life Macau…

What To Do In Macau

We Enjoyed Seeing Day-to-Day Macanese Life

What To Do In Macau

Locals Worshipping in the Church

What To Do In Macau

Laundry Hanging in the Alleys

Next, we went to the Camoes Garden.  It’s named after the Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes, and is the largest park in Macau.  Every year on June 10, the day Camoes died, locals come to the park to celebrate Portugal Day.

What To Do In Macau

Camoes Garden Had Many Walkways, Flowering Trees, and Sculptures

The garden has a charming fountain, and if you walk up the stairs, there are tree filled pathways with beautiful views.

What To Do In Macau

You Could See the Mountains Across Macau’s Inner Harbor

We saw old men playing table games and one practicing tai chi.

What To Do In Macau

Playing Games in the Garden is a Favorite Local Pastime

What To Do In Macau

Graves From the 18th and 19th Century in the Protestant Cemetery.  Protestants Weren’t Allowed to Be Buried on Catholic Soil.

What To Do In Macau

Macau’s Streets Can Be Very Narrow

What To Do In Macau

There’s Not a Lot of Room for New Construction

What To Do In Macau

Apartment Buildings Crammed Together

What To Do In Macau

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables at a Local Market

What To Do In Macau

I Never Knew Fish Could Parallel Park!

Our last stop was the Mercado de Sao Domingos which is filled with street stalls selling inexpensive clothes, Chinese jackets, and hosiery.

What To Do In Macau

You Could Find Most Anything at Mercado de Sao Domingos (St. Dominic’s Market)

The kids’ clothes were cute.  And cheap!

What To Do In Macau

Adorable and Inexpensive Clothes for Babies and Children

The Best Stage Show I’ve Ever Seen!

One evening, Daraius informed us of another surprise, and we had 20 minutes to get ready.  He took us to the Dancing Water Theatre, where we had tickets for the House of Dancing Water.  It was a Las Vegas style show with a water stage.  He had emailed the Hyatt Concierge and asked them to buy the tickets.

What To Do In Macau

Daraius Surprised Us With VIP Tickets

The show featured several different acts, all built around a love story.

What To Do In Macau

The Water and Lights Were Magical

The show was gorgeous, and was the best I’ve seen.

What To Do In Macau

The Backdrops Were So Detailed and Colorful

I loved all of the acts.

What To Do In Macau

The Performers Did Incredible Stunts

There were trapeze artists…

What To Do In Macau

The Trapeze Artists Had an Amazing Routine

…a motor race show…

What To Do In Macau

There Were Even Motorbikes!

…and more.

What To Do In Macau

All the Elements of a Las Vegas Production and More

Towards the end of the show, it was interrupted with technical difficulties which forced a 10 minute break.  However, the issue was fixed and we continued watching.  This show far surpasses the best Las Vegas show I have seen, La Reve.

Bottom Line

One of the best ways to experience Macau is with a self-guided walking tour.  We saw churches, gardens, historical sites, and museums.

The House of Dancing Water show was amazing – even better than my favorite show in Las Vegas!

Sampling street food is a must in Macau.  There are so many interesting things to eat!  It was a good thing we brought our appetites, because we had a lot more eating ahead of us.

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18 responses to “An Asian Holiday: Part 7 – Historic Sites, Street Food & a Show in Macau

  1. Hi, your trip report is very detailed as I like it and so on time for my future plans. Did you get local currency or street vendor can accept US$? Thanks.

  2. how much were the tickets cost for the show ?

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  9. Surprised by the presence of the Catholic Church. Where these Churches places you sought out or just happened to find?

    • @Tatyana – We used Hong Kong dollars which we got from an ATM at the Hong Kong airport. You can get local Macau currency, but you can’t use it in Hong Kong.

      @Mike – The churches are part of Macau’s history and hard to miss.

      @choi – I can’t remember, but check the link in the post.

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