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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!
An Asian Holiday – Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Using Miles and Points to Get to India And Hong Kong
- Part 2 – Etihad Lounge in Washington, DC
- Part 3 – Using Miles for Two $8,000 First Class Seats to Mumbai, India
- Part 4 – By Air and Sea – Cathay First Class to Hong Kong, Ferry to Macau
- Part 5 – A Free Stay in a ~$360 Per Night Suite at the Grand Hyatt Macau
- Part 6 – A Surprise Trip to the Panda Pavilion, Street Entertainment, and a Historic Walking Tour
- Part 7 – Historic Sites, Street Food & a Show in Macau
- Part 8 – Egg Tarts & Other Delicacies in Macau
- Part 9 – Our Free Stay at the Conrad Hong Kong
- Part 10 – Spectacular View of Hong Kong From Victoria Peak & the Amazing Symphony of Lights
- Part 11 – Hong Kong Walking Tour of Shops, Flowers, and More
- Part 12 – The Best Gnocchi Emily’s Had in Her Entire Life and Other Meals in Hong Kong
- Part 13 – From Fine Dining to Food Stalls, Eating in Hong Kong
- Part 14 – Sipping Champagne in the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge, Hong Kong
- Part 15 – Cathay Pacific First Class from Hong Kong to the US
- Part 16 – Conclusion and Blog Giveaway
This post highlights a number of activities most notably:
- A Walking Tour for the sites around St. Paul’s, which includes Senado Square, St Paul’s, the Macau Museum and the fortress, old churches, and gardens
- An incredible live show, House of Dancing Water
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…
…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.
The square was beautifully decorated for Christmas.
Behind the square was a wide pedestrian street with garlands strung from either side.
The festive decorations really got me in the holiday spirit. I didn’t even miss having snow on Christmas!
There’s a tourist center in the square with
English pamphlets on what to see and do in Macau, along with maps.
Next was St. Dominic’s church which was founded in 1587. The current structure dates from the early 17th century.
We walked up to the Macau Cathedral.
On our way walking down the streets, we decided to stop for bubble tea.
We stopped at Comebuy, which had a large selection of drinks.
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!
There was a lot of street food, including meat on a stick that was then put into soup bowls…
…Daraius ordered a bun with meat filling.
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.
The Macau Museum was a recommended site by our guidebook, so we decided to take a peek.
There were reproductions of life in old Macau, along with an exhibit on Macau today.
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!
There are gorgeous sweeping views of the city…
…as well as cannons from another era.
After touring the museum and fortress, we went to see the ruins 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.
While almost the whole church was destroyed, the statues of the saints survived.
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…
On the way to the next site on our walk, we were surprised to see a Sesame Street car.
We also saw some interesting exercise equipment in a public park, so I decided to try it out.
Some of them I didn’t know how to use, but it was fun trying! Some locals were looking at me quite funny.
The walks were interesting because you got to see real life Macau…
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.
The garden has a charming fountain, and if you walk up the stairs, there are tree filled pathways with beautiful views.
We saw old men playing table games and one practicing tai chi.
Our last stop was the Mercado de Sao Domingos which is filled with street stalls selling inexpensive clothes, Chinese jackets, and hosiery.
The kids’ clothes were cute. And cheap!
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.
The show featured several different acts, all built around a love story.
The show was gorgeous, and was the best I’ve seen.
I loved all of the acts.
There were trapeze artists…
…a motor race show…
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.
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.