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Macau is a potpourri of old and new. With a small area of less than 30 km2 (still growing in size!), the Mediterranean of the South China Sea is an intriguing city of fusion with a harmonious juxtaposition of some of the world’s ritziest casino hotels and historic sites that found their way on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Just across a lake from the row of Cotai strip casinos with Venetian Macao and City of Dreams in the backdrop, five green and white colonial houses still stand elegantly at the waterfront. The Macanese houses of Portugese style had been the residences for high profile Macanese families with some Portuguese ancestry.

In recognizing the importance of preserving the cultural past for the future, the Taipa Houses-Museum was built in 1921 and later remodeled in the late 90s. The five houses are named as the “Macanese House”, “House of the islands”, “House of the Portugal Regions”, “Exhibition Gallery” and “House for Reception”.

Now, the row of Macanese houses offers a picturesque backdrop for wedding couples, film makers and visitors alike.

Location: Avenida da Praia, Taipa
Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm. Closed on Mondays.
Admission: Adult – MOP$5 / Student I.D Holder – MOP$2, Group (min. 10 people) – MOP$2. Free admission for under 12 or over 65 years old.
Bus route: 11, 15, 22, 28A, 30, 33, 34

Cruising along Sai Van Bridge, the only bridge with an enclosed lower deck that still can be used to link Macau peninsula and Taipa in the event of typhoons.

We chanced upon the Goddess of Mercy that looks Eurasian! Many think that the 20-metre high bronze statue has the visage of Virgin Mary! The statue was created by the Portuguese so that probably explains the “heritage” part of it. Located on the Outer Harbour, the lotus flower base of the statue is Kun Iam ecumenical centre with information on Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. (Opening Hours: Daily from 10am to 6pm, except Friday. Free admission.)

It’s commonly known that before the settlement of the Portuguese in Macau in the early 16th century, the peninsula was called “Hao Jing” (oyster mirror) or “Jing Hai” (mirror sea). It’s believed that when the Portuguese landed just outside the A-Ma temple (妈阁庙) and asked for the name of the place, the natives replied them “Ma Gok” (妈阁) in Cantonese. Thereafter, the former colonist named the peninsula as “Macao” (aka Macau).

Two years after the British returned Hong Kong back to the Chinese, it marks the end of China’s history of colonization since the Portuguese government smooth handover of Macau back to its motherland on 20th December 1999 before the new millennium. The Macau Special Adminstrative Region (SAR) is then formed, under the implementation of a “one country, two systems” policy in both Macau and Hong Kong.

The reunification of Macau with mainland China is a significant renaissance to the nation; 56 ethnic groups of China bestowed blessings and auspicious gifts upon Macau. The Handover Gifts Museum of Macao is established to exhibit the priceless masterpieces of unique regional styles as well as to provide a learning ground for everyone to understand the colourful culture, history and geography of the territory.

Address: Av.Xian Xing Hai, Macao (adjacent to the Macao Museum of Art)
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm. No admittance after 6:30pm. Closed on Mondays.
Admission: Free (as in 2010).

An elegant boutique hotel with the charms of 18th century Victoriana, feel the grandeur of the Victorian era as you enter Rocks Hotel. Strategically located near Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, Rocks Hotel is merely 10-min walking distance away from Macau-Hong Kong ferry terminal and 15-min drive away from Macau Int’l Airport.

The 5-storey Victorian-style hotel is tastefully designed with European elegance. At the grandiose atrium, there are three large glittery crystal chandeliers and a cool curvy spiral staircase that leads to the second storey. The paintings adorning the walls are specially created by a group of Australian artists for Rocks Hotel. Be trigger-happy at every turn!

There are 72 guest rooms and suites all thoughtfully appointed with 32” LCD and Cable TV network, complimentary broadband internet service and other luxurious amenities. Each room has a beautiful European-style balcony where you can soak up the lovely panoramic view and be carried away by the sea breeze, romantically!

From the balcony, one can see the 4.7km long Ponte de Amizade, the Bridge of Friendship that links Macau Peninsula and Taipa. It’s the longest bridge among the other two that connect Taipa to the peninsula – Macau-Taipa Bridge and Sai Van Bridge.

Chill out the Sky Lounge at the roof top and enjoy another great view overlooking Sands Macao and Fisherman’s Wharf, the newest one-of-its-kind themed entertainment complex in Macau.

Address of Rocks Hotel Macau: Avenida da Amizade e Avenida Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, Macau.

Expo 2010 Shanghai China Mascot – Haibao, which literally means “jewel of the sea”. The building that resembles a scroll is Macao Science Center.

Win $1000 Travel Voucher to Macau! Follow this link and join the contest now ->

Marvelous Macau Contest

Check out my next post with recommendations of great food in Macau!

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