Macau lends itself to touring on foot. It is small yet infinitely varied, with every temptation to detour from a set itinerary, which can however be easily resumed. The best place to set out on a walk is the central square, Largo do Senado, where the Information Counter of Tourist Office can provide brochures with details on the sights you will see on these suggested tours.
San Ma Lo (40 minutes)
Heart of Town
The official name is Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro but residents use the Chinese name San Ma Lo (New Street) for the narrow thoroughfare that stretches from the Avenida da Praia Grande to the Inner Harbour. In less than a mile the street offers a capsule commentary on Macanese life. At the beginning, note the mosaic-picture paving, potted plants and street lights in old lamplight style. On your left is the Bank of China branch...on your right the Banco Nacional Ultramarino (established 1902, Portugal's national overseas bank, with the original facade incorporated into a modern skyscraper)...Adjoining is a block of typical China Coast shop-houses (with ochre facades, stucco ornamentation and deep wrought-iron balconies), where people live on upper floors, above shops and offices...From here a steep stone staircase leads up to the Cathedral, matched on your left by the steep Rua Central...Next on the left are shops, including the modern Central Plaza mall and venerable Wing Tai, a leading antiques store...On your right is the Central Post Office (with a philately section of Macau's special editions)...where the clock tower has a carillon that plays different melodies at certain hours...Now you've reached the main square, Largo do Senado, with its Portuguese pavement of wave-patterned stones and globular fountain...Cross the road to look in the imposing neo-classical building, formerly the Leal Senado (containing an art gallery, courtyard garden and library)...Go back to the square to admire the baroque facade of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia (established 1568, the oldest European charity on China), pick up useful information at the Tourist Office, browse the side-street shopping stalls and visit St. Dominic's Church (built by Dominican friars in the 1590s, now beautifully restored, with a Museum of Sacred Art)...If you feel like having some refreshment, try the open-air cafe in the square or Portuguese restaurants in Rua de S. Domingos...Continue along San Ma Lo, where both sides of the street are lined with pharmacies, jewellery shops (24-carat gold is bargain priced here), banks, traditional Chinese pawnshops (designed like fortresses!) and clothing stores...On your right is the budget Hotel Central (opened in 1928 and once the gambling hub of Macau) and Rua dos Mercadores (which leads to Tercena and Camões Garden)...As you proceed, look up at the art deco facades on the left side of the street...Cross the street to take Travessa do Mastro...Ahead is Fat Siu Lau (opened in 1903, the oldest restaurant in town is famous for its roast pigeon)...Turn left onto Rua da Felicidade (the former red-light district now restored to its turn-of-the-century appearance with carved red lacquer facades and sun blinds)...This area is always bustling with shoppers, diners and strollers...Retrace your steps and follow Felicidade to the Inner Harbour waterfront...passing shops famous for their dried, salted fish, Macanese cookies and squares of beef and pork cooked on open braziers...Turn back onto San Ma Lo and take the right hand side of the street, to pass curio shops, the neighbourhood shops selling bargain-priced name-brand clothing.
San Ma Lo - by night
Much of the daytime activity of San Ma Lo continues well into the evening, with shops open and restaurants even busier for dinner...Before heading down the street make a detour along the old waterfront of Avenida da Praia Grande...on your right are imposing government offices...the most beautiful of them is nicely floodlit (built in 1849 and long the Government Palace, it now serves as headquarters of the Macau SAR)...on your left is a lake created from the bay, which contains a Cybernetic Fountain. Every evening there are fountain displays...Now head back to San Ma Lo with its lamplights and the Largo do Senado, which is brightly lit and packed with shoppers and groups of friends...Continue along the street and turn into the Felicidade district, which comes fully alive at night...with crowded, noisy restaurants, competing aromas from sidewalk kitchens, sounds of mahjong games and music spilling from open windows and people meeting for a relaxed stroll...Along this walk are plenty of restaurants when you get hungry.
Guia Hill & São Lazaro (60 minutes)
This tour begins on the highest point in Macau, Guia Hill on which stand the Guia Fort and Lighthouse (the fort was built in 1637, the lighthouse, which is still in use, in 1865, when it was the first of its kind on the China Coast)...Visit the simple, baroque chapel of Our Lady of Guia (note the ceiling where original paintings have been uncovered)...Take the steps to the old cannon platform for panoramic views of the city and surrounding seascape...There is a tourist information office and small cafe in the former guardpost...Leaving the fort turn right on Estrada do Engenheiro Trigo, a pedestrian path that circles the hill and is popular with joggers, birdwatchers and lovers...Note the exercise equipment along the trail...Ahead is the Guia Cable Car (operating 8am-6pm, the ride takes 80 seconds)...You can take it, or a series of stone steps, to Flora Garden (formerly the site of a mansion which was destroyed in a factory explosion in 1928, it contains an aviary, small zoo, botanical gardens and original fountain)...Leaving the garden, cross Avenida de Sidónio Pais...Walk two short blocks and on your right see the Memorial House of Dr Sun Yat Sen (built by his family in the 1930s, open 10am-1pm and 2:30pm-5pm, closed Tuesdays...for details see In the Footsteps of Sun Yat Sen below)...Continue a few yards, then turn right into Estrada Adolfo Loureiro...two blocks ahead is the entrance to Lou Lim Ieoc Garden (built by businessman-scholar Lou Kau in the late 19th century in the classic Suzhou style of miniature landscapes...it is a favourite for Chinese taichi exercising, dancing, family photos and occasional concerts..open dawn to dusk)...Return a few paces to the busy Avenida do Conselheiro Ferreira de Almeida and go right, past a row of restored 1920s houses that now are used by the government for the Archives and Education and Health Departments...For more attractively restored neo-classical buildings turn right on Calçada de S. Lázaro (once the most fashionable part of town, with elegant mansions sporting ornate balconies, now repainted in pastel colours... Back on the main street, which now becomes Rua do Campo, you find fashion boutiques and the Plaza Cultural (containing an excellent bookshop)...Branch right onto Rua Pedro Nolasco da Silva...On your right is the neo-classical building that was once a hospital and now houses the Portuguese Consulate...The road turns into Rua de S. Domingos, leading to Largo do Senado.
In the Footsteps of Sun Yat Sen
Dr. Sun Yat Sen, leader of the 1911 Revolution that overthrew the Manchu Dynasty, was born in Cuiheng, a few kilometres north of Macau. After graduating as a doctor from Hong Kong's Queen's College in 1892, he moved to Macau where he took up his first post as doctor at the Kiang Wu Hospital...He rented rooms at 14 Largo do Senado (the building no longer exists)...until he could afford to buy a house for his growing family (first wife, son and two daughters) on Rua de Silva Mendes...He wrote articles advocating reforms to help China's peasants and set up schools for the poor, which appeared in the Echo Macaense, whose editor Chico Fernandes was one of his champions...another was Lou Kau (a leading Chinese philanthropic businessman who built the Lou Lim Ieoc Garden and funded the Kiang Wu Hospital)...who persuaded the hospital to loan Sun 2000 Patacas to set up the Sino-European Pharmacy on Rua das Estalagens (no longer standing, it served as a meeting place for Sun and his liberal friends)...Sun was also a frequent guest at Lou Lim Ieoc Garden...In 1894, Lou Kau heard that Manchu agents were planning to arrest Sun, so he was forced to flee, first to Canton, where he set up the revolutionary Revive China Society...He escaped to Macau where he stayed briefly before boarding a ship for Honolulu...Sun never returned to Macau, but his family remained...In 1928, an ammunition depot explosion destroyed their house and they decided to build the Memorial Home of Dr. Sun Yat Sen on the same site...Designed in mock-moorish style, with a statue of Sun in the courtyard, it contains his books, letters, photos and old newspaper accounts of his life, together with mementos from his Macanese friends. The home is open at 10am-1pm and 2:30pm-5pm, closed on Tuesday.
Penha Peninsula (90 minutes)
Where Portugal meets China
There is a lot to see on the peninsula that lies between the Praia Grande and the Inner Harbour, so we suggest you break your itinerary for a meal along the way. NOTE: Avoid taking the walk on a Tuesday, when the Maritime Museum is closed.
Leave Largo do Senado by Rua Dr. Soares, the road that runs up the side of the Civic & Municipal Affairs Bureau, formerly the Leal Senado... Branch left on Calçada Tronco Velho and find yourself in Largo S. Agostinho, with wave-patterned pavements and green lamplights...On your left is St Augustine's Church (established by the Augustinians in 1586, it enshrines the statue of Our Lord of Passion which is carried through the city at Lent via Stations of the Cross)...On your right are the headquarters of the Casa Ricci charity, the Sir Robert Ho Tung Chinese library and Chapel of St Joseph Seminary...Opposite is the Dom Pedro V Theatre (the oldest European theatre in China, it opened in 1858 and is still very active)...Take the cobbled ramp beside the theatre down to Rua Central...Go right and follow the road as it becomes Rua de S. Lourenço...Be sure to visit the St. Lawrence's Church (with an interesting altar and brilliant wooden ceiling)...If you like historic churches, go a right around St. Lawrence's to Rua do Seminário to the Chapel of St. Joseph Seminary (built by the Jesuits, in 'Latin Cross' shape with a dome.)...Retrace your steps to Rua Central and go down the narrow Travessa Padre Narciso to the Rua da Praia Grande...The splendid mansion on your left is Headquarters of the Macau SAR...Turn right and stroll along the praia, looking across the road at the new suburb with man-made lakes containing the Macau Tower and Cybernetic Fountain...Pass a variety of restaurants, the century-old house that is now the Ricci School and a children's playground with a pedal-car driving school...Turn right, up the Calçada do Bom Parto, passing the home of the Portuguese consul (former Hotel Bela Vista) and Hotel Ritz (where you might want stop for a drink on the terrace)...Then head up Rua Boa Vista and turn left on Calçada da Penha to reach the Bishop's Palace and Penha Chapel (only the chapel is open but the courtyard is a fine belvedere with panoramic views...the souvenir shops here are worth visiting)...Go down Estrada de D. João Paulino...passing Santa Sancha (like the old Government Palace, it was built by Macanese architect Thomaz de Aquino, and once the home of the governor)...to the Avenida da República...Turn right and follow the old sea wall...Rising from the bay to your left is the Gate of Understanding (a monument to Sino-Portuguese friendship)...Turning the corner you'll reach Pousada de São Tiago (a 17th century fort transformed into a Portuguese inn with period furniture and fine terrace for refreshments and views)...Continuing around Barra Point, pass the Naval Dockyards to arrive at A-Ma Temple (built in the Ming Dynasty with hillside prayer halls dedicated to the Goddess of Seafarers A-Ma, who inspired the name Macau)...Cross Largo do Pagode da Barra with its patterned pavement, to Pier Number 1 (the possible landfall of the first Fukienese and Portuguese settlers), where you'll find the Macau Maritime Museum (styled like a ship, with outstanding displays illustrating the relationship of Macau with the sea...outdoor exhibits include a traditional of trading junk and pirate-chasing lorcha brigantine. Open 10am-6pm. Closed Tuesday)...By now you must be hungry and you'll find some of Macau's best Portuguese/Macanese restaurants on the nearby Rua do Almirante Sérgio...take a bus or taxi back to town.
In the Footsteps of George Chinnery
Anyone who knows the paintings of George Chinnery will recognize many scenes in today's old town...The following itinerary is a lengthy one, but you can select parts if time is short. Begin at the Old Protestant Cemetery (his tomb is one of the most elaborate...also here is the Morrison grave that he painted in 1838)...Chinnery arrived in Macau in 1825. He stayed until his death in 1852 and became the doyen of China Coast artists...In his days, this area was something like a British enclave, because the Casa Garden was rented by British merchants, until the founding of Hong Kong...The garden, now Camões Garden, was a popular retreat, and Chinnery painted it many times, as he did the nearby Monte Fort and St. Paul's (his drawing of the church is one of the few showing it before the fire)...Continue on to the main square, which gave Chinnery many opportunities to use historic buildings, like St. Dominic's Church and the Santa Casa da Misericórdia, as backdrop for street scenes of children at play, itinerant barbers, market people and animals such as pigs...From the square take Rua Central to what, in Chinnery's time, was known as The Ridge, because its wealthy residents could look down on the waterfront dwellers...The artist rented rooms on Rua Ignácio Baptista (the building is gone and for some reason the neighbouring street is named Rua George Chinnery)...which was close to some of his favourite subjects, St Lawrence's Church and Chapel of St. Joseph Seminary...However, to see Chinnery's most famous scenery you need to go down to the Praia Grande, though you'll have to use your imagination to screen out the new reclamation...And then make your way to the A-Ma Temple, which hasn't changed too much, even though the waterfront and pretty sampan girls have long retreated since.
S. Paul's & Camões Garden (60-75 minutes)
Landmarks of a Heritage
You can see the walls of Monte Fort from Senate Square, rising behind St. Dominic's Church (if you haven't already seen it, be sure to visit the Church and its Museum of Sacred Art)...to the right of the church is Rua de S. Domingos...take it to Rua da Palha and turn left...the street becomes Rua de S. Paulo (lined with some excellent shops selling antique furniture, porcelain and souvenirs)...ahead is the grand staircase leading to the St. Paul's Ruins (built by the Jesuits in 1602, was destroyed by fire in 1835 except for its stone facade with carvings that tell the story of the Catholic Church in Asia)...Admire the carvings, then visit the restored crypt containing relics of Christian martyrs and a Museum of Sacred Art...Cross the road to Monte Fort into which is built the Museum of Macau (with an astonishing range of exhibits to illustrate Macau's bicultural history...open 10am-6pm, closed Monday)...Go back down the grand staircase and turn right to follow Rua de S. António, a great street for antiques and reproductions, look for original dragon robes, Ching Dynasty furniture, porcelain, coins, lacquerware, hanging scrolls etc...at the end of the road is St Antony's Church and Camões Square...Cross to the Old Protestant Cemetery (last resting place of 150 merchants, missionaries, seamen and 19th century residents such as artist George Chinnery)...next door is Casa Garden (once the home of the British East India Company president, now a small museum and art gallery)...Next door is the Camões Garden (named after Portugal's national poet, Luís de Camões, who is said to have spent some time in Macau), which features a grotto containing a bust of the poet, landscaped gardens and a tree-covered belvedere with a pavilion and stone benches, where residents play chess and socialize...From here you can end the walk by taking a taxi or bus back to the main square, or you can take a Tercena detour...Leave Camões Square by Rua do Botelho and turn left onto Rua de Faitiões which soon becomes Rua da Tercena, where you find a small triangular sidewalk paved with wave-patterned stones and taken up by an overflow of goods from the surrounding shops that sell antiques, Chinese handcrafts, Mao memorabilia, opium pipes etc...The street divides into two, both featuring craftsmen at work, such as woodcarvers making Chinese furniture, jade carvers, hand-press printers, tinsmiths producing family shrines and barrel makers, as well as a shop selling bamboo birdcages with tiny porcelain feeders and another displaying kites and temple offerings...Explore the adjoining narrow streets before turning into Rua dos Mercadores, which leads to San Ma Lo (Av. Almeida Ribeiro).
Outer Harbour (30 minutes)
The youngest part of Macau
In recent years Macau has almost doubled in size, with new districts being created by land reclamation...One of them now occupies part of the Outer Harbour, where once seaplanes and ferries arrived...
Begin at the Grand Lapa Hotel and take the bayside road that runs past the hotel and its health spa to a garden featuring pools with stone sculptures...Ahead is the Cultural Centre (you can't miss the swooping structure roof)...in the main building you can see the Grand Theatre, that is used for major musical and dramatic performances, a studio theatre and exhibition area...the adjoining building houses the Museum of Art (with permanent exhibitions of China Trade paintings, calligraphy, Shiwan ceramics, 20th-century art and historical documents, plus temporary shows. Open 10am-7pm, closed Monday)...Follow the Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen along the waterfront, passing the Macau Urban Development Exhibition Room to the Kun Iam Statue (rising from a small promontory, the 20-metre bronze figure of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy was sculpted by a Portuguese and cast in China. In the lotus-shaped base is a small ecumenical centre for meditation and information on religions in China) ...Leading from the statue, the broad avenue is devoted to the Dr Carlos D'Assumpção Park (with children's playgrounds and tree-shaded relaxation areas)...Stroll through the park to the main Avenida de Amizade and turn left for the Jardim das Artes (a park with brightly coloured geometric sculptures)... Cross the avenue by subway to Comendador Ho Yin Garden (more or less an extension of the Ho Yin Garden)...Take the right exit on Rua de Luís Gonzaga Gomes and follow it to the Tourism Activities Centre (CAT) (next to the Macau Forum)...here you find the Grand Prix Museum (dedicated to the annual Formula 3 championship races with cars, motorbikes, videos, memorabilia and interactive race simulators) and the Wine Museum (exhibits of Portuguese wines, antique wine-making equipment and history of vine growing. Both museums open 10am-6pm)...If you're ready for lunch you can try the restaurants nearby, or take a bus or taxi back into the town centre.
Outer Harbour - by night
This area has become a nightlife hub, with new restaurants and bars opening all the time...You can retrace all or parts of the previous itinerary, depending on whether you have tickets for a show at the Cultural Centre or the Forum, in which case you have plenty of choice for early dinner, supper and pre- or post-theatre drinks...For gamblers there's casinos at the hotels nearby...And everyone will enjoy a stroll to see the floodlit Kun Iam Statue and the sculpture park of Jardim das Artes.
Taipa Village (40 minutes)
Crossroad of Past and Present
Take a bus to the Taipa terminus...look in at the small Tin Hau Temple in the square...Opposite is a green and white neo-classical mansion that is the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History...Walk a few metres down Rua Correia da Silva and turn left into Travessa da Felicidade, continue to Rua dos Mercadores, one of a cluster of narrow streets lined with traditional Chinese shop-houses, with pastel plaster walls, wooden shutters and stucco ornamentation...at street level they contain shops, restaurants and family businesses...Stroll through Largo das Virtudes and Largo Maia de Magalhães to Rua da Cunha, which is popularly known as Food Street because of the many restaurants here and on nearby streets, serving Portuguese, Macanese, Indian, Italian, different kinds of Chinese and even African food...Cross Rua Correia da Silva and take the narrow lane on your right to the cobbled slope of Calçada do Quartel (named after the former military fort on the hilltop)...which becomes Avenida Carlos da Maia...Pass the post office and school to reach Our Lady of Carmo (a pastel and white neo-classical church built in 1885)...In front are landscaped gardens, with fountains and vine-covered bowers...Take the zigzag path, lined with scallop-shaped borders, down to Avenida da Praia (this was the waterfront for merchants and sailors when the bay - now mostly reclaimed land - was anchorage for China Clippers and Indiamen)...You will find a beautifully restored row of early 20th-century houses and an avenue of banyans and flower-covered bowers...The first building is the Macanese House (filled with reproduction period furniture and furnishings in both Chinese and European style, illustrating the life of typical Macanese at the time)...Next door is the House of the Islands (displaying maps, pictures and memorabilia from Taipa and Coloane)...then the House of the Portugal Regions (displays of costumes, musical instruments and photos)...Next is the Exhibition Gallery, with changing shows of photographs, paintings and posters...and finally the largest house is now used for meetings and receptions,which can overflow onto the praia and a small open arena...Note that the museums are closed on Monday...By now you should be hungry, so walk back up the steps and take Calçada do Carmo to Avenida Direita Carlos Eugénio...Opposite is one of the former firecracker factories that once flourished on Taipa...Ahead is Food Street!
Taipa - by night
There's plenty of nightlife on Taipa...Of course the many restaurants of Food Street are particularly busy...as are the island's major hotels, which contain casinos and nightclubs as well as a variety of places to eat and drink...But Taipa is also a place for sports fans...there are night meetings at the Macau Jockey Club's superb horse racing facility at midweek and sometimes weekend evenings...There's no need to plan in advance and it's easy to combine a night at the races with drinks and dinner either before or after...The other sports venue is the Macau Stadium, close to the race track...It is equipped to host soccer matches, track and field events or pop concerts...Check with the Tourist Office or your hotel for details.
Coloane Village (30 minutes)
China Coast recalled
Take any bus marked 'Coloane' or 'Hác Sá' to Coloane Village...Start at the square Largo Presidente António Ramalho Eanes, and take a look at the little park in the middle, with its bronze statue of Cupid...Turn right on Rua das Gaivotas...which becomes Rua dos Navegantes...Walk along to the Tin Hau Temple (guarded by black and gold painted Chinese lions...look inside at the fine ceiling of green wooden rafters and beige tiles)...Ahead you find Chinese medicine shops, a shrine embedded in the roots of a tree and stores selling dried salted fish (said to be the best in the region)...some of the buildings are made of tin and built on stilts over the water...At the wharf of the Ponte Cais de Coloane (before the building of the causeway and bridge links, this was the pier for ferry travellers from Macau)...Turn back and take a right turn at the temple to reach the waterfront along Avenida 5 de Outubro...On your right is a narrow stretch of water (once part of the Bamboo Curtain) and part of the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone of Guangdong, a flourishing new area which produces vegetables and fish farms, now linked to Macau by bridge...Follow the waterfront with its avenue of banyans and palm trees...On the left is St Francis Xavier Square, a public library...private houses and a Primary School...At the end of the road is the Tam Kung Temple (dedicated to the Taoist God of Seafarers, with fine tiled roof and inside a boat carved from a whalebone with figures of guardians, also a plaster mural of a wide-eyed, orange-striped tiger with cub)...Outside take the road that branches left to Rua do Estaleiro...follow the parade of stately banyans till you reach some steps on your right, leading to the Largo Tin Hau Miu...Go up and visit the Tin Hau Temple (dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, also known as A-Ma)...Go back down via the adjoining Travessa da República...Ahead is a public playground...Cross it to Travessa do Pagode and see another, smaller, Tin Hau Temple (notable for its gilded carved plaques and a moongate that makes an attractive frame for a typical Coloane village scene)...Turn right and stroll along the traditional China Coast street, with small, open-fronted stores overflowing with hardwares, groceries and haberdashery...neatly complemented with Macanese touches like whitewashed facades, blue-and-white name plaques and old-style lamplights hung with flower baskets...Soon you're in the main square, with Portuguese mosaic paving and rows of neo-classical arcades...Dominating the square is the Chapel of St Francis Xavier (opened in 1928 to enshrine the arm bone of the saint and remains of Christian martyrs from Japan, Korea and Indochina)...Although the relics have been moved to Japan and Macanese museums, the chapel, with its cream-and-white pedimented facade, still attracts pilgrims and tourists...At the opposite end of the square is an obelisque surrounded by stone cannonballs, which celebrates Macau's defeat of local pirates in 1910...This is an ideal place to stop for refreshments in one of the arcade restaurants...Leave the square by Rua dos Negociantes, to browse the antique shops...and before you catch a bus to town, cross the square and buy some egg tarts from Lord Stow's Bakery.
Besides the village, Coloane has many other attractions...Get off the bus outside Seac Pai Van Park, to enjoy the hillside nature trail, the aviary and children's zoo, and the Museum of Nature & Agriculture (with exhibits of the local ecosystem and a room devoted to Chinese herbal medicines)...OR take the bus past the village to Cheoc Van Beach (with long, sandy beach, swimming pool, yacht club, windsurfing, the Pousada de Coloane and some excellent Portuguese and Italian restaurants) or further on to Hác Sá Beach (the sand is naturally black, not polluted! Hác Sá means "black sand").
Maps provided by Direcção dos Serviços de Cartografia e Cadastro.