I recently went to Asia for the second time in my life. I was so excited to visit Macau (also spelled Macao) and get a glimpse of a their culture. It is an unusual mix of Chinese and Portuguese since Macau was a Portuguese colony until 1999. I had the opportunity to explore Macau as part of a Sheraton Macao press trip. All opinions are my own. One of the things to do in Macau is take a walking tour of the historic centre of Macau. Here is a sneak peak at my the sites I saw on my walking tour of Macau.
Tour The Historic Centre of Macau
I would say an absolute must is a tour of historic centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage site. (The Macao Sheraton concierge can help you arrange a tour if you are a guest there). Our tour guide took us to see the Ruins of St. Paul Church, Camoes Garden, Protestant Chapel, Mount Fortress, Lou Kau Mansion, St. Domingos Church, Santa Casa da Misrecordia, Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple, Leal Senado, and Rua da Felicidade.
First, we visited the Leal Senado Building which is the Institute of Civic and Municipal Affairs (or as it is labeled in Portuguese: Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos e Municipais- IAMC). This 18th century building is full of beautiful Portuguese blue and white tiles and holds a library full of ancient books.
Across the street from the IACM, we toured Largo do Senado Square (Senate Square) where the Portuguese influence is obvious and buildings such as the Santa Casa da Misericordia built in 1569, still remain.
St. Domingos Church
St. Domingos Church, a Baroque-style church built in the 17th century, is also right off the Senate Square in Macua, China.
Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple
Next, we visited the Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple, in the heart of the main city square, which was built in the 18th century. It was originally used as a meeting place for important business men and it literally means “Three streets meeting quarter.” It is now used for worship of Kuan Tai, a deity of loyalty and righteousness.
The Camoes Garden was another spot I wouldn’t want to miss with pretty gardens, a foot massage stone trail, pretty sculptures and mosaics, free workout stations, and locals doing martial arts. It was a a very relaxing stop on our walking tour of Macau.
St. Paul Church Ruins
Do not miss the Ruins of St. Paul Church. The facade carvings are very unique in that they include Jesuit images mixed with Oriental themes.
The ruins really are beautiful to see and they are a very happening spot with tons of local shops at the base of the stairs. The St. Paul Church facade sits on top of a hill with 68 stone steps leading up to it. Our guide told us that the stones came over from Portugal on trading ships to weigh the ships down when empty and they were unloaded in Macau. The ships filled with goods to trade and the leftover stones were used for building.
The Mount Fortress is right next store to the St. Paul Ruins and is a beautiful must see spot with a panoramic view of the city. There seemed to be many locals relaxing in the beautiful Mount Fortress Gardens while the tourists checked out the what I believe to be nearly 400 year old canons! You can also visit the Museo de Macau (or the Macao Museum) while you are there.
Random Macao Street Sights
While on this walking tour of historic Macao sights, you will undoubtedly discover some unmapped magic. I got a lot of pleasure just out of seeing unfamiliar sites along the way. Above are a few photos I snapped as I enjoyed the streets of Macau. If you enjoyed these random Macau photos, you may also enjoy the A Mom’s Take article, 8 reasons to stray from the Cotai Strip.
Another random sight I captured with a photo was I a bird cage in a tree on the way to Mount Fortress. I was surprised by this and asked someone who lives in Macao if it belonged to Mount Fortress. They replied that it did not and told me that it is very common in Macau for people to walk their birds! What a cool tradition. If I ever own a bird, I will take it for a walk and let it enjoy nature views with me and think of Macau.
I really enjoyed my trip to Macau, and I suggest it as a great first trip to Asia as the mixed in Western vibe really does make it feel like home while you explore totally new and exciting things. This walking tour of Macau is just one of many, many things to do in Macau and I will publish a more in depth article on things to do in Macao soon! Have you ever been to Macau or do you plan to take a trip?