Home Macau A walk around Macau

A walk around Macau

Hong Kong and Macau are sister cities facing each other across the Pearl River delta. Every quarter of an hour, ferries connect the two cities in little over an hour. The last European colony to be returned to China in 1999, Macau, apart from the colonial architecture of its historic centre has very little other Portuguese influence remaining. Do not try to say "Bom Dia" to your Chinese hosts as they will not understand you. Very few locals still speak Portuguese in the former colony even though it is one of the official languages on the peninsula that still retains a certain autonomy from mainland China.

Melancholic Macau

Macau has none of the extravagant excesses of Hong Kong across the water. With only 450,000 inhabitants, it is almost provincial in comparison. This is without doubt due to the remains of its colonial past, which gives it a timeless and melancholic feel enhanced by a whitish heat haze at certain times of the year. The beautifully restored old city of Macau invites visitors on a trip through time and space. If it were not for the majority of Asian population and tourists, you could almost imagine yourself in Porto or Funchal. On the main square of the city, Largo do Senado, the white and black soil, in the shape of waves is reminiscent of Copacabana.  

Macau influences

It is a pleasure to amble down the narrow alleys of old Macau leading to buildings and baroque 17th century churches with yellow and white facades like those of São Domingos and São Lourenço. Many restaurants serve Macau dishes, a mix of Portuguese, Chinese and Malaysian cuisine such as galinha (chicken curry) caril mix fruits or pombo assado (roast pigeon). Macau also has a number of hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Such as the inner courtyard of Leal Senado dating from the 18th century. It is an impressive colonial white wash building with green shutters.

What to see in Macau

All of this is nothing in comparison to the façade of the São Paulo Church, remarkable vestige dating back to the beginning of the 17th century. The original church was destroyed by fire in 1835. Located at the top of an immense and wide staircase, this symbol of Macau is a throwback to the past. Its façade with a mix of a Chinese dragon and inscriptions alongside Christian symbols stands alone. Behind it is a field being excavated followed by a further Chinese city with twisted decrepit buildings where the poorer inhabitants of Macau live. It is a striking vision to see so many tourists snapping photos of this relic of another era.