Macau: World Heritage and Nature

Macau: World Heritage and Nature

Macau is a Special Administrative Regions of China, along with Hong Kong. In the past decades, Macau has been transformed from a small, sleepy island into a megalopolis of gambling. Now, a small area of 31.3 square kilometers (12.1 sq. mi.) has become the world’s largest gambling center with gambling revenue higher than Las Vegas. However, Macau has much more to see than several giant casinos. This small city is full of historical, cultural, and natural attractions.

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Macau was a former Portuguese colony from 16th century until 1999. As a result, you can see Portuguese architecture like squares, churches, temples, and other building around the city. Due to the unique mixture of Chinese and Portuguese influences, the Historic Centre of Macao was recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site along with 25 buildings and sites in the area. The best way to explore these old neighborhoods is on foot. The islands are compact enough to walk around easily. If you want to all the main tourist attractions, you can start from the south-western tip of the Macao Peninsula at A-Ma Temple, the temple dedicated to goddess of the sea. After that, you follow the route toward the north. Along the way, there are many historical churches and squares which represent the development of Catholicism in Macau. The route will finish at the Ruins of St. Paul’s and Mount Fortress (Fortaleza do Monte). The Cathedral of St. Paul was built around 1600′s and was one of the largest Catholic churches in Asia until it was destroyed by fire in 1835. Now, you can see only a stone façade. Mount Fortress was a military center of the Portuguese which was built in the early of 17th century. Now, it is where Museum of Macau is located. You can also see a panoramic view of the center area of Macau from here.

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Apart from Macau Peninsula itself, Macau also includes two small islands, Taipa and Coloane. Taipa Island is smaller and nearer to Macau Peninsula. You can travel from Macau to Taipa across the 2.5 kilometers bridge. The international airport, University of Macau, and a stadium are on the island. The hilly landscape is great to explore by mountain bike. The challenging is worth the panorama of the islands and sea. Between the two islands, you can stop at Seac Pai Van Park which is popular among locals. The park includes a small zoo, a large walk-in aviary with many colorful birds, picnic areas, playgrounds, and flowerbeds. Coloane Island is a great place for hiking. The trails in Coloane Park are well-labeled and suitable for beginners. From the trails, you can easily reach the street to take taxi or mini-bus. You can start your trek from Seac Pai Van Park to the Coloane Park trails, continue to Goddess A-Ma statue, and end your trip at Hac Sa Beach.

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As you can see, Macau offers a variety of activities for everyone. It is not only a dream destination for gamblers, but also for tourists who love to explore historical sites and nature.

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You can find more information about travel in Macau here:

http://en.macautourism.gov.mo/index.php

and you can find suggested walking itineraries for the Historic Centre of Macao here:

http://www.macauheritage.net/Tour/indexE.asp