Taipa Village, Macau

Over Chinese New Year, for only the second time ever, Tom and I took a day trip to Macau. Last time we did the main sights but this time we headed to Taipa, on the south part of Macau.

According to Wikipedia, Taipa was once a much smaller island of its own but the land between Taipa and the adjacent Colaine island was filled in with an area now called Cotai. Cotai is well known for its massive casinos, but Taipa is very different indeed!

There are regular ferries to Taipa from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan and the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, run by Cotai Water Jet. Turbojet also runs a few services to Taipa from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal.

Since we didn’t really know where we were going when we got there, we took a taxi from the Taipa ferry terminal to near the restaurant where we were meeting friends for lunch. Our taxi dropped us off at the end of Rua do Regador, and we were a little early so we were able to wander around the nearby streets a bit before lunch. Taipa village is a lovely mix of Chinese and Portuguese influences, with narrow streets and pretty architecture. I wish I had taken more photos of this area since it was a very nice place to walk around! I did snap one of this square though, with its large Chinese New Year (I assume) centrepiece.

Taipa village square Macau

Our lunch was at nearby Portug├ília, which I’d recommend. The food was lovely and so was the setting.

Portugalia restaurant Macau

After lunch, our large group slowly wandered up the Avenida de Carlos da Maia, past Our Lady of Carmel Church…

Our Lady of Carmel Church Taipa Macau

…and Carmel Garden.

Carmel Garden Taipa Macau

After the children played for a while on the exercise equipment there (which is really designed for the elderly!), we headed down to the Estrada de Cacilhas. These lovely restored green buildings house the Taipa Houses Museum. Alas, we have small children who aren’t very interested in museums so we didn’t go inside, so I can’t tell you what the museum is like!

Taipa Houses Museum Macau

Across the lagoon is a grand view of casinos. Slightly different from Taipa village!

Cotai Strip Macau

These decorations were also part of the Chinese New Year celebrations…

Chinese New Year decorations Cotai Macau

…sadly these trees were fake!

Fake CNY blossom Macau

If you’re heading to Macau but looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the main sights and the high rise casinos then you might want to head over to Taipa village. It’s small but I think it’s a lovely way to pass an hour or two.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Places to visit – Macau

Macau is a former Portuguese colony on the south coast of China, just across the Pearl River delta from Hong Kong. Its history means that there is a surprisingly European feel to some areas which have retained a number of colonial buildings. However, this is not the case in the areas where the casinos now stand – these areas are very modern and very gaudy! Macau is the only place in China where gambling is allowed (apart from betting on the horses in Hong Kong) so there are a LOT of casinos there, and apparently it takes more money than Las Vegas!

We went to Macau on our first weekend after we moved to Hong Kong because we needed to leave HK and enter again to get our visas stamped. As you will shortly see, August is perhaps not the best time of year to visit Macau!

The easiest way to get to Macau is by ferry. The ferry terminal is in Sheung Wan – leave the MTR by exit D and keep going up the escalators until you get to the ticket counters. We turned up at about midday on a Saturday in August and it was pretty busy, and the displays showed that the next available ferry wasn’t till 3pm! (the ferries go every 30 minutes) So we went home and booked tickets for the next day online. This was much easier – we still had to queue at the ticketing counter to pick up the tickets but that was fairly quick and we made our way to the ‘gate’ with plenty of time to spare.

The ferry is actually a high-speed hydrofoil, so it only takes about an hour to get to Macau. It looks like this:

TurboJET hydrofoil

Once we got to Macau, it took us over an hour to get through immigration. Yet another reason not to go in August, I think! Once you are finally out of the ferry terminal, take bus number 3 to Almeida Ribeiro if you want to see the colonial area, where there are lots of nice old buildings.

Largo do Senado Santa Case di Misericordia Colonial building, Macau

Particular highlights included the ruins of the Church of St Paul:

The Church of St Paul, Macau

…although this was the street leading up to the ruins (so busy!)…

The path to the ruins of the Church of St Paul The view from Monte Fort was also pretty nice:

View from Monte Fort, Macau

As was the Lou Kau Mansion, on Traversa de Se:

Lou Kau Mansion

The casino district is perhaps worth a visit, if only to gasp at the gaudiness (is that a word?)

Macau's casino district

Gaudy Macau casino

Grand Lisboa Macau

I’d recommend Macau for a fun day out, but probably not really much longer. However, if I do go back at any point, I’d quite like to check out the House of Dancing Water show – it looks pretty impressive!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel