Macao: concrete jungle where dreams are made of

Hi all! Just came back from Macao. Had a great time exploring Macao and thought I share some photos and thoughts about Macao.

Macao buildings

Macao is pretty much a commercial and industrialized city that is made of hundreds of high-rise buildings that include Grand Lisboa, The Venetian, L’Arc Macau, Wynn Diamond Suites, MGM Grand Macau, Galaxy Star World and many more.

And roaming further around Macao, it is evident that more buildings are on the rise at every corner.


But as I explored in-between the buildings, I discovered historical ones; some ruined from war, some preserved and some turned into museums—evidence of Portuguese colonisation in Macao since the 16th century. It’s pretty amazing to see baroque European-influenced buildings among the high-rise modern buildings.

HolyHouseofMeryHoly House of Mercy. The main building was built in 1569, while the neo-classical structure was added in 1905.

Leal Senado. Originally built in 1784 as the municipal office, this building possesses a distinct  Southern European architectural style. After the handover of Macau to China in 1999 it became the headquarters of the Institute of Civic and Municipal Affairs.

St. Paul's ruin
A façade of what remains of the Church of Mater Dei that was built in 1602.

A post of street signs comprises of 3 languages: Cantonese, Portuguese and English. Now I know that ‘gereja’  (Malay) comes from ‘igreja’ (Portuguese).  Since I am at it; do you know that the Malay word ‘sabun’ comes from French word ‘savon’?

St. Dominic’s Church. Built in 1587, this was the first church built in China by Dominican priests.

The above buildings are among those listed in Historic Centre of Macao, a collection of over twenty sites that witness the unique assimilation and co-existence of Chinese and Portuguese cultures in Macao. It represents the architectural legacies of the city’s cultural heritage, including monuments such as urban squares, streetscapes, churches and temples. In 2005 the Historic Centre of Macao was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, making it the 31st designated World Heritage site in China.

Among sites that I visited include A-Ma Temple, Barra Square, Moorish Barracks, St Lawrence’s Church, St. Augustine’s Square, Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, Leal Senado Building, Senado Square, Holy House of Mercy, St. Dominic’s Church, St. Dominic’s Square, Ruins of St. Paul’s, Lilau Square.

Ama Temple
A-Ma Temple.

Sir Robert Ho Tung Library. Sir Robert bought the building in 1918 and when he passed away in 1955, the building was given to the government (according to his will) for use as public library.

leoOther than the heritage sites, I also visited  Macao Science Center, said hi to two giant pandas, had a fling with Leo di Caprio at the Wax & 3D Museum, ate some egg tarts, had a great vegetarian lunch at The Blissful Carrot, see some greeneries at Taipa and Coloane, had lunch at Grand MGM, had a great dinner at Sofitel Macao at Ponte 16, visited The Venetian and had a great lunch at The Golden Peacock, listened to two beautiful ladies playing violin, and discover arts (will tell you about this in another post).





Macao has developed itself as one of the world-class tourism players with a wide choice of hotels, resorts, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) facilities, restaurants, casinos,  family entertainment, financial and banking services, staff training, transport and communications support. With all the offerings, I like to think that Macao is a concrete jungle where dreams are made of; where people come to work and make money, flock casinos and get rich in one day (or two, or not), experience fusion cuisines of Portuguese and Chinese, learn about the culture and history, attend or participate in festivals (or shows, concerts or business events), bring family for a holiday, or simply go shopping.

Macanese go about their daily lives. Rua do Gamboa, Macao.


I am glad to have the chance to visit Macao and learn about everything that it has to offer. Viewing neon-lit Macao at night from the 18th floor of Sofitel Macao is so satisfying. While it looks gritty from up here during the day, it looks so darn pretty at night.




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  1. But knowing the origin of both words, ‘gereja’ and ‘sabun’, it also reminds me that Bahasa Melayu used to be lingua franca. Just like how English is right now. I guess one does influence the others to help in communication with each other.

  2. Hello there!

    We are Ana and Ivan and we are on the baby steps of our traveling blog. We just reused one of your pictures to illustrate Macau buildings as we are writing a topic about how to find house in Macau so we may help the newcomers.

    I did all the correct linkage to this post as well as endorse you under the picture. U may check here:

    Let me know if there’s any problem and we shall remove it right way.

    Thanks a lot!
    Ana & Ivan – Viajar, Crescer e Amar

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