The Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) has unveiled four new fascinating walking tours designed to take visitors off the beaten tourist trail and help them discover lesser known communities, savour local cuisines and discover the city’s culture like never before. Available for free download from the website or from tourist information centres, the four walking tours, titled ‘Step Out, Experience Macau’s Communities’, are each themed to take in a different aspect of Macau: Route 1 – A tour of historical trails This route mainly covers the area around which the Macau residents call ‘San Ma Lou’- a unique area with traces of both Chinese and Portuguese residents’ life. Sites include the UNESCO World Heritage listed Holy House of Mercy and St. Dominic’s Church and Sam Kai Vui Kun once a former meeting place for local Chinese merchants and a former Opium House. The route gives plenty of opportunities to taste authentic snacks and food from clay pot rice and traditional desserts to salted fish and dried oysters. Route 2 – A tour of nature and creativity This scenic route takes in landmarks such as the Pou Chai Sim Iun (Kun Iam Tong) temple whose origins can be traced back to the Ming Dynasty; the Guia Lighthouse, with panoramic views of Macau and the Pearl River estuary. It showcases the Macau Tea Culture House, where visitors can learn about tea cultures, the scenic Lou Lim Ieoc Garden featuring a variety of beautiful bonsai and finishes in the St Lazarus district, an area of interesting specialty shops selling local creative goods as well as one of the three oldest churches in Macau. Route 3 – A tour of East meets West This walk starts from Senado Square and among the many historic buildings highlighted are the Dom Pedro V Theatre – the earliest European theatre in China – the 16th century St. Lawrence’s Church and the Mandarin’s House, built in the style of a traditional Guangdong residence but with architectural influences from the West. Also included are the Moorish Barracks and the Ming Dynasty A-Ma Temple, the oldest building in Macau, which is close to Portuguese restaurants. Route 4 – A tour of arts and culture Starting at the waterfront Macau Fisherman’s Wharf dining, shopping and entertainment complex, this walk takes in the Macau Cultural Centre, Macau Museum of Art and the Macau Science Center which visitors can dip in and out of as they wish. Strolling past Nam Van Lake visitors will come to the 338m Macau Tower, with its spectacular views before reaching the Avenida da Republica, one of the most beautiful avenues in Macau with pretty Portuguese buildings including the world-acclaimed Pousada de Sao Tiago Hotel, and finishing at the A-Ma Temple. Intended to be leisurely strolls, the shortest of the four walks takes approximately 90 minutes to complete while the longest takes approximately 130 minutes to complete. Illustrated on specially created maps, the new walking tours are available for free at MGTO’s tourist information centres as well as available for download from MGTO’s website (www.macautourism.gov.mo). The website also features videos of the four routes to allow visitors to virtually experience the walking tours prior to setting off. MGTO is also currently designing further walking tours, including an island tour, to be launched next year and Smartphone applications for each walking route will be available soon.
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