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Intro: a note on navigation in Macau

Macau is a very small place, but it is easy to get disorientated.  So here’s a few tips.

Macau streets rarely travel parallel or at right angles to each other.  They often radiate from a central intersection, or curve and change direction rather drastically.  Don’t assume you have been walking in a straight line.

Both the Portuguese name of a street and an official Chinese translation are shown on road signs. Usually the Chinese version is phonetically similar to the Portuguese (eg “Ferreira” becomes “Fey Ley La”; the Chinese version might be adjusted so that the words used are propitious and dignified, certainly never rude).  But often an unofficial Chinese version, a nick-name or a short form, is more common; two examples:
The city main street is called Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro and the Chinese translation is “Ah Mei Dar Lei Bei Lo Dai Mar Lo”.  But everyone (Portuguese, Chinese, expats) calls it “San Mar Lo” – New Main Road.
In the north there is Avenida do Ouvidor Arriaga, which has the official translation of “Nga Lim Fong Dai Mar Lo”.  But to everyone it is just “Nga Lim Fong”.  Nga Lim lived there and left his mark.
Then there are the other unofficial Chinese versions: these might well be rude.
A last point on names. W and Y are not used in the Portuguese alphabet.  So Wong becomes Vong and Yu becomes Iu, or occasionally something more imaginative

In Macau there is almost no attempt to use the Chinese equivalents of “street” (“gai”) and “road” (“dhou” or “lo”) to accurately describe thoroughfares, their use seems quite arbitrary.  This is probably because of the Portuguese usage of Avenida, Rua and Estrada, which don’t fit easily into the English/Chinese description of road or street.  Then there are Travessa and Calçada both of which become “hong” (= “lane”), and Patio and Beco.  A “Mar Lo” is a main road.  The literal meaning is “horse road”; these were the bigger roads where horses and drays would travel.  Hong Kong’s main thoroughfare, Queen’s Road, is simply called “Dai Mar Lo” – “Big Horse Road”; there is only one Dai Mar Lo in Hong Kong.  In Macau a lot of streets are described as “xxx Dai Mar Lo”.
  
Another problem with Macau street names is that they change as you walk along the street.  No doubt years ago the street you are on went off to the left a bit, and the right hand fork was not so important; but now the main path is off to the right and that name is retained.  So, here are three examples, all affecting the directions below:
Rua de Palha runs north from the Body Shop for about 150 metres, then continues as Rua de São Paulo, then becomes Rua de Santo António. 
Rua de Coronel Ferreira becomes Rua de Infante at the junction with Rua do Guimarães.
The city main street (“San Mar Lo”) is Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro from the north to the junction with Avenida da Praia Grande (the large crossing with the main branch of BNU on the NE corner).  South of Praia Grande it is Avenida do Infante D. Henrique.  The Praia Grande used to be the water front, hence Av. do Inf. D. Henrique is on reclaimed land and deserved a new name.  But it’s all San Mar Lo to locals.
One saving grace for the postman is that the house numbering starts at one end and finishes at the other, so a letter to any of the street names in a continuum will find its destination provided the house number is correct.

Finally, get a map.  The Macau Map, available free at, and endorsed by, the Government Tourist Office, is quite good but many small streets are not shown.  The most detailed is the 162 page Atlas of Macau (Photomap Edition, complete with CD Rom, 2nd edition, 2005), published by Direcção dos Serviços de Cartografia e Cadastro do Governo da Região Administrattiva Especial de Macau.  It’s a bargain at MOP 99, available at good bookshops and certainly at the Portuguese Bookshop on Rua de Pedro Nolasco da Silva.

Armed with this knowledge, and the precious map, let us proceed……

From Leal Senado Square (eg from Wynn, MGM, Lisboa, Sintra, Metropole).

Find the city main street, Avenida Almeida Ribeiro (“San Mar Lo”). This runs from the Hotel Lisboa in the south to the inner harbour and Ponte 16 in the north west.  About half way along is the Leal Senado Square (“Pan Soi Chee”).  Walk through the square to the beautiful church of San Domingos.  There, turn right, walk about 70 metres and on a left-hand corner you will see Häagen Daz and The Body Shop; turn left here.  Follow the winding pedestrian street, Rua da Palha, up the hill, past numerous fast food outlets and some antique shops.  Notice a small lane on your right, Travessa da Fortuna, where you will see a restaurant called “Yes, Brazil”; here, courtesy of Maria, you can find the best feijoada in town.  When you arrive at the steps beneath the ruins of St Paul’s, the icon of Macau, look to your left along the street of antique shops, Rua de São Paulo (“Dai Saam Bah Gai”).  Walk about 80 metres to the first lane on the right, Travessa de Paixão (“Luen Loi Hong”, the Lane of Love).  is on the corner there, at number 31.

Walking time: Leal Senado → , less than 10 minutes.

 

From the east (eg Hotel Royal, Guia Hotel)

Tap Seac Square is clearly marked on all maps.  It is bounded on the south-east by the now derelict Estoril Hotel, and on the north-west by a terrace of beautiful old Macanese buildings painted magnolia and white which house several government departments.  Adjacent to these lovely buildings find the junction of Avenida do Conselheiro Ferreira de Almeida (“Hor Lan Yuen Dai Mar Lo”) and Estrada do Cemitério (“São Faan Mar Lo”).  Walk along Estrada do Cemitério, up the hill, with the pretty church and cemetery of São Miguel Arianjo on your right and the IACM vehicle service yard on your left.  At the top of the brow the street name changes to Rua de Tomás Vieira (“San Sing Gai”); don’t worry, this is just a cunning ploy to prevent you finding. At the roundabout behind Kiang Wu hospital (Rotunda do Almirante Costa Cabral) go straight across into Rua de D. Belchior Carneiro (“Goh Yuen Gai”).  (At the roundabout Rua de Tomás Vieira takes off to the right a bit, away from your destination; another cunning diversion, don’t follow it).  Walk along about 250 metres, and on your left you will see the back of St Paul’s ruins.  Turn left into Calçada de São Paulo (“Dai Saam Bah Che Hong”), walk up to the front of the church and then down the steps.  At the bottom of the steps (watch out to your left for the cars driving past, often too fast and with little regard for pedestrians) turn to your right along the street of antique shops, Rua de São Paulo (“Dai Saam Bah Gai”). Walk about 80 metres to the first lane on the right, Travessa de Paixão (“Luen Loi Hong”, the Lane of Love).  is on the corner there, at number 31.

Walking time, Tap Seac →, about 15 minutes

 

From the north (eg Pousada de Mong Ha)

Option 1

From the Pousada de Mong Ha walk down the hill to Avenida do Coronel Mesquita (“Mei Foo Cheung Dai Mar Lo”).  Turn left, then right, into Rua de Francisco Xavier Pereira (“Bei Lei La Gai”).  Follow this street across Avenida do Ouvidor Arriaga (“Nga Lim Fong”), then across Avenida Horta e Costa (“Goh Si Dah Dai Mar Lo”). After another 200 metres the street crosses the junction of Rua da Barca and Estrada de Adolfo Loureiro and becomes narrower, losing its central division, and becomes a one-way street; don’t worry, just keep walking, now a bit uphill.* Then, after a few more junctions and about 400 metres of walking, the road will end at a T-junction almost opposite (a bit to your left) the ambulance entrance to Kiang Wu Hospital on Estrada do Repouso (“Kiang Wu Mar Lo”).  Turn left past the hospital gates and after 60 metres you will hit the roundabout at the back of Kiang Wu (Rotunda do Almirante Costa Cabral).  Take the second exit on your right, Rua de D. Belchior Carneiro (“Goh Yuen Gai”).  Walk along about 250 metres, and you will see the back of St Paul’s ruins.  Turn left into Calçada de São Paulo (“Dai Saam Bah Che Hong”), walk up to the front of the church and then down the steps. At the bottom of the steps (watch out for the cars driving past) turn right along the street of antique shops, Rua de São Paulo (“Dai Saam Bah Gai”). Walk about 80 metres to the first lane on the right, Travessa de Paixão (“Luen Loi Hong”, the Lane of Love).  is on the corner there, at number 31.

*If you have time, here you can make a lovely diversion.  Turn left into Rua da Barca and about 200 metres along you will find the beautiful Lo Lim Yok Garden, good for an hour of exploration.

Walking time Mong Ha →, about 25 minutes, plus Lo Lim Yok Garden.

 

Option 2

From the Pousada de Mong Ha walk down the hill to Avenida do Coronel Mesquita (“Mei Foo Cheung Dai Mar Lo”).  Turn right and walk about 250 metres to the first major intersection, easily identified by the overkill pedestrian bridge.  (On the right, just before the bridge, is the Ox Warehouse.  This used to be a city abattoir but is now an artists’ colony and has a nice coffee shop).  Turn left into Avenida Almirante Lacerda (“Dai Duc Mar Lo”).  Walk past the Red Market on your left (“Hung Gai See” – the best fish market in town) to the third set of traffic lights.  Here, turn left into Estrada do Repouso (“Kiang Wu Mar Lo”).  Walk straight, about 450 metres, by which time the road is going slightly uphill.  You will arrive at a busy junction where the Fire Station Museum is seen on the far left corner, and the new extension of Kiang Wu Hospital is on the far right corner.  Turn right into Rua de Coelho do Amaral (“Yin Sing Gai”).  Unfortunately, this road is badly signposted, but you should walk past the patients' entrance to Kiang Wu on your left, and about 200 metres later past the junction of Rua de Tomás Vieira (“San Sing Gai”), also on your left.  Just past this junction you will see the side of the church of Santo António on your left, and, on your right, the Praça de Luis de Camoẽs (“Baht Gaap Chow” – Pigeon’s Nest).*  At the front of the church turn left past a small rotunda and into Rua de Santo Antonio (“Fah Wong Tong Gai”) – do not go straight on and down the hill.  After about 300 metres, this street becomes Rua de São Paulo (“Dai Saam Bah Gai”).  is on the left side, at No 31, on the corner of Travessa da Paixão (“Luen Loi Hong”, the Lane of Love).

*Here is another nice diversion.  Behind the Praça de Luis de Camoẽs is the Jardim de Luis de Camoẽs, well worth exploring.  To the right of the park is the Fundaçao Oriente and the Morrison Chapel where every gravestone tells a story

Walking time Mong Ha →, about 25 minutes, plus Jardim de Luis de Camoẽs and Morrison Chapel.

 

From the North-West (Ponte 16 and Sofitel)

Turn left into the main road in front of Ponte 16, Rua do Visconte Paço de Arcos (“Bar So Dai Yee Tsim Gai”).  After about 50 metres there is a blue and white multi-storey car park, with trucks at the ground level.  Almost opposite the first of the parked trucks, turn right into a small street, Rua do Coronel Ferreira (“Fay Ley La Gai”).  Walk about 200 metres and across two junctions to the end of the street (which becomes Rua de Infante (“Wong Chi Gai”) along the way).  This is an interesting old area; note some of the architecture and the busy small shops.  Turn right into Rua dos Faitioẽs (“Fai Teng Tao Gai”).  The fifth shop on the left is open-fronted, selling Chinese candies.  Immediately adjacent to this shop is a public corridor, Beco dos Faitioẽs.  Walk though this and up the steps to Rua de Santo António (“Fah Wong Tong Gai”).  Turn right.  This street runs into Rua de São Paulo (“Dai Saam Bah Gai”) and is about 150 metres along, at No 31, on the corner of Travessa da Paixão (“Luen Loi Hong”, the Lane of Love).

Walking time, Ponte 16 →, about 5 minutes.

 

From the south-east (eg Landmark, Holiday Inn, Hotel Beverley)

Let’s start at the Holiday Inn, from the main door, looking out onto the road, with Oscar’s Bar on your left.  You should see the back entrance to a police station across the road.

Turn left into the road at the front, Rua de Pequim (“Bhat Ging Gai”).  Walk as far as you can, and cross the road at the end (Rua de Cantão, “Gong Chau Gai”).  Cross the road and turn right.  In front of you, you will see a space between two buildings and an escalator to a pedestrian bridge.  Walk through the space but do not go up the escalator.  You are now in a major road called Avenida do Dr Rodrigo Rodrigues (“Lor Lay Gay Bok Si Dai Mar Lo”).  Turn left.  Walk to the next major intersection, you should be under a flyover.  There is a pedestrian crossing to your right; cross it and turn left.  You are now on the Avenida da Praia Grande (“Nam Wan Dai Mar Lo”).  After about 80 metres you will pass a beautiful pink and white building to your right, the Clube Militar (“Lok Gwan Koi Lok Boh”).  For more than a century this has been the social centre of Macau.  Although it is a club, the restaurant is open to the public and offers good Portuguese and Macanese food in one of the most beautiful dining rooms in Macau; the lunch buffet is excellent and offers outstanding value.  After another 100 metres you will be walking, still on the main road, past some gardens, and will come to a major intersection with traffic lights.  Here, on the right hand corner, is an octagonal red building which is probably the smallest public library in the world; stop in to read the day’s papers. At this crossing, the road now in front of you is Rua do Campo (“Soi Hang Mei Gai”).  Cross here and turn right when you reach the sidewalk on the far side.  After about 50 metres cross the entrance to Rua Formosa (“Mei Lai Gai”). Walk another 20 metres and turn left into a small pedestrian lane, Travessa dos Anjos (“Teen San Hong”).  Follow this: after about 150 metres you will have to turn right, and after another 30 metres you will enter Rua de Pedro Nolasco da Silva (“Baht Dor Lok Guk Jeung Gai”).  This street has lots of shoeshops.  Turn left.  Walk about 200 metres, past the Portuguese Bookshop on your left, until you see Häagen Daz and Body Shop on a right hand corner.  Here, turn right into Rua da Palha.  Walk up the hill, past numerous fast food outlets and some antique shops.  Notice a small lane on your right, Travessa da Fortuna, where you will see a restaurant called “Yes, Brazil”; here, courtesy of Maria, you can find the best feijoada in town.  When you arrive at the steps beneath the ruins of Saint Paul’s, the icon of Macau, look to your left along the street of antique shops, Rua de São Paulo (“Dai Saam Bah Gai”).  Walk about 80 metres to the first lane on the right, Travessa de Paixão (“Luen Loi Hong”, the Lane of Love).  is on the corner there, at number 31.

Walking time Holiday Inn → , about 15 minutes.  More if you spend time in the shoe shops or having lunch in the Clube Militar.