Macau
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Macau Travel, city tour, day trip, red market

North Macau, Red Market and Mong Ha

North Macau: Markets, history and nice parks

The starting point of our "North Macau Sightseeing Tour" is at the Kun Iam temple, on Avenida do Coronel Mesquita.

 

Dedicated to the Chinese goddess of mercy, Kun Iam, this beautiful Buddhist temple was first built on the 13th century and is probably Macau's oldest and among the city's biggest and richest temples, although the present building is from 1627.  

As soon as you pass through the grand gate and enter the temple's courtyard, you'll notice the rich decorations: The giant Chinese pot in front of the staircase, the stone lions and the nicely landscaped garden (especially the one at the back).

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The roof is packed with artistically made porcelain figures, depicting stories from the Chinese mythology... 

 

In front of the entrance to the hall there is a small altar where joss sticks are burnt. The inner halls are lavishly decorated, with fascinating ornaments and plenty of statues (including the golden buddhas) and, as in most Chinese Taoist and Buddhist temples, the inner spaces are scented with large incense coils, hung from the ceiling.  These coils are actually used as a method of purifying the surroundings... 

 

The temple played a major role in Macau's history and some important agreements were signed here.

 

After visiting the inner halls, don't forget to spend a minute or two at the lovely gardens around the temple.

 

To get to Kun Iam temple : Check our Macau Bus Guide, where you will see a detailed explanation on how to get here from every point in Macau.

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Lovely Montanha Russa Garden, just behind Kun Iam Temple, on Estrada de Ferreira do Amaral, is a nice place to take a relaxing stroll and recharge the batteries...

 

The next place you might want to visit is the Communications Museum on Estrada D. Maria II (near Macau's Mosque), just a few minutes walk from Kun Iam Temple (or from Montanha Russa Garden), eastwards, towards the Outer Harbour.

This newly opened museum is divided into two main sections:

  • The post and Philately section is where the visitor can learn about the history and evolution of postal communications. Exhibits include some impressive stamp collections and all sorts of historic postal objects
  • The telecommunications area, occupying the museum's second and third floors, is a more "high tech" sort of area, with lots of interactive displays through which the visitor can learn something about the technology behind modern telecommunications.

All in all, it's quite an interesting museum, especially if you are with kids.

The Communications museum open daily (except Monday), 9:30 am - 5:30 pm

Admission fees are MOP$ 10 per person

To learn more about the museum, including current exhibitions, visit their website.

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Walk back to Avenida do Coronel Mesquita, pass by Kun Iam Temple, cross the junction of Rua de Francisco Xavier Pereira and turn right to Rua de Mong Há, with which you can climb to the Mong-Há Fort and parkLocated within a beautiful hilly park, Mong-Há Fort is different from the other forts in Macau,  in the sense that it was built in anticipation of a Chinese invasion following the Anglo-Chinese "Opium War" in 1841, while all the other forts in the territory were built in the 1600s, following the Dutch attempt to invade Macau.

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It was completed in 1866 and was in active service until the 1960's, when it was abandoned.  Today the area has been turned into a park with a particularly beautiful fountain, grassy slopes and walkways surrounding the old fortress walls.

Continue walking along Avenida do Coronel Mesquita till the junction of Avenida do Almirante Lacerda (a few minutes after the entrance to Mong-Há park).  Turn left into Avenida do Almirante Lacerda and walk for another couple of minutes and you will reach The Red Market (Mercado Vermelho or Mercado do Almirante Lacerda). Located in a 1936 colonial red-bricks building that gave it its name, this notoriously smelly market specializes in fresh meat, seafood and green groceries. The cluster of small stalls, in and around the market, sell all sorts of Cantonese street delicacies and other exotic snacks, and it is quite a good place to experience the real "old Macau" lifestyle...

 

Walk back to the junction of Avenida do Coronel Mesquita, cross it and proceed with Avenida do Almirante Lacerda.  On your left hand side you will see the Canidrome (Yat Yuen), Asia's only greyhound racing stadium.  Whether you actually believe you might be luckier here than at the casino, or whether you just want to see something different, spending an evening here might be an option to consider...  The hypnotising floodlights and the excitement of the crowd just add to the atmosphere, as the dogs swallow the track at a speed of 60 Kph.

 

For more info, call the Canidrome on 2833 3399 or see our Canidrome review.

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If you want to go directly to the Canidrome or to the temple and the museum opposite it, take a look at our Macau Bus Guide, where you will find all the details on how to travel here from every place-of-interest across Macau.

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Pass the Canidrome and continue along Avenida do Almirante Lacerda.  On your right hand side, opposite the Canidrome and at the foot of Mong-Há hill, you will see the Lin Zexu Museum and the Lin Fung Temple, next to it.

 

The small museum commemorates the visit of the imperial commissioner Lin Zexu to Macau in 1839 (during the reign of Emperor Dao Guang) and While it might not be as big and sophisticated as some other museums in Macau, it is definitely worth a visit as it helps the visitor to explore one of modern history's most fascinating eras.

 

Lin Zexu (1785 - 1850), also known as Lin Tse-hsu, was a Chinese scholar and official during the Qing dynasty.  He is most recognized for his exemplary conduct and his constant position on the "high moral ground" in his earnest fight, as a "shepherd" of his people, against opium smuggling by the British into Guangzhou, which is considered to be the primary catalyst for the First Opium War, between 1839 and 1842.

 

A formidable bureaucrat known for his thoroughness and integrity, Lin was sent to Guangdong to halt the importation of opium from the British prior to the First Opium War.  As a part of his efforts, he confiscated and destroyed more than 20,000 chests of opium.

 

He later blockaded the port from European ships and wrote an extraordinary "memorial" to Queen Victoria of Britain, warning her that China was adopting a stricter policy towards everyone, Chinese or foreign, who brought opium into China. His memorial expressed a desire that Victoria would act "in accordance with decent feeling" and support his efforts.

 

The memorial was never delivered to the queen, though it was published in The Times.

 

Following their defeat in the First Opium War, the Chinese developed hostility and suspicious towards the west and those bitter feelings are still there, even today.

 

A small insight about hypocrisy and double standards...

The fact that opium was illegal in Britain at the beginning of the 19th century, did not stop British politicians from pushing big quantities of this narcotic drug to China...

 

Desperate to compensate for the unbalanced trade in tea, the Brits and their allies were determined to go "as low as it takes" in order to keep the business going...

 

In 1839, Lin Zexu, a senior official of the Qing government, wrote an open letter to Queen Victoria urging her to act "in accordance with decent feeling" and put an end to the opium trade... The letter was never delivered to the queen, and although it was later published in The Times, it was "too little too late" to stop the upcoming Opium War...

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The documents of this museum consist mostly of photographs, bearing witness to that highly tense period in the history of modern China.  Other exhibits include replicas of boats, opium smoking instruments and calligraphy.

The museum is open daily (except Monday), 9 am - 5 pm 

Admission fees are MOP$ 5 per person

 

Adjacent to the museum is the Lin Fung TempleAlongside A-Ma temple and Kun Iam temple, this is one of Macau's three most ancient and most visited temples.

Lin Fung Temple was originally built in 1592 and is dedicated to the Chinese goddess of mercy, Kun Iam, although other deities are represented here too.

 

The beautiful façade features plenty of artistically made porcelain figures, depicting stories from the Chinese mythology... Inside, the entire complex is comprised of a cluster of shrines.  In front of the temple, there is a spacious square surrounded by stone enclosures, where ancient trees grow.  Behind the temple there is a small ornamental garden with pavilions and flowers and, in the temple itself there is a lotus-filled pond.

 

From the temple, proceed northward along Avenida Artur Tamagnini Barbosa (the continuance of Avenida do Almirante Lacerda) all the way until you reach the Barrier Gate border checkpoint.

 

Next to the border post there is an underground bus terminal, from which you can catch a bus to every corner of Macau.

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Wide choice of excellent guidebooks and maps of Hong Kong, Macau and China

A few minutes walk from Barrier's Gate Bus Terminal, on Avenida do comendador Ho Yin, lies the magnificent Sun Yat Sen Park. A great place to stroll or to relax, with beautiful winding paths, landscaped gardens, an aviary, a Victorian style greenhouse and recreation facilities like a swimming pool and a playground.       

 

The park stretches along the canal that separates Macau and China, so you can get some good views of the town of Zhuhai from there.

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