INT. TRAVEL ARCHIVE:
677: The Little Island
Escape the late-winter blues with a tropical blast from the past
675: Scenic Spirituality
Commune with religion and nature in an ancient land
673: Aoni Onsen
Return to a forgotten time at one of Honshu’s most remote getaways
671: The Golden Rock
One of Burma’s many splendid attractions hangs by a hair
669: Hida Takayama
For personal trips gentle to the soul, seek out the old-time charm of Hida Takayama
A serene stroll through history awaits at this seaside retreat
663: Cruising the Bay
Ha Long Bay offers a breath of calm away from Vietnam’s urban rush
Fox fires and bar codes help a rural Niigata town reinvent itself
535: Hotel California
Mark Parren Taylor kicks up the desert dust in Palm Springs, the perennial
Hollywood star retreat.
531: Race through time
The Xterra Saipan triathlon journeys through tropical jungle, up steep mountain
paths and across the sands of history. Tama M. Lung joins the chase.
527: Bohemian rhapsody
No visit to Paris would be complete without taking in the Montmartre district.
Bon vivant Simon Rowe dusts off his French to go exploring.
523: Slow Motion
Mark Parren Taylor touches down in the timeless former seaport of Lukang, Taiwan.
519: Rock of ages
From ancient times to the present, Gibraltar has always been an island of
legends. Stephen Mansfield sifts through its history.
515: Go west, young man
Simon Rowe takes in the big skies and dust trails of Western Australia's
East Kimberley region.
511: All mixed up
Mark Parren Taylor makes land on Macau and finds an enigmatic blend of cultures,
cuisine and heated competition.
505: Earth, wind and fire
A historically imperiled town in Papua New Guinea holds the keys to a magical
getaway. Carlo Niederberger splashes ashore.
501: Off the rails
Braving the 2,010 kilometers of Vietnam's Reunification Express from Ho
Chi Minh City to Hanoi is quite the adventure. Simon Rowe goes along for the
493: Rites of passage
From firecrackers and cheek piercing to divinations and buffalo races, Thailand's
most colorful customs come alive at two annual festivals. Mark Parren Taylor
joins the crowds.
489: Paradise found
Beaches, battlefields and a colossal casino provide tropical pleasures on
the Pacific isle of Tinian. Carlo Niederberger touches down.
485: Through the grapevine
Stephen Mansfield drinks up the delights of the Château Monbazillac
in southwest France.
481: Pleasure island
Saipan awaits the young and young at heart with its pristine beaches, pointy
peaks, and perfect amount of entertainment. Carlo Niederberger checks in.
477: Reservoir of dogs
Simon Rowe visits the Kingdom of Tonga, where storms burst without warning
and wild canines rule the night.
473: Into the bat cave
Sarawaks Niah Caves are home to hairless bats, birds on the brink
of extinction, and lots of bugs, according to Simon Rowe.
469: A fork in the river
Laos ethnic minorities battle the forces of time. Stephen Mansfield
goes upriver in search of them.
465: Action scene
Sick of the short, humid Japanese summer? Tired of the winter? In NZ its
summertime and the living is easy, the food and drink inexpensive, and the evenings
long and lazy. Mark Devlin heads south to explore and party.
457/458: In living color
Simon Rowe soaks in the glow of Samoa's kaleidoscopic streets.
454: From Jamaica with love
Michael McDonagh soaks up the atmosphere in James Bond's balmy birthplace
449: See worthy
Dan Grunebaum drops oar in the stunning caves of Thailand's Phang Nga Bay
445: Great heights
Simon Rowe packs his hiking boots and sets out for Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu
441: Split personality
There are few cities with such an exacting dividing line between past and present
as Lijiang in China's southwestern province of Yunnan
438: Fierce creatures
Simon Rowe introduces us to the untamed charms of Australia's Kangaroo Island
434: Leap of Faith
Simon Rowe dives into a tropical island paradise of waterfalls, reefs and bush
rugby on the Fijian archipelago
430: A week in Provence
Stephen Mansfield explores the historic festival city of Avignon, a medieval
diamond in the south of France
426: Outer space
Surreal sites, lunar landscapes and UFO sightings go with the territory in Chile
422: The Big Easy
The Moorish streets of Granada, Spain are alive with a new Bohemian rhapsody
418: Small awakening
414: Fowl play
The animal kingdom comes alive in the Galapagos
410: The river of spirits
Wading through soulful waters in Varanasi, India
406: Heading north
Marching to the beat of a modern drum in North Korea
Santa's lap - enjoy saunas, Santa and sightseeing in Finland’s Lapland
Seeking the past in China's megacity
Rising from the ashes
Mary King explores the rich history, culture and art of Croatias phoenix
The betels and the stones
Simon Rowe rolls with the tropical exotica on the obscure island of Yap
World heritage site
Land of hope
Salt of the earth
Tour the Uyuni Salt Pan
Suzhou and Hangzhou
The river mild
Top of the world
Memo from the Lower Mekong
Call of the wild
Mad about Madurai
Mark Parren Taylor makes land on Macau and finds an enigmatic
blend of cultures, cuisine and heated competition.
At times, Macau seems stranded in another era. Alleys and
lanes are overwrought with balustrades, lamps and balconies.
Tinny TV chatter escapes though open windows only to evaporate
against the muffled hum of karaoke lounges. Temples, churches
and casinos punctuate the architectural dialogue between boxy
Chinese tenements and Portuguese mansions. The hills and narrow,
haphazard streets play with the light as much as they play
with one's sense of direction.
But sunshine drives along the straighter streets, rests on
gardens and parks, and drapes in the corners of dim courtyards.
Air is thick with fatty steam from hawker stalls, the musk
of smoldering joss sticks and blue exhaust fumes. The sugar
of Portuguese pastries dusts the doorframes of pastelarias
and salty winds pick up around drying fish that hang from
awnings and railings.
Hong Kong is just an hour away by jetfoil, but it's
a mixed blessing. This wealthier, gambling-happy neighbor
ploughs a pretty penny into Macau's coffers, but it
wins many more tourists who (like their guidebooks) view Macau
as an annex. But some do make the short journey across the
Pearl River Delta, even if just for the day, and to their
surprise and pleasure, they find that alongside the new-century
resolve of the Macau Tower, there are anachronisms peculiar
to this little island.
Macau may lack Hong Kong's sophistication, but its
café society has long enjoyed coffee, cakes and cosmopolitan
chow. Its cuisine comes from Canton and Portugal, and the
local style, Macanese, is a lively blend of both, with an
added sprinkling of Indian and Malay flavors. A Vencedora,
at 264 Rua da Campo, offers a selection of fine Macanese dishes,
including minchi (minced beef fried with potato and onion),
galinha Africana (sometimes fiery-hot, grilled "African
chicken") and other dishes using kidney, tuna and beans,
crab or oxtail. Similar, yet lacking the culinary finesse-and
a wall, so that the wind whistles in off the Outer Harbour-is
Restaurante Peter Pan at 173 Alameda Dr Carlos D'Assumpção.
architecture overlooks bustling shops
Fine Portuguese pastries are available from pastelaria and
bakeries throughout the city. Without doubt, Bolo de Arroz
on Rua do So Domingos bakes the best egg-custard tarts
in town. This is a dicey claim, however, when the Chinese
variety (perfectly flaky and light pastry) is available at
countless dim sum restaurants and shops. Other bakeries include
Pastelaria Iun Loi on Rua Um Bairro Iao Hon and Choi Heong
Yuen Bakery at 209 Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro and 1 Travessa
The mercado vermelho, or red market on Avenida de Horta e
Costa, is an indoor wet market that-as a result of
the scares sparked by SARS and avian flu-may see its
days numbered and as such is worth a visit. The street markets
nearby, particularly Travessa da Corsa and the surrounding
lanes in the Three Lamps District, bustle with shoppers fussing
around vegetable stalls and nibbling on sticks of fish balls.
Red-shaded bulbs draw business to butchers and fishmongers,
and spotlight catties of fish and grumbling hens caged by
A 15-minute walk south, between the port and the central square,
Rua da Felicidade (aptly named "Happiness Street")
was once a red-light meat market of a different order. After
a period of decay, it has been restored as a fin de siecle
row of whitewashed dwellings, shops and restaurants with scarlet-lacquered
awnings and shutters.
Based in folklore much older than its days as a red-light
district, the neighborhood becomes affably rowdy on Buddha's
Feast (usually late May) when teams of fishermen celebrate
the Drunken Dragon Festival. Brandishing wooden dragon heads,
and having paid due respect at the tiny Kuan Tai Temple close
to Rua dos Mercadores, they carouse (and later stagger) from
cafe to market to open house in an orgy of rice-wine supping.
The festival aims to ensure a year of safety and success on
the high seas, commencing, no doubt, on the tender day following
|A small shrine offers
a breather from bustling streets
The Macau Tower, on the southern tip of the island, is one
of the tallest structures in Asia. A visit at dusk affords
breathtaking panoramas of Macau's three islands, Zhuhai
Special Economic Zone and (visibility permitting) the Pearl
River Delta. It also offers the chance to walk on a narrow
beam, which circles the observatory like a halo, with no more
than a rope harness and some frantically flapping butterflies
in your stomach to save you from falling.
Each November the Grand Prix comes to town and the southeastern
corner of Macau is cut off temporarily from the rest of the
island to make way for a grueling city racetrack. Safety and
commercial concerns mean that the route is hidden from view
as hoardings are erected and windows and footbridges boarded
over. A seat in the stands can be pricey and then only offers
a head-spinning glimpse of the action.
|The Museu de Macau boasts
a dramatic exterior
If you have a taste for speed, horse and dog racing may provide
a cheaper diversion. Taipa Racecourse, run by the Macau Jockey
Club, opens for two meetings a week, with free buses running
from the ferry terminal and Hotel Lisboa. Here, racehorse
owners stride around the paddock in Sammy Davis suits and
pencil-thin ties; dockets and receipts are hand-written in
a department store on Rua de Pequim; young men with medallions
and permed hair strut into nightclubs, as girlfriends twist
their ankles in tottery stilettos.
Over at the Canidrome, Asia's only dog track, there's
a flurry of tongue-dangling action three or four nights a
week. Despite the cheap entry tickets, don't expect
full stands-the majority of punters, particularly those
in Hong Kong, enjoy the telephone betting system. After all,
Macau is truly another place in another time: a time where
busy people can take it easy, where crowded streets are strangely
Most people reach Macau from Hong Kong. Jetfoils, ferries
and catamarans operate around the clock and depart from the
Shun Tak Centre, Connaught Road. Prices start at HKD130 for
a crossing. It is advisable to book in advance for travel
on weekends or public holidays. There are no direct flights
between Japan and Macau SAR. The best option is to fly JAL
or JAA to Shanghai, Taipei or Xiamen and connect with an Air
Where to stay
Discount hotel websites such as www.asiahotels.com
are excellent resources. The Holiday Inn and the Grandeur,
both on Rua de Pequim close to the Hotel Lisboa, are good
value, while the Hyatt Regency, just over the water on Taipa
Island, has excellent facilities and provides a free shuttle
to central Macau. The Pousada do So Tiago is a delightful
retreat, but its size means rooms should be booked well in
Hotel prices are higher at weekends and can skyrocket during
the Grand Prix.
November to January are the coolest months; in fact, evenings
may be decidedly chilly on the waterfront. Throughout the
year, Macau enjoys temperatures a couple of degrees below
those of Hong Kong. The dates for the 2004 Grand Prix have
yet to be finalized. The Drunken Dragon Festival will hit
the streets on May 26. Other festivals of interest this year
include the A-Ma Festival on May 11, and the International
Fireworks Contest in September or October. For more information-and
an updated calendar of events-visit Macau Government
Tourist Office at www.macautourism.gov.mo.
The local representative can also be contacted at 3F Sanden
Bldg, 3-5-5, Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-5275-2537. See
Mark Parren Taylor