Shaped like a lotus flower, Macau which has historically been described as, “The Land of the Lotus Flower,” draws huge symbols of this elusive flower.
For starters the center symbol of the Macau SAR (special administration region) flag is of the lotus. And come each June, the Macanese rejoice the beauty of this historic aquatic flora by celebrating the Macau Lotus and Flower Festival.
Situated on the southwest bank of the Pearl River estuary, bordering the South China Sea and China, Macau is blessed with a humid subtropical climate that averages a pleasant 23 Celsius annually but expect hot, humid temperatures in summer which can test the survival of even the hardiest plants.
But year-round in this sprawling cosmopolitan hub you’ll find gardeners, pro and amateurs alike, either pruning their perennials or tending to their garden beds. Here’s a look at florals scattered across Macau in some of the nicest urban public parks, gardens and luxe hotels that’ll surely delight flower lovers.
1 – The Macau Lotus and Flower Festival
You might have missed this year’s 15th anniversary but don’t fret next years’ lotus flower fest promises to be just as spectacular. Expect lots of sightings of the perennial aquatic beauty at the Taipa Houses Museum and in the Suzhou-inspired Lou Lim Ieoc Garden which are the main draws. Even if you can’t make the festival, lotus flowers can be enjoyed year-round at major parks and at the Golden Lotus Square with its brilliant faux one.
2 – Lou Lim Ieoc Garden
Considered the most “Chinese” of all Macau’s gardens, this historic garden with its high walls and miniaturized landscape was the brain child of a wealthy 19th century merchant, Lou Kau. The family later fell on hard times and so did the garden but thankfully in 1974 the Macanese Government restored and opened it to the public.
Today see a lotus-filled lazy lagoon with pockets of pagodas amid outcroppings of ancient volcanic rock and all the while amble through a spectacular labyrinth of bamboo fringed paths. This is an oasis of calm in the middle of a concrete forest of skyscrapers.
Location: 10 Estrada de Adolfo Loureiro.
Board Bus 12 or 16
Open daily 6am to 9pm
3 – Jardim De S. Francisco
At dusk the raw rhythm of tropical insects, cicadas and belching pond frogs descend on this urban forest. The architecture harkens back to the old colonial Portuguese days with its military barracks vibrantly painted in pastel pink, gold and white. Walk by the garden beds flanking the pedestrian paths and then head up the stone staircase to the upper level to see the fabled round tower. Jardim De S. Francisco is one of the oldest gardens of Macau.
Open 24 hours. Board bus 2A, 6A, 7A, 8, 8A, 9, 9A, 12, 28B or H1
4 – Casa Garden and Camoes Garden
Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, these are two historic gardens located next to each other that offer a walk through yesteryear at a time when Macau was a Portuguese colony. At the Casa Garden, see an opulent villa once the home of a wealthy Portuguese merchant and the Old Protestant Cemetery. If you walk a couple minutes north the tranquil Camoes Garden appears with its bronze bust of Portugal’s national poet Luis de Camoes shrouded in a grotto. A lot of quiet nooks can be had amid the old banyan trees.
Casa Garden hours: 9.30 am to 6pm (Closed on weekends and public holidays).
Camoes Garden hours: daily 6am to 10pm. Board bus 17.
5 – Dr. Sun Yat Sen Municipal Park
A popular spot for the locals, this park besides nicely manicured gardens has good city diversions like a swimming pool, a children’s playground and a multipurpose sports facility. Located in the north Macau not far from the old Macau SAR and China gate, this park is nestled by a bordering canal between them. See a Victorian-style circular greenhouse, a lake with a waterfall, an aviary and some nice feng shui with the forest.
Hours: daily 6am to 11pm. Board bus 30 or 34
6 – The Guia Hill
While not a garden per say, this exquisite green hill looms high over the Macau peninsula. Find the most picturesque views in town from this perch. Locals and tourists like to use the storied Flora Garden Gate on Avenida Sidonio Pais for this urban jungle journey. The Flora Gardens, Macau’s largest public park, located at the foot of the hill has a mini zoo with an Asian bear, monkeys, peacocks and more.
Open daily 8am to 6pm.
Board buses 2, 2A, 6A, 12, 17, 18, 18A, 19, 22, 23, 25, 25X, 32
7 – Regency Macau
Submerged amid lush gardens, this luxe hotel on Taipa Island unfurls extravagant floral riches. The Regency Hotel garden overlooks the South China Sea. Picture three acres of green that taps into breezy archways, pathways and quiet open verandahs.
8 – Flower City Garden, Nova City, Taipa
Surrounded by a wall of highrises lies this fabulous urban park in busy Taipa aptly dubbed, “Flower City Garden.” While fairly new, the setting feels ancient like it’s always been there with its pagodas, lotus ponds laden with schools of chubby koi fish and beautiful bridges.
Rua de Evora, Taipa
Hours: daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Board bus 11, 15, 22, 25, 25X, 26, 26A, 28A and more
9 – Arts Garden
Between the sprawling Dr. Carlos d’Assumpcao Park and the massive Wynn and Lisboa hotels find an artsy refresher, known as the Arts Garden. Brimming with flowers, sculptures and a fountain, it makes another floral retreat in this concrete jungle.
Open 24 hours. Board bus 31, 8, 12, 23
10 – Carmel Garden
On Taipa island there’s this formal garden with its European touches. The garden’s namesake comes from the adjacent church, Our Lady of Carmel Church. Known for its vineyards this floral oasis is a fabulous find as it towers high atop a mountain. Nice fountains and stone benches from which you can sit and admire the bouquet of bounty but the other unique feature are the scalloped beddings that line an outdoor staircase.
Open 24 hours. Board bus 11, 15, 22, 28A, 30, 33, 34
Now it’s time to take it in the refreshing scenery, and find that green escape hatch in busy Macau. See you in Macau!