Taipa Island
Chinese name
Chinese 氹仔島
Cantonese Jyutping Tam5 Zai2 Dou2
Portuguese name
Portuguese Ilha da Taipa
Our Lady of Carmel Parish
Freguesia da Nossa Senhora do Carmo.PNG
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 嘉模堂區
Simplified Chinese 嘉模堂区
Cantonese Jyutping Gaa1 Mou4 Tong4 Koe1
Portuguese name
Portuguese Freguesia de Nossa Senhora do Carmo

Taipa is the smaller of the two islands in the Chinese special administrative region of Macao (formerly a Portuguese colony).



It is 2.5 kilometres from Macau Peninsula and east of the Lesser Hengqin Island of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province. Macau International Airport, University of Macau, Macau Jockey Club and Macau Stadium are situated in Taipa, and three bridges connect the island to Macau Peninsula.

Most Chinese settlement of Taipa occurred during the Southern Song Dynasty, while the Portuguese occupied the island in 1851. Prior to land reclamation, Taipa consisted of two islands: Greater Taipa and Lesser Taipa.

The 159.1-metre Big Taipa Hill (大氹山) is to the east, and Small Taipa Hill (小氹山) to the west. Central Taipa is a plain as a result of siltation and land reclamation. Initially Taipa was connected to Coloane Island only by the Estrada do Istmo (路氹連貫公路); but the area called Cotai, built on reclaimed land from 2004 and which is home to mega-resorts, casinos, and convention and exhibition centers, has now essentially connected the two islands into one piece of land. Taipa is connected to peninsular Macau by Governador Nobre de Carvalho Bridge, Friendship Bridge and the Sai Van Bridge.

Taipa is predominantly a growing residential area with many new apartment complexes, mostly up-scale, under construction as of 2006. As a new town of Macau, Taipa has better city planning than Macau Peninsula; however, many people choose to live in Macau Peninsula since most of the famous schools are located there.

The names of Taipa

In Cantonese, Taipa has been known by many names over time, including 龍環 (Lung Waan, meaning "Dragon Ring"), 雞頸 (Gai Geng, "Chicken's neck"), 潭仔 (Tam Tsai, "Pool"), and 龍頭環 (Lung Tau Waan, "Dragon's-Head Ring").

The Portuguese and English name "Taipa" comes from the Chinese pronunciation of 氹仔 in Min Nan /tiap-á/ (similar to "tiamp-a") then became "Taipa"[citation needed].

Another version according to legend, comes from an exchange between early Portuguese settlers on Taipa and local Chinese settlers. The Portuguese asked the Chinese the name (nome in Portuguese) of the place. The Chinese settlers were local grocery shopkeepers and spoke no Portuguese, but took the Portuguese nome for the Chinese 糯米, "sticky rice", which is pronounced similar to nome in Cantonese. Thinking the Portuguese settlers were asking if they sold sticky rice, the Chinese responded with "大把," pronounced "daai ba" in Cantonese, meaning "a lot." The Portuguese, hearing the response, took this to be the name of the place. There is, however, no historical evidence to support this story. "Taipa" is also what the Portuguese call the clay-mud, rammed into moulds, used to build mud houses in Portugal in times gone by, in recent times referred to as Rammed Earth.

It is also worth noting that, as the great majority of the population in Taipa and Macau is Chinese, most people refer to this island by its Cantonese name, "Tamzai", and most taxi drivers and bus drivers will not understand if asked how to go to "Taipa."


Night view of the Old bridge
Ponte de Amizade and the HK-Macau Ferry Terminal
  • Pou Tai Un Temple (菩提園 or 菩提襌院): named after bodhi tree
  • Small Kun Yam Temple (觀音岩)
  • Tin Hau Temple (天后宮)
  • Sam Po Temple (三婆廟): dedicated to the elder sister of Tin Hau
  • Pak Tai Temple (北帝廟): dedicated to the Taoist God of the North
  • Four-faced Buddha (四面佛): purchased from Thailand in 1985
  • Church of Our Lady of Carmel (嘉模聖母教堂): Catholic, Taipa belongs to the Nossa Senhora do Carmo Parish (聖嘉模堂區).

See also

External links

Coordinates: 22°9′35″N 113°33′34″E / 22.15972°N 113.55944°E / 22.15972; 113.55944

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