Macau (MO)

  • Land Macau
  • Continent: Asia
  • Area: 25 km²
  • Population: 488,100
  • Capital city: Macao
  • ISO code: MO
  • National language: Chinese, Portuguese
  • International dialing code: +853
  • Currency: Pataca
  • License plate number: MO
  • Alternative spelling: Região Administrativa Especial de Macau da República Popular da China, Macau Special Administrative Region, Región Administrativa Especial de Macao de la República Popular China
  • Flight routes from Macau: 368
  • Flight routes to Macau: 413
  • Popular airports: Macau (MFM)
  • Large cities: Taipa, Macao, Lai Chi Van, Hac Sá, Coloane, Cheoc Ca Chün
  • Airlines based in Macau: Air Macau

Macau travel guide (Asia)

Macau is located on the southeast coast of the People's Republic of China at the mouth of the River Pearl. It borders on the province of Guangdong and is 145 km or 85 miles from the capital Guangzhou (Canton) and 70 km or 43 miles from Hong Kong. Similar to the neighboring British colony of Hong Kong, the former Portuguese colony was integrated as a second special administrative region with autonomous rights into the People's Republic of China in 1999. The main sources of income in Macau are tourism (8 million visitors in 2000) and gambling, along with the production of fireworks and textiles. As the largest Casino city in the world, Macau is said to have already overtaken Las Vegas and Atlantic City. It is visited primarily by Chinese from China and Hong Kong.

Geography. Macau consists of a peninsula of the same name on the west bank of the Pearl River and the islands of Taipa and Coloane, and is connected to China by a narrow strip of land. The landscape is mostly flat with seven small hills.

Climate. Macau has a subtropical climate with hot summer months, which is also the rainy season. Typhoons are frequent. The best time to visit is between October and December.

Sights. Large casinos and shopping arcades dominate the modern city, but there is also a rich historical heritage from the colonial period. Of particular interest are the ruins of St. Paul's façade (Ruinas de Sao Paulo), the Macau Tower, the Casino Lisboa and the Grand Prix Museum. The historic old city of Macau was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005. The Jesuit chapel Sao Paulo do Monte in the city centre is probably the most famous attraction in Macao. Other sites include the 17th Century Guia Fortress, with the oldest lighthouse on the Chinese coast, the Leal Senado, The Senator rooms, which represent an interesting example of Portuguese architecture from the colonial period, the Museum of Sun Yat Sen, the Church of So Domingo dating from the 17th Century and the churches of Santo Agostinho and Sun Jose Lourenco. Also of interest are the monuments in honor of Jorge Alvares and Vasco da Gama. In the temple complex of Kun Iam Tong, which was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), there is also a statue of Marco Polo. The Chinese gardens Lou Lim Ioc and Cames are also worth a visit.

On the outskirts of the town in 2001 there is a modern, 338 m (about 1000 ft) high TV tower, the Macau tower, from which it is possible to bungee jump into the depths.

Excursions. The island of Taipa, mainly known for its fireworks factories, also boasts a small Buddha Temple and colonial Portuguese buildings. Colan is characterised by a varied landscape with forests, hills and beaches. On the island, visitors can admire the Chinese Temple, the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier and a shipyard for traditional style sailing ships.

Travel. The peninsula of Macau and Taipa island are connected by two bridges, a third bridge is to be completed by end of 2004. Macao can be reached by the ferries from Hong Kong operated on a regular basis. The trip takes about 60 minutes. Since 1995, Macao has its own international airport (Macau International Airport).