Macau - A Far Eastern Gambling Metropolis
The magnificent city of Macau fascinates lots of tourists with its countless gambling oases. Impressive hotels and skyscrapers stand next to beautiful buildings from Portuguese colonial times and connect the past with the future.
Geography - Hong Kong's neighbouring city
Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and is about 50 kilometres away from Hong Kong, located at the mouth of the Pearl River. Its area of almost 30 km² consists of Macau Peninsula, which is about 5 kilometres long, and the offshore islands of Taipa and Coloane. The latter are now connected due to land reclamation. Three bridges constitute the connection between Macau Peninsula and the southern islands. The climate in Macau is subtropical with humid, hot summers and dry, mild winters. Monsoons carry over heavy showers of rain from April to September and tropical hurricanes may occur in summer.
Culture - The junction between the eastern and the western world
After the first European, the Portuguese sailor Jorge Alvarez, arrived on Macau in 1513 and the Chinese Emperor had to cede the island to Portugal in 1557, Macau developed into a great trade centre between Europe and Asia as well as into a junction between eastern and western culture. The Portuguese settlers were not only interested in the exchange of goods but also in the establishment of their culture and customs. Therefore, they built numerous churches, fortresses and other colonial buildings. Although the Portuguese influence increased and decreased in the course of the centuries, Macau stayed a Portuguese colony until 1999. The island's unique cultural heritage, which consists of European and Asian architecture, has been part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage since 2005.
Cultural sights - A mix of European, Asian and futuristic architecture
You see old colonial buildings, Asian architecture and modern buildings in Macau. A contemporary construction is Macau Tower on Macau Island. The tower, which is 338 metres high, is the highest building in Macau and accommodates a viewing platform, several restaurants and shops. Other examples of modern architecture on the island are the Macau-Taipa Bridge and the Friendship Bridge. You can see Macau's colonial architecture in Taipa Village or Coloane Village. Both villages represent the bygone times of the former Portuguese colony, just like the fortress of Fortaleza do Monte and St. Paul's Cathedral. The latter was destroyed almost completely in a fire in 1835. Only its facade, one of Macau's landmarks, is still standing and can be visited. A-Ma Temple on Macau Peninsula, which is one of the city's oldest temples, is an example of Asian architecture.
Experience - The Las Vegas of the East
Macau's economy is dominated by the production of fireworks, textiles and tourism. One of the reasons why it is so popular with tourists is probably the gambling industry. To improve the island's economy and significance, the Portuguese governor Guimarães legalised gambling in the 19th century. This, in addition to the revocation of the gambling monopole in 2002, made the city grow immensely. Numerous hotel complexes, shopping districts and casinos were built up from nothing. Today, Macau is one of the world's greatest gambling oases next to Las Vegas and Atlantic City. More than half of the island's household income comes from the gambling industry and the number of tourists has tripled since 2000. Therefore, many investors and companies give money for the construction of new buildings, which causes the population to move closer together. With an area of almost 30 km² and over 500,00 inhabitants, Macau is one of the most densely populated regions on earth, not even including the countless tourists. Due to the limited building land, many skyscrapers are built. One famous holiday hotel and casino resort which is particularly prominent is the Venetian Macau, which is one of the highest buildings in the world. Besides 39 storeys, 3,000 rooms, numerous restaurants and shops, it is the recreated Venice around the building which fascinates the visitors.
Activities - Playing poker in the casino and relaxing at the seaside
In Macau, visitors can dive into the colonial past or try their luck at gambling. The numerous hotel complexes offer a wide range of casinos, restaurants and shops, so that you cannot only spend money playing poker but also on a shopping spree. In addition, travellers can go bathing, do water sports or relax at the nearby beaches. The south side of Coloane Island, for example, is a popular destination for a relaxing day at the seaside.
Although Macau can be travelled at any time of the year, autumn is particularly advisable. Sunny, warm temperatures with low humidity make your holidays as pleasant as possible. You should boost a couple of vaccinations (tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A) before you set off on your journey and pack mosquito repellent because there is a risk of catching the tropical disease of Dengue fever in Macau.
Macau is the perfect travel destination for risk takers, gamblers and nocturnal holidaymakers. Countless casinos, numerous shopping facilities and vibrant activity await all visitors. However, culture enthusiasts will be delighted too. The unique Portuguese colonial architecture, combined with the Asian art of construction, is definitely worth a visit.