Lying 65km to the west of Hong Kong, Macau is a city of duality. Its fortresses, churches and the food of its former Portuguese colonial masters speak to a uniquely Mediterranean style on the China coast, intermixed with alleys, temples and shrines. On the other hand, it’s also the ‘Vegas of the East’ – the Special Administrative Region of Macau is the only place in China where gambling is legal.
Taipa was once two islands that became joined together by silt from the Pearl River. Reclamation has succeeded in doing the same thing to Taipa and Coloane. Taipa has rapidly urbanised and it’s hard to imagine that just a few decades ago it was an island of duck farms and boat yards. The small island of Coloane was a haven for pirates until 1910. Today it retains Macau’s old way of life, though luxurious villas are finding their way onto the island.
Best places to stay in Macau
Destination at a glance: Macau
The last outpost of the Portuguese empire, Macau only became part of China in 1999, two years after the British withdrawal from Hong Kong. Even today, the city state at the mouth of the Pearl River has a tangible Mediterranean feel, with baroque basilicas, cobblestone lanes, colonial mansions and grand civic squares.
Macau destination guides
The top 5 free attractions in Macau
Macau is an island of superlatives. The former Portuguese colony makes more money from gambling than anywhere else in the world (US$6 billion a year), it’s the most densely populated place around (18,000 folk per sq km) and it’s home to the world’s largest casino, The Venetian.
Macau Day Trip from Hong Kong
Complete your visit to Hong Kong with a day trip to Macau, once the oldest European settlement in the Orient. With your expert guide, explore Macau's historical sites like the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ruins of St Paul and visit modern establishments like the Macau Tower. Sit back and relax as you sail across the sea from Hong Kong to Macau on a jetfoil or catamaran.
See Hong Kong and Macau Pass
Discover the sights and sounds of Hong Kong and Macau with the See Hong Kong and Macau Pass. This pass gives you access to four of Hong Kong’s and three of Macau’s top attractions and activities.