Lying 65km to the west of Hong Kong, Macau is a city of duality. Its fortresses, churches and the culinary traditions of its former Portuguese colonial masters speak to a uniquely Mediterranean style on the China coast. These are intermixed with the customs, alleys, temples and shrines of its Chinese heritage. On the other hand, the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau is the ‘Vegas of the East’, the only place in China where gambling is legal.
Taipa was once two islands that were slowly joined together by silt from the Pearl River. A similar physical joining has happened to Taipa and Coloane because of land reclamation from the sea. The new strip of land joining the two islands is known as Cotai (from Co-loane and Tai-pa). 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.