Macao Macao Flag

Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999. China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau, and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.



Great dive locations in Macao :

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Understand


As the first and last European colony in China, Macau has more visible colonial history than Hong Kong. Walking through the old city you could convince yourself you were in Europe - if the streets were devoid of people, that is. The Portuguese population continues to maintain a small presence, but most of the population is native Chinese.

Besides the city itself, Macau includes the islands of Taipa and Coloane, which are connected by bridges and a causeway.

History

In the 16th Century China gave Portugal the right to establish a colony on Macau in exchange for clearing the area of pirates. Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. It was also the last, when pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal in 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999, ending over 400 years of Portuguese administration.

China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs.

Like the Hong Kong SAR, Macau has its own government, passports, visas, postal system and currency.

Read

A Macao Narrative by Austin Coates. Great introduction to Macau's colourful history. You can buy this book at the museum in the Fortaleza do Monte which overlooks the Ruins of St. Paul.

Eat


Macau is famous for excellent restaurants, unique cuisine and mellow bars. It is a premier dining and drinking destination in Asia. The Portuguese brought not only European cuisine, but also influences from their other colonies (Brazil, Goa and Angola) to Macau. As a result the city now offers one of the world's most intriguing gastronomic adventures. Look for local specialties such as bacalhau (salted cod) and African chicken.

There are a few interesting departures from standard Cantonese fare that you can try in Macau. Portuguese cuisine is available at a number of restaurants, and for a snack, try the milk pudding at the cafes in Largo do Senado. Street stalls sell tasty strips of barbecued pork as well. For the budget-minded, wander the back alleys and you'll come across plenty of mom-and-pop Chinese eateries. Note that most of these places have menus on the walls that are hand-written in Chinese only.
  • Fernando's, Hac Sa Wan, Coloane. 882531. Delicious food in a homey atmosphere. They have their own way of doing things; credit cards are not accepted, reservations cannot be made (except on weekdays for large parties) (on weekends head through to the courtyard bar at the back, give your details and relax with a jug of Sangria); ask for Ketchup if you dare. For two people, the Salad (comes with freshly baked bread), the Prawns and the Chicken (served on a bed of chips) should be sufficient.

  • Clube Militar, originally a club for Portuguese military officers, this is now a classy restaurant. Turn left on the main street as you leave Largo do Sendao and left again at the first major...



  • Macau (also spelt: Macao) (澳門, Ou3mun5 in Cantonese, Àomén in Mandarin; ) is a territory located in southeast China, and was until 1999 administered by Portugal as an overseas province. Like its formerly British neighbour Hong Kong, Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

    Regions


    Macau is geographically divided into three main regions: a peninsula and two islands.
  • The Macau Peninsula is the northernmost region, connecting to the Chinese mainland. It is the center of most tourist activity and is densely crowded.

  • Taipa (氹仔 - Tamzai in Cantonese) is an island to the south of the peninsula, accessible via three bridges. It is a major residential center and is the location of Macau's International Airport.

  • Coloane (路環 - Lowan in Cantonese) is an island further to the south. It is considerably less developed than the other regions, with two beaches, several hiking trails and a resort. It is also the location of Macau's only golf course, though a second one is being built on the Cotai landfill.


  • Cotai (路氹 - Lotam in Cantonese, the name being a somewhat unimaginative contraction of Coloane and Taipa) can be considered a fourth region. It is an area of reclaimed land joining Taipa and Coloane, making them essentially into a single island. A large sports dome and several sports facilities were erected here for the 2005 East Asian Games. Massive development of casinos, a golf course and other facilities is continuing. This area is being billed as the Las Vegas Strip of the East, and is locally referred to as the Cotai Strip. The Lotus Bridge connects Cotai to the Chinese island of Hengqin, however this bridge is currently only open for goods vehicles.

    The mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai borders Macau to the North, and the border crossing carries heavy two-way vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The Zhuhai Special Economic Zone extends south to the island of Hengqin, an area west of Taipa, Cotai and Coloane; the Lotus Bridge from Cotai connects to that area. There is significant movement by the local population of both Zhuhai and Macau across the border, making the two feel like twin cities.

    Understand


    As the first and last European colony in China, Macau has more visible colonial history than Hong Kong. Walking through the old city you could convince yourself you were in Europe - if the streets were devoid of people, that is. The Portuguese population continues to maintain a small presence, but most of the population is native Chinese.

    Besides the city itself, Macau includes the islands of Taipa and Coloane, which are connected by bridges and a causeway.

    History

    In the 16th Century China gave Portugal the right to establish a colony on Macau in exchange for clearing the area of pirates. Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. It was also the last, when pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal in 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999, ending over 400 years of Portuguese administration.

    China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs.

    Like the Hong Kong SAR, Macau has its own government, passports, visas, postal system and currency.

    Read

    A Macao Narrative by Austin Coates. Great introduction to Macau's colourful history. You can buy this book at the museum in the Fortaleza do Monte which overlooks the Ruins of St. Paul.

    Get in


    A few years back, the usual way to get to Macau was to fly into Hong Kong and take the ferry across to Macau (see next section). Today, Macau is becoming a low-cost airline hub, so one might fly to Macau to reach Hong Kong.

    For most passports, you do not need to get a Macau visa in advance. 30-day tourist visas are routinely issued at all border crossing points.

    By boat

    Ferries from Hong Kong arrive 24 hours a day (every 15-30 minutes by day and every hour at night) at Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal on the Outer Harbour beside the Sands Casino. The cheapest one-way ticket from Hong Kong is HK$141, and the trip takes one hour.

    If you arrive at that terminal, pick up a free bus schedule in the tourist information centre in the terminal building. There is a bus stop on the main road to the right as you walk out of the building. Buses 10 and 10A are among the most convenient for day tourists because the route passes by Senado Square, which is where most of the major tourist attractions are. Fares on the peninsula are MOP2.50. Many hotels offer free shuttles between the ferry terminal and the hotel.

    The other less known ferry terminal is located at Pier No. 14 on the Inner Harbour and it is nearer to central Macau. From that terminal, cross the main road and turn left. Take the first right turn on a major road, after about 5 minutes walk. Walk uphill along this road to reach Largo do Senado. The whole walk is under 20 minutes.

    By air

    Macau International Airport (MFM) is off the shore of Taipa Island. Because of its low fees, it has been able to attract several low-cost airlines to serve Macau (whereas not a single one flies to neighbouring Hong Kong). Currently available are:
  • AirAsia: multiple flights daily from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur
  • Cebu Pacific Air: has daily flights from Manila.
  • Tiger Airways: daily flights from Singapore and Clark Airbase, two hours north of Manila
  • Viva Macau: to take up service shortly, with flights from Jakarta and Male

  • Other airlines such as Air Macau and Shanghai Air also have flights to Macau.

    To reach Taiwan from mainland China, it is usual to fly via either Macau or Hong Kong, since (except for some charters at Chinese holidays) there are no direct flights.

    To and from the airport: Bus AP1 plies a route between the airport and the Barrier Gate. Its route passes through several points on Taipa Island, then passes Macau Tower, Hotel Lisboa, the Macau Art Museum, the Sands and the Ferry Terminal on the way. It costs MOP3.30.

    If you are bound for Zhuhai, there is a special bus you can take from Macau airport direct to the border, without going through Macau Customs or Immigration. See the Zhuhai article for details.

    See also Discount airlines in Asia.

    By car

    You can enter by road from Gongbei, Zhuhai if your vehicle (cars only, no motorcycles) has both Macau and China number plates and the driver carries both Macau and China driver's licenses. Note that you have to switch sides of the road; China drives on the right, Macau on the left.

    By bus

    You can take the coach in Shenzhen or Guangzhou, the trip takes you about 2 hours and the fare is relatively cheap, around RMB70.

    On foot

    There is a land border with mainland China, between the Barrier Gate (Portas do Cerco) on Macau peninsula and Gongbei, Zhuhai.

    From downtown Macau, the border is about 10 minutes and MOP30 away by taxi. There are also buses. On the Zhuhai side, the border post is in the Gongbei district, and there are many local buses serving the border crossing station.

    You will need a Chinese visa to go to Zhuhai.

    Get around


    With an area of only a few square kilometers, peninsular Macau is navigable by foot. There are of course buses and taxis as well. The street signage is often poor if not lacking altogether so you may find yourself walking a few extra blocks in order to figure out the street you're on. Busses are operated by two companies, Transportes Urbanos Macau (Transmac) and Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos de Macau (TCM).

    Taxis fares start at 11 patacas. Largo Do Senado to the border is about 30. The longest possible taxi ride (from the border post at the extreme north of Macau to Coloane in the south) would be well under 200.

    Talk

    Cantonese is the most commonly spoken language of Macao (88%, 2001 census). Mandarin is also widely spoken, especially by the educated.

    English is spoken, especially by people in the tourism business. Nearly all museums and casinos have some staff with excellent English. So do many hotels, shops and restaurants, especially the up-market ones. However, English is not as widespread as in Hong Kong, and you will encounter plenty of people with little or no English (in fact, according to the 2001 census about half the population don't speak anything but Cantonese). This includes many taxi drivers, so be sure to have your hotel name in Chinese with you if you travel on your own.

    Speakers of Portuguese won't find it very useful when talking to local residents (in the 2001 census, less than 1% of the population indicated it as their "usual language"), but it helps a lot in understanding place names and signs. Knowing any Romance language (French, Spanish or Italian) helps some.

    See

  • The ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral (Portuguese: Ruinas de São Paulo; Cantonese: 大三巴 daai saam ba) are the city's most famous landmark.

  • Above Saint Paul's are the remains of a fort, now the city's main museum. You can buy a pass that gets you into all Macau museums, cheaper than the individual admission fees if you want to see several.

  • Largo do Senado (Senate Square) is a colorful typical Iberian town square at the heart of the city.

  • On the hill between Largo Do Senado and St. Paul's is a church with an incredible interior.

  • The A-Ma Temple is perhaps the most famous Chinese temple in Macau. It's near the southern tip of the peninsula, on the west side.

  • Opposite the A-Ma Temple is the Maritime Museum, with exhibits on Macau's seafaring history. Admission: M$10; half-price on Sundays.

  • The Wine Museum and the Grand Prix Museum are both in the same building, north of the center of town.

  • From the Macau Tower you have a great view over Macau and Taipa.

  • Other good viewpoints are from Penha Church, providing a bird's eye view across the river into China as well, and Guia Fort, a Portuguese fort.

  • The East India Company Cemetery (also known as the Old Protestant Cemetery) is a lovely little piece of England in Macau. Look out for the grave of the Right Honourable Lord H.I. Spencer Churchill, ancestor of Winston Churchill, and also for the grave of the painter George Chinnery.

  • The Cemeterio de São Miguel Arcanjo (Saint Michael the Archangel Cemetery), a classic example of Sino-Portuguese Culture. A great place for lovers of angel statues.

  • The Kun Iam Tong (觀音堂) is a large, old Buddhist temple to the north of downtown. It's a little out of the way, but is definitely worth a visit if you're into temples.

  • Tucked in the corner of a cobblestone square to the left of the ruins of St. Paul's is the tiny Na-Tcha Temple, dedicated to the Chinese deity Prince Nata.

  • Rua da Felicidade (Happiness Street), the old red light district. Today it is a fairly interesting shopping street with various antiques and handicrafts. South and East of Largo Del Senado.


  • Do


    Gambling

    Gambling is Macau's biggest industry, and busloads arrive daily from mainland China to try their luck. In addition, many Hong Kongers arrive on weekends with the same aim. Most casinos are along the waterfront on the southern side of Macau peninsula. For many years, the Casino Lisboa was the most famous and a landmark well known to people outside Macau, but it is being eclipsed by Sands Casino which opened in 2004.

    There are ATM machines available at either casino as well as forex facilities to change your money. Gamblers are required to be at least 18 years of age to be allowed to play. Interestingly, local civil servants are not allowed to enter the casinos with the exception of the first three days of the Chinese new year.

    North of the Lisboa is a strip with many smaller casinos, a number of hotels and bars, and quite a few restaurants. This can be one of the more interesting areas of Macau; among other things it has quite a good Indian restaurant and several Portuguese ones. However, parts of it are also fairly sleazy, with lots of hookers and touts, so some caution is in order.
  • On 6 September 2006 Wynn's huge casino/hotel/resort complex opened, and many expect it to soon surpass all of its rivals in gambling income. At night there are short fountain shows in front of the hotel with music, spraying fountains and the occasional bursts of flame. The casino is beautiful with mostly slot machines and baccarat tables. The Wynn offers lots of very upscale shopping and several fine restaurants.
  • The Sands offers a more open Las Vegas feel along with a smoke-free gaming room, the Pearl Room. Tables at the Sands play almost exclusivly in HKD.
  • The Lisboa offers an older world Macau feel on its gaming floors, structured in a labyrinth of different clubs and rooms for various levels of play. Tables play in both MOP and HKD.



  • Go Karting

    There is a go-kart track on the southern end of Cotai (the reclaimed area between Taipa and Coloane islands). You can reach it by bus from Macau and Taipa on route 21, 21A, 25, 26 and 26A, and from Taipa on route 15. Casual rates (as of Jan 2007) 100/180MOP for 10/20 min. You can also book the track for a private event but they require 7 days notice. The track itself is quite good taking about a minute to navigate, at a leisurely pace.

    Adventure Activities

    At the Macau Tower, a 338.8m tall structure (3 and 8 are Cantonese lucky numbers!) with a revolving restaurant at its top and a convention and shopping centre at its base, the visitor to Macau can savour a different kind of excitement: New Zealander AJ Hackett's company offers a set of adventure activities. There's a mast climb that takes you to the very top of the tower; a jump off the side of the tower from 233m above ground with a rope attached to your back; a walk around the handrail-less rim of the tower; as well as bouldering and sport climbing at the tower's base.

    Swimming

    Macau has two beaches on the southern side of Coloane island that are frequented by locals and visitors, especially at the weekend:

    Hac Sa (黑沙 - black sand) beach, the larger of the two, in a bay with the Westin resort on its eastern end. The water is of mediocre quality but brave swimmers can enter the water here. Those less brave choose the swimming pool just opposite the beach.

    Cheoc Van (竹灣 - bamboo bay) beach, a smaller and more beautiful beach. The sand here is golden and more inviting to sunbathe or play on. There is a nice curved swimming pool just by the beach (as opposed to the traditional rectangular one at Hac Sa). A cordoned-off area of the bay is set aside for swimmers, and members of the Winter Swimmers Association go swimming here daily (yes, even in the coldest of winter!).

    Besides, there are several public swimming pools all over Macau.

    Hiking/Cycling

    The two Taipa Hills are suitable for hiking and cycling. The larger hill, on the east side of the island right next to the airport, has several unpaved hiking trails that can also be used for mountain-biking. The smaller hill, on the west side of the island, has a low-traffic paved road circling it which is suitable for cycling and running.

    On Coloane the large hill area in the centre of the island is criss-crossed by several unpaved hiking trails of various length and difficulty. These are also suitable for mountain-biking. It is advisable to cycle there early in the mornings or on weekdays to avoid the crowds of hikers that can sometimes be found here on weekends.

    For those without their own bicycles, there are (very mediocre, at best) bicycles for rent in Rua Governador Tamagnini Barbosa in Taipa village, just behind the bus stop of bus routes 11, 15, 22, 28A, 30, 33, and 34.

    Bowling
    At the Macau Dome (澳門蛋) in Cotai area is a bowling centre of international standard (constructed in 2005 for the East Asian Games). There are 24 lanes, the first four of which may be used by children as these lanes are equipped with raisable borders. A lane costs MOP20 per person and game during the day, MOP30 in the evening. The Macau Dome can be reached from Macau and Taipa by bus 21, 21A, 25, 26, or 26A, or from Taipa by bus 15 (get off at Rotunda Flor de Lotus).

    Buy


    The currency of Macau is the pataca, which is divided into 100 avos. There are about 8 patacas to the US dollar.

    Hong Kong dollars, which are almost equal to the pataca in value, are accepted by most businesses on a 1:1 basis, but you may have some trouble with the HK$10 coin, which many businesses do not accept because there have been many forgeries recently. Chinese Yuan (RMB/CNY) are also frequently accepted and can easily be changed for either Hong Kong dollars or patacas.

    Getting money is quite easy as there are banks and ATMs on nearly every street. Holders of a debit card on the international networks will have no issues withdrawing money. Holders of Chinese Union Pay cards will not have trouble either withdrawing local currency from their RMB denominated accounts. ATMs usually dispense in MOP (100 and 500 bills) and HKD (100 and 500 as well) and some will also dispense in CNY.

    Try not to leave Macau with a lot of Patacas. Unlike the Hong Kong dollar, they are quite hard to exchange in Western countries.

    Eat


    Macau is famous for excellent restaurants, unique cuisine and mellow bars. It is a premier dining and drinking destination in Asia. The Portuguese brought not only European cuisine, but also influences from their other colonies (Brazil, Goa and Angola) to Macau. As a result the city now offers one of the world's most intriguing gastronomic adventures. Look for local specialties such as bacalhau (salted cod) and African chicken.

    There are a few interesting departures from standard Cantonese fare that you can try in Macau. Portuguese cuisine is available at a number of restaurants, and for a snack, try the milk pudding at the cafes in Largo do Senado. Street stalls sell tasty strips of barbecued pork as well. For the budget-minded, wander the back alleys and you'll come across plenty of mom-and-pop Chinese eateries. Note that most of these places have menus on the walls that are hand-written in Chinese only.
  • Fernando's, Hac Sa Wan, Coloane. 882531. Delicious food in a homey atmosphere. They have their own way of doing things; credit cards are not accepted, reservations cannot be made (except on weekdays for large parties) (on weekends head through to the courtyard bar at the back, give your details and relax with a jug of Sangria); ask for Ketchup if you dare. For two people, the Salad (comes with freshly baked bread), the Prawns and the Chicken (served on a bed of chips) should be sufficient.

  • Clube Militar, originally a club for Portuguese military officers, this is now a classy restaurant. Turn left on the main street as you leave Largo do Sendao and left again at the first major street. After the park a block along, look for strange pink building a bit off to your right.

  • Nga Tim, Coloane Village, Coloane. What a beautiful outdoor setting! Located in the colonnade on the left as you face St. Francis Xavier Church, the restaurant serves up authentic Portuguese and Chinese fare with views of the church plaza and the waterfront. Popular with tourists and locals, they accept credit cards and are reasonably priced.

  • Lord Stow's Bakery, Coloane Village, Coloane. Famous for cheesecake, fruitcake, sandwiches, and its specialty - Portuguese egg tarts - that are famous throughout Asia.

  • Margaret's Cafe e Nata, Gum Loi Building, Macau. The owner used to be married to Lord Stowe mentioned above. Slightly different egg tarts - try both and decide for yourself which are best.

  • A Lorcha, No.289 Rua Do Almirante Serigo (near A-Ma temple). many say this is one of the best restaurants in Macau. Book in advance if you come on a weekend or Hong Kong holiday. Phone 313193 & 313195, Closed on Tuesdays. Famous for their clams, African chicken and charcoal grilled items.


  • As you exit Largo do Senado onto the main street, cross the road and turn right. A few meters along is a restaurant with excellent Portguese food on one floor and Thai food above that.

    Drink


    According to Macau's special style, various types of drinks have became popular. Macau residents enjoy having beer as entertainment after work. Therefore, clubs and bars are open more frequently. To best fit the Macau-savvy image, coffee should be the first drink to mention since Macau has a strong multicultural sense. Drinks to be enjoyed include vinho verde, a Portuguese white wine that complements salty Macanese food, and caipirinha, a delicious Brazilian cocktail.

    Sleep


    Hotel rates are most expensive on Friday and Saturday nights. Try to make a booking through a travel agent, even if for the same day, as the rates can be substantially lower than walk-in rates.

    If you are coming from Hong Kong, book through an agent at the Shun Tak ferry pier for the best deals. Getting a package deal including return ferry tickets gives you the best price.

    The budget tourist should be aware that in the Inner Harbour area many of the pensions and two star hotels are also the place of business for many of the mainland PRC prostitutes that work in Macau. For example, entry into the London Hotel in the evening will be an eye opening experience for the unsuspecting tourist.

    In the following, budget accommodation is one that carries a 2-star rating or below, a mid-range place has a 3-star rating, and a splurge place has a 4-star rating or above.

    Macau Peninsula

    Budget
  • Augusters Lodge,24, Rua Do Dr. Pedro Jose Lobo, Floor 3J, Block 4, Edf. Kamloi, Macau

  • 66645026 or 28713242, One of the few hostels in Macau.
  • East Asia Hotel, Rua da Madeira, no. 1A, Ph: +853-28922433, Fax: +853-28922430. Located within 10 minutes walk from Pier No. 14 in central Macau and in close proximity to most tourist attractions.
  • Hotel Central, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, no. 264-270, Ph: +853-28373888, Fax: +853-28372404.
  • Hotel Holiday, Estrada do Repouso, no. 36-38, Ph: +853-28350161, Fax: +853-28350191.
  • Hotel Hong Thai, Rua de Cinco de Outubro, no. 177-179A, Ph: +853-28939199, Fax: +853-28308223.
  • Hotel Jai Alai, Av. da Amizade Palácio da Pelota Basca, Ph: +853-28725599, Fax: +853-28726105.
  • Hotel Kou Va, Rua da Felicidade, no. 71, Ph: +853-28375599.
  • Hotel London, Praça de Ponte e Horta, no. 4-6, Ph: +853-28937761, Fax: +853-28939790.
  • Hotel Nam Tin, Travessa da Praia Grande, no. 4, Ph: +853-28711212, Fax: +853-28711127.
  • Hotel Sun Sun, Praça de Ponte e Horta, no. 14-16, Ph: +853-28939393, Fax: +853-28938822.
  • Hou Kong Hotel, Travessa das Virtudes, no. 1, Ph: +853-28937555, Fax: +853-28338884.
  • Macau Masters Hotel, Rua das Lorchas, no. 162-178, Ph: +853-28937572, Fax: +853-28937565, Email: frontdesk@mastershotel-macau.com, .
  • Man Va, Rua da Caldeira, no. 32-34, Ph: +853-28388655, Fax: +853-28342179.


  • Midrange
  • Emperor Hotel, 51 Rua de Xangai, Ph: +853-28781888, Fax: +853-28782287, Email: info@emperorhotel.com.mo, .
  • Fu Hua Guangdong Hotel Macau, 98-102, Rua Francisco Xavier Pereira, Ph: +853-28553838, Fax: +853-28527575.
  • Grand Emperor Hotel, Avenida Comercial de Macau, no. 251-292D, Ph: +853-28889988, Fax: +853-28889933, Email: sales@grandemperor.com, .
  • Hotel Fortuna, 63, Rua de Cantao, Ph: +853-28786333, Fax: +853-28786363, Email: fortuna@hotelfortuna.com.mo, .
  • Hotel Guia, 1-5, Estrada do Eng. Trigo, Ph: +853-28513888, Fax: +853-28559822, Email: guia@macau.ctm.net.
  • Hotel Mondial, 8-10, Rua de Antonio Basto, Ph: +853-28566866, Fax: +853-28514083.
  • Hotel Sintra, Av. D. Joao IV, Ph: +853-28710111, Fax: +853-28510527, Email: rsvn@hotelsintra.com, .
  • Kingsway Hotel, 230, Rua de Luis Gonzaga Gomes, Ph: +853-28702888, Fax: +853-28702828, Email: reservation@hotelkingsway.com.mo, .
  • Metropole Hotel, 493-501, Av. da Praia Grande, Ph: +853-28388166, Fax: +853-28330890. Situated in the commercial district of Macau, with an ocean view and Taipa bridge in sight. It is close to many popular destinations: banks, post office, cinema and shopping arcade, convenient to both business and relaxation.
  • Sands, Avenida da Amizade, Edf. Casino Sands, Ph: +853-28883388, Fax: +853-28883377.
  • Victoria Hotel, Estrada do Arco, no. 118, Ph: +853-28556688, Fax: +853-28557788.
  • Waldo Hotel, Quarteirão 6, Lote J - Zape, Ph: +853-28886688, Fax: +853-28886699.


  • Splurge

    4-star
  • Casa Real Hotel, International Centre, Avenida do Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues, no. 1118, Ph: +853-28726288, Fax: +853-28726726, Email: casareal@macau.ctm.net.
  • Holiday Inn, 82-86, Rua de Pequim, Ph: +853-28783333, Fax: +853-28782321, Email: himacau@macau.ctm.net, .
  • Hotel Beverly Plaza, 70, Avenida do Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues, Ph: +853-28782288, Fax: +853-28780704, Email: beverly@macau.ctm.net, .
  • Hotel Golden Dragon, Quarteirão 3, Zape, Ph: +853-28361999, Fax: +853-28361333, Email: info@goldendragon.com.mo, .
  • Hotel Presidente, Avenida da Amizade, Ph: +853-28553888, Fax: +853-28552735, Email: mgtpst98@macau.ctm.net, .
  • Metropark Hotel Macau (formerly known as "Hotel Grandeur, Macau"), 199, Rua de Pequim, Outer Harbour, Ph: +853-28781233, Fax: +853-28781211, Email: hotel@metroparkmacau.com, .
  • Rio Hotel, Quarteirão 9, ZAPE, Ph: +853-28718718, Fax: +853-28718728, Email: info@riomacau.com, .


  • 5-star
  • Wynn, rua cidade de sintra, NAPE, Ph: +853-2888 9966, Fax: +853-2832 9966, Email: inquiries@wynnmacau.com, Macaus newest luxury edition. Gaming, entertainment, dining and spa.
  • Hotel Lisboa, 2-4, Avenida de Lisboa, Ph: +853-28377666, Fax: +853-28567193, Email: lisboa@macau.ctm.net, .
  • Hotel Ritz, Rua do Comendador Kou Ho Neng, Ph: +853-339955, Fax: +853-28317826, Email: ritzrsvn@macau.ctm.net, . Situated amidst the breath-taking Penha Hill overlooking the panoramic view of Praia Grande Bay and Macau-Taipa Bridge, Hotel Ritz occupies the best location in Macau. It is next door to the popular spot Penha Church, and within short distance from A-Ma Temple as well as the city centre.
  • Hotel Royal, 2-4, Estrada da Vitoria, Ph: +853-28552222, Fax: +853-28563008, Email: info@hotelroyal.com.mo, . Located at the foot of the historic Guia Light House and facing the Vasco da Gama Park. Nearby business district and tourist attractions are within walking distance.
  • Mandarin Oriental, 956-1110, Avenida Amizade, Outer Harbour, Ph: +853-28567888, Fax: +853-28594589, Email: momfm@mohg.com, . This unique hotel is the only resort hotel set in the city centre.
  • Pousada de São Tiago, Avenida da Republica, Fortaleza de Sao Tiago da Barra, Ph: +853-28378111, Fax: +853-28552170, Email: saotiago@macau.ctm.net, . This is the hotel with the most character in Macau. Still fairly small (although there are plans to expand) and very good personal service. Great for a special, romantic stay.
  • The Landmark, 555 Avenida da Amizade, Ph: +853-28781781, Fax: +853-28786611, Email: info@landmarkhotel.com.mo, .


  • Taipa Island

    Midrange
  • Best Western Hotel Taipa, Estrada Governador Nobre Carvalho, no. 822, Taipa, Ph: +853-28821666, Fax: +853-28820333, Email: hotel@hoteltaipa.com, .


  • Splurge

    4-star
  • Golden Crown China Hotel, opposite to the Macau International Airport, Taipa, Ph: +853-28851166, Fax: +853-28851199, Email: htlchina@macau.ctm.net.
  • Grandview Hotel The Grandview hotel is located in the heart of Taipa Island, seconds away from the Macau Jockey Club, Four-faced Buddha, and the Macau Stadium, and only five minutes from the Macau International Airport.
  • Hotel Taipa Square, Rua de Chaves, Taipa, Ph: +853-28839933, Fax: +853-28839922, Email: info@taipasquare.com.mo.
  • Pousada Marina Infante, Aterro COTAI, Marina de Taipa Sul, Taipa, Ph: +853-28838333, Fax: +853-28832000, Email: info@pousadamarinainfante.com, .


  • 5-star
  • Grand Waldo Hotel, Avenida Marginal Flor de Lotus, Taipa, Ph: +853-28886888, Fax: +853-28886889, .
  • New Century Hotel, 889, Av. Padre Tomas Pereira, Taipa, Ph: +853-28831111, Fax: +853-28832222, Email: nch@macau.ctm.net, . While technically a 5 start hotel, it is a little run-down. You can get a room from $USD55 a night (May 2007 price) at Asiarooms.com
  • Regency Hotel, Estrada Almirante Marques Esparteiro, Taipa, Ph: +853-831234, Fax: +853-28830195, Email: reservation@regencyhotel.com.mo, .


  • Coloane Island

    Splurge

    4-star
  • Pousada de Coloane, Praia de Cheoc Van, Coloane, Ph: +853-28882143, Fax: +853-28882251, www.hotelpcoloane.com.mo. Family hotel that actually feels more like a 3-star hotel. Even though recently renovated (2006), rooms are still not as good as other hotels in Macau. However, its location cannot be beaten, with the better rooms all having a small balcony with views out over the bay.


  • 5-star
  • The Westin Resort, 1918 Estrada de Hac Sa, Coloane, Ph: +853-28871111, Fax: +853-28871122, Email: macau@westin.com . Macau's most expensive hotel and a good place to relax by the pool or on the golf course. Also renowned for its lunch and dinner buffets. Rather impersonal. If you are going to Ferandos, and want to save money, use the free bus shuttle from the ferry terminal to the hotel and then walk around the bay.


  • Learn


    Macau has 12 tertiary education institutions. Besides some smaller and more specialized schools (Security Forces School, Tourism School, European Studies Institute, etc), the ones of importance are:
  • University of Macau . The oldest and most popular university, established in 1981 (then under the name University of East Asia). Offers degree programmes in a wide variety of fields at all levels, including pre-university courses, bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees. The majority of degrees are taught in English, except education and law which are taught in a choice of either Chinese (Cantonese) or Portuguese.

  • Macau University of Science and Technology . Established after the 1999 handover of Macau to China, courses are mainly taught in Chinese (Mandarin) by professors from the mainland, and a significant portion of its student population draws from the mainland too.

  • Macau Polytechnic Institute . A spin-off of the former University of East Asia, it was established in 1991 to provide practice-oriented education and training mainly to the local population.

  • Macau Inter-University Institute . Established in 1996, it originally only offered postgraduate education, but since 2005 also offers undergraduate degree courses, and since 2006 pre-university courses, mainly in the humanities.


  • Work


    Non-residents who wish to take up employment in Macau need to obtain a valid work permit and are then issued the so-called Blue Card (officially called Non-Resident Worker's Permit). The process takes approximately a month to receive a work permit, at which time employment may begin, and another 1-2 months to receive the Blue Card.

    As illegal employment has over the past decades been a problem plagueing Macau, the authorities do crack down severely on any offenders (both worker and employer) caught. Visitors are therefore advised not to engage in illegal employment.

    Stay safe


    Severe weather

    There is a risk of typhoons, mainly between July and September. A system of typhoon warnings is in place that are issued by the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau and are broadcast widely on television and radio:
  • Number 1: tropical cyclone is within 800km of Macau
  • Number 3: tropical cyclone is likely to bring winds of 41-62 km/h to Macau, with gusts of 110km/h (usually issued when the typhoon is within 300km of Macau)
  • Number 8: tropical cyclone is nearing Macau, bringing with it winds of 63-117 km/h, and gusts of up to 180 km/h
  • Number 9: the centre of the tropical cyclone is approaching Macau and it is expected that Macau will be severely affected
  • Number 10: the centre of the tropical cyclone will hit Macau directly, with mean wind speed over 118 km/h and intense gusts


  • During a number 8, 9 or 10 typhoon everything in Macau shuts down (all schools, all government departments, and the large majority of work places and shops). People stay home and it is not advisable to venture outside as there is the risk of injury or worse from flying debris.

    Crime
  • You should beware of pickpockets, especially in tourist areas.

  • Recently a scam involving mainland Chinese visitors asking for money has become widespread, mainly in downtown Macau. These people, who are usually properly dressed, claim to have lost their wallet and not to have eaten the whole day, asking for MOP20-30 to buy some food. The police have issued warnings in the local media not to give money to these people.

  • In the mid-90s, Macau had some vicious gang wars among the Chinese triads, with mobsters with automatic weapons fighting each other and some high-ranking police who got in their way. However, first the Macau police cracked down and then the Chinese took over which is believed to have scared the triads into more low-profile activity. There has been no sign of open mob conflict since the 1999 handover. The triads usually don't bother ordinary people, so the advice is not to mess with them (such as by borrowing money from loan sharks and then failing to repay it), and they won't mess with you!


  • Stay healthy


    One unexpected cause of sickness in Macau is the extreme temperature change between 35°C (95°F) humid summer weather outdoors and 18°C (65°F) air-conditioned buildings. Some people experience cold symptoms after moving between the two extremes often; it is not unusual to wear a sweater or covering to stay warm indoors, and it is therefore usually good advice to carry a long-sleeve item of clothing when expecting to visit air-conditioned places for extended periods of time.

    Whilst tap water is technically safe to drink (taste aside), most locals boil or filter their water or buy inexpensive bottled water.

    Because of recent concerns about SARS and the threat of Avian Flu, good personal hygiene is strongly advisable. Wash hands before eating and after returning from public areas to your place of accommodation.

    There have been some cases of Dengue fever in recent years. The government has pro-actively sprayed insecticide in areas where there is the potential of mosquito breeding, so this risk is largely contained. However it is best to avoid being bitten by using mosquito repellent and/or wearing long clothing, especially at dusk.

    When eating sea-food make sure the food is properly cooked as you may otherwise end up with an upset stomach or worse.

    Respect


    Most Macau people are quite friendly but may be shy when approached by foreigners as only a small minority of locals speak English well enough to communicate.

    When visiting Chinese temples basic respect should be shown, but taking photos is usually allowed and you don't need to ask for permission as long as there isn't a no-photography sign posted.

    Contact


    The tourist information offices on Largo do Senado and at the jetfoil terminal have maps, information on museums and events, helpful English-speaking staff, and at the Largo do Senado office free Internet access. You may have to queue for the Internet, since there are only a few machines.



    The Macau Special Administrative Region () ; Portuguese: Região Administrativa Especial de Macau , abbreviated as RAEM), commonly known as Macau or Macao (, or informally known as 馬交 maa-gau) is one of the two special administrative regions (SARs) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), along with Hong Kong.

    Portuguese traders settled in Macau in the 16th century. Most of the foreign merchants in Macau left for Hong Kong after the Opium War in 1841. The business and economic activities in Macau declined. Administered by Portugal until 1999, it was the oldest European colony in China. Administrative power over Macau was transferred to China in 1999. Nowadays Macau has developed industries such as textiles, electronics and toys, as well as building up a significant tourist industry with a wide choice of hotels, resorts, stadiums, restaurants and casinos. As in the past, Macau's economy is closely linked to that of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region in Mainland China, which qualifies as one of the East Asian Tigers. With relatively good foundation and infrastructure, Macau provides good financial and banking services, staff training, transport and communications support.

    Etymology

    The name "Macau" (Portuguese pronunciation )is thought to be derived from the Templo de A-Má (Temple of A-Ma or Ma Kok Temple) (媽閣廟, Cantonese Jyutping: Maa1 Gok3 Miu6, local pronunciation: Maa5 Gok3 Miu6 or Maa5 Gok3 Miu5), a still-existing landmark built in 1448 dedicated to the goddess Matsu - the goddess of seafarers and fishermen. In keeping with saga, a fisherboat sailing across the sea one day found itself in an unexpected rainstorm. Everyone on board had given up hope of surviving this natural disaster. An attractive young lady, who had boarded the boat at the eleventh hour, stood up and ordered the tempest to calm down. The gale ceased and the sea became calm. The fisherboat, without further event, arrived safely at the port of Hoi Keang. The young lady walked ashore to the top of the Barra Hill where, in a glowing aura of light and fragrance; she ascended into heaven immediately. On the specific locale where she set foot on, a temple was built. Several hundred years later, when Portuguese sailors landed and asked the name of the place, the natives replied A-Ma-Gao (i.e. Bay of A-Ma). The peninsula was therefore renamed and Amagao was abbreviated to Macau in modern usage.

    History


    Imperial times
    Historical records show that what was later known as Macau was part of Panyu County, Nanhai District, Guangdong Province, under the Qin empire (221–206 BC). During the Jin Dynasty (265-420), the area was part of Dongguan County and later alternated under the control of Nanhai and Dongguan. In 1152, (during the Song Dynasty, 960–1279), it was identified as administratively part of the new Xiangshan County.

    Since the 5th century, merchant ships traveling between Southeast Asia and Guangzhou used Haojingao as a way stop for refuge, fresh water, and food. Members of the southern Song Dynasty and some 50,000 followers were the first recorded inhabitants of the area, seeking refuge in Macau from invading Mongols in 1277. They were able to defend their settlements and establish themselves there. Mong Há has long been the center of Chinese life in Macau and the site of what may be the region's oldest temple, a shrine devoted to the Buddhist Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy).

    The Hoklo Boat people were the first to show commercial interest in Macau as a trading center for the southern provinces. During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1643), fishermen migrated to Macau from various parts of Guangdong and Fujian provinces and built the A-Ma Temple in which they prayed for safety on the sea.

    Sixteenth to nineteenth centuries

    Chinese fishermen have been living and working in the Pearl River Delta for more than four thousand years. The small peninsula and islands that came to be called Macau were first settled by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Prior to that, they belonged to various counties within the Chinese Empire, with the village of Mong Ha (Wangxia), located on the Macau peninsula, having been settled during the Yuan Dynasty.

    Portuguese traders had landed in Ningbo and Swatow at the beginning of the 16th century, but were forced to abandon their trading-posts there.
    In 1535, the Portuguese obtained the right to anchor ships in Macau harbours and carry out trading activities. In around 1552-1553, the Portuguese obtained permission to go ashore and erect storage sheds, In 1557, the Portuguese established a permanent settlement in Macau. Fortifications and a church were the first buildings were constructed there, but no ground rent was demanded by the Chinese Government until 1582. The Chinese people adopted a "three no's" approach as a means to continue their struggle with the Government — no taxes, no service, no selling to the Portuguese. They were successful and on January 29, 1967 the Portuguese government of Macau signed a statement of apology. This marked the beginning of equal treatment and recognition of Chinese identity and of de facto Chinese control of the colony, as an official apology underlined the fact that after 1949, administration of Macau continued only at the behest of the Mainland Communist government.

    After the leftist military coup of 1974, the now democratic Portuguese government was determined to relinquish all its overseas possessions, but the People's Republic of China did not favor Macau's immediate return to Chinese sovereignty and asked Portugal to continue to administer it. In 1976, Lisbon redefined Macau as a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration," and granted it a large measure of administrative, financial and economic autonomy. The Chinese Government stated on many occasions that Macau has always been Chinese territory and the issue left by history should be settled through negotiations when conditions were ripe.

    Portugal and the People's Republic of China agreed in 1979 to regard Macau as "a Chinese territory under (temporary) Portuguese administration". Negotiations between the Chinese and Portuguese governments on the question of Macau started in June 1986. In 1987, an international treaty, known as the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, was signed to make Macau a Special Administrative Region of the PRC. In 1998, Chinese (Cantonese) was given official status and the same legal power as Portuguese, the official language. The Chinese government assumed sovereignty over Macau on December 20, 1999, ending 329 years of Portuguese rule.

    Government and politics


    The status of Macau since reverting to People's Republic of China sovereignty on 20 December 1999 is defined in the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, Macau's constitution promulgated by China's National People's Congress in 1993. The Joint Declaration and the Basic Law specify that Macau's social and economic system, lifestyle, rights, and freedoms are to remain unchanged for at least 50 years.

    Under the principle of "one country, two systems" articulated in the Basic Law of Macau, Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy except in defense and foreign affairs. Macau officials, rather than PRC officials, run Macau through the exercise of separate executive, legislative, and judicial powers. Macau maintains its own separate currency, customs territory, immigration and border controls, and police force. According to surveys examined recently by Transparency International 2006, the Government of Macau is perceived to have one of the least corrupt public sector among Asian nations or territories. Macau ranked number 4 in Asia and 26 worldwide. Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore joined Macau as the only Asian states ranking among the top 30 nations or territories; meanwhile Asia's largest nations; People's Republic of China, India, and Indonesia, all ranked low of the 163 ranked nations and territories.

    The chief executive is appointed by the People's Republic of China's central government.
    Election of the Chief Executive after election by an election committee, whose members are nominated by corporate and community bodies. The chief executive's cabinet comprise five policy secretaries. He is advised by an Executive Council that has between 7 and 11 members. Edmund Ho Hau Wah, a community leader and former banker, is the first China-appointed chief executive of the Macau SAR, having replaced General Vasco Rocha Vieira at midnight on December 19, 1999.

    The legislative organ of the territory is the Legislative Assembly, a 29-member body comprising 12 directly elected members, 10 appointed members representing functional constituencies and seven members appointed by the chief executive. The Legislative Assembly is responsible for lawmaking and like many other legislatures, it has power to impeach the Chief Executive. It has power to amend the method of electing the chief executive after 2009. The democratic infrastructure of Macau SAR remains powerless. The ability of the legislature to initiate legislation is limited, although it plays a role in shaping legislation. There is little public pressure for democratization.

    Political associations in the Legislative Council of Macau include: New Democratic Macau Association, United Citizens Association of Macau, Union for Development, Union for Promoting Progress, Alliance for the Development of Macau, New Hope, General Union for the Good of Macau, Convergence for Development. The general requirements of suffrage for direct election in Macau is an adult at or over 18 years of age and he or she must be a permanent resident in that region. For indirect election, it is only limited to organizations registered as "corporate voters and a 300-member Election Committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, and central governmental bodies.

    In order to implement the principle of high degree of autonomy, the basic and original framework of the legal system of Macau must also be preserved for at least 50 years after 20 December, 1999 according to the provision made by the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau. The legal system is based largely on Portuguese law or Portuguese civil law system. The territory has its own independent judicial system, with a high court. Judges are selected by a committee and appointed by the chief executive. Foreign judges may serve on the courts. In July 1999 the chief executive appointed a seven-person committee to select judges for the SAR. 24 judges were recommended by the committee and were then appointed by Edmund Ho. Macau has a three-tier court system: The Court of the First Instance, The Court of the Second Instance and The Court of Final Appeal (Macau's highest court).

    No district court was established because of the limited geographical size of the region. However, administrative courts are additionally created that are special courts for handling administrative, taxation and customs cases and they are lower courts as the Court of the First Instance. Litigants who object to their rulings can appeal to the Court of the Second Instance. The prosecution of the Macau SAR is an independent body. The Chief Prosecutor of the Macau SAR's prosecution is nominated by the Chief Executive and appointed by the central government of People's Republic of China; the prosecutors are appointed and removed by the Chief Executive. Hence, the Macau SAR prosecution is under strict scrutiny and supervision of the Chief Executive. No death penalty or life imprisonment is currently imposed in Macau SAR due to the prohibition by the Penal Code of Macau (Article 39). Ampliate reformations in legal system in Macau can be seen after handover. The prominent example is using Chinese language in courts, in addition to the process of legislation.

    Administrative divisions


    Macau was formerly divided into two municipalities and seven parishes. Each municipality was run by a municipal council (câmara municipal), with a supervising municipal assembly (assembleia municipal). When it became a SAR, the municipalities were abolished and the parishes were voided of administrative functions. In their place is a new administrative body, the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (Portuguese: Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos e Municipais), under the Secretariat for Administration and Justice (Secretaria da Administração e Justiça) of the SAR government. The parishes are still officially recognized but only on a symbolic basis.

    Geography

    Macau is 60 kilometres (37 miles) southwest of Hong Kong and 145 kilometres (90 miles) from Guangzhou. It consists of a peninsula, and the islands of Taipa and Coloane. The peninsula is formed by the Zhujiang (Pearl River) estuary on the east and the Xijiang (West River) on the west. It borders the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone in mainland China. Macau has a generally flat terrain resulting from extensive land reclamation, but numerous steep hills mark the original natural land mass. The Macau peninsula was originally an island, but gradually a connecting sandbar turned into a narrow isthmus. Land reclamation in the seventeenth century made Macau into a peninsula. With a dense urban environment, Macau has no arable land, pastures, forest, or woodland. Because of this deficiency, Macau's people traditionally have looked to the sea for their livelihood.

    Macau has a humid subtropical climate. Seasonal climate is greatly influenced by the monsoons and therefore temperature difference between summer and winter is fairly noticeable. The average annual temperature of Macau is 22.3 °C. July is the hottest month, with average monthly temperature being 28.6 °C (daytime temperatures are usually above 30 °C). The coldest month is January, with average monthly temperature 14.5 °C (occasionally temperature drops below 10 °C). Located in the coastal region of south the People's Republic of China, Macau has ample rainfall, with average annual precipitation being 2,030 millimetres. However, winter is mostly dry due to the monsoon from mainland China. The humidity is high with an average range between 75% and 90%. The best season in Macau is autumn (i.e. October - December) when days are sunny & warm and the humidity is basically low. Winter (i.e. January - March) is relatively cold but sunny. In spring (i.e. start from April), the humidity starts to increase and in summer (i.e. May to September) the climate is hot and humid with rain and casual typhoons.
    Considered as a special administrative region or dependency, Macau is one of the most densely populated regions and is among the cities with the highest level of population congestion in the world.

    Macau's population is 95% Chinese, primarily Cantonese, Fujianese as well as some Hakka, Shanghainese and overseas Chinese from Southeast Asia (mostly Vietnam and some from Thailand and Philippines) and elsewhere. The remainder are of Portuguese or Chinese-Portuguese ancestry, or Macanese, (most Portuguese and some Macanese left Macau after it was returned to China) as well as several thousand Filipino and Thai nationals. The growth of population in Macau is mainly relying on Chinese immigrants from mainland China and the influx of overseas workers, since the birth rate is one of the lowest in the world. With over 503,000 people (2006 second quarter estimate) living in that region, Macau is now classified as a large city. The gap between poor and rich is relatively large. The government is investigating policies to distribute resources gained from the economic growth. In order to assist low income groups, the government has cut its administrative costs and reduced taxation to boost the local economy and improve the standard of living. The nationality of people with Chinese descent living in Macau and/or those who are qualified to apply for MSAR passport is considered as Chinese. Dual nationality is not recognized by the government of Macau, although foreign passports can be freely used as travel documentation

    The official languages are Portuguese and Chinese (Cantonese); Mandarin, English, Hokkien, Tagalog, Thai, and several other languages are also spoken. Although Portuguese is widely spoken from colonial period until present, it is de facto official. English is widely taught and used as a language of instruction in schools and tertiary education establishments and widely spoken in tourism, trade and other businesses, being Macau's de facto "lingua franca" among its different ethnic communities. The Macanese language, which is generally known as Patuá, is a distinctive Creole that is still spoken by several dozen Macanese, an ethnic group of mixed Asian and Portuguese ancestry that accounts for about two per cent of Macau's population(However, Macanese is sometimes also used in the broader sense to describe any permanent resident of Macau.). Thai and Tagalog are spoken by foreign nationals and ethnic Chinese from Thailand and Philippines. Another important language is Vietnamese, which is spoken by descendants of Vietnamese-born ethnic Chinese refugees.

    The work force in Macau SAR is mainly composed of manufacturing; construction; wholesale and retail trade, repair, hotels and restaurants; financial services, real estate, and other business activities; public administration, other communities, social and personal services, including gaming; transport, storage and communications. The number of Chinese from Mainland China working in Macau as imported foreign laborers stood at 37,357 in 2006, representing 57.7% of the region's imported workers. According to the recent survey conducted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Macau residents have long had one of the longest life expectancies at birth in the world. The birth rate, the total fertility rate and the infant mortality rate all rank among the lowest in the world.
    Most Macau people believe in the Chinese Folk religion, which includes the faiths of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and the folk gods and goddesses (especially Kuan Yin and Matsu), like other Chinese communities. There are between forty and fifty temples of various sizes in Macau, mostly built a century or so ago, although some date back five-hundred years. In certain occasions one can find out that Kuan Yin or the images of Buddha and other gods or xoanons from the sphere of Taoism might appear within the same temple. The most famous ones are the Kun Iam Temple, the A-Ma Temple and, in particular, the Lotus Temple. Built in 1592, the Lotus Temple has a history of over four hundred years.

    Macau became a hub not only of trade in Asia, but also of Christianity, with the Jesuit missionaries Basilica de São Paulo set up as the greatest marker to Christianity in East Asia. The Catholic Diocese of Macau was established on 23 January, 1576. The first bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Macau was D. Belchior Carneiro. The first Chinese bishop was Domingos Lam. The present bishop is D. José Lai, who is the first native-born Chinese bishop in Macau. About five per cent of Macau's population is Catholic. The Catholic Church in Macau recognizes the Pope as the head of the Church. A new Coadjutor Bishop for the Macau diocese was appointed by Vatican or Holy See in June, 2003. Christianity is a legacy of Portuguese rule. Macau was also the first station of the Protestant church for mission in China.

    Culture

    The mixing of Chinese and Portuguese cultures and religious traditions for more than 4 centuries has left Macau with a very inimitable collection of holidays, festivals and events. The biggest tournament of the year is the Macau Formula Three Grand Prix in November, when the main streets in the Peninsula of Macau become a racetrack. Many Formula One drivers won here earlier in their careers; among them, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard and Takuma Sato before taking part in Monaco Grand Prix. For other important yearly events, it includes the Macau Arts festival in March, the International Fireworks Display Contest in September, the International Music festival in October and/or November, and the Macau International Marathon in December.

    The Lunar Chinese New Year is a public holiday and celebration launched in late January or early February every year. The Pou Tai Un Temple in Taipa is the place for the Feast of the Earth god Tou Tei in February. The Procession of the Passion of Our Lord is a well-known Catholic rite and journey, which travels from Igreja de Santo Agostinho to Igreja da Sé Catedral‎, also taking place in February. A-Ma Temple, which honours the Goddess of seafarers and fishermen; is in full swing in April with many congratulant worshippers during the A-Ma festival. To look on dancing dragons at the Feast of the Drunken Dragon and twinkling-clean Buddhas at the Feast of Bathing of Lord Buddha in May is common. In Coloane Village, the Taoist god Tam Kong is also honoured in the same day. Dragon Boat festival is brought into play on Nam Van Lakes in June and Hungry Ghosts' festival, in late August and/or early September every year. All events and festivities basically come to an end with Winter Solstice in December annually.

    With significant influences from Southeast Asia and the Lusophone world, local cooking in Macau consists of a blend of southern Chinese and Portuguese cuisines. Many unique dishes resulted from the spice blends that the wives of Portuguese sailors used in an attempt to replicate European dishes. Its ingredients and seasonings include those from Europe, Latin America, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, as well as local Chinese ingredients. Common cooking techniques include baking, grilling and roasting. It is renowned for its flavour-blending culture. Typically, Macanese food is seasoned with various spices and flavours including turmeric, coconut milk, cinnamon and bacalhau, giving special aromas and tastes.Famous dishes include Galinha à Portuguesa, Galinha à Africana (African chicken), Bacalhau, Macanese Chili Shrimps and stir-fry curry crab. The most popular snack is pork chop bun. The most popular dessert is ginger milk and Portuguese-style egg tart.

    Macau International Music Festival - MIMF is basically conducted by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR Government every year. The 20th anniversary of the MIMF is celebrated with a touch of romanticism. Jazz, Classical music, electronica, Chinese folk-pop, rock and fado will fill Macau's autumn nights with magic. The eclectic programme of 28 performances promises to delight Macau audiences, accustomed to the festival's annual offering of some of the best music from all over the world.

    Landmarks

    Macau preserves China's largest group of historical properties in the urban area, as it had almost five centuries of regular oscillation between West and East, after the Portuguese seafarers settled in Macau in the mid-sixteenth century. The Historic Centre of Macau, which includes some twenty-eight historic monuments and eight public squares, was officially listed as a 31st World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 15 July 2005 during the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee, being held in Durban of South Africa.
  • Main landmarks include:
  • * A-Ma Temple
  • * Casa Garden
  • * Casino Lisboa
  • * Fortaleza do Monte
  • * Guia Fortress
  • * Macau Fisherman's Wharf
  • * Macau Tower
  • * Old Protestant Cemetery
  • * Ruins of Saint Paul's Cathedral


  • Miscellaneous topics

  • Sister cities
  • *Concelho de Macau
  • ** Lisbon, Portugal
  • ** Porto, Portugal
  • ** Brussels, Belgium (friendship agreement)
  • ** São Paulo, Brazil
  • ** Danang, Vietnam (friendship agreement)
  • ** Luanda, Angola (friendship agreement)
  • *Concelho das Ilhas
  • ** Coimbra, Portugal
  • ** Linköping, Sweden


  • See also

    {{columns
    |width = 180px
    |gap = 10px
    |col1 =
  • CCAC
  • CEPA
  • Communications
  • * Media of Macau
  • Crime and police
  • Cuisine
  • Education
  • * List of universities
  • Events and festivals

  • |col2 =
  • Foreign relations
  • Gambling
  • Gaming law
  • Grand Prix
  • Honours system
  • Immigration
  • [[Legal system of Macau|Leg



  • Introduction:
    Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999. China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau, and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.

    Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China

    Population: 456,989 (July 2007 est.)

    Languages: Cantonese 87.9%, Hokkien 4.4%, Mandarin 1.6%, other Chinese dialects 3.1%, other 3% (2001 census)

    Country name: conventional long form: Macau Special Administrative Region conventional short form: Macau local long form: Aomen Tebie Xingzhengqu (Chinese); Regiao Administrativa Especial de Macau (Portuguese) local short form: Aomen (Chinese); Macau (Portuguese)

    Capital: Macau

    Economy - overview:
    Macau's well-to-do economy has remained one of the most open in the world since its reversion to China in 1999. Apparel exports and tourism are mainstays of the economy. Although the territory was hit hard by the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and the global downturn in 2001, its economy grew 10.1% in 2002, 14.2% in 2003, and 28.6% in 2004 before slowing to 6.7% in 2005. The economic boom was powered by gambling, tourism, and the construction necessary to support such endeavors. China's decision to ease travel restrictions led to a rapid rise in the number of mainland visitors. The opening of Macau's gaming industry to foreign access in 2001 spurred an increase in public works expenditures. The budget also returned to surplus in 2002 because of the surge in visitors from China and a hike in taxes on gambling profits, which generated about 70% of government revenue. Much of Macau's textile industry may move to the mainland due to the termination in 2005 of the Multi-Fiber Agreement, which provided a near guarantee of export markets, leaving the territory more dependent on gambling and trade-related services to generate growth. The Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Macau and mainland China that came into effect on 1 January 2004 offers many Macau-made products tariff-free access to the mainland. The range of products covered by CEPA was expanded on 1 January 2005.



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