Imagine if Portugal and Las Vegas decided to get together and create their own country. In this country, 99.9% of all people (locals and visitors alike) would be Chinese. And that’s Macau.
Macau (traditional Chinese: 澳門), also spelled Macao, is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China. It lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, bordering Guangdong province to the north and facing the South China Sea to the east and south.
The territory’s economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism but also includes manufacturing.
Macau was a Portuguese colony and both the first and last European colony in China. Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until the handover on 20 December 1999. The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Macau stipulate that Macau operates with a high degree of autonomy until at least 2049, fifty years after the transfer.
Under the policy of “one country, two systems”, the PRC’s Central People’s Government is responsible for the territory’s defense and foreign affairs, while Macau maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy.
Why go to Macau? Well, the answer (at least for us for now) was: Why not? It is a 1 hour ferry ride from Hong Kong to Macau, and our friends Lucia and Ivo really recommended it.
So, we took a few days out of our time in Hong Kong and made our first international boat crossing.
My recommendations for anyone visiting Macau – book a room before you go. Otherwise everything will be “full” whether it actually is or not.