While in Hong Kong, we decided to visit Macua for a day trip. It’s a short trip–just about an hour and 45 minutes on the ferry. Once there, you go through immigration and such, even though you are essentially just moving from one part of China to the next. But this is part of what makes Macau (and Hong Kong) unique. Here are five interesting things about Macau, China:
1.) Macau is another Special Administrative Region of China—just like Hong Kong. However, Macau was colonized by the Portuguese, and the return hand-off to China didn’t happen until 1999. Because of this, Macau has two national languages: Portuguese and Chinese. Macau doesn’t just feel like Europe (like Hong Kong), it LOOKS like it too. Many of the public squares and buildings could be from anywhere in Europe, the food is much more European, and snippets of Portuguese can be heard everywhere.
2.) Macau is often called the “Vegas of Asia” because of its infamy among gamblers. Many of the same big name casinos and hotels from Vegas have branches here, such as the Venetian, and while we’ve never been to Vegas, the parts of the city around the casinos looked exactly like every photo I’ve ever seen of Sin City. People come from all over Asia to gamble here and lap up the luxury!
3.) Everywhere in Macau accepts Hong Kong dollars in addition to Macau Pataca. Because the two cities share a special status as China’s SARs, including the benefit that most visitors don’t need a visa to visit (unlike mainland China), many people travel between the two city-states frequently.
4.) Macau is made up of two parts: one part is a peninsula that connects with mainland China, and an island. Much of the island portion is reclaimed land. The two parts are connected by a massive bridge, called the Ponte de Amizade.
5.) The entire “Historic Centre of Macau” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unlike in Hong Kong where everything is new or recreated, Macau’s historical sites are original, and beautifully showcase the merger of Chinese and Portuguese life.
Stay tuned for more on our adventure in Macau!