Macau Overview

Macau Travel Overview introduces Macau fast facts including the Basic Information, Population, Climate, Geography, Culture, History, Economy, Landmarks, Administrative Diversions,etc. which can help you know Macau better.

Basic Information


Macau is a Special Administrative Region on the southern coast of China. It is located at the south of Guangdong Province, on the tip of the peninsula formed by the Zhujiang (Pearl River) estuary on the east and the Xijiang River(West River) on the west. Macau is situated 60 km(37 mi) west of Hong Kong, and 145 km (90 mi) southwest of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province. It is situated immediately east and south of Zhuhai. The region comprises the Macau Peninsula and the islands of Taipa and Coloane. Macau was once an island but gradually a connecting sandbar turned into a narrow isthmus. Land reclamation in the 17th century made Macau into a peninsula, and a barrier gate was built to mark the separation between the peninsula and the mainland. Pre-colonial records show that Macau totaled only 2.78 km2 (1.07 sq mi) but began to increase as a result of Portuguese settlement. Land growth has accelerated since the last quarter of the 20th century, from 15 km2 (5.8 sq mi) in 1972 to 16.1 km2 (6.22 sq mi) in 1983 to 21.3 km2 (8.22 sq mi) in 1994. Macau's size has gradually increased as result of continued land reclamation, especially on Taipa and Coloane. In 2014, the total land area was approximately 30.3 km2 (11.7 sq mi).

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Macau exhibits a humid subtropical type of climate with hot and humid summers and cold and dry winters. It is a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China with territorial autonomy, which lies on China's southern coast on the west side of the Pearl River estuary in East Asia. Macau's location in the tropical latitudes, slightly south of the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere, the monsoon, and its nearness to large bodies of water, dramatically affects its climate.

Macau is surrounded by the sea on three sides, with direct sunlight twice a year, strong radiation and strong evaporation. It has the characteristics of rich heat, sufficient water vapor, and high temperature and rain. It belongs to the subtropical ocean monsoon climate, and also has the characteristics of tropical climate. The annual average temperature is about 22.3℃, and the annual temperature difference varies from 11 to 14℃. The average annual temperature in 2007 was 23.2° C. It is wet and rainy in spring and summer, and the relative humidity is relatively low and there is less rainfall in autumn and winter. The typhoon season is from May to October, and the most frequent is from July to September. Macau is bordered by the Asian continent to the north and the tropical sea-the South China Sea to the south. It is affected by both the mid-high latitude atmospheric circulation from the mainland and the low-latitude atmospheric circulation from the ocean. Therefore, it is a typical monsoon climate zone.

Best Time to Visit Macau

The spring and summer season is the off-season of Macau's tourism, because the weather is hot and rainy at this time, and it is easy to delay the trip. However, it is a good choice to swim to Hac Sa Beach and Cheoc Van Beach in Macau in summer. The autumn and winter season is the best time to visit Macau. Here you can not feel the severe cold of winter, which is especially warm and comfortable for tourists from the north. Whether it's a shopping trip to Macau or a walk in the historic blocks, autumn and winter are the best time to visit Macau.

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Administrative Divisions

Macau territory is divided into seven parishes. Cotai, a major area developed on reclaimed land between Taipa and Coloane, and areas of the Macau New Urban Zone do not have defined parishes. Historically, the parishes belonged to one of two municipalities (the Municipality of Macau or the Municipality of Ilhas) that were responsible for administering municipal services. The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau superseded the municipalities and is currently responsible for providing local services.


In 1557, the Portuguese took over Macau, making it the first European colony in East Asia. Called "A Ma Gao" by the Chinese(in honor of the patron goddess of sailors, A-Ma), its name was adapted to "Macau" by the Portuguese. For more than a century the port thrived as the main intermediary in the trade between Asia and the rest of the world: ships from Italy, Portugal, and Spain came here to buy and sell Chinese silks and tea, Japanese crafts, Indian spices, African ivory, and Brazilian gold.

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During 2020 Macau population is projected to increase by 12,088 people and reach 652,008 in the beginning of 2021. The natural increase is expected to be positive, as the number of births will exceed the number of deaths by 4,102. If external migration will remain on the previous year level, the population will be increased by 7,986 due to the migration reasons. It means that the number of people who move into Macau (to which they are not native) in order to settle there as permanent residents (immigrants) will prevail over the number of people who leave the country to settle permanently in another country (emigrants). As of 1 January 2020, the population of Macau was estimated to be 639,920 people. This is an increase of 1.89 % (11,864 people) compared to population of 628,056 the year before. In 2019 the natural increase was positive, as the number of births exceeded the number of deaths by 4,026. Due to external migration, the population increased by 7,838. The sex ratio of the total population was 0.920 (920 males per 1 000 females) which is lower than global sex ratio. The global sex ratio in the world was approximately 1 016 males to 1 000 females as of 2019.


In the 20 years since Macau was handed back to China (after almost 450 years of Portuguese colonial rule), the city has changed dramatically. Its transformation into the world’s most successful gambling city has seen Macau become more Americanised with a spree of Las Vegas-style casinos and resorts. The Macau of today is dominated by huge, glitzy, Las-Vegas style casino resorts, but wander a little beyond the garish bright lights of its famous Cotai Strip and you’ll find small pockets of the city where the old Macau and traditional Macanese culture (of mixed Portuguese and Chinese origin) still hold on.

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Known famously as the 'Vegas of China,' Macau is a Special Administrative Region(SAR) of the People's Republic of China located just an hour’s ferry ride from Hong Kong. Macau is fascinatingly vibrant and energetic. Although there are similarities, Macau offers a completely different experience from Hong Kong. It has its own currency, own diplomatic policy, and a unique history. But the biggest reason why Hong Kong and Macau are always in the same bundle: they’re easily accessible from each other, only around an hour apart by ferry. The most common way of reaching Macau is by ferry via neighboring Hong Kong or by long-distance bus. The ferry journey takes one hour and there are two options. Ferry operator TurboJET travels directly to the Macau Peninsula ferry terminal every 15 minutes and the other ferry operator, Cotai Jet, travels directly to the Cotai terminal, every 30 mins, with easy access to the Cotai Strip and Taipa Island. Macau also has its own International Airport which mainly operates flights to and from neighboring countries in Asia. What's more, it is very convenient to get to Macau by ferry from Shenzhen or by helicopters. You can always find the best way to get to Macau according to your interest.

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Things to Do

When come to Macau, confused what to see, do and experience in Macau? Known as the 'Vegas of China', Macau is indeed an epicentre of gambling and glitz. While luxury entertainment here is world-class, the city has much more to offer than that. Macau has several kinds of attractions listed below to show you all the highlights. The top attractions in Macau are the must-see for visitors.


Macau has a capitalist service economy largely based on casino gaming and tourism. It is the world's 83rd-largest economy, with a nominal GDP of approximately MOP 433 billion (US$53.9 billion). Although Macau has one of the highest per capita GDPs, the territory also has a high level of wealth disparity. Macau's gaming industry is the largest in the world, generating over MOP 195 billion (US$24 billion) in revenue and about seven times larger than that of Las Vegas. Macau's gambling revenue was $37 billion in 2018.

The regional economy is heavily reliant on casino gaming. The vast majority of government funding (79.6 per cent of total tax revenue) comes from gaming. Gambling as a share of GDP peaked in 2013 at over 60 per cent, and continues to account for 49.1 per cent of total economic output. The vast majority of casino patrons are tourists from mainland China, making up 68 per cent of all visitors. Casino gaming is illegal in both the mainland and Hong Kong, giving Macau a legal monopoly on the industry in China. Revenue from Chinese high rollers has been falling and was forecast to fall as much as 10% more in 2019. Economic uncertainty may account for some of the drop, but alternate Asian gambling venues do as well. For example Chinese visitors to the Philippines more than doubled between 2015 and 2018, since the City of Dreams casino opened in Manila.

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Landmark Buildings in Macau

Macau has long been the city where East meets West-rendering it a place of great historical value. It was the first and last European colony in China and represents over 400 years of Chinese and Western cultural exchange. In 2005, the historic centre of Macao was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Medical Condition

Macau has a universally accessible single-payer system funded by taxes collected by the government from corporations and residents. Macau is served by one major public hospital, the Hospital Conde S. Januário, and one major private hospital, the Kiang Wu Hospital, both located in Macau Peninsula, as well as a university-associated hospital called Macau University of Science and Technology Hospital in Cotai and a minor private hospital, the Macau Yinkui Hospital on the Macau Peninsula. Currently none of the Macau hospitals have international healthcare accreditation.

In addition to hospitals, Macau also has numerous health centres providing free basic medical care to residents. Consultation in traditional Chinese medicine is also available. Currently none of the Macau hospitals is independently assessed through international healthcare accreditation. There are no western-style medical schools in Macau and thus all aspiring physicians in Macau have to obtain their education and qualification elsewhere (such as at the University of Hong Kong or Chinese University of Hong Kong). Local nurses are trained at the Macau Polytechnic Institute and the Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau. Currently there are no training courses in midwifery in Macau.

Life Expectancy in Macau

The life expectancy in Macau is 84.5 years, placing it fourth on the World Factbook list. Surprising, perhaps, given that it's famous for gambling - a pastime that's hardly conducive to relaxation. But much of the money the government makes from its casino is pumped back into public healthcare and welfare projects.

Macau Cuisine-Fusion Food

Macau was recently designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in recognition of its 400-plus-year-old culinary legacy. Many believe that the city’s own Macanese cuisine was the original fusion cuisine. With a history dating back over 450 years, Macanese cuisine blends southern Chinese cuisine and Portuguese ingredients, spices and cooking techniques from Macau’s colonial days. One of the best places to try authentic Macanese cuisine in Macau is Riquexo Cafe. This Macanese canteen was created by the wonderful, 101-year-old Aida de Jesus, unofficial godmother of Macanese cuisine.