A mere stone’s throw west of Hong Kong, Macao is a small East Asian city that makes a lasting impression. Once colonised by the Portuguese, Macao has developed its own unique blend of east-meets-west pizzazz, offering travellers a unique opportunity to experience ancient Chinese and European influences effortlessly blended together with first-world charm, all of which can be felt today.
We’re often asked at Visit Macao about the Macanese culture and lifestyle. Many potential travellers want an introduction to Macao and want to know more about this vibrant little city and its interesting facts.
Facts about Macao
Where is Macao?
Macao (otherwise known as the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China) is an independent territory of East Asia situated at the base of the Chinese Guangdong Province. It’s exactly 64 kilometres from Hong Kong and is bordered by the city of Zhuhai in Mainland China to the north and the Pearl River Delta to the east and south.
What is the population of Macao?
Macao currently has a population of just over 650 000 people which live within its small boundaries (approximately 30.5km squared). This makes Macao one of the most densely populated regions in the world.
Thanks to its Portuguese influences, Macanese culture and the Macao lifestyle is a very exclusive one which blends ancient Chinese history with new-age European influences in its array of artistic, cultural, cuisine and sporting events.
European influences can be seen throughout the city’s sporting and culinary calendars. The Macau Grand Prix is a world-renowned sporting event that draws crowds from around the world. The Macao International Film Festival as well as the Street Food Festival Macao, also showcase the cities best European-inspired influences.
Macao’s Chinese roots can be seen in some of the city’s historic sites. A-Ma Temple, built in 1488, and the Na Tcha Temple, built in 1888, are must see historic sites just to name a few. A whopping twenty-five sites scattered across Macao are considered UNESCO world-heritage sites, showing the nations deep commitment to its ancient architectural roots.
You can find out more about what is in Macao by reading our 10 best things to do in Macao feature.
When talking about Macao country, one needs to mention its distinctive blend of culinary delights. Local cuisine blends both Portuguese and Cantonese influences into its flavours. When travelling to Macao you will have to taste a Macanese-style Portuguese egg-tart or Pasteis de Nata’s, which is its signature Portuguese-inspired dessert. For more about Macao country cuisine, read our best street food in Macao feature.
When is the best time to travel to Macao?
Thanks to the diversity of the Macanese events and festivals calendar, there is always something exciting happening in Macao all year-round. Temperature wise, Macao has a sub-tropical climate which experiences milder temperatures during the winter months (Nov-Feb) and its higher temperatures during the summer months (June – Aug). Higher rainfall and tropical storms affect the city during the summer and fall months.
Here are our top five most interesting facts about Macao:
- Macao has one of the world’s earliest form of fusion cuisine
- 95% of the population is Chinese, with the other 5% being of Portuguese and other nations.
- Macao is one of the wealthiest regions in the world
- Macao was one of the last Asian nations to remain a European nation, returning as a sovereign Chinese nation only in 1999.
- Macao was also the first Asian nation to be colonised.
Experience Macao as you’ve never imagined it before. Visit Macao today, and let the adventure begin.