Area: 21 sq. km
Population: Approximately 400,000
Language: Portuguese, Mandarin and Cantonese
Macau may be firmly back in China's orbit, but the Portuguese patina on this Sino-Lusitanian Las Vegas makes it a most unusual Asian destination. It can no longer be labelled 'the oldest European enclave in Asia' (predating Hong Kong by 300 years), but Macau's exotic Portuguese heritage and cultural mix are more highly prized than ever.
Macau has always been overshadowed by its glitzy near-neighbour Hong Kong - which is precisely why it's so attractive. Macau's pleasures are relaxed and laidback, architectural and atmospheric: narrow cobbled alleys, grand baroque churches, balconied colonial mansions, open plazas and Mediterranean-style cafes filled with palm-readers, caged birds and pipe-smokers. These days Macau is wooing commerce and tourism like never before, and plans are afoot for all kinds of family-oriented shopping malls, theme parks, towers and bridges, building on the enclave's attraction as a gambling haven. So get yourself to Macau before its unique Latin-Sino flavour is diluted by a heavy dose of development and the Guangdong throngs.
Major Attractions in Macau