"Macau" Top 5 Page for this destination Macao by al2401

Macao Travel Guide: 189 reviews and 768 photos

Portugese History

Macau, along with Hong Kong, is a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China. It is situated on the western side of the Pearl River Delta opposite Hong Kong. While known worldwide for its casinos it has industries inn textiles and toys. It is also becoming a popular tourist destination.

Originally a Portugese colony it was both the first and last European colony in China. Portugese traders first settled here in the 16th century and Macau remained under Portugese administration until hand over to PRC in 1999.

Much of the Portugese culture remains. The historic ruin of St Paul's Cathedral is an icon of Macau.


The Portugese legalised gambling in the 1850's giving Macau the nickname 'Monte Carlo of the Orient'. The industry makes up to 50% of the economy and is directed mainly at Chinese nationals from Hong Kong and the mainland. Foreign tourists are also taking part. Since the arrival of large foreign casinos from Las Vegas and Australia, the gaming revenue in Macau is more than that of the Las Vegas Strip (2007). A new nickame is 'Las Vegasof the East'.

Up until the 20th century only Chinese games were played but now western casino games are popular. Online gaming is not licensed in Macau.

Interestingly, the Macau local generally do not gamble.


The traditional beliefs of the original inhabitants of Macau were a mixture of Buddhism, Toaism and Confucianism. The A-Ma Temple was built by fishermen to pray for safety on the sea. It is here that the first Portugese traders were said to have landed. On asking where they were they were told Maa Gao and the name became Macau for the whole peninnsula.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A lot of history of two cultures.
  • Cons:probably the crowds
  • In a nutshell:look for the history behind the casinos
  • Last visit to Macao: Apr 2010
  • Intro Updated Jul 12, 2010
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