Macao is well known as the Gambling capital of the world. “Baccarat” is the most popular game which is also the most prevalent game served in city’s 33 casinos. Macau’s revenue from gambling is $33 billion (five times more than that of Las Vegas).
Today, Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) and is governed under the “one country, two systems” principal, initiated by late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.
Although Macao is no longer a colony, Portuguese is still the official language. However, the influence of Portuguese can be seen everywhere from blue tiled street signs to tiled floors and beautiful gardens.
The population density in Macao is 20,497 people per square kilometers. Macao is also known as the Cotai Strip- drawing the names of two islands, Coloane and Taipa. The Venetian Resort, City of dreams, Sands Cotai and galaxy Macau resort are all part of the Cotai Strip.
The most southern island, Coloane, remains wonderfully untouched by the casino craziness. This is largely because of strict rules over title deeds that make it difficult to buy property on the island.
The low-rise houses and quiet tree-lined streets that give Coloane its charm remain as they have for decades.
Coloane is home to Lord Stow’s Bakery, birthplace of Macau’s much-loved egg tart. Not too sweet, these tarts with their crispy pastry are worth queuing for.
Another Coloane favorite is Fernando’s. Like the rest of Coloane, it’s super laid-back and the food is reliably good. The garlic prawns and suckling pig are must orders.
More about Macao
Before the big casino operators rolled into town the Macau government did something clever — it applied to UNESCO for World Heritage status.
The city’s historic monuments are one of the city’s biggest draws, a wonderful example of the early encounter between Chinese and European civilizations.
The old heart of the city is small and a walking tour can easily take in the key sites from the iconic Senado Square, the Ruins of St. Paul’s, the beautiful churches and temples and the old city wall.
People in Macau live a long time — an average of 84.4 years. Macau takes second place in global life expectancy.
Only the residents of Monaco — another place beginning with the letter “M” that’s known for its casinos — live longer (89.6 years).
The fantastic economy is thought to have a lot to do with the great life expectancy. 2018 was the year when Macau was named the world’s second fastest growing economy (after Mongolia) and more than 50% of Macau’s revenue comes from gambling.
So while the chain-smoking high rollers might be knocking off years with stressful, risky gambles, the locals are almost guaranteed their golden years.
Hac SA Beach — which translates as “Black Sand Bay” — is Macau’s largest natural beach. It’s on the southeast side of Coloane Island.
The beach is a kilometer long and famous for its black sand. It gets its unique color from minerals in the seabed that are washed ashore.
The sand isn’t as black as it used to be. Erosion was gradually chipping away at the beach so the government decided to top up the beach, but the replacement sand is yellow, which has muted the dark sand.
Macau has a humid subtropical climate, with an average humidity of between 75% and 95%. The annual average temperature is around 22 °C (about 72 °F).
July is the warmest month, and the temperature that month averages about 28.6 °C (about 83.5 °F). The coolest month is January, with an average temperature of 14.5 °C (about 58 °F).
The rainy season extends from April to September, and during this period the island is victim to typhoons. Typhoon season extends from April to October.
Spring in Macau is from March to May. It is warm during this time, and the average temperature during the day is 22 °C (71.6 °F). A T-shirt with long sleeves may be the best choice for you to stay comfortable. You’d be better to put on a sweater at night to stay warm as the temperature may drop a little.
Summer in Macau starts with June and ends with August. This season is the hottest among the four seasons in Macau. It is sunny most of the time and rains occasionally.
The average summer temperature is 28 °C (82 °F) during the day, but may drop to about 25 °C (77 °F) at night. The sunshine is very strong, so sunscreen and an umbrella are necessary to protect you from getting sunburn.
Many tourists may visit Macau during the National Day Macau holiday packages to appreciate the foreign-style buildings and to see the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Winter in Macau is from December to February, when it is cold but not freezing. The average temperature during the winter is 15 °C (59 °F).
A coat and a pair of jeans are needed for this season, which marks the low travel season. During the winter, the city is less crowded.
Culture in Macao
As a creation of the Portuguese, Macau represents a peculiar blend of Oriental and Western influences. This has given rise to a unique and hybrid urban culture, which gives the city an air of romance and nostalgia. At present, it is a rich commercial and industrialized city.
Macau also has a reputation, dating from the 1920s and 1930s, as a place of smuggling, gambling, prostitution, and crime controlled by Chinese “triads” (crime syndicates). Macau’s gambling houses were (and are) famous across Asia and still form a popular (Chinese) tourist destination.
Indigenous languages spoken are Chinese-Cantonese (Yuen dialect and Min dialects, about 96 percent of the population) and Portuguese (about 4 percent). Beijing-Chinese (Putonghua dialect) is a second language and growing in influence (for example, it is used in education). English is also expanding as a language in commerce and Youth travel to Macao.
The old Macanese language (Patuá, or Makista) was a typical Creole language, based on Portuguese but heavily influenced by various Chinese dialects and by Malay. It has now virtually died out.
Macau always self-consciously maintained its bond with Portugal, even in times of war and turbulence. Religious identity played a great part in this. The city was a foothold for the Jesuits in their efforts to spread the gospel in Japan and China, though without much success.
Beginning in the sixteenth century, other groups such as British Protestants, Japanese, and Indians also settled in Macau in small numbers.
Macau-Chinese relations were occasionally tense but never violent. Macau’s historical status contrasts with that of Hong Kong, which was forced by Britain from China in an unfair treaty and under the threat of violence.
Macau is largely a Chinese society, though significantly influenced by the specific urban culture and its Portuguese elite. During colonial times, there was a basic stratification in three groups: Portuguese (a small minority of “pure” Portuguese, often immigrants sent or appointed from Portugal), Macanese (a Creole group, some claiming descent from the original Portuguese-Malay unions), and Chinese (within this group there was a complex sub stratification).
There was a prestige ranking of these groups and a certain amount of ethnic-“racial” prejudice, evident at critical social moments, such as choosing a marriage partner.
Economically speaking, the Portuguese were the original dominant class in Macau, although the Chinese, by virtue of their business success and connections with the mainland, soon came to form a powerful stratum. Following the December 1999 handover, the Portuguese political elite has been receding from the administration and government services.
Chinese are becoming more prominent in the leading strata of Macanese society. The Portuguese have seemed to close their ranks, although the Macanese are in a more vulnerable position due to the pull of Chinese culture. Business and financial institutions are largely controlled by small Chinese elite.
In Macau’s strongly commercial-capitalist economy there is a definite class structure based on wealth and business interests.
Dress, diet, and leisure activities distinguished the various groups from each other. According to social and community background (Portuguese, Chinese and Macanese), people of the city visibly differentiate themselves by their religious behavior, leisure activities, and manner of dress, but wealth and social status have cut across any easy “ethnic” identification.
Elite groups tend more to resemble each other, sharing smart western clothing, choice of the better residential areas, and leisure activities like attending horse and greyhound races and clubs, literary-cultural activities, and international traveling. In terms of diet, Portuguese and other culinary traditions have to some extent mingled in Macau, but their essentials remained distinct and are still a mark of difference if not “identity” among the various communities.
Learn the way of living in Macao with a local
Who are the Macanese? Being born in Macau doesn’t always adequately define what it means to be Macanese. The ‘real’ Macanese, or indigenous people of Macau, have an interracial heritage – half Portuguese and half Chinese.
This distinct mixed-race community has their own cuisine known as ‘Macanese cuisine’, a mix of southern Chinese and Portuguese ingredients and cooking techniques. With a history dating back over 400 years, Macanese cuisine is often regarded as the world’s first fusion cuisine.
They also have their own language – Macanese Patois or “Patuá” as it is sometimes called – a Portuguese creole language, which originated in the 16th century. However, today it’s estimated that Macanese Patois is spoken by no more than 50 speakers in Macau.
Macanese people constantly make efforts to preserve their unique Macanese culture. One of the ways is through a local theatre group called the Doci Papiaçam di Macau. For over 20 years, this local drama group has been performing original and humorous plays in their native Macanese Patuá language. These plays have become one of the most anticipated regular features in the annual Macao Arts Festival.
Visitors to Macau can enjoy the performances too as the group presents them with subtitles in English, Chinese and Portuguese.
There are also some restaurants in Macau that still serve traditional Macanese cuisine. One place to sample some classic Macanese dishes is at Riquexo – the oldest Macanese restaurant in the heart of old Macau.
The spirit and soul of old Macau live on at the restaurant thanks to the Macanese community who socialize and dine here together.
Much of the architecture of Macau also represents the blending of Macau’s Portuguese and Chinese heritage.
The Historic Centre of Macau was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005, with over 20 locations that exhibit the unique co-existence of the two contrasting cultures.
It’s through these unique cultural aspects that the Macanese community, at least for now, keeps their foothold in the city.
Food in Macao?
Macao has one of the most fascinating cultural backgrounds in Asia and that is translated in its heritage and its food. Officially a Special Administrative Region of China, the area was under Portuguese rule for hundreds of years.
The Portuguese influence, coupled with Macao’s trading role in the Far East, gave food in Macao a complex and interesting palate.
Hunting down all the UNESCO-listed heritage buildings in Old Macao, following the walking trails, getting lost in its picturesque alleys and filling my belly with some of the best food in Macao from across Taipa, Cotai, Old Macao and even Coloane.
Having good food in Macao is almost a given. Culinary travel is definitely strong here and a great reason to visit Macao, but you will also find a lot of activities to fill the space between every meal, and help digest.
Here are some of the best served dishes of Macau:
Lord Stow Portuguese Egg Tart:
The name Lord Stow’s has become synonymous with the best Portuguese egg tarts in Macau. Buttery flaky pastry shell and rich creamy custard filling, Macau’s version differs from most egg tarts sold elsewhere. Miss it and you will regret.You are recommended, eating steaming hot egg tarts straight from the ovens of Lord Stow’s Bakery, because they taste twice as nice when piping hot.
Chan Kong Kei Roast Duck:
With more than 50 years of experience serving one of Macau best roast duck, marinated in special homemade black pepper sauce. Its distinct flavor and the juiciness of the meat immediately surprises your taste buds compare to other roast duck. One of the places we don’t mind eating twice in a trip to Macao!/p>
Avoid arriving during peak lunch or dinner time as queue can be long, usually try to visit prior lunch or in the evening.
Kam Wai Beef Offal:
Kam Wai Beef Offal is located in Senado Square offers a variety of beef offals braised for hours in curry broth, fish balls, and vegetables. Beef Offal is a common street food in Hong Kong & Macau yet not everyone knows how to cook them. Offal tends to have unpleasant taste it is not well clean and prepared. Add a dose of spicy sauce to give the dish a kick.
Hot Pot Clam:
Hidden in the alley, Hot Pot Clam is relatively unknown to tourist. The restaurant gets busier late at night where regulars head to the shop for their, a clam broth steamboat. Apart from the steamboat base, you can order meats,vegetables and other toppings to go with the steamboat.
This dessert originates from Chang Zhou in Hong Kong but now finally opened their first shop in Macau. The Mochi are soft and delicate with a big chunk of fresh mango or durian inside.
Nan Peng Cafe Sandwich:
Adorned by the locals, Nan Peng is one of the oldest Cha Chan Teng in Macau that serves simple yet delicious breakfast for decades. The signature Nan Peng sandwich comes with thick yet fluffy omelet, generous amount of hams and pork char siew. The shop is located nearby Sofitel Macau Ponte 16.
Accommodation in Macau
On the whole, the cost of living in Macau is not quite as high as Hong Kong. However, it’s still regarded as an expensive place to live in the context of elsewhere in Asia, from Chiang Mai to Manila. If you have a career in a good profession, or a sizeable bank account already, you can thrive in Macau.
Although plenty of luxury boutiques line the streets, Macau’s shopping malls and local markets offer plenty of opportunities to pick up a bargain.
The Cotai Strip is the gaming capital of the Orient but, elsewhere, you have plenty of time to soak up your surroundings and enjoy life in Asia at your own pace.
Almost everyone in Macau lives in an apartment and new expats will require the assistance of a real estate agent in order to choose an apartment. Many apartments are furnished and have basic appliances such as a fridge and washing machine.
However lots of apartments do not have an oven, which means that you will have to buy one. Most expats opt for a countertop stove rather than a large one.
There are 9 residential areas in Macau; Border Gate, Ilha Verde, Areia Preta, Horta e Costa, Coronel Mesquita, Ferreira do Amaral, Fai Chi Kei, San Kio, Patane e Sao Paulo; it is best for the estate agent to go through the benefits of living in each area.
Budget hotels and accommodation in holiday packages to Macau is not a happy story. The city and its hoteliers have their eyes firmly on the high rollers who pull up every weekend and most of the city’s new hotels are attached to casinos.
While the room rates are fair for what these luxury pads offer, they aren’t cheap. At the bottom end of the market, there are also a good number of absolutely bargain bucket guesthouses.
In between, there is a bit of a void. There are a couple of more acceptable guesthouses and youth hostels in Macau, a few of which are geared towards backpackers, and a handful of moderately priced 3-star hotels.
The good news in the budget accommodation is that, its existing prices are very, very cheap and there are increasing numbers of option, particularly in the 3-star category. Below you’ll find tips on when and where to book and reviews of what’s available in each budget accommodation category.
Currently capacity is always high in Macau; the roulette wheels are spinning faster than ever and Chinese tourists frequently book out the city’s budget accommodation options. Weekends are basically block booked when Hong Kongers wheel into town, so if you can swing a visit during the work week you’ll find more options. Chinese New Year in January/February is a time to avoid as is the Macau GP in October, both of which tend to bring busloads of tourists.
What is Cultural Tour?
Cultural Youth travel to Macao relates to the majestic art, fascinating architecture, age-old customs, impeccable hospitality, authentic cuisines, thriving nightlife, and many more amazing and fascinating facts related to Macao. These compelling aspects build up the culture of the country.
The cultural tour also plays an influential role in developing and boosting the history of Youth travel to Macao in Macao.
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