The city of Macau or Macao, officially known as Macao Special Administrative Region of the People´s Republic of China, is located on the western side of the Pearl River in Southern China. It is recognized for being the densest region in the world in terms of population, having around 668.000 people living in an area of 32.9 km. While Macau is part of China, the story around this territory is more complex than it seems.
Macau was originally a colony of the Portuguese Empire as China decided to lease the territory in 1557 as a trading post city (which explains why Portuguese is included as one of the official languages for the city). Since then, and until 1887, the city was governed by the Portuguese under the sovereignty of China, provided that land rent was paid annually. In 1887, the authority and sovereignty of Macau were given perpetually to Portugal. However, this changed in 1999 when the control of the region was given back to China and the city was transformed into a “special administrative territory”. As such, just like Hong Kong, the city maintains a different economic and political system from China. Macau has its own currency (Macanese Pataca), a distinct legal system from the rest of China and even issues its own passports.
Aside from what was mentioned before, it is interesting to note how the flag of Macau was completely redesigned from what China’s flag looks like. The red color, representative of the communist ideals that have governed the country for decades, was replaced with the characteristic green color observed in the landscape of the region. Moreover, the flag depicts five stars, a lotus flower, and what seems to be a bridge over seawater. Each image displayed has its own meaning. For example, the lotus flower is the floral emblem of the region and the bridge represents the existing one that links the island of Taipa with the peninsula of Macau.
Macau has become one of the most important centers of gambling tourism in the region, surpassing the revenue recorded for Las Vegas substantially (it is seven times larger). This kind of tourism represents a huge income source for the citizens, which makes the GDP per capita one of the highest in the world. Yet, there’s a serious case of income inequality, as money is in the hands of a few according to the World Bank. Although people that visit the city are commonly attracted to the casinos an places where the money is gambled, there are many other places to visit and discover. One of these places is the Ruins of St. Paul. Located within the Senado Square, these ruins are considered to be the most famous structures in the city. This place becomes so crowded during the day, it is almost impossible to take a clear picture of it. Hundreds of visitors gaze in awe at the Ruins daily.
Considering that tourists would want to visit Hong Kong after visiting Macau because of the short distance between them, it is important to consider the means of transportation available to the public. As one may suppose, there are three transportation methods to get to Hong Kong from Macau: Air, sea, and land. Taking the ferry is the most recommended way of traveling between these two cities, as the time to travel is just over an hour and it is the most economical of the three.(that’s how i did)