Facts about Macao

35 Macao Facts for Kids

Here are some interesting facts about Macao which were chosen and researched especially for kids.

Facts about Macao | Geography

1. Macao, also called Macau, is located in Eastern Asia. Macau in located in the western Pearl River Delta and borders China and the South China Sea - as does neighbouring metropole Hong Kong to the west of Macao.

2. Macao is a special administrative region (SAR) of China - similar to Hong Kong. The Macao-China border is only 3 km/ 2 miles long. 

Hong Kong MapHong Kong Map

3. Macao consists of the New Territories and Hong Kong Island, and also includes over 260 islands. Most islands are hilly or mountainous.

4. Macao was the first European settlement in the Far East and also the last European colony in China.

Over 400 years of colonial history are still visible in the architecture and some of the Portuguese culture can still be experienced: such as Portuguese food, street names, casinos. 

5. Macao is the most densely populated region in the world and about 700,000 people live in area that is about same size as Des Moines/ Iowa in the USA or double the size of Croatia.

6. The name Macau comes from the Portuguese spelling of the temple for the sea goddess A-Ma that was said to protecting the waters and the harbour in the Pearl River delta.

macau ama temple A-ma Temple - image by Jack Hong

Fact about Macao

7. Macau is a special administrative zone of the People's Republic of China since 1 December 1999. 

8. Macao is known as a settlement in southern China since 200 BCE, during the Han dynasty. The region was sparsely populated until the Portuguese explorers first set foot on Macao in 1513 and established a colony there in the 16th century.

9. Macao quickly grew to a major trading port. The Dutch tried to take over the Portuguese colony, but were unsuccessful. After the British colony was established in neighbouring Hong Kong, Macao's role in the region was less important. In 1974, the Portuguese ceded the colony to the Chinese but kept it under Portuguese administration. 

10. In 1987, Portugal and China signed a declaration that the People's Republic of China would grant Macau special status under the 'one country, two systems' rule. Similar to the Hong Kong declaration between British and the Chinese. This rule grants Macao a high degree of autonomy.

Facts about Macau
Geography Superlatives

11. The tiny Macao is among the world's richest regions - ranking - fifth in 2024 - after Qatar, Ireland, Singapore and Luxembourg. It is also expected that Macao will be the world's fastest growing economy in 2024 and is expected to double in size compared to 2022.

12. Macao is often dubbed as the gambling capital of Asia. The territory is also dubbed "Las Vegas of the East" for its many casinos, gaming and gambling places. 

There are over 3,500 table games and almost 10,000 video and slot machines in about 40 casinos all over the tiny territory. While gambling is illegal in China since 1949, casino and games are perfectly legal in Macao.

macao lisboa casino sean pavoneMacao's Lisboa Casino - image by Sean Pavone

13. The highest point of Macao is called Coloane Alto that is 170 metres/ 560 ft high. The mountain is located on the island of Coloane.

14. Macau is a tiny territory built on the Macau peninsula and reclaimed land as well as the two islands of Taipa and Coloane.

15. Macao is also linked to Hong Kong, another special administrative zone of China via the Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macao bridge and tunnel system, which is the longest open sea fixed link bridge in the world. This bridge-tunnel system is 55 km/ 34 miles long. Hong Kong is about 60 km/ 37 miles from Macao.

Zhuhai Bridge in Hong KongHong Kong - Zhuhai - Macao Bridge

More Facts about Macao

16. Macau has a subtropical climate which is influenced by the monsoon rains. Typhoons can occur during the autumn months, mainly in September. January and February are the coldest months but still mild with temperatures of about 15°C/ 59°F.

The water temperatures range between 17°C/ 64°F in winter and 29°C/ 84°F in summer.

macao flagFlag of Macao

17. The Macau flag is green with five golden stars that dance in half moon shape over a lotus flower in bloom that is placed above a bridge and sea water. The bridge displays a stylised Governor Nobre de Carvalho Bridge that links Macao with the island of Taipa.

18. The Lotus flower is Macau's national flower and also shown on the flag of Macau.

macau lotus flower

Facts about Macao Landmarks

19. Now that you know that the lotus is the national flower, you will not be astounded to read that among the most famous landmarks of Macao is the Golden Lotus monument in Lotus Square. The monument shows a lotus flower in full bloom.

macau golden lotus NgChiYuiGolden Lotus Monument in Macau - image by Ng Chi Yui

20. However, the most well known landmark of Macau can be seen in the skyline. The architecture of the Lotus Tower of the Grand Lisboa hotel and casino is truly unique. And then there is the Macao tower, which you can see on the left. Macao Tower is the highest commercial bungee sky jump in the world!

macao landmark sean pavoneMacao's skyline - image by Sean Pavone

21. The city center of Macao with its colonial Portuguese architecture is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Senado Square is known as the main meeting place of the Portuguese and Chinese citizens and shows a typical Portuguese calçada pavement.

This kind of pavement, called calçada, is unique for its black and white flat stones that have been expertly laid to a special pattern similar to a mosaic. Every pavement is thus unique and this kind of pavement has been created in many Portuguese colonies.

macao senado squareSenado Square - image by Sean Pavone

22. The Governor Nobre de Carvalho Bridge links the peninsula of Macao with the island of Taipa. The bridge is also known as the "Old Bridge" as it was the first bridge to link Macao with the outlying islands. The bridge is used in a stylised form on the Macao flag.

macau taipa bridgeGovernor Nobre de Carvalho Bridge

23. The Guia Fortress and Lighthouse are part of Macao's World Heritage buildings. The lighthouse from 1865 was the first Western lighthouse that has been built on the Chinese coastline. Guia Hill where the fortress has been built is the highest place of the Macao peninsula.

macao guia lighthouseGuia Lighthouse

Facts about Macau | People 

24. Macao is the most densely populated region in the world. More than 20,800 people live on a square kilometre  in Macao, this equals more than or 54,000 on a square mile. Macao is actually more densely populated than Monaco.

25. The majority of people in Macau are Han Chinese (88%). The former Portuguese colony now only counts a small Portuguese population (less than 1%).

26. The national languages of Macao are Mandarin and Portuguese. Almost 80% of the Macanese people speak Cantonese as their home language. Macanese, a creole that is based on Portuguese, is also spoken by many.

27. About 17% of the people in Macao are Buddhists and 7 % are Christians. Most people practise a mix of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. This means Macanese people adhere to the values of mutual respect and kindness towards each other.

28. Portuguese cultural traditions are blended with Chinese cultural ideals in Macao. Respect of elders, the integrity of the family, martial arts as well as popular Feng-shui traditions are followed widely as are other spiritual concepts such as that numbers 6 and 8 are considered auspicious and luck bringing.

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Facts about Macao | Animals

29. Among the unique Macanese animals are the Black-faced Spoonbill bird as well as the Chinese white dolphin. Both are endangered species and numbers are declining sadly.

black faced spoonbillBlack-faced spoonbill

30. More common are the blue-spotted mudskipper fish that can even live on land and thus are amphibious fish. This special 'fish out of water' has pretty blue stripes and dots and can grow up to 20 cm/ 7 inches in length.

Macao Facts for Kids | Macau Economy

31. Macao is considered as one of the richest countries in the world, ranking 5th in 2022.

The country's main industry sectors are tourism, the gambling and entertainment industry as well as textile and shoe manufacturing. Most of the people in Macao work in the manufacturing and trade sector as well as in tourism.

32. Macao's currency is the Macanese pataca. This currency is pegged to the HongKong dollar (which again is pegged to the US dollar).

33. The main trading partner is China. Hong Kong and France are also among the biggest import partners. 

Macau Food

34. The Macau cuisine is a true fusion food, a mix of Cantonese and Portuguese food that also have African and Asia influences. Famous dishes are Macau-style caramelised Portuguese egg tarts, dim sum, and Mango mochi.

The Macanese egg tarts are flakey puff pastry shells filled with sweet custard, sweeter than those pasteis de nata from Portugal.

macau egg tartsMacau-style egg tarts

35. Pork Bak Kwa is another popular Chinese specialty. These thin sweet and tender jerky square-shaped slices are sold in many shops.

pork bak kwaPork Bak Kwa

 Macao Facts | Resources

Sources for Facts about Macao page:

  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Macao." CIA World Fact Book. Last updated 14 April 2023. Last accessed 8 February 2024
  • Luca Ventura. "Richest Countries in the World." Global Finance Magazine. Last update 9 April 2023. Last accessed on 8 February 2024
  • Alex Irwin-Hunt. "The advanced economy forecast to double in size by 2024." FDIIntelligence. 15 November 2023. Last accessed on 8 February 2024
  • Cathy Lai. "Meet the neighbours: 6 unique animals in Macao to celebrate this World Wildlife Day." MacaoNews. 3 March 2022. Last accessed 8 February 2024
  • Jin and De Wet. "A Food Lover’s Guide to Macau: Where and What to Eat". Museum of Wander. Last updated 24 August 2021. Last accessed 8 February 2024

Image Credits on Facts about Macao: photo stock from shutterstock and wikicommons, if not otherwise stated.

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