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Macau Travel Guide

Its full name is the Macau Special Administrative Region, and is a country with an area of 24 square kilometres, which borders the South China Sea and China. This Eastern Asian country has around 446,000 folk living in it, who are mainly of Chinese, Macanese and Portuguese descent. The people speak Portuguese and Chinese and have a mixture of mainly Buddhist and Roman Catholic religions. When it comes to money, the country makes most of its profit from tourism, clothing, gambling, textiles, footwear and electronics with the main trading being with the US, Germany, Hong Kong and China.

The Portuguese came to settle in the country in the 16th century, making Macau the first ever European colony in the Far East. Four hundred or so years later, a contract was signed by Portugal and China and twelve years later on the 20th December 1999, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region of China. This signing made sure that China did not exercise a socialist economic system within Macau, making Macau virtually an independent authority for the next 50 years, in all concerns except overseas and security matters.

Thereís plenty of interesting physical activities to do whilst in Macau, from walking to swimming to shopping to gambling to tai chi! Visitors will find the walking quite strenuous as Macau is quite hilly and in some areas there are a few great jogging pathways especially around the tip of the peninsula. The tai chi is mainly performed at the Guia Lighthouse, which also provides a few more jogging trails! Swimming is available at a couple of Macauís best beaches with the gamblers being able to lose some money down at one of the regions casinos. Shopping in Macau is a bit different from home, with a mixture of herbal remedies, cigarettes, duty free and designer label gear, all thrown together and on sale at pretty good prices!

Getting about Macau is possible by minibus, local bus or the old reliable legs! The buses are fully air-conditioned and take visitors round all the sights including the Coloane and Taipa villages. The metered taxis are also an option but the drivers donít speak English, so visitors really need to make sure they understand where to go! There are also pedicabs available but are very slow moving, on their three wheels, costly and are only allowed to be used along the waterfront. Driving a rental car is not advised in Macau as there is too much traffic in too small a place and the locals are speed freaks!

Flying to Macau airport on Taipa Island is a breeze for those from Manila, Hong Kong, Bankok, Taipei and Singapore, with everyone else having to connect at one of these countries. There is even a heliport at Hong Kong to fly to Macau in style! The nicest time to visit Macau is from October to December, when the humidity has died down but the temperature is still at its best. For festival fanatics, a good time to come is in February, when the Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival and Feast of the Earth God is being celebrated, with the latter occurring on Taipa Island at the Pou Tai Un Temple.

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