20 Fun Facts About Macau

20 Fun Facts About Macau

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Macau facts
Macau facts that you probably didn't know

Portugal’s last colony in Asia was handed back to China in 1999. Macau (or Macao) is a fusion of Portuguese and Chinese cultures. While gambling and shopping attracts a crowd, Macau has an amazing World Heritage City Centre with fortresses, churches, temples, gardens and museums. There are also some fun and intriguing facts about Macau.

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From the world’s highest bungy jump to the second highest life expectancy in the world, here are 20 Macau facts that will amaze you.

20 Fun Facts About Macau

#1 Macau or Macao?

Macao was the original old Portuguese spelling but as time passed, Macao evolved into Macau in both English and Portuguese.

After the handover in 1999, both Macao and Macau were recognised as correct English spellings, however, Macau was the official Portuguese spelling.

In 2016, the Macao government changed the spelling to Macao, so, the English version of the website spells it as Macao while the Portuguese version flips over to Macau.

Within the SAR, restaurants, hotels and businesses use either Macau or Macao.

#2 Morpheus is the world’s first free-form exoskeleton-bound skyscraper

Morpheus Macau
A cool fact about Macau is it has an impressive new architectural marvel.

Morpheus hotel in the City of Dreams is an architectural masterpiece designed by the late Dame Zaha Hadid.

The futuristic 40-storey building is no ordinary Macau hotel.

The infrastructure is described as the first free-form exoskeleton-bound high-rise building in the world.

It cost US$1.1 billion and used 28,000 tons of structural steel (four times the amount of wrought iron used to build the Eiffel Tower!).

The 35m soaring ceiling in the lobby is high enough to fit two Ferris wheels.

#3 The House of Dancing Water theatre pool is larger than 5 Olympic swimming pools

Facts about macau
One of the facts about Macau most people don’t know is the House of Dancing water theatre turns into a pool.

Seeing a the House of Dancing Water show is one of the top things to do in Macau.

The show is performed in a theatre that has a pool that can hold 3.7 million gallons (approximately 17 million litres of water) of water.

That’s more than five Olympic-sized swimming pools!

#4 Macau Tower Bungy Jump is the highest in the world

highest bungee in the world
Macau Tower bungee jump is an experience you’ll never forget.

One the best places to visit in Macau for a birds’-eye view is Macau Tower.

The Macau Tower Bungy Jump holds the Guinness World Record for the Highest Commercial Bungy Jump in the world.

At 233m (764ft high), a sphere-shaped cord that is larger at the top than the bottom distributes the weight of the jumper evenly.

#5 Macau is connected to Hong Kong and China by the world’s longest sea bridge

The 55km (34 miles) Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is 20 times the length of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

It links Hong Kong and Macau with mainland China and consists of bridges, tunnels and artificial islands across the Pearl River estuary.

Construction of the controversial bridge and tunnel project cost US$20 billion and is an extraordinary feat of engineering.

The structure is expected to last 120 years and built to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake and super typhoon.

The bridge allows motorists to travel between Hong Kong and Macau in 30 minutes and makes it easier to go on a Macau day trip from Hong Kong.

#6 The Cotai Strip is trademarked

macao ffacts
Macau fact: The Cotai Strip was named by The Sands.

The name Cotai was created by combining the names of the two islands it is connected to (Coloane and Taipa).

The Sands Corporation – which operates Parisian Macao, Venetian Macao and Sands Cotai Central – trademarked the name Cotai Strip with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

However, the term “Cotai Strip” is often loosely used to refer to all casinos in the area.

#7 Macau is the only place in China where casinos are legal

Macau has 40 casinos as is the only place in China where gambling is legal.

The only other place in China where you can place a legal bet is at the horse races in Hong Kong.

#8 Macau has the world’s biggest casino

The Venetian Macao has the world’s largest casino floor, with 640 gaming tables and 1,760 slot machines.

#9 Macau has the world’s first figure-8 Ferris wheel

fact about macau
Another interesting fact about Macau is that it has the world’s highest figure 8 Ferris wheel.

Studio City’s Golden Reel is not only the world’s first figure-8 Ferris wheel, but it’s also Asia’s highest. The attraction is 130m above the ground.

It’s a themed journey from an Industrial Revolution-themed loading platform that travels around a figure-8 track.

#10 Macau has almost tripled its land area since 1912

facts about macau
An undeniable fact about Macau is that it’s small.

Compared to 1912, Macau has grown in land area from 11.6 square kilometres to 30.8 square kilometres.

Macau’s population is 658,900 (2018), according to the Macao government.

#11 Macau has the 9th fastest growing economy 

cool facts abouit macao
Did you know Macau has the 9th fastest growing economy in the world? That’s a fact!

According to the International Monetary Fund (2018), Macau is the ninth fastest growing economy in the world, with a GDP real growth rate of 7%.

Macau has no public debt and is the second richest country/territory in the world, with a GDP per capita of US$83,840.

#12 Macau’s life expectancy is the 2nd highest in the world

macau life expectancy
One of the most surprising Macau facts is the life expectancy is the second highest in the world.

You might be surprised that Macau has the second highest life expectancy in the world of 84, according to the UN World Bank.

As a comparison, Australia’s is 83, UK’s is 81 and the USA’s is 79.

#13 The Macanese Patua is on the verge of extinction

The official languages of Macau are Chinese and Portuguese.

The traditional language of Macau’s Macanese community is a Portuguese – Asian Creole called Patua that is “critically endangered”, according to UNESCO.

It’s estimated there are around 50 Patua speakers left in the world.

Both Cantonese and Portuguese are the official languages of Macau.

#14 Macau’s currency is the Pataca

macau pataca
Macau’s Pataca (MOP).

Although the Macau Pataca is the official currency of Macau, Hong Kong dollars can be used in Macau.

#15 Macau was the last Asian country to remain a European colony

Macau was the first Asian country to be colonised and the last to remain a European colony

The Portuguese occupied Macau in the 16th century, making Macau a base for trade for 442 years until Macau was returned to China in 1999 (Hong Kong also became a Special Administrative Region of China that year).

#16 Macau is a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy

macanese facts
An amazing Macau fact is that Macanese cuisine is a unique fusion of Portuguese and Asian cuisines.

Macau has a distinctive cuisine that is a fusion of Chinese and Portuguese cuisines.

Macanese cuisine has evolved for more than 400 years and has developed its own unique and rich gastronomic traditions with dishes such as minchi, African chicken and Macanese egg tarts.

#17 Macau has a UNESCO Historical Centre

facts about macao
One of the facts about Macau that makes it so unique is it has a legacy of Portuguese and Chinese history.

Macau’s impressive UNESCO World Heritage Historical Centre has 22 landmarks, including colonial mansions, squares, churches and cathedrals.

The beautifully preserved historical sites are a combination of Portuguese and Chinese architecture.

#18 St Paul’s College was Asia’s first Western teaching institution

about macau
The facade of the Ruins of St Paul’s.

St. Paul’s College offered education in arts, philosophy and theology to Jesuit priests, making Macau a base for Christian missionaries in China, Japan and other parts of Asia.
Macau’s Science Centre

#20 Macau has a futuristic Science Centre

Macau’s Science Centre is a futuristic conical building, partially designed by Chinese American architect IM Pei.

It has a planetarium and a spiral walkway on its exterior.

Ready to plan your trip to Macau? Check out this Macau itinerary.

 

20 Fun Facts About Macau

20 Fun Facts About Macau

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I'm a writer, photographer and video blogger based in Queensland, Australia, when I'm not on the road. I've lived in three continents and my career as a travel journalist has take me to all seven continents. Since 2003, I have contributed travel stories to mainstream media in Australia and around the world such as the Sydney Morning Herald, CNN Traveller, The Australian and the South China Morning Post. I have won many travel writing awards and I'm a full member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I had no idea that the life expectancy in Macau was so high! I am quite surprised as the pollution can be quite bad in that part of the world. Maybe it’s down the unique and delicious gastronomy!

    • Macau’s high life expectancy is quite surprising to most people. When you’re in Macau, you just have to wander around and you’ll meet lots of nimble elderly folks.

  2. Everytime someone mention Macau, I instantly think about the delicious egg tart! Been to Macau a couple times when I was a kid and was mesmerized by how glamorous those casino. I didn’t know Macau has grown so much until I read your article. Perhaps it’s time to re-visit my good old friend 😁

  3. What fun to learn more about Macau! Or is it Macao? Macow? Any way you spell it, it looks like a fantastic place to visit. I didn’t know they had their own currency, I thought they used the RMB. Learn something new every day! And they have one of the highest life expectancies in the world? We’re planning to visit later this year, but we might just stay instead! Getting old and gambling? What more could you ask for! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I am not sure if I would dare to make a bungee jump from the Macau Tower. 🙂
    I like the most the fact that Macau has the second life expectancy in the World. I believe it says a lot of the life quality in the society.
    And certainly looking forward to tasting the Macau cuisine someday.

  5. I’m not a fan of casinos but I really really really want to do that bungee jump. Is that you in the photo? We were in Hong Kong a couple of years ago getting visas for mainland China & just didn’t have time to get to Macau. Hopefully we’ll get back over this way next year, thanks for the inspiration. And that’s really interesting about the different versions of the name. I had no idea about that!

    • No, it’s not me in the bunny jump photo! One of the things that makes Macau an easy place to visit is – depending on which country you’re from – you may not need a visa.

  6. Morpheous is such an intersting and amazing sky scrapper. House of dancing pool, that is really huge. Bungy jumping, longest sea bridge, figure 8 Ferari wheel, and the delicious food is already giving me goals to plan a trip soon to Macau.

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