Macau (also spelled. Macao) is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. Located across the Pearl River estuary from Hong Kong, until 1999 Macau was an overseas territory of Portugal. One of the world's most densely populated spots, Macau is best known as Asia's largest destination for gambling taking in even more revenue than Las Vegas.
As the first and last European colony in Asia, Macau has more visible colonial history than Hong Kong. Walking through the old city you could convince yourself you were in Europe - if the streets were devoid of people and Chinese-language signage, that is. The Portuguese and Macanese population continues to maintain a presence, but most of the population is native Chinese.
Besides the city itself, Macau includes the islands of Taipa and Coloane, which are connected to Macau by bridges and to each other by a causeway, now built up into the Cotai Strip. The Chinese city of Zhuhai borders Macau to the north, and the border crossing carries heavy two-way vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The Zhuhai Special Economic Zone extends south to Hengqin Island, an area west of Taipa, Cotai and Coloane; the Lotus Bridge from Cotai connects to that area. There is significant movement by the local population of both Zhuhai and Macau across the border, making the two feel like twin cities.
Macau is subtropical with hot summers and mild winters. Visitors should note that typhoons often strike from mid-summer to Autumn which could stop many activities there. Although winter is generally mild, there are occasional cold fronts which could make temperatures drop 10°C (50°F) in a day.