Population | 573,003 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 25.4 SQ KM
Official Language | Portuguese, Cantonese
Holidays | National Day (Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October (1949); note - 20 December 1999 is celebrated as Macau Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
Currency | Pataca (MOP)
Time Zone | UTC +5
Best Time to Visit | October to December (winter)
Connecting with the Culture | Strolling along Praia Grande and visiting the A-Ma Temple. Munching on a bowl of caldo verde and a plate of bacalhau at one of the Portuguese restaurants in Taipa village. Exploring the ruins of the Church of St Paul. Swimming and basking on the ‘black sand’ of Hác Sá Beach on Coloane.
Read | Austin coates’ City of Broken Promises- a fictionalized account of the life of 18th-century Macanese trader Marther Merop.
Listen | to a heady mix of opera, musicals, visiting orchestras and other musical events at the annual two-week Macau International Music Festival held in October.
Watch | The Bewitching Braid by Macanese director Cai Yuan Yuan.
Eat | the Portuguese-inspired porco à Alentejana, a tasty casserole of pork and clams, or the Macanese galinha Africana (African chicken), a chicken cooked in coconut, garlic and chillies.
Drink | vinho verde, a crisp, dry, slightly effervescent ‘green’ wine from Portugal that goes down a treat with salty Portuguese food and spicy Macanese dishes.
In a Word | Nei ho ma? (Hello, how are you?)
Characteristics | The former Portuguese colony; the spin of the roulette wheel; great food; a shopping haven.
Surprises | The Procession of the Passion of Our Lord is a 400-year-old tradition in which a colourful procession bears a statue of Jesus Christ from Macau’s St Augustine Church to Macau Cathedral; tourism generates more than 40% of Macau’s GDP.