SOUTH EAST ASIA -->  MACAU  
 
From sleepy fishing settlement to gambling playground, gangster ghetto and back again, Macau has seen and been it all. Just nine square miles in size, this tiny enclave on the South China coast has a history more chequered and more lovingly preserved than its size or reputation would suggest.

Used as a trading post for Europeans for more than 400 years, Macau was at once a regional head quarters for Catholic missionaries, a hideaway for pirates and a stronghold of Portuguese colonialism, before being handed over to China in December 1999.

Just an hour away by sea from the glitzy skyscrapers of Hong Kong, the two cities live in each other's pockets but couldn't be more different. Everything about Macau is slower, smaller and older. The streets are cobbled and winding, colonial buildings stand side by side with Buddhist temples and old men snooze in back alleys.

And of course there's the gambling. At night Macau changes its face and you can almost smell the money in the air. Earning a massive chunk of its revenue from this ancient Chinese passion, much of it from Hong Kongers who are not allowed to freely indulge on their own turf, Macau sees itself as the Las Vegas of the East.
The local authorities have been marketing Macau to the world as "Monaco of the East", while others have described it as "China with a Portuguese accent". In the end, this is Macau, individualistic, and defiantly unique.


SIGHTSEEING
Lorgo de Senado
Ruins of St Paul's
A-Ma Temple
Macau Tower
Taipa and Coloane Islands
Museums
 
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