When a vast advertising campaign from Macau's tourism board plastered billboards, social media and YouTube with images of a vibrant Portuguese island city in southern China, many were a little confused. In fact, Macau was the last European colony in Asia until 1999, when its Portuguese governors handed it over to China. Along with Hong Kong, which was administered by the British until 1997, it is one of two Special Administrative Regions in the country and like its nearby British counterpart, it is one of the wealthiest, most thriving cities in China. Expats living in Macau – nicknamed "The Oriental Las Vegas" – can enjoy a rare blend of Portuguese architecture and culture with an Asian spirit and population. The city has an extremely high Human Development Index (HDI), the world's second highest life expectancy rate and plenty of sights to see including the popular Macau Tower, the Fisherman's Wharf and the popular facade of the old cathedral.
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As a large center for commerce and tourism, the city of almost 600,000 has a medium-sized airport and its own airline, Air Macau. The airport is served by flights from a number of Asian destinations and larger hub airports. It is also possible to take a ferry from nearby Hong Kong – which has a large international hub airport – or mainland China. Once on the island, expats moving to Macau have a choice of taxis, buses or bicycle-like 'trishaws' for getting around. Curiously, traffic in Macau drives on the left, despite this being the case in neither China nor Portugal. The city's connections with Hong Kong, from where it gets its traffic habits, is tangible and its proximity to this finance and transport hub gives expatriates moving to Macau a great choice of transportation options, as well as a very large nearby international network. Expats living in Macau can easily contact other global minds in their host city and nearby via the discussion groups, forums and private messages on the InterNations website.
Needless to say, the Chinese-Portuguese city is a dynamic and exciting place to work in, with a host of cultural events, festivals, cuisine and amenities for expatriates working in Macau to relish. After work, local bars, restaurants and casinos provide plenty more entertainment and organizing meet-ups or networking with other expats working in Macau is easily done, again via the InterNations forums, discussion groups and private messages. For more information on expatriation generally, our website also has a great collection of articles in the Expat Magazine. This covers topics ranging from expat insurance and finance to working abroad and is a great resource for getting to grips with life abroad quickly and easily. We've also got plenty of content written by our own InterNations members, which is often a great place to pick up hints and tips to help you get the most out of life as an expatriate in Macau.