Your guide to being an expatriate in Macau

Caffeinate Your Macau Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Tucked away in Southeast China, Macau is a former Portuguese colony that remains distinctively European. Its UNESCO-listed Historic Center includes the ornate Sao Paulo Ruins, the grand St Paul's Cathedral, and the ruins of ancient St Paul's College. This charming city features charming cobbled streets, old-world shops, and restaurants dishing up dim sum and Portuguese-style egg tarts. Bungee jumping, skydiving, and cycling are top activities in Macau. Given its status as Asia's wealthiest region by GDP per capita, it's no surprise that this former Portuguese trading post boasts luxury offerings across high-end fashion and fine dining. The well-preserved colonial heritage, proximity to China, and a mild climate make Macau an appealing hub for business and tourism alike.


Expat destinations in Macau

Demographics of Macau:

Ethnic groups

Chinese 94.6% (2011)


Cantonese (NY meetup app: Cantonese (沿海方言) 96.1%; Mandarin (Standard) 2.6% (2011)

Religion Overview

Macau is predominantly Catholic due to its history as a Portuguese colony, and this faith's influence can still be seen today in the region. Roman Catholicism continues to be a significant part of daily life here, with churches packed at mass times. Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism are also practiced in Macau.

Major Religions


Macau's subtropical climate offers pleasant temperatures year-round, and mists on summer nights make it an appealing respite from China's blistering summers. With average highs of 75°F (24°C), winters are mild, and rain is common, making Macau stunningly verdant. Typhoon season runs from April to September.

Economy Overview

Macau's economy is the second-largest in China per capita, led by tourism, gaming, and finance. In fact, the industry accounts for over half of GDP. As a result, hotels, casinos, restaurants, and omnipresent souvenir shops cater to tourists. Moneychangers handle high volumes of currency here daily, catering to tourists and high-rollers alike.

Key Industries

  • Tourism
  • Gaming
  • Finance

Major Companies

  • SJM Holdings
  • Melco Resorts & Entertainment
  • Wynn Macau

Culture and Language Overview

Macau's blend of East-meets-West culture is evident in its cuisine, particularly its famous "egg tarts" filled with sweet custard and enjoyed as tea-time snacks. The annual Macau International Dragon Boat Races are held in May, the highlight of the month-long Dragon Boat Festival. Other events celebrating both China and Portugal include the Feast of the Drunken Dragon and the city-wide Chinese New Year celebrations that see dragon and lion dance performances across the city.

Cultural Highlights

  • Macau Tower
  • Guia Fortress
  • Museu de Macau

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Macau covers just 30 square kilometers (12 square miles), making it one of the smallest administrative regions in the world. The Guia Fortress crowns the southern headland and offers panoramic views over the spectacular coastline, as does the picturesque Lighthouse. The Tin Hau Temple in Rua de S. Paulo (St. Paul's Street) is one of a series of similar temples scattered across Southeast Asia dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea.

Notable Landmarks

  • Guia Fortress
  • Lighthouse
  • Tin Hau Temple in Rua de S. Paulo (St. Paul's Street)

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Moon Festival (August or September)
  • Chinese New Year (dates vary)

Political Stability

Macau's political stability results from its unique status as a Special Administrative Region of China. Its autonomous government includes an enormous degree of freedom and responsibility as part of ‘one country, two systems’. The government's mandate to keep the region economically successful has ensured that Macau enjoys ongoing peace and political stability.

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