Macau was one of the earliest European colonies in Asia and the last to be relinquished (1999) and thus has a 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 signs in Chinese, that is. The Portuguese and Macanese populations continue to maintain a presence but, as expected, 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.