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Macau Travel Guide: An Excellent Guide to the World

Hordes of people in front of a Catholic church

This Macau Travel Guide helps you make the most of your day in the city. It features a well-crafted itinerary and a detailed budget for the trip.

Disclaimer: Some information in this Macau Guide changes too often. If you continue reading this article, you agree to cross-check information with concerned authorities. Please read the site’s full Terms.

Advisory: Please refer to Chinese Embassy regarding the region’s latest travel advisories before planning your trip.

Introduction

I embarked on the ferry’s earliest trip to Macau and landed at the Macau Outer Harbour at 8:30 in the morning. Perhaps my journey to the city is among the most challenging because of a tight schedule, intense heat, a massive crowd, and a hefty backpack.

Macau is only an hour journey from Hong Kong, making it an ideal day trip destination. However, dedicate a few days to acquainting oneself with its allure that combine elements of Oriental and European culture.

There were Portuguese colonial architecture peppered throughout the region, leaving an enduring reminder of the over four centuries of Portuguese occupation. Additionally, it is home to several European-inspired casino resorts that have drawn hordes of bettors and sightseers.

Despite having an intense and exhausting day, I was able to get a taste of Europe in Macau. At 11:50 in the evening, I departed the city with a joyful heart.

Macau Travel Guide Contents

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Quick Fact About Macau

Dubbed the ‘Las Vegas of the East’, Macau SAR boasts the largest gaming industry in the world. The gambling sector generates over half of the region’s revenue.

Visa in Macau

Philippine passport holders are eligible for a 30-day visa exemption when visiting Macau SAR for tourism, provided that the passport remains valid.

But before departure, passengers must undergo stringent immigration procedures. Read the article, ‘How to Avoid Getting Offloaded at the Philippine Immigration?’

Standard Time in Macau

The Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC, in Macau is UTC +08:00.

Thus, Macau is four hours ahead of Dubai, six hours ahead of Paris, and seven hours ahead of London. Furthermore, Macau is twelve hours ahead of New York. Contrarily, Macau is an hour behind Tokyo and three hours behind Sydney. The city shares the same time with Manila.

Climate in Macau

Macau experiences a subtropical climate, much like Hong Kong and the rest of south China. Its summers are hot and wet, while its winters are dry and slightly cold.

Best Time to Visit Macau

Macau is a year-round, highly sought-after travel destination. Nonetheless, the autumn season is the best time to visit Macau for visitors, wishing to take pleasure in perfect weather.

March to May

The months beginning March until May are the spring season in Macau. These months receive less relative humidity. On the other hand, May is the wettest month in the region due to its high precipitation.

June to August

Macau’s summer season runs from June until August. Experience scorching summer heat and oppressive humidity most of the time. Also, heavy rains and typhoons are another common feature of Macau’s summertime.

September to November

Macau is best to be visited during the months of September through November. The autumnal season offers pleasant weather suited for most outdoor activities, including leisurely walks.

Aside from its pleasant atmosphere, the Macau Grand Prix, an annual motor sporting event, is held in mid-November. So, expect an enormous audience in this month.

December to February

The cool winter spells welcome visitors when traveling to Macau between December up until February, especially in January, the coldest month. In addition, it is the busiest time of the year for several occasions like Christmas and Lunar New Year.

Language in Macau

Macau recognized Chinese and Portuguese as two official languages. However, only a small percentage of Macau’s population speaks and comprehends Portuguese, while Cantonese is the language that is widely spoken.

English is also spoken in the region, along with other Chinese dialects like Mandarin. Hence, public signages and information are written in Chinese texts and translated into English and Portuguese.

Before traveling to Macau, familiarized yourself with some Cantonese words and phrases.

  • Zou sen – Good morning
  • Deu m ju – Excuse me
  • Nei hou ma – How are you?
  • Ngo giu – My name is..
  • Ngo yeo – I am from..
  • Nei gong ying men – Do you speak English?
  • Mh’goi bong ngoh – Can you help me?
  • Ngoh dohngsat louh – I am lost.
  • Hai bin dou – Where is..?
  • Dim heui – How to get to..?
  • Do ze – Thank you
  • Zoi gin – Goodbye

Currency in Macau

Macanese pataca, abbreviated as MOP, is the official currency of Macau SAR. Aside from the local currency, the Hong Kong dollar is also accepted in the city. As of January 28, 2023, the exchange rate is MOP 1, PHP 6.99, or USD 0.12.

Macau Travel Guide Tip: Convert your currency to Macanese pataca in the city center. Money changers in downtown Macau offer more competitive rates than in airports.

Instead, convert just enough cash at the destination’s airport to cover the fare to the city center. 

Modes of Payment in Macau

Aside from cash, other payment forms like debit and credit cards and stored value cards are also accepted as methods of payment in Macau.

Cash

Banknotes and coins are the widely used mode of payment in Macau. Most facilities in the city accept cash.

Automated Teller Machines, or ATM, are spread throughout the city in case you run out of cash. Therefore, notify your home bank beforehand if you are planning to use ATM card overseas.

Debit and Credit Cards

Besides cash, upscale establishments in Macau also accept credit and debit cards.

Stored Value Cards

Electronic cards, or e-cards are cash substitutes for transport, retail, and dining transactions.

The Macau Pass Card, or MP Card, is purchased and rechargeable at selected supermarkets and convenience stores in the region. It costs MOP 130.00, PHP 909.28, or USD 16.14 for a single card. Also, it includes a refundable deposit of MOP 30.00, PHP 209.83, or USD 3.73 with initial stored value.

In addition, the Macau Light Rapid Transit Card, or commonly known as the LRT Card, is a more economical and convenient payment tool for rail transit. It costs MOP 30.00, PHP 209.83, or USD 3.73 for the electronic card itself. The e-card is sold and reloadable at the LRT’s vending machines and customer service counters of the LRT.

Ways of Getting to Macau

Macau Special Administrative Region, or Macau SAR, which lies southward of mainland China, is made up of the Macau Peninsula, Taipa, and Coloane. It is also comprised of reclamation grounds, including Cotai, a lavish casino resort between Taipa and Coloane islands.

South China Sea wraps the 33-square-kilometer Chinese region from the south and east. On the other hand, Macau shares border with Zhuhai in Guangdong Province from the north and west.

By Air

Macau International Airport is the primary entry point to the region. Moreover, airline passengers arriving from Zhuhai, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen have the option of traveling to Macau through land or sea.

Macau Travel Guide Reminder: The length of travel between Manila and Macau is 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Zhuhai to Macau

To get to Macau, board on one of the ground transportation options, including buses or taxis. The length of the journey between Zhuhai and Macau is around an hour.

Hong Kong to Macau

The South China Sea divides Macau and Hong Kong. To reach Macau, take the ferry over the Pearl River Estuary. Otherwise, hop on the bus across the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. The entire journey takes approximately an hour to reach Macau from either transfer.

Shenzhen to Macau

The most frequent route between Shenzhen and Macau is through ferry. Getting to Macau from Shekou Ferry Terminal or the Shenzhen Airport Ferry Terminal will take roughly an hour.

Otherwise, go with the more extravagant option. Embark on a 20-minute helicopter ride between these two Chinese cities.

Getting Around Macau

Macau is relatively small and close-packed. As such, numerous tourist sites are walkable, while the others call for a short ride. In areas where commuting is necessary, the region provides a convenient transport options, such as buses, taxis, and its newest addition, the LRT.

Macau Travel Guide Reminder: Buses are usually packed during rush hours. Hence, the busiest time is between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., along with 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Bus

Buses in Macau are the most common mode of transportation. Most residents and visitors rely on this practical and cheap bus lines and free shuttle services offered by hotels.

Additionally, it has an extensive network of city buses, which runs across the Macau Peninsula, Taipa, and Coloane.

Public Bus

Macau’s public buses are dependable for daily commuting for its broad network of bus routes. Although regular buses run on a unidirectional flow, it is essential to catch a different bus upon returning.

Route information at bus stops is displayed in Cantonese with translations in Portuguese and English. In addition, many buses are equipped with electronic display boards to indicate routes and succeeding bus stops. Thus, navigating the densely packed city is quite easy.

Buses in Macau commence operation from 6:00 a.m. until midnight. Moreover, regardless of the distance traveled, passengers must pay MOP 6, PHP 41.97, or USD 0.75 before embarking the bus.

Macau Travel Guide Reminder: How do I get on and get off the bus in Macau? Enter at the front door and pay the exact fare in the box. Or, hover over the Macau Pass Card at the card reader beside the driver seat. As you get closer to your location, thumb the stop button, and exit at the rear door.

Shuttle Service

In addition to Macau’s dependable public bus network, a plenteous of opulent casino resorts and hotels offer complimentary shuttle service. Even though the transport service is only meant for their hotel guests, non-guests are welcome to utilize the valuable amenity.

These free shuttle services, which come with air conditioning and luggage compartments, are stationed in the hotel’s facade. They transport passengers between hotels, ferry terminals, the airport, and border gates in accordance with departure timetables.

Tourist Bus

Take a tour on the tourist bus service for a more pleasurable way to see Macau’s broad array of historical monuments and modern architectural marvels. A tourist bus service is an open-air and escorted tour designed for sightseeing that travels along a designated route.

In Macau, sightseeing buses typically run along Macau Fisherman’s Wharf and Cotai Strip, the city’s premier integrated resort.

Discover the allure of Macau’s unique fusion of old and new. To see the city in the most relaxed way possible, hop on a Macau Hop-On Hop-Off Open Top Bus Tour. Instead, tour the city at nighttime with Macau Open Top Bus Night Tour. Grab your passes now!

Taxi

There are more than a thousand taxis operating in Macau, which can be identified through their distinctive color schemes. A regular, or metered, taxi is normally painted black. Conversely, the Macau radio taxi service is yellow-colored and can be utilized through advance reservation.

Although there are countless taxis on Macau’s roadways, it could be difficult to hail one during rush hour. However, they are usually stationed close to hotels, ferry terminals, and the airport.

The flat rate is MOP 19, PHP 132.89, or USD 2.36 for the first 1.6 kilometers, and MOP 2, PHP 13.99, or USD 0.25 for each succeeding 240 meters. Also, the use of the compartment, waiting on duty, and transporting to a further location are also subject to surcharges. The additional charges start at MOP 2, PHP 13.99, or USD 0.25.

Macau Travel Guide Tip: In taxis, maps are provided. But for ease of navigation, write your destination in Chinese script, as drivers in Macau do not speak English.

Train

Macau Light Rapid Transit, or Macau LRT, is a recent addition to the city’s modes of transport. Launched in 2019, Macau LRT’s inaugural line, Taipa Line, connects a dozen stations. The rail transit run between Taipa Ferry Terminal, Macau International Airport, the stretch of Cotai Strip, and Barra on the Macau Peninsula.

Macau LRT operates daily starting at 6:30 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. with extensions until 11:59 p.m. on weekends. A single journey ticket costs MOP 6, PHP 41.97, or USD 0.75 for the first three rail stations. While other rates are as follows:

  • 4-6 stations for MOP 8, PHP 55.96, or USD 0.99
  • 7-10 stations for MOP 10, PHP 69.94, or USD 1.24

Seniors and children are eligible for a deducted fare so as by using the Macau Pass Card and LRT Card.

Pedicab

A light-weight vehicle similar to the ‘cyclo’ of Ho Chi Minh City, Macau has its own form of the rickshaw, the ‘pedicab.’ A ‘pedicab’ is a three-wheeled vehicle for transporting passengers.

Gone were the days when this hooded two-seater tricycle, or the triciclos, was a common public transportation in Macau. Nowadays, the old-fashioned hatchback trike is still in use and often takes tourists on leisurely strolls to some of Macau’s well-liked spots.

Pedicabs are usually stationed outside the ferry terminals or hotels. While an hourly rental might run you MOP 350, PHP 2,448.06, or USD 43.47.

Areas to Stay in Macau

Macau’s modest size and closed-packed tourist sites and attractions make it a perfect day trip destination. However, it is best to stay for a few days to truly experience the city’s alluring urban setting.

Besides its copious amounts of opulent casino hotels, Macau also hosts a sparse selection of reasonably priced lodgings like boutique hotels.

Macau Peninsula

While Bangkok is well-known for its collection of majestic temples, Macau features a myriad Portuguese-colonial structures clustered in the city’s old town. Old Town Macau is the perfect neighborhood to draw closer to its repository of historical and cultural heritage. It was inducted as a ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ for its fusion of well-kept Portuguese-colonial and Chinese architecture.

Senado Square and Ruins of Saint Paul’s are conveniently close to a vast number of lodgings like Macau’s tallest hotel, Grand Lisboa. Aside from historical monuments and landmarks, Old Town Macau is teeming with shops, cafes, and eateries, lining its streets and alleys.

Alternatively, stay in the Outer Harbour, such as Harbourview Hotel Macau, an area close to the ferry terminal. In addition to its brimful of retail and dining spots huddled in Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, it also home to several museums.

Taipa

Located south of Macau Peninsula, Taipa is a bustling residential area close to the city’s entry points. Besides being transport convenient, this neighborhood has a number of historical sites.

Taipa Village features its colorful blend of Sino-Portuguese architecture as well as its virtually tranquil lanes that are packed with restaurants and shops. The Golden Crown China Hotel is the nearest accommodation located next to the Macau International Airport.

Cotai

Similar to Sentosa in Singapore, Cotai is a man-made island made of reclaimed ground. Cotai, named Asia’s ‘Las Vegas,’ is Macau’s premier integrated resort in between Taipa and Coloane.

Cotai Strip boasts an abundance of luxurious and grandiose entertainment complexes and first-rate casinos, serving the affluent populace. The City of DreamsThe Londoner Macao, and The Parisian Macao are among the luxurious casino hotels huddled along the Cotai Strip. The Venetian Macao, the world’s largest casino, is also located at the strip of Cotai.  

Coloane

Positioned southward of Macau, Coloane offers a warm and tranquil atmosphere. Thus, it is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Macau’s busy neighborhoods.

While other parts of the city are known for their profusion of colonial and modern structures, Coloane has verdant mountains and stunning beaches. Staying a night at a beach resort, such as Grand Coloane Resort, will get you closer to Macau’s natural scenery.

Internet in Macau

Macau has among the world’s fastest internet. Free public WIFI are available in several areas, which includes major tourist sites, terminals, transports, hotel premises, and etc.

Power Adaptor in Macau

Macau operates on a 220 V supply voltage with a frequency of 50 Hz and it has two types of power adaptors:

  • D or has three round pins in a triangular pattern.
  • G or has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern.

Macau Travel Guide Itinerary

Macau Travel Guide Highlights: Sights and Attractions in Macau
Highlights: The Londoner Macau, Macau Fisherman's Wharf, Senado Square, and the City of Dreams Macau

Day 1 - Macau

Macau Travel Guide Reminder: It takes about 900 meters to walk from point A to point B.

08:30 am Arrival in Macau from Hong Kong
08:30 am – 08:50 am Head to the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf

  • From the Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal
  • Walk to ‘Terminal Maritimo De Passageiros Do Porto Exterior’ Bus Stop
  • Take the bus 3A toward Praca Ponte Horta
  • Alight at ‘Centro De Convecoes E Exposicoes Da Doca dos Pescadores’ Bus Stop
  • Walk toward Macau Fisherman’s Wharf

08:50 am – 11:00 am Tour Macau Fisherman’s Wharf

Macau Fisherman's Wharf

Situated close to Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal, Macau Fisherman’s Wharf is the first integrated theme park in Macau. The 133,000 square meters entertainment and cultural complex was laid on a reclaimed land.

It has a vast collection of retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, and exhibition centers. Its most intriguing features are its western-inspired landmarks like the Roman Colosseum, Dutch canal houses, Venetian palaces, and the French quarters.

11:00 am – 11:30 am Head to the Old Town Macau

  • From Casino Babylon Macau
  • Walk toward Harbourview Hotel Bus Stop
  • Take the bus 3A to Praca Ponte Horta
  • Alight at Centro/’Infante D. Henrique’ Bus Stop
  • Walk toward Senado Square

11:30 am – 03:30 pm Have lunch, explore the Old Town Macau, and buy souvenirs

Senate Square

The Senate Square, or Largo do Senado, is among Macau’s four open public spaces. It is a triangular-shaped urban square that connects Almeida Ribeiro Avenue and extends towards Tv. Do Soriano and Rua de Sao Domingos.

Its visually appealing pavements are made up of wave-like mosaic patterns laid over the 3,700 square meters agora. European-style structures like Leal Senado Building and Saint Dominic’s Church enfold the public square, which serves as a venue for public gatherings.

Saint Paul's Road

Rua de Sau Paulo, or Saint Paul’s Road, is a busy lane, leading to the Ruins of Saint Paul’s. Alongside the hectic alleyway are restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops, selling assortments of goods, including Chinese almond cookies and dried meats.

Macau Travel Guide Tip: Food samples are given away as you walk past Saint Paul’s Road. Grab these complimentary as you approach the Ruins of Saint Paul’s.

Ruins of Saint Paul's

Built in 17th century, the Ruins of Saint Paul’s was devoted to Saint Paul the Apostle. A fire in the 1800s wrecked the over elaborate church, leaving only its front intact.

Today, the ruined church has been restored into a museum, the Museum of the Sacred Heart and Crypt, displaying various religious artifacts. This permanent gallery is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. with free admission.

Monte Fort

Fortaleza do Monte, also known as Monte Fort, is a former military fortification built between 1617 and 1627. The historic garrison served as the official residence of governors of Macau, a weather conservatory, and eventually the Macau Museum.

An ongoing exhibition of Macau’s Portuguese colonial past is sheltered in the Museum of Macau. Viewing public can visit the gallery from Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:30 a.m. In addition, the regular admittance fee is MOP 15, PHP 104.92, or USD 1.86. While, take advantage of the free admission on Tuesdays and the fifteenth of the month.

03:30 pm – 04:20 pm Head to Cotai Strip

  • From Monte Fort
  • Walk toward ‘Praca Ferreira do Amaral’

Grand Lisboa

Grand Lisboa is a widely recognized landmark in Macau. The sophisticated 47-story building is Macau’s highest hotel, rising to a height of 261 meters.

This construction is exotic and ultramodern with an air of beauty that is reminiscent of a lotus flower. The grandiose casino hotel, which opened in 2007, has over 400 rooms and suites in addition to its top-notch amenities.

  • Take the bus 25 toward Vila De Coloane
  • Alight at ‘Est. Do Istmo’/Londoner Bus Stop
  • Walk toward Cotai Strip

04:20 pm – 08:30 pm Explore Cotai Strip

Cotai Strip

Cotai, a portmanteau of Coloane and Taipa, is Macau’s premier entertainment and tourism hub. The 5.2 square kilometer reclaimed land, nestled between Taipa and Coloane, is known for its lavish collection of casino hotels. Thus, referred to as the ‘Las Vegas of the East.’

Aside from being a gaming arena, Cotai is also a shoppers’ and diners’ paradise with a wide selection of fine dining establishments and ritzy boutiques.

Macau Travel Guide Tip: Cotai Strip has a lot more to offer besides what it is known for. It is also a recreation ground, offering world-class attractions and a broad range of fun-filled activities. Book your tickets in advance to experience its entertaining atmosphere.

  • See the dramatic fountain spectacle at the Wynn Palace Macau Performance Lake. Also, embark on a complimentary skycab ride for a quick excursion.
  • Witness a world-class performance, the ‘House of Dancing Water’ in the City of Dreams Macau.
  • Potterheads, anyone? Visit and discover the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ at The Londoner Macao.
  • Take a gondolo ride down the canals of the The Venetian Macao while relishing charming scenes. Moreover, don’t miss teamlab SuperNature Macao to further immerse yourself in the realm of art and technology.
  • Experience the Parisian life! Climb the Eiffel Tower at the The Parisian Macao for sweeping city vistas.
  • Admire Macau’s awe-inspiring modern urban landscapes from the world’s first figure-eight Ferris wheel, Golden Reel in Studio City Macau. The casino hotel also features attractions that will surely unleash your inner child. Spend time at Macau Water Park, Super Fun Zone, and the Legend Hero’s Park.

Are you an adrenaline junkie? Macau has a range of adrenaline-fueled activities that will put your bravery to the test. Attempt the Skywalk, Bungee Jump, Skyjump, and Asia Pacific’s first urban zipline!

Spend less on your tour! Take advantage of the Klook Pass Macau to discover Macau’s best attractions while saving money on ticket prices. Grab yours now!

08:30 pm – 09:00 pm Head to the Macau International Airport

  • From Cotai Strip
  • Take the hotel free shuttle service
  • Alight at Macau International Airport

09:00 pm – 11:50 pm Have dinner, check in, clear the immigration and customs checkpoint, prepare for departure, and boarding
11:50 pm – 02:05 am Flight to Manila

Budget for Macau Trip

In 2023, I spent P 4,258.15 for one full day in Macau. However, costs may still vary depending on your travel lifestyle. For more thrift tips, consider several ways to save money for your next trip. 

Below is the Macau travel guide budget for your reference.

Pre-Departure

  • A one-way flight ticket, Macau to Manila, PHP 3,558.08

1st Day

  • Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal to Macau Fisherman’s Wharf via bus, PHP 43.32
  • Macau Fisherman’s Wharf to Senado Square via bus, PHP 43.32
  • Lunch, PHP 288.71
  • Amaral Plaza to Cotai Strip via bus, PHP 43 32
  • Dinner, PHP 281.40

Macau Travel Guide Resources

To help you with your travel plans, I’ve gathered a checklist of carefully chosen travel resources. These are the trusted online marketplaces that I highly endorse because of their excellent deals.

Passport icon

Looking for an easy-peasy solution to process your visa application and other travel docs, consult iVisa!

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SafetyWing covered you with their travel medical and health insurance solutions while away from home. 

Flight icon

The sky is the limit with Skyscanner if you are looking for better and cheaper flight options for your next trip.

Hotel icon

Make a reservation to one of the most extensive hotels booking services – Agoda. It offers unmatched hotel deals!

Hostel icon

Explore the world with HostelWorld! Book a hostel and share a space with newfound buddies. 

Car rental icon

Drive your way to undiscovered places! Book a car via Discover Cars and experience hassle-free road trips. 

Tour icon

Want to visit your favorite theme park or museum? For discounted attraction tickets and tours, look for Klook!

Transportation icon

For transfers from point A to point B, go for 12Go! It has extensive coverage of ground transports and ferries, too.

Macau Travel Guide Question: What is the world’s largest casino located in Macau’s Cotai Strip?

Please drop your answers or messages in the comment section. Thank you, and see you on the road!

traveledictorian-blogger

About the Author

J. Sac is the author of ‘Macau Travel Guide: An Excellent Guide to the World.’ He is also the founder of Traveledictorian – a travel blog that publishes well-thought-out travel content. 

His passion for writing, photography, and travel fueled him to explore Asia and the rest of the world. He also plans to undertake humanitarian work in his travels. Read his inspiring story and follow him on social media!

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