MACAO TRAVEL GUIDE
Macau is an autonomous region on the south coast of China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. A Portuguese territory until 1999, it reflects a mix of cultural influences. Its giant casinos and malls on the Cotai Strip, which joins the islands of Taipa and Coloane, have earned it the nickname, "Las Vegas of Asia." One of its more striking landmarks is the tall Macau Tower, with sweeping city views.
Macau was one of the earliest European colonies in Asia and the last to be relinquished and thus has an even 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 not in Chinese, that is. The Portuguese and Macanese populations continue to maintain a presence but, as expected, most of the population is native Chinese.
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MACAO QUICK FACTS
- Capital: Macau
- Government: Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
- Currency: Macau Pataca (MOP) (official) and Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) (circulates)
- Area: total: 28.2 km²
- Population: 631 636 (2018)
- Language: Portuguese and Chinese (Cantonese) (official languages), Chinese (Mandarin) and English (spoken in tourist areas)
- Religion:Buddhist 92.3%, Christian (chiefly Roman Catholic) 6%, none and other 1.7% (2011 est.)
- Electricity: 220V, 50Hz (rounded 3-pin 5A and 15A plug and UK 13A plug)
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MACAO PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 1 January, New Year’s Day
- 1 May, May Day
- 1–3 October, National Day
Also, Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), Tomb Sweeping Day (Qing Ming), Dragon Boat Festival, and Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.
FESTIVALS IN MACAO
BEST TIME TO VISIT MACAO
Macao has a tropical monsoon climate, with two distinct seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.
- The rainy season in Macao typically runs from May to September, during which the weather is hot and humid, with occasional thunderstorms. The average temperature during this time is around 30°C (86°F).
- The dry season runs from October to April, during which the weather is milder and drier, with temperatures averaging around 22°C (72°F). This is generally considered the best time to visit Macao for tourism, as the weather is more comfortable and there are fewer tourists.
It's worth noting that Macao can be affected by typhoons during the rainy season, which can bring strong winds and heavy rain to the region. Visitors should check the forecast and be prepared for potential disruptions to travel plans.
The best time to visit Macao depends on personal preference and what you would like to do during your visit. The weather in Macao is generally warm and humid throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from 22-33°C (72-91°F). If you would like to enjoy the beach, the best time to visit would be between May and September, when the water is warm and the weather is sunny. If you're looking to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit would be between October and April, when the weather is milder and there are fewer tourists. Please keep in mind that the City may be more crowded during Chinese New Year, Macau Grand Prix, Wine Festival, and other events.
MACAO WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Subtropical; Marine With Cool Winters, Warm Summers
MACAO TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN MACAO
HIKING & CYCLING IN MACAO
BEACH OPTIONS IN MACAO
SURFING IN MACAO
KITESURF IN MACAO
Kitesurfing spot details and weather
HEALTH RISKS IN MACAO
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
MACAO TRAVEL COSTS
The cost of traveling to Macao can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the time of year you plan to visit, your mode of transportation, and your accommodation and activities.
- Airfare: The cost of a round-trip flight from major cities in Asia and North America to Macao can range from around $300 to $1000, depending on the departure location and time of booking.
- Accommodation: The cost of accommodation in Macao can range from budget-friendly options like hostels and guesthouses, which can cost as little as $20 per night, to luxury hotels, which can cost over $300 per night.
- Transportation: The cost of transportation in Macao can vary depending on how you plan to get around. Public transportation options such as buses and ferries are relatively inexpensive, with fares ranging from $0.5 to $3. Taxis are also readily available, but tend to be more expensive, with fares starting at around $3.50, and going up to $5 for a short ride.
- Food and drinks: The cost of food and drinks in Macao can vary depending on where you choose to eat and drink. Street food and local restaurants are generally more affordable, with meals costing around $5 to $10. Fine dining restaurants can be more expensive, with prices ranging from $20 to $50 or more for a meal.
- Activities: The cost of activities in Macao can vary depending on what you plan to do. Some popular tourist attractions, such as the historic center of Macau and the Macau Tower, have free admission, while others, such as casinos and theme parks, can be quite expensive, with prices ranging from $20 to $50 or more.
All in all, it's possible to visit Macao on a budget, but it also depends on your taste and lifestyle. A budget of $50-100 per day should cover accommodation, food, transportation, and some activities for budget travellers.
Here is a sample budget for a 3-day visit to Macao:
- Airfare: $500 (round-trip from a major city in Asia or North America)
- Accommodation: $90 ($30 per night for a budget hotel or guesthouse)
- Transportation: $20 ($5 per day for buses and ferries)
- Food and drinks: $60 ($20 per day for meals and drinks)
- Activities: $50 ($20 for entrance fees and $30 for other activities)
Please note that this is just a rough estimate, and your actual expenses may vary depending on your specific travel plans and preferences. It's a good idea to budget a bit more for unexpected expenses or emergencies.
Also, it's possible to save money by staying in a budget friendly hostel, cooking some of your own meals or opting for street food, and looking for free activities such as visiting the historic center of Macau or the Macau Museum.
Keep in mind that Macau is known for its high-end shopping, dining and entertainment and also for its casinos, so if you plan to indulge in those activities, your budget may vary accordingly.
MACAO TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some travel tips for visiting Macao:
- Plan ahead: Research your travel itinerary, including transportation, accommodation, and activities, and make reservations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.
- Know the currency: Macao uses the Macau Pataca (MOP) as its official currency. You can also use Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) in Macao, but it's best to have some MOP on hand for small purchases and tips.
- Get a free Tourist Map and information at the Macau Tourism Center: They have locations in the Macau Ferry Terminal, the Macau International Airport, and at the Border Gate. They offer free maps, brochures and can help you plan your trip.
- Be aware of the language: While English is widely spoken in Macao, it's helpful to know a few basic phrases in Cantonese or Mandarin, as not all locals speak English.
- Be prepared for the weather: Macao has a tropical climate and can be hot and humid, especially during the summer months, so bring a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of water.
- Take advantage of free shuttles: Many of the casinos offer free shuttles to and from the ferry terminal, it's a good way to save money on transportation.
- Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi: Macao offers free Wi-Fi service in many public places, including the airport, hotels, and popular tourist attractions.
- Be aware of your surroundings: As in any other tourist destination, it's always good to be aware of your surroundings and take the usual precautions to protect your valuables.
- Don't forget your passport: Macao is a Special Administrative Region of China, so you will need your passport to enter and exit the city.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF MACAO
Macao is divided into three main regions:
- The Macau Peninsula: This is the oldest and most historic part of Macao, and is home to many of the city's most famous landmarks, such as the Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral, the A-Ma Temple, and the Senado Square. The peninsula also has several museums, including the Macau Museum and the Wine Museum, and is home to the city's famous casinos and high-end shopping and dining.
- Taipa Island: This island is connected to the Macau Peninsula by bridges and is home to the Macau International Airport. Taipa is known for its colonial architecture and traditional Chinese-Portuguese fusion cuisine. The island is also home to several casinos and the popular "Cotai Strip", an area of reclaimed land that features several large casinos and resorts.
- Coloane Island: This is the most rural of the three regions, and is known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and traditional village atmosphere. Coloane is home to the A-Ma Cultural Village, which features a replica of the A-Ma Temple and other exhibits on Macau's cultural heritage, and the Tam Kung Temple, a traditional Chinese temple dedicated to Tam Kung, a Taoist deity.
Some highlights of each region:
- Macau Peninsula: The historic center of Macau, Senado Square, Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral, A-Ma Temple, Macau Museum, casinos, and high-end shopping.
- Taipa Island: The Macau International Airport, colonial architecture, traditional Chinese-Portuguese fusion cuisine, casinos, and Cotai Strip.
- Coloane Island: Beautiful beaches, hiking trails, A-Ma Cultural Village, Tam Kung Temple, and traditional village atmosphere.
Macao is known for its unique blend of Chinese and Portuguese cultures, and there are many things to see and do when visiting the city. Here are some of the best things to see and do:
- Visit the Historic Center of Macau: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to many of Macao's most famous landmarks, including the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral, the A-Ma Temple, and the Senado Square.
- Explore the Casinos: Macao is known for its casinos and is the gambling capital of Asia. It has some of the most famous and luxurious casinos in the world.
- Visit the Macau Museum: This museum offers a comprehensive overview of Macao's history, culture, and heritage.
- Take a stroll along the Cotai Strip: This area of reclaimed land features several large casinos and resorts and is a good place to experience the city's nightlife and entertainment.
- Explore the Taipa Village: This charming traditional village is known for its colonial architecture and traditional Chinese-Portuguese fusion cuisine.
- Go to the beaches of Coloane: This island is known for its beautiful beaches and is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.
- Take a boat tour: Take a boat tour to the nearby islands, such as Taipa, Coloane, and the outer islands of Ilha Verde, where you can see the natural beauty of the region and learn about the history and culture of Macao.
- Visit the Venetian Macau: A large luxury resort and casino, it has replicas of famous Venetian landmarks, as well as a shopping mall, an indoor canal, and gondola rides.
- Take a cable car ride: Take a cable car ride to the top of Guia Hill for a panoramic view of the city, and the Macau Tower observation deck is also a great option for a panoramic view of the city.
- Enjoy the food: Macao has a diverse culinary scene that reflects its unique blend of Chinese and Portuguese cultures, with many traditional Chinese and Portuguese restaurants, as well as international cuisines.
WHAT TO EAT IN MACAO
Macao is known for its unique blend of Chinese and Portuguese cultures, and this is reflected in its diverse culinary scene. Here are some of the best things to eat when visiting Macao:
- Macanese cuisine: This is a fusion of Chinese and Portuguese cuisines and is unique to Macao. Some popular dishes include Minchi (a dish made with minced meat and potatoes), African chicken (a spicy chicken dish with piri-piri sauce), and Bacalhau (a dish made with salted cod).
- Dim sum: Macao is known for its delicious dim sum, and there are many restaurants that serve a wide variety of steamed and fried dumplings.
- Seafood: Macao is surrounded by water and has access to a wide variety of fresh seafood. Some popular seafood dishes include shrimp, crab, and fish.
- Egg tarts: This is a popular dessert in Macao, which is a flaky pastry crust filled with a sweet custard filling.
- Portuguese wine: Macao was a Portuguese colony for centuries, and there are many restaurants that serve Portuguese wine.
- Chinese tea: Macao has a long history of tea culture, and there are many tea houses that serve traditional Chinese tea.
- Almond cookies: These are a traditional Macanese cookie that are made with almonds and are often served with tea.
- Cashew nuts: Cashew nuts are produced in Macao and are often served as a snack.
- Pork chop buns: This is a popular street food in Macao and it is made with a crispy pork chop and a bun.
- Milk pudding: A traditional Chinese dessert made with milk, sugar, and egg yolks which is creamy, sweet, and very delicious.
It's also worth noting that Macao has a wide variety of international cuisine options available, from Italian to Japanese and Thai.
LGBTQ IN MACAO
WHERE TO STAY IN MACAO
When visiting Macao for the first time, you have several options for where to stay. Here are a few suggestions:
- The Historic Center of Macau: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to many of Macao's most famous landmarks, including the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral, the A-Ma Temple, and the Senado Square. Many of the hotels in this area are housed in historic buildings, and offer a unique blend of Chinese and Portuguese culture.
- Cotai Strip: This area of reclaimed land features several large casinos and resorts, and is a good place to experience the city's nightlife and entertainment. Many of the hotels in this area are luxury properties, with high-end facilities and amenities.
- Taipa Village: This charming traditional village is known for its colonial architecture and traditional Chinese-Portuguese fusion cuisine. Many of the hotels in this area are smaller, boutique properties that offer a more authentic Macao experience.
- Coloane: This island is known for its beautiful beaches and is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing. There are several resorts in this area that offer beachfront accommodations.
- Macau Peninsula: This is the main area of Macau, It's a good choice for those who want to be close to all the main attractions, as well as the shopping and dining options.
- The Venetian Macau: A large luxury resort and casino, It is a replica of famous Venetian landmarks, as well as a shopping mall, an indoor canal, and gondola rides.
Ultimately, the best place to stay will depend on your budget and what you want to see and do during your visit. It's recommended to check online reviews, compare prices and facilities of different hotels before making a decision.
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