Macau (also spelled Macao) is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. Located across the Pearl River estuary from Hong Kong, Macau is about 62 kilometers from Hong Kong within 1 hour’s transfer. Macau is geographically divided into four parts - Macau Peninsula, Taipa, Cotai and Coloane. It is once of the earliest European colonies in Asia (a colony of the Portuguese Empire for 400 years) and the last to be relinquished (1999) and thus has a more visible colonial history than Hong Kong. Known as “Vegas of China”, Macau is indeed an epicenter of gambling and glitz. While luxury entertainment is world-class, Macau has much more to offer than that. So whether you’re into gambling, family fun or European and Asian history, it has something for everyone. Here’s why you should plan a visit.
Why Visit Macau?
UNESCO World Heritage Site & Unique Heritage. The 400 years of Portuguese rule has certainly left their mark in Macau - from architecture to food and even language, the unique assimilation of Chinese and Portuguese cultures in Macau has made it one of a kind. In 2005, the Historic Center of Macau was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with over 20 locations that witness the unique co-existence of Chines and Portuguese cultures in Macau.
Largest Gambling Center in the World. Known worldwide as the "Gambling Capital of the World", Macau is the only place in China where casino gambling is legal. Macau generates more revenue from gambling than anywhere else on the planet, including more than seven times the revenue generated by "The Strip" in Las Vegas. If coming to Macau, you should go into a casino to watch the scene or try your luck.
A Culinary Capital. Macau has a 400-plus-year-old culinary legacy in the form of its own East meets West “Macanese” cuisine. Furthermore, it has a reputation as a city where chefs come from all over to introduce their new dishes to Asia, which has resulted in UNESCO recognizing it as a Creative City of Gastronomy. It has a multitude of must-try foods, some of which are considered cuisine signatures. Try different kinds of food and satisfy your taste buds and appetite.
Easy Connected with Hong Kong Less Than 1 Hour. As the most popular side trip destination from Hong Kong, Macau is well linking with Hong Kong by ferry. Almost 4 terminals in Hong Kong have frequent ferries with stable schedules to Macau. It is highly recommended you and your group to enjoy one day trip to Macau to savor all the essences of this exotic city.
Macau Visa for Travel: Usually, a Macau visa is required normally for traveling to Macau. But, if you are citizens of specific 79 foreign countries and territories, and visit Macau for short-term tour and business, you may have visa-free entry to Macau. US, UK, Australia, Canada citizens, Indians, Filipinos, Malaysians may get visa exempted for Macau, while passport holders of Pakistan, Vietnam and Nepal must obtain a visa for entry. Read more about Macau Visa Policy - Visa Free, Visa on Arrival and Application >>
Top Things to See in Macau
Macau is far more than just a casino city, with its rich East meets West history, one of a kind culture and world record-breaking attractions, there is truly nowhere else quite like it. No matter you take one day trip or explore for several days, you are never bored. Check the Top 12 Attractions in Macau for inspirations!
Historic Center of Macau
Listed into UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a collection of 20 locations with historic street, residential, religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings with East-meet-West culture.
Ruins of St. Paul’s
This gate is most treasured landmark in Macau. It is the ruins of a 17th-century catholic Church of St.Paul listed into the Historic Center of Macau. You can visit Museum of Sacred Art here.
Casino at Venetian Macao
This is a luxury hotel and casino resort in Macau owned by the American Las Vegas Sands company. The Venetian Macao is the largest casino in the world which will be a good choice for gambling.
A-Ma Temple (Ma Kok Miu)
A-Ma Temple is a temple dedicated to A-Ma aka Tin Hau, the goddess of the sea. Built in 1488, it is one of the oldest temple in Macau. There’re six parts to explore - the Memorial Arch, the Hall of Benevolence...
Macau Tower stands at 338 meters in height, located in the south of Macau Peninsula. You can stay put on the observation decks or challenge yourself to a bungee jump at 233 meters.
To capture essence of Macau’s history, head to this excellent museum housed in the Monte Fort. It's adjacent to the Ruins of St. Paul’s. There are three storey to present different subjects.
Border of Gate
Located on northern of Macau Peninsula, it's the barrier gate separating Macau from Mainland China. Know history of border battle between Qing Dynasty and the Kingdom of Portugal during the 1840s.
Senado Square (Largo do Senado)
As part of Historic Center of Macau, Senado Square is an elongated triangular shaped square located in the central area in front of the Leal Senado Building.
East of the Ruins of St. Paul’s, it was built by the Jesuits between 1617 and 1626 as part of the College of the Mother of God. It was constructed to protect the properties of the Jesuits in Macau.
Macau Giant Panda Pavilion
It is located in the Macau Zoo which is a place with a variety of animals but this pavilion is especially for the two pandas - “Kai Kai” and “Xin Xin” which means “happiness”. If you have extra time, you can visit it.
City of Dreams
City of Dreams is resort and casino in Cotai, Macau which is located directly opposite the Venetian Macau. There are three luxury hotels, aquarium, bubble fountain and dancing water theater inside.
Taipa Village is a quaint village offers a chance to explore Macau’s unique cultural heritage through its historic buildings, museums, galleries, restaurants, shops and old-time character.
Featured Activities in Macau
Think the only things to do in Macau are gambling? WRONG! Don’t worry there are many things to do & featured activities offered in Macau that don’t involve putting money on the table. Check Top 8 Things to Do in Macau to enrich your life!
Known as “Gambling Capital of the World”, Macau is legal for gambling since 1850s. You can visit a casino to watch the scene of gambling or if you like, try your luck at one of the best known casinos.
Macau is paradise for foodies. You can find not only Cantonese food, but also Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese and Macanese. Try Portuguese egg tarts, pork chop bun, dim sum, Portuguese seafood rice...
Taking a relaxing wander in Historic Center of Macau is an interesting way to explore old Macau. You can start from A-Ma Temple and end at Old Protestant Cemetery. The whole distance is about 5 km, needing 3 to hours’ walking.
Dancing Water Show
The House of Dancing Water is a 270-degree water-based stage production written and directed by Franco Dragone. It is performed at City of Dreams resort on the Cotai Strip in Macau. It lasts about 90 minutes.
Climate, Weather & Best Time to Visit Macau
Macau is located along the southern coast of mainland China in the tropics and it has a humid subtropical oceanic monsoon climate with very mild winters and hot, rainy and muggy summers. The average annual temperature is about 23 °C. The rainfall mostly focuses from May to September.
Winter is from December to February which is very mild with mean temperature around 15°C. Occasionally, it can even get cold with lows around 5°C and highs around 10°C. Spring is from March to May and during the period, it is very mild or pleasantly warm. It can be foggy in March and April. The mean temperature is about 20 °C. And in May, the temperature are even close to 30 °C. Summer is during June to August which is hot, humid, rainy and with heavy showers or thunderstorms. The probability of typhoons is highest in this season. The average temperature is always higher than 25 °C. It is highly recommended to bring umbrella or raincoat with you when you are in Macau. Autumn, from September to November, is still hot. The rain become rare and generally not abundant and the sun is a bit more frequent than in the other seasons. The average temperature in Autumn is about 24°C.
Generally, Macau can be visited all year round together with Hong Kong. While, the best time to visit is from October to next April, especially in the Spring and Autumn seasons.
Learn more about Macau Weather, Climate, Seasons and Best Time to Visit >>
How to Get to & around Macau
Most of travelers can reach Macau by air, ferry and coach. There is no railway station in Macau at present. Some travelers choose to arrive in Hong Kong, Shenzhen or Zhuhai first and then transfer to Macau. You can check the popular ways to get to Macau and choose your own way.
Macau International Airport (IATA: MFM, ICAO: VMMC) is situated at the eastern end of Taipa Island, about 10 kilometers away from central area of Macau Peninsula (about 20 minutes’ driving). Macau International Airport has been a common transfer point for visitors traveling between the Mainland and Taiwan, as well as a passenger hub for destinations in mainland China and Southeast Asia. International flights link Macau with Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok, Tokyo, Osaka, Busan, Kuala Lumpur, Chiengmai, Phnom Penh, Nha Trang, etc. While, domestic cities have flights from/to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xian, Haikou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guiyang, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Taiyuan, Tianjin, Xiamen, Kunming, Zhengzhou, Qingdao, Fuzhou, Quanzhou and more cities in China.
There are three ferry terminals in Macau while Macau Outer Ferry Terminal and Macau Taipa Ferry Terminal are frequently used with great convenience. Most travelers will travel between Hong Kong and Macau by ferry. You can take ferry at Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal / Hong Kong SkyPier / Hong Kong - China Ferry Terminal to Macau, which needs about 55 minutes to 1 hour. Some travelers also take ferry traveling between Shenzhen and Macau and you can go to Shenzhen Fuyong Ferry Terminal or Shenzhen Shekou Ferry Terminal for ferry to Macau which needs about 1 hour. There is no ferry between Guangzhou and Macau which you need to arrive in Shenzhen first and then go to Macau.
Learn more about Macau Ferry & Detailed Schedules between Hong Kong/Shenzhen and Macau >>
If you travel by car/coach, it is recommended to arrive in Zhuhai or Hong Kong first. Travelers can take flight or high speed train to Zhuhai and go to Macau by car. If you go from Zhuhai Jinwan Airport, it will take about 80 minutes for 47 kilometers; while if you go from Zhuhai Railway Station, it will takes only 0.5 hour for 5 kilometers in between. For travelers who go from Hong Kong to Macau, it will be great experience to travel via Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macau Bridge from Hong Kong International Airport to Macau. The whole distance of the bridge journey will be 55 kilometers which needs about 1 hour’ driving.
If you are go from the exact destinations like Hong Kong, Shenzhen or Guangzhou to Macau, it is a good idea to check transportation plan first and you can select your best way to reach Macau in convenience and budget.
Useful Links: Hong Kong to Macau | Shenzhen to Macau | Macau to Shenzhen | Guangzhou to Macau & Macau to Guangzhou
Get around Macau
Taxi is a convenient and inexpensive option in Macau. The flag-fall charge is MOP$19 for the first 1.6km, and MOP$2 for every 240m thereafter. A MOP$5 surcharge applies to taxi trips boarded at Macau International Airport, Taipa Ferry Terminal, the University of Macau and journeys from Macau Peninsula to Coloane.
Macau is small and it is a popular way to travel in Macau by bus. A frequent bus service runs betwene the Macau Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane. The bus far is MOP$6 and travelers should prepare adequate coins for the fare as no change in given on the buses, all of which are air-conditioned. Almost every high-end hotel in Macau has its own free shuttle buses, by which you can get from airport, ports, ferry terminals, casino to your hotel directly.
Learn more about Macau Transportation - How to Get to & around Macau 2024 >>
Recommended Hotels & Best Places to Stay
Before getting into the list of the 5 star luxury to 3 star budget hotels, you can check a rundown of the best areas to stay in Macau because location is everything and if you get right, you will have a much smoother time. Macau is made of four area: Old Macau, Taipa, Cotai and Coloane. Old Macau is located in the mainland part of China, on a peninsula, while the other three parts of Macau area located on the island. What part of Macau you choose to stay at will depend on the type of trip that you are looking for. For most travelers who are interested in the food and heritage site, you should stay in Old Macau. If you are more interested in shopping and gambling, Cotai is the right place to stay. In each area, hotel choices are a lot.
You can stay at the recommended hotels in Old Macau like MGM Macau (5 Star), Mandarin Oriental Macau (5 Star), Riviera Hotel Macau (5 Star), Legend Palace Hotel (4 Star), etc. While, MGM Cotai (5 Star), Four Seasons Hotel Macau, Cotai Strip (5 Star), City of Dreams (5 Star) and more hotels are your good choices at Cotai Strip. The hotel prices are similar with Hong Kong and sometimes relatively a little cheap.
For more ideas to stay in Macau, you can read our Where to Stay in Macau - Best Areas & Recommended Hotels in Macau >>
Latest & Useful Macau Maps
To help you better plan your Macau tour and around, it is a good idea to know it location, transportation and tourist spots first. Our latest Macau maps shows you the overall, detailed maps about every aspect for your travel to and in Macau. All of them are downloadable and printable, and feel free to use them when planning your Macau tour! For more Macau travel maps, please head to 2024 Overall & Detailed Macau Maps | Macau Tourist Maps >>
Macau Asia Map
Macau District Map
Macau Tourist Map
Other Destinations in China's Greater Bay Area
Macau is one of the four key cities of the Guangdong - Hong Kong - Macau Greater Bay Area. Macau is well linked with Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Shenzhen that you area highly recommended to travel extend to those top destinations to enjoy more highlights for great fun and full sightseeing.
Other Destinations in China
China is a vast country with tremendous number of tourist destinations to get much pleasant. Besides visiting Shenzhen City, you can also travel further to more hot destinations, such as Beijing with renowned Forbidden City and Great Wall, Shanghai with charming modern and colonial appearance, Guilin with appealing Karst landform sightseeing, Xian with impressive Terracotta Warriors and Horses, etc. Check all destinations in China.
Chinese Name: 澳门
Chinese Pinyin: ào mén
Population: 0.63 million
Language: Cantonese, Portuguese, English, Mandarin
Tel Code: +853
Zip Code: 999078
Time Zone: (UTC+8)
Currency: Macau dollar (MOP$)
Plan Your Macau Tours
Most of travelers will spend one full day to explore Macau combined with their trips in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. It is quite popular to do day trip from these cities in Guangdong - Hong Kong - Macau Greater Bay Area by ferry. For in-depth visiting in Macau, it is a good choice to stay one night here to full savor all the highlights of Macau. If you have your own ideas, feel free to tell us your likes and interests and we are here ready to help you customize a Macau tour and around! Come with China Discovery now!