Macau travel guide

Macau Tourism | Macau Guide

You're Going to Love Macau

Macau is often called the "Las Vegas of China" because of its giant casinos and glamorous nightlife, including the world's largest casino in an area devoted almost exclusively to gaming and entertainment options. Be sure to bring - or buy - your party clothes to take advantage of the exciting vibe.

Macau is an autonomous region within China known as the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Situated across the Pearl River estuary from Hong Kong, Macau incorporates the islands of Taipa and Coloane as well as the city itself. The city of Zhuhai forms Macau's border to the north.

The city was a Portuguese territory for nearly four centuries until 1999, and you'll still hear the language spoken out and about today. You'll also find streets with Portuguese names, paved with traditional Portuguese tiles, right next to ancient Chinese temples, and brand new office towers. It's a fascinating mix of flavors, sights, and sounds just waiting for you to discover.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Macau

1. Casino Life

Whether you are a gambler or not, you'll have to get out for at least one night to check out the incredible action at Macau's casinos, including the Venetian, the world's largest. Most of the casinos are in Cotai, but you'll also find them in the peninsula along with a few in Taipa.

2. Fascinating History

Stroll around the peninsula to see ruins of the colonial era, including the Church of St. Paul, Chinese temples, and much more. The Guia Fortress, the highest point on the peninsula, is where you'll find the Chapel of Our Lady of Guia, built in 1622.

3. Shop Till You Drop

Macau is a free port, meaning goods arriving in the city are exempt from customs duty while in transit. You'll find great bargains on clothing, jewelry (especially gold), antiques, watches, and electronics.

4. Glamorous Nightlife

Along with gaming tables, Macau's nightlife scene is full of upscale cocktail lounges and dance clubs for you to explore. Prepare to be dazzled by your options, with over-the-top decor and world-class sound systems in the dance clubs, chic rooftop bars, and live music venues among a wide range of choices.

5. Tasty Multicultural Cuisine

You'll find plenty of flavorful Mediterranean cuisine along with Cantonese dishes. You'll also find many restaurants offering Southeast Asian food, along with influences from throughout former Portuguese colonies.

What to do in Macau

1. Historic Centre: East Meets West

China's Colonial outpost, Macau's historic center is teeming with sights unlikely to be found on the mainland. The entire area is a UNESCO world heritage site, beginning with the gorgeous Ruins of St. Paul's Church. The site is now a time-worn facade surrounded by gardens and parks. Wander the surrounding streets to take in the history of the neighborhood. A-ma Temple offers the eastern perspective of the area, while St. Augustine's Square provides a dense smorgasbord of culture.

2. City of Dreams: Las Vegas of Asia

The notorious gambling hotspot of the region, Macau welcomes hoards of tourists to world famous Casinos. The City of Dreams is as vibrant and thrilling as it sounds. Lose yourself in the slot machines, practice your poker face at the tables, and try to get lucky at games you may never have heard of before. High-rollers winning big is also a sight to behold. For a change of pace, check out the historic Venetian Casino next door - the first on the Cotai Strip.

3. Macau Tower: Entertainment at new Heights

Every cosmopolitan metropolis has an iconic giant at the core of its skyline, and the Macau Tower does not disappoint. Over 1000 feet tall, the observation deck at the top is full of thrills. Skywalk X is a staggering guided tour along the outer rim of the tower. And for true daredevils, one of the world's tallest bungee-jumps can be arranged from this height. For a more mellow experience, a restaurant also awaits with panoramic views. Walk along the water after to see the Guan Yin Statue.

4. Largo do Senado: Shop, Eat, Shop, Eat

Another hub of Macau's historic center, Senado Square has ushered in a more contemporary feel as the center point for retail and dining. Find mouth-watering Chinese cuisine at some of the city's best restaurants in this area, and work off the full stomach checking out the endless retail options surrounding the square. At night, Senado becomes a popular meeting point, with the colonial facades and fountain at its center lit up in a delightful display.

5. Taipa: Little Village, Big City

Taipa was once a small village across the water from Macau, now integrated into the larger metropolis. Historical treasures can still be found while wandering these narrow streets, seemingly a world away from the teeming urban sprawl that surrounds the village. Indulge in fantastic restaurants, look for great finds in the flea market, and discover ancient landmarks. From temples to churches, East and West continue to mingle here. The Taipa Houses Museum at the Carmel Gardens is also a must-see.

Historic CentreHistoric Centre
City of DreamsCity of Dreams
Macau TowerMacau Tower

1. Historic Centre: East Meets West

China's Colonial outpost, Macau's historic center is teeming with sights unlikely to be found on the mainland. The entire area is a UNESCO world heritage site, beginning with the gorgeous Ruins of St. Paul's Church. The site is now a time-worn facade surrounded by gardens and parks. Wander the surrounding streets to take in the history of the neighborhood. A-ma Temple offers the eastern perspective of the area, while St. Augustine's Square provides a dense smorgasbord of culture.

2. City of Dreams: Las Vegas of Asia

The notorious gambling hotspot of the region, Macau welcomes hoards of tourists to world famous Casinos. The City of Dreams is as vibrant and thrilling as it sounds. Lose yourself in the slot machines, practice your poker face at the tables, and try to get lucky at games you may never have heard of before. High-rollers winning big is also a sight to behold. For a change of pace, check out the historic Venetian Casino next door - the first on the Cotai Strip.

3. Macau Tower: Entertainment at new Heights

Every cosmopolitan metropolis has an iconic giant at the core of its skyline, and the Macau Tower does not disappoint. Over 1000 feet tall, the observation deck at the top is full of thrills. Skywalk X is a staggering guided tour along the outer rim of the tower. And for true daredevils, one of the world's tallest bungee-jumps can be arranged from this height. For a more mellow experience, a restaurant also awaits with panoramic views. Walk along the water after to see the Guan Yin Statue.

4. Largo do Senado: Shop, Eat, Shop, Eat

Another hub of Macau's historic center, Senado Square has ushered in a more contemporary feel as the center point for retail and dining. Find mouth-watering Chinese cuisine at some of the city's best restaurants in this area, and work off the full stomach checking out the endless retail options surrounding the square. At night, Senado becomes a popular meeting point, with the colonial facades and fountain at its center lit up in a delightful display.

5. Taipa: Little Village, Big City

Taipa was once a small village across the water from Macau, now integrated into the larger metropolis. Historical treasures can still be found while wandering these narrow streets, seemingly a world away from the teeming urban sprawl that surrounds the village. Indulge in fantastic restaurants, look for great finds in the flea market, and discover ancient landmarks. From temples to churches, East and West continue to mingle here. The Taipa Houses Museum at the Carmel Gardens is also a must-see.

Historic CentreHistoric Centre
City of DreamsCity of Dreams
Macau TowerMacau Tower

Top activities & attractions in Macau

Where to Eat in Macau

Lai Heen, at the Ritz-Carlton, offers a stylish dining room and fantastic Asian cuisine, with dishes starting at about MOP$400. For authentic Portuguese cuisine with an emphasis on seafood, look to Fernando's Restaurant, with mains starting at about MOP$160. The Golden Peacock has a menu of authentic Indian cuisine in an elegant dining room, with main dishes starting at approximately MOP$280.

When to visit Macau

Macau in May
Estimated hotel price
$34
1 night at 3-star hotel
Macau in May
Estimated hotel price
$34
1 night at 3-star hotel

Summers are very hot in Macau, making the mild winters a popular time for tourism. Just be aware that from time to time, there may be cold fronts where the temperature drops to near freezing. The city is also especially crowded during the Lunar New Year celebrations in late January or early February of each year. Typhoon season occurs between mid-summer to fall.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Macau

Plane

The Macau International Airport (MFM) is located off shore on Taipa island. It is smaller than the airport in Hong Kong, but there is service to major Asian centers including Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur as well as many points in mainland China. Bus connections are available to town, with fares of MOP$33.50 plus extra charges for baggage. A taxi from the airport to destinations in the central part of Macau should cost about MOP$400. If your first stop is a casino, there are many free shuttles that will take you from either the airport or ferry terminal directly to the gaming tables. It is also possible to fly to Hong Kong and then take a ferry across the estuary to Macau. Fares for the ferry start at about HK$164 (MOP$168), with extra charges for baggage. There are also ferry connections to Shekou, Jiangmen, Fuyong, and the Shenzhen International Airport.

Train

Zhuhai Railway Station (or Gongbei Station), just over the border to Macau, connects the city to the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Railway. Rapid train service is available from Guangzhou, with connections from there to Shenzhen Railway Station and Hong Kong Railway Station.

Car

It is only possible to drive into Macau from mainland China if the driver of the car has both a Macau and Chinese driver's license, and the car is outfitted with numbered plates from both Macau and China. If you can meet those requirements, you can drive through the Portas do Cerco, located at the north tip of the peninsula, and the Lotus Bridge, which connects at the Cotai Strip.

Bus

There are many bus connections from the Macau Ferry Terminal and the city, making a bus-ferry combination possible from various points on the mainland. There are bus services in Macau to Guangzhou, along with Shenzhen airport and bus station. There is direct line from Dongguan. It is also possible to take the bus to Zhuhai and simply walk across the border to Macau.

Airports near Macau

Airlines serving Macau

Singapore Airlines
Excellent (310 reviews)
Thai Airways
Good (56 reviews)
EVA Air
Excellent (137 reviews)
Philippine Airlines
Good (178 reviews)
Scoot
Good (68 reviews)
Cebu Pacific
Good (28 reviews)
AirAsia
Okay (22 reviews)
Thai AirAsia
Excellent (18 reviews)
Philippines AirAsia
Good (11 reviews)
Air Busan
Excellent (3 reviews)
China Eastern
Excellent (11 reviews)
Air China
Poor (4 reviews)
XiamenAir
Excellent (1 reviews)
Shanghai Airlines
Excellent (2 reviews)
Air Macau
Excellent (1 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Macau

Macau Peninsula - this crowded part of town is where Macau connects to the mainland, and it's where you'll find most tourist attractions. The peninsula includes the older part of the city, with many colonial structures along with sleek modern businesses.

Popular Neighborhoods in Macau

The Cotai Strip - this is where you'll find most of Macau's casinos and huge shopping malls. The Strip is actually a causeway of reclaimed land that links the city proper to its island neighbors, Taipa and Coloane.

Coloane - this island is the southernmost part of Macau, and it's where you can escape the city streets. It has a hilly geography, with hiking trails and two beaches you can relax on, including Hac Sa, a beach with black sand, along with a golf course.

Most popular hotel in Macau by neighborhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Macau

Most booked hotels in Macau

Galaxy Hotel
Excellent (8.8, 303 reviews)
$104+
The Venetian Macao Resort
Excellent (8.6, 1307 reviews)
$89+
Studio City Hotel
Excellent (8.5, 508 reviews)
$67+
Hotel Royal Macau
Excellent (8.4, 216 reviews)
$30+
Sheraton Grand Macao
Excellent (8.3, 783 reviews)
$77+
Harbourview Hotel Macau
Excellent (8.3, 142 reviews)
$33+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Macau

Public Transportation

Three bus companies offer local transportation in Macau, including Transportes Urbanos Macau, Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos de Macau, and Sociedade de Transportes Públicos Reolian. The flat fare is MOP$25.50 for travel within the peninsula, MOP$33.50 to Taipa, and MOP$40.00 to Coloane. Be aware, however, that most drivers speak only Cantonese, so you should check your route before you go.

Taxi

Taxis can be scarce in town, and you may have to stand in line to wait for one. An average fare within the peninsula is about MOP$45. It is a good idea to have the name of your hotel or other destination written in Cantonese on a piece of paper you can show the driver, as most do not speak English. The Macau Peninsula is quite compact, and it's actually easy to walk to any destinations that interest you; this may be the better alternative.

Car

It is possible to drive in Macau with a Macau or International Driver's License, and while the streets are very crowded, it can be an alternative to queuing for taxis. Rates start at about MOP$800 per day, and companies include Avis and Vang lek Rent-A-Car Service, but be advised that you will have to book well in advance as the supply of rental cars is somewhat limited. Renting a car and driver is another alternative, with rates starting at about MOP$400 per hour.

The Cost of Living in Macau

Shopping Streets

There are shopping malls located throughout the peninsula and the Cotai Strip, including Avenida Infante Dom Henrique and Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, where you'll find local goods and souvenirs. Senado Square is a main area of central Macau, where the streets are lined with fashionable clothing boutiques and food stalls. New Yaohan, near the Ferry Terminal, is one of the city's most popular shopping centers and a great place to find discount electronics.

Groceries and Other

There are many grocery stores in Macau, including several locations of Royal Supermarkets on the peninsula, and Park 'n Shop Taipa on the island. A quart of milk costs about MOP$15.00 and a dozen eggs about MOP$18.50.

Cheap meal
$5.62
A pair of jeans
$60.38
Single public transport ticket
$0.40
Cappuccino
$3.87