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Macau

Macau Travel Guide — What to Know Before You Go (2020 Travel Update)

Macau, China is known for its huge casinos and Western cultural heritage tourism. Find out about where it is, what to see and do there, weather, tours...

Macau, also spelled Macao, is a tiny Chinese territory that is about 30 square kilometers in size, but despite its size it often ranks among the top 10 destinations in China. It is a fusion of East and West in lifestyles, architecture, and food. Known for its huge casinos and being the world's top gambling city, it also boasts some popular attractions for tourists to visit.

Where Macau Is

Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. Located on the southeast coast of China, it borders Guangdong Province of mainland China to the north. It is about 60 kilometers (37 miles) to the southwest of Hong Kong.

It takes about one hour to get there by ferry from Hong Kong and about four hours by air from Beijing.

Macau consists of the Macau Peninsula itself and the islands of Taipa and Coloane, which are now connected by landfill forming the Cotai strip.

Travel Alert and Tourism Opportunities for Winter 2019/2020

Senado Square Macau at Christmas Senado Square Macau at Christmas

Security will be tight in the week before Christmas, as Macau celebrates its 20th anniversary as a China Special Administrative Region (SAR) with a massive fireworks display on 20th December.

Massive protests have been held in Hong Kong in the last several months, and major public events for the Christmas season and Chinese New Year have been canceled or may be canceled. Macau provides an alternative place to go for fireworks, parades and celebrations that is fairly convenient. You can travel between the two regions by bus or ferry in an hour and a half or less.

Right now is an excellent season for shopping and hotel accommodations in Hong Kong however! Stores have overstocks that they want to sell, and some hotels in the best downtown locations have reduced their prices 70% to attract customers. You can easily travel between the two regions and stay, shop, and dine in Hong Kong at lower prices than maybe decades as you visit Macau.

With the construction of a new megabridge linking the two regions in 2018, transport between the two regions is easier than before. For more detailed Hong Kong travel information, see our Hong Kong Winterfest and Christmas pages. See Hong Kong to Macau Transport.

Visa-Free Travel

To promote tourism, Macau has some liberal visa-free entry policies for citizens of 66 countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, and most of the countries in Europe. The duration ranges from 180 days to 14 days, depending on nationality.

Top Things to Do in Macau

The Ruins of St. Paul's, Macau The Ruins of St. Paul's

Macau is a place where you can feel the rich Portuguese heritage fused with Chinese culture in street signs, architecture, food, and more. Here are some recommended things you can do in this wonderful destination:

  • Appreciate historical and cultural heritage, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of A-Ma Temple and the Ruins of St. Paul's.
  • Sample Macau's unique cuisine, which is a perfect blend of Cantonese and Portuguese cuisines. Learn more about Macau food.
  • If interested, you can explore the city's famous casinos, such as The Venetian Macau. Macau has earned the nickname of "Vegas of the East".
  • Enjoy duty-free shopping in Macau. There are malls and shops offering antiques, the latest styles of clothing, perfumes, cosmetics, jewelry, and more.
  • Walk around Old Taipa Village, one of only two traditional 'villages' that still exist in Macau.

Learn more about things to do in Macau.

The Most Popular Attractions in Macau

Monte Fort, Macau Monte Fort

The Historic Center of Macau, inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2005, is filled with cultural treasures:

  • A-Ma Temple: It is the oldest temple in Macau, and is an exemplary representation of Chinese culture inspired by Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and multiple folk beliefs.
  • Ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral: They are the ruins of a 16th century complex and regarded as one of Macau's best known landmarks.
  • Senado Square: It is the urban center of Macau. You may feel you are in a city by the Mediterranean Sea when you see the pastel-colored neo-classical buildings around the square.
  • Monte Fort: It is an almost 400-year-old stone fort, which offers superb sunset and casino views from the top.

The Best Time to Visit Macau

The best time to visit Macau is from October to December when the weather is warm and sunny, and humidity levels are low.

The weather from January to March is cold but sunny. It starts to get humid in April. From May to September, the climate becomes hot, humid, and rainy with occasional typhoons.

Our Most Popular Macau and Hong Kong Tours

The Venetian Macau The Venetian Macau

Hong Kong and Macau are only an hour away by fast ferry and an hour and a half by bus. It is easy to take a tour including the highlights of Hong Kong and Macau.

We at China Highlights specialize in private and personalized tours. We can help you tour the area and other parts of China as well. Just tell us your interests and requirements.

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