Macau – composed of Macau Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane – is located in southern China, in Guangdong Province on the west side of the Pearl River Delta. Immediately to the north lies the city of Zhuhai, called by some the 'Chinese Riviera', while about 37 miles (60 km) east is Hong Kong, which like Macau has incorporated its Chinese and European legacies into a distinctive character all its own.
As a subtropical city, Macau has a moderate climate, with temperatures ranging on average between 20 ºC (68 ºF) and 26 ºC (79 ºF) and an average annual rainfall of about 2,058 mm. The city welcomes visitors year-round, with prime visiting season is in the fall, from October to December, when the days are warm and the humidity is low.
Summer (May to September) is the rainy season, and can be sultry, with the occasional typhoon. In accordance with the city's typhoon warning system, if a signal no. 8 or higher is hoisted, the cross-sea bridges will be closed for safety, including the Governador Nobre de Carvalho Bridge, the Friendship Bridge, the Lotus Bridge and the upper deck of the Sai Van Bridge (though the lower will be kept open to light traffic if possible). Expect outbound ferries and flights to be delayed as well.
Except for residents of a few countries whose nationals are exempted, all visitors to Macau are required to have a visa. A visa can be obtained through PRC embassies or consulates, or applied for upon arrival at the immigration checkpoint; however, be advised that residents of some countries may be legally required to obtain a visa before traveling to Macau.
For individuals traveling on their own, the cost of the visa at arrival is MOP100 for adults and children 13 and up, MOP50 for children under 12, or MOP200 for a family passport. For those traveling as part of an organized tour group with appropriate documentation, the cost is MOP50 per person.
Foreign nationals of the following countries/territories can enter Macau visa-free:
For up to 180 days: United Kingdom
For up to 90 days: All European Union member states, plus Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cape Verde, Dominica, Egypt, Ecuador, Grenada, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Serbia, South Korea, Switzerland and Tanzania
For up to 30 days: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Kiribati, Malaysia, Monaco, Namibia, Philippines, Russia, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United States and Uruguay
Travelling to Macau
Travel to Macau is easily arranged, with options to suit most itineraries. Those who prefer to travel by air can take a direct or connecting flight to Macau International Airport, while those looking to indulge may want to check out the helicopter service that runs from Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Ferries are also an affordable option, run regularly between Macau, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and offer stunning views of the coast and the city skylines. Visitors traveling from or via the Mainland can cross into Macau by land at the Lotus Bridge in Cotai or at the Border Gate on Macau Peninsula.
Though Cantonese is the most widely spoken language in town, English is also common, especially in tourism and commerce. The official languages of Macau, used in government departments, official communications and documentation, are Chinese and Portuguese.
Macau's official currency is the pataca (MOP), which is divided into 100 avos (cents) and linked to the Hong Kong dollar (HKD) by government decree at an exchange rate of MOP103.20 to HKD100.00, with an acceptable variation of up to 10%. Coins are issued in 10, 20 and 50 avos and 1, 2, 5 pataca denominations, and bills in 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 Pataca denominations.
Visitors who need to exchange foreign currencies or traveler's checks can do so at banks, hotels, or authorized exchange dealers, which can be found throughout the city. At this time, one US dollar (USD) is worth roughly MOP8.
Water and Electricity
Macau draws purified and chlorinated water from mainland China, with distilled drinking water available in all hotels and restaurants. The city uses a voltage of 230V and a frequency of 50Hz, with square-shaped and round-shaped 3-pin plugs. Check your electrical devices for compatibility before use.