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Macau

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Asia : East Asia : China : Macau
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Location
[[File:noframe|250px|frameless]]
Flag
[[File:Mc-flag.png|108px|frameless]]
Quick Facts
Capital Macau
Government Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
Currency Macau Pataca (MOP), also Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) and Renminbi (RMB) are widely used
Area total: 28.2 km2
water: 0 km2
land: 28.2 km2 (2005, increasing due to land reclamation)
Population 453,125 (July 2006 est.)
Language Chinese (Cantonese) and Portuguese (official languages), Chinese (Mandarin) and English (spoken in tourist areas)
Religion Buddhist 50%, Roman Catholic 15%, none and other 35% (1997 est.)
Electricity 220 V, 50Hz (rounded 3-pin 5A and 15A plug and UK 13A plug)
Country code +853
Internet TLD .mo
Time Zone UTC+8

Macau (also spelt: Macao) (澳門, Ou3mun4 in Cantonese, Àomén in Mandarin; [1]) is a territory located in southeast China, and was until 1999 administered by Portugal as an overseas province. Like its formerly British neighbour Hong Kong, Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

Regions

Map of Macau

Macau is geographically divided into three main regions: a peninsula and two islands.

  • The Macau Peninsula is the northernmost region, connecting to the Chinese mainland. It is the center of most tourist activity and is densely crowded.
  • Taipa (氹仔 - Tamzai in Cantonese) is an island to the south of the peninsula, accessible via three bridges. It is a major residential center and is the location of Macau's International Airport.
  • Coloane (路環 - Lowan in Cantonese) is an island further to the south. It is considerably less developed than the other regions, with two beaches, several hiking trails and a resort. It is also the location of Macau's only golf course, though a second one is being built on the Cotai landfill.

Cotai (路氹 - Lotam in Cantonese, the name being a somewhat unimaginative contraction of Coloane and Taipa) can be considered a fourth region. It is an area of reclaimed land joining Taipa and Coloane, making them essentially into a single island. A large sports dome and several sports facilities were erected here for the 2005 East Asian Games. Massive development of casinos, a golf course and other facilities is continuing. This area is being billed as the Las Vegas Strip of the East, and is locally referred to as the Cotai Strip. The Lotus Bridge connects Cotai to the Chinese island of Hengqin, however this bridge is currently only open for goods vehicles.

The mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai borders Macau to the North, and the border crossing carries heavy two-way vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The Zhuhai Special Economic Zone extends south to the island of Hengqin, an area west of Taipa, Cotai and Coloane; the Lotus Bridge from Cotai connects to that area. There is significant movement by the local population of both Zhuhai and Macau across the border, making the two feel like twin cities.

Understand

As the first and last European colony in China, Macau has 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, that is. The Portuguese population continues to maintain a small presence, but most of the population is native Chinese.

Besides the city itself, Macau includes the islands of Taipa and Coloane, which are connected by bridges and a causeway.

History

In the 16th Century China gave Portugal the right to establish a colony on Macau in exchange for clearing the area of pirates. Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. It was also the last, when pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal in 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999, ending over 400 years of Portuguese administration.

China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs.

Like the Hong Kong SAR, Macau has its own government, passports, visas, postal system and currency.

Read

A Macao Narrative [2] by Austin Coates. Great introduction to Macau's colourful history. You can buy this book at the museum in the Fortaleza do Monte which overlooks the Ruins of St. Paul.

Get in

A few years back, the usual way to get to Macau was to fly into Hong Kong and take the ferry across to Macau (see next section). Today, Macau is becoming a low-cost airline hub, so one might fly to Macau to reach Hong Kong.

For most passports, you do not need to get a Macau visa in advance. 30-day tourist visas are routinely issued at all border crossing points.

By boat

Ferries from Hong Kong arrive 24 hours a day (every 15-30 minutes by day and every hour at night) at Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal on the Outer Harbour beside the Sands Casino. The cheapest one-way ticket from Hong Kong is HK$141, and the trip takes one hour.

If you arrive at that terminal, pick up a free bus schedule in the tourist information centre in the terminal building. There is a bus stop on the main road to the right as you walk out of the building. Buses 10 and 10A are among the most convenient for day tourists because the route passes by Senado Square, which is where most of the major tourist attractions are. Fares on the peninsula are MOP2.50. Many hotels offer free shuttles between the ferry terminal and the hotel.

The other less known ferry terminal is located at Pier No. 14 on the Inner Harbour and it is nearer to central Macau. From that terminal, cross the main road and turn left. Take the first right turn on a major road, after about 5 minutes walk. Walk uphill along this road to reach Largo do Senado. The whole walk is under 20 minutes.

By air

Macau International Airport (MFM) is off the shore of Taipa Island. Because of its low fees, it has been able to attract several low-cost airlines to serve Macau (whereas not a single one flies to neighbouring Hong Kong). Currently available are:

Other airlines such as Air Macau and Shanghai Air also have flights to Macau.

To reach Taiwan from mainland China, it is usual to fly via either Macau or Hong Kong, since (except for some charters at Chinese holidays) there are no direct flights.

To and from the airport: Bus AP1 plies a route between the airport and the Barrier Gate. Its route passes through several points on Taipa Island, then passes Macau Tower, Hotel Lisboa, the Macau Art Museum, the Sands and the Ferry Terminal on the way. It costs MOP3.30.

If you are bound for Zhuhai, there is a special bus you can take from Macau airport direct to the border, without going through Macau Customs or Immigration. See the Zhuhai article for details.

See also Discount airlines in Asia.

By car

You can enter by road from Gongbei, Zhuhai if your vehicle (cars only, no motorcycles) has both Macau and China number plates and the driver carries both Macau and China driver's licenses. Note that you have to switch sides of the road; China drives on the right, Macau on the left.

By bus

Travel Warning WARNING: A Chinese visa is required. You shouldn't take the bus to enter or leave Macau without your visa.

You can take the coach in Shenzhen or Guangzhou, the trip takes you about 2 hours and the fare is relatively cheap, around RMB70.

On foot

There is a land border with mainland China, between the Barrier Gate (Portas do Cerco) on Macau peninsula and Gongbei, Zhuhai.

From downtown Macau, the border is about 10 minutes and MOP30 away by taxi. There are also buses. On the Zhuhai side, the border post is in the Gongbei district, and there are many local buses serving the border crossing station.

You will need a Chinese visa to go to Zhuhai.

Get around

Largo do Senado

With an area of only a few square kilometers, peninsular Macau is navigable by foot. There are of course buses and taxis as well. The street signage is often poor if not lacking altogether so you may find yourself walking a few extra blocks in order to figure out the street you're on. Busses are operated by two companies, Transportes Urbanos Macau (Transmac) and Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos de Macau (TCM).

Taxis fares start at 11 patacas. Largo Do Senado to the border is about 30. The longest possible taxi ride (from the border post at the extreme north of Macau to Coloane in the south) would be well under 200.

Talk

Vong or Wong?
One of the oddities of Macau is that some Cantonese names and words that are pronounced with what in English is a "W" sound, and that in Hong Kong are transliterated with a "W", are transliterated with a "V" instead, such as in Cheoc Van (which in Hong Kong would be Cheok Wan). This can also be seen in the surname Vong (in Hong Kong Wong). No doubt Portuguese pronunciation has had an influence on this choice of transliteration. To complicate things further, this has not been done consistently so there are both Vongs and Wongs in Macau - both written with the same Chinese character.


Cantonese is the most commonly spoken language of Macao (88%, 2001 census). Mandarin is also widely spoken, especially by the educated.

English is spoken, especially by people in the tourism business. Nearly all museums and casinos have some staff with excellent English. So do many hotels, shops and restaurants, especially the up-market ones. However, English is not as widespread as in Hong Kong, and you will encounter plenty of people with little or no English (in fact, according to the 2001 census about half the population don't speak anything but Cantonese). This includes many taxi drivers, so be sure to have your hotel name in Chinese with you if you travel on your own.

Speakers of Portuguese won't find it very useful when talking to local residents (in the 2001 census, less than 1% of the population indicated it as their "usual language"), but it helps a lot in understanding place names and signs. Knowing any Romance language (French, Spanish or Italian) helps some.

See

Statue in front of Sao Paulo Cathedral
  • The ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral (Portuguese: Ruinas de São Paulo; Cantonese: 大三巴 daai saam ba) are the city's most famous landmark.
  • Above Saint Paul's are the remains of a fort, now the city's main museum. You can buy a pass that gets you into all Macau museums, cheaper than the individual admission fees if you want to see several.
  • Largo do Senado (Senate Square) is a colorful typical Iberian town square at the heart of the city.
  • On the hill between Largo Do Senado and St. Paul's is a church with an incredible interior.
  • The A-Ma Temple is perhaps the most famous Chinese temple in Macau. It's near the southern tip of the peninsula, on the west side.
  • Opposite the A-Ma Temple is the Maritime Museum, with exhibits on Macau's seafaring history. Admission: M$10; half-price on Sundays.
  • The Wine Museum and the Grand Prix Museum are both in the same building, north of the center of town.
  • From the Macau Tower you have a great view over Macau and Taipa.
  • Other good viewpoints are from Penha Church, providing a bird's eye view across the river into China as well, and Guia Fort, a Portuguese fort.
  • The East India Company Cemetery (also known as the Old Protestant Cemetery) is a lovely little piece of England in Macau. Look out for the grave of the Right Honourable Lord H.I. Spencer Churchill, ancestor of Winston Churchill, and also for the grave of the painter George Chinnery.
  • The Cemeterio de São Miguel Arcanjo (Saint Michael the Archangel Cemetery), a classic example of Sino-Portuguese Culture. A great place for lovers of angel statues.
  • The Kun Iam Tong (觀音堂) is a large, old Buddhist temple to the north of downtown. It's a little out of the way, but is definitely worth a visit if you're into temples.
  • Tucked in the corner of a cobblestone square to the left of the ruins of St. Paul's is the tiny Na-Tcha Temple, dedicated to the Chinese deity Prince Nata.
  • Rua da Felicidade (Happiness Street), the old red light district. Today it is a fairly interesting shopping street with various antiques and handicrafts. South and East of Largo Del Senado.

Do

Gambling

The Casino Lisboa

Gambling is Macau's biggest industry, and busloads arrive daily from mainland China to try their luck. In addition, many Hong Kongers arrive on weekends with the same aim. Most casinos are along the waterfront on the southern side of Macau peninsula. For many years, the Casino Lisboa was the most famous and a landmark well known to people outside Macau, but it is being eclipsed by Sands Casino which opened in 2004.

There are ATM machines available at either casino as well as forex facilities to change your money. Gamblers are required to be at least 18 years of age to be allowed to play. Interestingly, local civil servants are not allowed to enter the casinos with the exception of the first three days of the Chinese new year.

North of the Lisboa is a strip with many smaller casinos, a number of hotels and bars, and quite a few restaurants. This can be one of the more interesting areas of Macau; among other things it has quite a good Indian restaurant and several Portuguese ones. However, parts of it are also fairly sleazy, with lots of hookers and touts, so some caution is in order.

  • Wynn Macau, Avenida Da Amizade, +(853) 88 99 66 (), [3]. On 6 September 2006 Wynn's huge casino/hotel/resort complex opened, and many expect it to soon surpass all of its rivals in gambling income.
  • Rio Hotel & Casino, Rua Luis Gonzaga Gomes, +(853) 718718 (fax: +(853) 718 728), [4].
  • Sands Macau, Avenida de Amizade, +853 883388, [5]. The Sands offers a more open Las Vegas feel along with a smoke-free gaming room, the Pearl Room. Tables at the Sands play almost exclusivly in HKD.
  • Casino Lisboa, [6]. The Lisboa offers an older world Macau feel on its gaming floors, structured in a labyrinth of different clubs and rooms for various levels of play. Tables play in both MOP and HKD.

Go Karting

There is a go-kart track on the southern end of Cotai (the reclaimed area between Taipa and Coloane islands). You can reach it by bus from Macau and Taipa on route 21, 21A, 25, 26 and 26A, and from Taipa on route 15. Casual rates (as of Jan 2007) 100/180MOP for 10/20 min. You can also book the track for a private event but they require 7 days notice. The track itself is quite good taking about a minute to navigate, at a leisurely pace.

Adventure Activities

At the Macau Tower, a 338.8m tall structure (3 and 8 are Cantonese lucky numbers!) with a revolving restaurant at its top and a convention and shopping centre at its base, the visitor to Macau can savour a different kind of excitement: New Zealander AJ Hackett's company [7] offers a set of adventure activities. There's a mast climb that takes you to the very top of the tower; a jump off the side of the tower from 233m above ground with a rope attached to your back; a walk around the handrail-less rim of the tower; as well as bouldering and sport climbing at the tower's base.

Swimming

Macau has two beaches on the southern side of Coloane island that are frequented by locals and visitors, especially at the weekend:

Hac Sa (黑沙 - black sand) beach, the larger of the two, in a bay with the Westin resort on its eastern end. The water is of mediocre quality but brave swimmers can enter the water here. Those less brave choose the swimming pool just opposite the beach.

Cheoc Van (竹灣 - bamboo bay) beach, a smaller and more beautiful beach. The sand here is golden and more inviting to sunbathe or play on. There is a nice curved swimming pool just by the beach (as opposed to the traditional rectangular one at Hac Sa). A cordoned-off area of the bay is set aside for swimmers, and members of the Winter Swimmers Association go swimming here daily (yes, even in the coldest of winter!).

Besides, there are several public swimming pools all over Macau.

Hiking/Cycling

The two Taipa Hills are suitable for hiking and cycling. The larger hill, on the east side of the island right next to the airport, has several unpaved hiking trails that can also be used for mountain-biking. The smaller hill, on the west side of the island, has a low-traffic paved road circling it which is suitable for cycling and running.

On Coloane the large hill area in the centre of the island is criss-crossed by several unpaved hiking trails of various length and difficulty. These are also suitable for mountain-biking. It is advisable to cycle there early in the mornings or on weekdays to avoid the crowds of hikers that can sometimes be found here on weekends.

For those without their own bicycles, there are (very mediocre, at best) bicycles for rent in Rua Governador Tamagnini Barbosa in Taipa village, just behind the bus stop of bus routes 11, 15, 22, 28A, 30, 33, and 34.

Bowling

At the Macau Dome (澳門蛋) in Cotai area is a bowling centre of international standard (constructed in 2005 for the East Asian Games). There are 24 lanes, the first four of which may be used by children as these lanes are equipped with raisable borders. A lane costs MOP20 per person and game during the day, MOP30 in the evening. The Macau Dome can be reached from Macau and Taipa by bus 21, 21A, 25, 26, or 26A, or from Taipa by bus 15 (get off at Rotunda Flor de Lotus).

Buy

Penha Church

The currency of Macau is the pataca, which is divided into 100 avos. There are about 8 patacas to the US dollar.

Hong Kong dollars, which are almost equal to the pataca in value, are accepted by most businesses on a 1:1 basis, but you may have some trouble with the HK$10 coin, which many businesses do not accept because there have been many forgeries recently. Chinese Yuan (RMB/CNY) are also frequently accepted and can easily be changed for either Hong Kong dollars or patacas.

Getting money is quite easy as there are banks and ATMs on nearly every street. Holders of a debit card on the international networks will have no issues withdrawing money. Holders of Chinese Union Pay cards will not have trouble either withdrawing local currency from their RMB denominated accounts. ATMs usually dispense in MOP (100 and 500 bills) and HKD (100 and 500 as well) and some will also dispense in CNY.

Try not to leave Macau with a lot of Patacas. Unlike the Hong Kong dollar, they are quite hard to exchange in Western countries.

Eat

Macau is famous for excellent restaurants, unique cuisine and mellow bars. It is a premier dining and drinking destination in Asia. The Portuguese brought not only European cuisine, but also influences from their other colonies (Brazil, Goa and Angola) to Macau. As a result the city now offers one of the world's most intriguing gastronomic adventures. Look for local specialties such as bacalhau (salted cod) and African chicken.

There are a few interesting departures from standard Cantonese fare that you can try in Macau. Portuguese cuisine is available at a number of restaurants, and for a snack, try the milk pudding at the cafes in Largo do Senado. Street stalls sell tasty strips of barbecued pork as well. For the budget-minded, wander the back alleys and you'll come across plenty of mom-and-pop Chinese eateries. Note that most of these places have menus on the walls that are hand-written in Chinese only.

  • Fernando's, Hac Sa Wan, Coloane. 882531. Delicious food in a homey atmosphere. They have their own way of doing things; credit cards are not accepted, reservations cannot be made (except on weekdays for large parties) (on weekends head through to the courtyard bar at the back, give your details and relax with a jug of Sangria); ask for Ketchup if you dare. For two people, the Salad (comes with freshly baked bread), the Prawns and the Chicken (served on a bed of chips) should be sufficient.
  • Clube Militar, originally a club for Portuguese military officers, this is now a classy restaurant. Turn left on the main street as you leave Largo do Sendao and left again at the first major street. After the park a block along, look for strange pink building a bit off to your right.
  • Nga Tim, Coloane Village, Coloane. What a beautiful outdoor setting! Located in the colonnade on the left as you face St. Francis Xavier Church, the restaurant serves up authentic Portuguese and Chinese fare with views of the church plaza and the waterfront. Popular with tourists and locals, they accept credit cards and are reasonably priced.
  • Lord Stow's Bakery, Coloane Village, Coloane. Famous for cheesecake, fruitcake, sandwiches, and its specialty - Portuguese egg tarts - that are famous throughout Asia.
  • Margaret's Cafe e Nata, Gum Loi Building, Macau. The owner used to be married to Lord Stowe mentioned above. Slightly different egg tarts - try both and decide for yourself which are best.
  • A Lorcha, No.289 Rua Do Almirante Serigo (near A-Ma temple). many say this is one of the best restaurants in Macau. Book in advance if you come on a weekend or Hong Kong holiday. Phone 313193 & 313195. Famous for their clams and African chicken.

As you exit Largo do Senado onto the main street, cross the road and turn right. A few meters along is a restaurant with excellent Portguese food on one floor and Thai food above that.

Drink

According to Macau's special style, various types of drinks have became popular. Macau residents enjoy having beer as entertainment after work. Therefore, clubs and bars are open more frequently. To best fit the Macau-savvy image, coffee should be the first drink to mention since Macau has a strong multicultural sense. Drinks to be enjoyed include vinho verde, a Portuguese white wine that complements salty Macanese food, and caipirinha, a delicious Brazilian cocktail.

Sleep

Hotel rates are most expensive on Friday and Saturday nights. Try to make a booking through a travel agent, even if for the same day, as the rates can be substantially lower than walk-in rates.

If you are coming from Hong Kong, book through an agent at the Shun Tak ferry pier for the best deals. Getting a package deal including return ferry tickets gives you the best price.

The budget tourist should be aware that in the Inner Harbour area many of the pensions and two star hotels are also the place of business for many of the mainland PRC prostitutes that work in Macau. For example, entry into the London Hotel in the evening will be an eye opening experience for the unsuspecting tourist.

In the following, budget accommodation is one that carries a 2-star rating or below, a mid-range place has a 3-star rating, and a splurge place has a 4-star rating or above.

Macau Peninsula

Budget

  • Augusters Lodge,24, Rua Do Dr. Pedro Jose Lobo, Floor 3J, Block 4, Edf. Kamloi, Macau

66645026 or 28713242, One of the few hostels in Macau.[8]

  • East Asia Hotel, Rua da Madeira, no. 1A, Ph: +853-28922433, Fax: +853-28922430. Located within 10 minutes walk from Pier No. 14 in central Macau and in close proximity to most tourist attractions.
  • Hotel Central, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, no. 264-270, Ph: +853-28373888, Fax: +853-28372404.
  • Hotel Holiday, Estrada do Repouso, no. 36-38, Ph: +853-28350161, Fax: +853-28350191.
  • Hotel Hong Thai, Rua de Cinco de Outubro, no. 177-179A, Ph: +853-28939199, Fax: +853-28308223.
  • Hotel Jai Alai, Av. da Amizade Palácio da Pelota Basca, Ph: +853-28725599, Fax: +853-28726105.
  • Hotel Kou Va, Rua da Felicidade, no. 71, Ph: +853-28375599.
  • Hotel London, Praça de Ponte e Horta, no. 4-6, Ph: +853-28937761, Fax: +853-28939790.
  • Hotel Nam Tin, Travessa da Praia Grande, no. 4, Ph: +853-28711212, Fax: +853-28711127.
  • Hotel Sun Sun, Praça de Ponte e Horta, no. 14-16, Ph: +853-28939393, Fax: +853-28938822.
  • Hou Kong Hotel, Travessa das Virtudes, no. 1, Ph: +853-28937555, Fax: +853-28338884.
  • Macau Masters Hotel, Rua das Lorchas, no. 162-178, Ph: +853-28937572, Fax: +853-28937565, Email: frontdesk@mastershotel-macau.com, [9].
  • Man Va, Rua da Caldeira, no. 32-34, Ph: +853-28388655, Fax: +853-28342179.

Midrange

  • Emperor Hotel, 51 Rua de Xangai, Ph: +853-28781888, Fax: +853-28782287, Email: info@emperorhotel.com.mo, [10].
  • Fu Hua Guangdong Hotel Macau, 98-102, Rua Francisco Xavier Pereira, Ph: +853-28553838, Fax: +853-28527575.
  • Grand Emperor Hotel, Avenida Comercial de Macau, no. 251-292D, Ph: +853-28889988, Fax: +853-28889933, Email: sales@grandemperor.com, [11].
  • Hotel Fortuna, 63, Rua de Cantao, Ph: +853-28786333, Fax: +853-28786363, Email: fortuna@hotelfortuna.com.mo, [12].
  • Hotel Guia, 1-5, Estrada do Eng. Trigo, Ph: +853-28513888, Fax: +853-28559822, Email: guia@macau.ctm.net.
  • Hotel Mondial, 8-10, Rua de Antonio Basto, Ph: +853-28566866, Fax: +853-28514083.
  • Hotel Sintra, Av. D. Joao IV, Ph: +853-28710111, Fax: +853-28510527, Email: rsvn@hotelsintra.com, [13].
  • Kingsway Hotel, 230, Rua de Luis Gonzaga Gomes, Ph: +853-28702888, Fax: +853-28702828, Email: reservation@hotelkingsway.com.mo, [14].
  • Metropole Hotel, 493-501, Av. da Praia Grande, Ph: +853-28388166, Fax: +853-28330890. Situated in the commercial district of Macau, with an ocean view and Taipa bridge in sight. It is close to many popular destinations: banks, post office, cinema and shopping arcade, convenient to both business and relaxation.
  • Sands, Avenida da Amizade, Edf. Casino Sands, Ph: +853-28883388, Fax: +853-28883377.
  • Victoria Hotel, Estrada do Arco, no. 118, Ph: +853-28556688, Fax: +853-28557788.
  • Waldo Hotel, Quarteirão 6, Lote J - Zape, Ph: +853-28886688, Fax: +853-28886699.

Splurge

4-star

  • Casa Real Hotel, International Centre, Avenida do Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues, no. 1118, Ph: +853-28726288, Fax: +853-28726726, Email: casareal@macau.ctm.net.
  • Holiday Inn, 82-86, Rua de Pequim, Ph: +853-28783333, Fax: +853-28782321, Email: himacau@macau.ctm.net, [15].
  • Hotel Beverly Plaza, 70, Avenida do Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues, Ph: +853-28782288, Fax: +853-28780704, Email: beverly@macau.ctm.net, [16].
  • Hotel Golden Dragon, Quarteirão 3, Zape, Ph: +853-28361999, Fax: +853-28361333, Email: info@goldendragon.com.mo, [17].
  • Hotel Presidente, Avenida da Amizade, Ph: +853-28553888, Fax: +853-28552735, Email: mgtpst98@macau.ctm.net, [18].
  • Metropark Hotel Macau (formerly known as "Hotel Grandeur, Macau"), 199, Rua de Pequim, Outer Harbour, Ph: +853-28781233, Fax: +853-28781211, Email: hotel@metroparkmacau.com, [19].
  • Rio Hotel, Quarteirão 9, ZAPE, Ph: +853-28718718, Fax: +853-28718728, Email: info@riomacau.com, [20].

5-star

  • Wynn, rua cidade de sintra, NAPE, Ph: +853-2888 9966, Fax: +853-2832 9966, Email: inquiries@wynnmacau.com, [21] Macaus newest luxury edition. Gaming, entertainment, dining and spa.
  • Hotel Lisboa, 2-4, Avenida de Lisboa, Ph: +853-28377666, Fax: +853-28567193, Email: lisboa@macau.ctm.net, [22].
  • Hotel Ritz, Rua do Comendador Kou Ho Neng, Ph: +853-339955, Fax: +853-28317826, Email: ritzrsvn@macau.ctm.net, [23]. Situated amidst the breath-taking Penha Hill overlooking the panoramic view of Praia Grande Bay and Macau-Taipa Bridge, Hotel Ritz occupies the best location in Macau. It is next door to the popular spot Penha Church, and within short distance from A-Ma Temple as well as the city centre.
  • Hotel Royal, 2-4, Estrada da Vitoria, Ph: +853-28552222, Fax: +853-28563008, Email: info@hotelroyal.com.mo, [24]. Located at the foot of the historic Guia Light House and facing the Vasco da Gama Park. Nearby business district and tourist attractions are within walking distance.
  • Mandarin Oriental, 956-1110, Avenida Amizade, Outer Harbour, Ph: +853-28567888, Fax: +853-28594589, Email: momfm@mohg.com, [25]. This unique hotel is the only resort hotel set in the city centre.
  • Pousada de São Tiago, Avenida da Republica, Fortaleza de Sao Tiago da Barra, Ph: +853-28378111, Fax: +853-28552170, Email: saotiago@macau.ctm.net, [26].
  • The Landmark, 555 Avenida da Amizade, Ph: +853-28781781, Fax: +853-28786611, Email: info@landmarkhotel.com.mo, [27].

Taipa Island

Midrange

  • Best Western Hotel Taipa, Estrada Governador Nobre Carvalho, no. 822, Taipa, Ph: +853-28821666, Fax: +853-28820333, Email: hotel@hoteltaipa.com, [28].

Splurge

4-star

  • Golden Crown China Hotel, opposite to the Macau International Airport, Taipa, Ph: +853-28851166, Fax: +853-28851199, Email: htlchina@macau.ctm.net.
  • Grandview Hotel, 142, Estrada Governador Albano de Oliveira, Taipa,, ''+853''-28837788 (, fax: ''+853''-28837736), [29]. The Grandview hotel is located in the heart of Taipa Island, seconds away from the Macau Jockey Club, Four-faced Buddha, and the Macau Stadium, and only five minutes from the Macau International Airport. Best rates on official website start at HK$380.
  • Hotel Taipa Square, Rua de Chaves, Taipa, Ph: +853-28839933, Fax: +853-28839922, Email: info@taipasquare.com.mo.
  • Pousada Marina Infante, Aterro COTAI, Marina de Taipa Sul, Taipa, Ph: +853-28838333, Fax: +853-28832000, Email: info@pousadamarinainfante.com, [30].

5-star

  • Grand Waldo Hotel, Avenida Marginal Flor de Lotus, Taipa, Ph: +853-28886888, Fax: +853-28886889, [31].
  • New Century Hotel, 889, Av. Padre Tomas Pereira, Taipa, Ph: +853-28831111, Fax: +853-28832222, Email: nch@macau.ctm.net, [32].
  • Regency Hotel, Estrada Almirante Marques Esparteiro, Taipa, Ph: +853-831234, Fax: +853-28830195, Email: reservation@regencyhotel.com.mo, [33].

Coloane Island

Splurge

4-star

  • Pousada de Coloane, Praia de Cheoc Van, Coloane, Ph: +853-28882143, Fax: +853-28882251, www.hotelpcoloane.com.mo. Family hotel that actually feels more like a 3-star hotel.

5-star

  • The Westin Resort, 1918 Estrada de Hac Sa, Coloane, Ph: +853-28871111, Fax: +853-28871122, Email: macau@westin.com [34]. Macau's most expensive hotel and a good place to relax by the pool or on the golf course. Also renowned for its lunch and dinner buffets.

Learn

Macau has 12 tertiary education institutions. Besides some smaller and more specialized schools (Security Forces School, Tourism School, European Studies Institute, etc), the ones of importance are:

  • University of Macau [35]. The oldest and most popular university, established in 1981 (then under the name University of East Asia). Offers degree programmes in a wide variety of fields at all levels, including pre-university courses, bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees. The majority of degrees are taught in English, except education and law which are taught in a choice of either Chinese (Cantonese) or Portuguese.
  • Macau University of Science and Technology [36]. Established after the 1999 handover of Macau to China, courses are mainly taught in Chinese (Mandarin) by professors from the mainland, and a significant portion of its student population draws from the mainland too.
  • Macau Polytechnic Institute [37]. A spin-off of the former University of East Asia, it was established in 1991 to provide practice-oriented education and training mainly to the local population.
  • Macau Inter-University Institute [38]. Established in 1996, it originally only offered postgraduate education, but since 2005 also offers undergraduate degree courses, and since 2006 pre-university courses, mainly in the humanities.

Work

Non-residents who wish to take up employment in Macau need to obtain a valid work permit and are then issued the so-called Blue Card (officially called Non-Resident Worker's Permit). The process takes approximately a month to receive a work permit, at which time employment may begin, and another 1-2 months to receive the Blue Card.

As illegal employment has over the past decades been a problem plagueing Macau, the authorities do crack down severely on any offenders (both worker and employer) caught. Visitors are therefore advised not to engage in illegal employment.

Stay safe

Severe weather

There is a risk of typhoons, mainly between July and September. A system of typhoon warnings is in place that are issued by the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau [39] and are broadcast widely on television and radio:

  • Number 1: tropical cyclone is within 800km of Macau
  • Number 3: tropical cyclone is likely to bring winds of 41-62 km/h to Macau, with gusts of 110km/h (usually issued when the typhoon is within 300km of Macau)
  • Number 8: tropical cyclone is nearing Macau, bringing with it winds of 63-117 km/h, and gusts of up to 180 km/h
  • Number 9: the centre of the tropical cyclone is approaching Macau and it is expected that Macau will be severely affected
  • Number 10: the centre of the tropical cyclone will hit Macau directly, with mean wind speed over 118 km/h and intense gusts

During a number 8, 9 or 10 typhoon most everything in Macau shuts down (all schools, all government departments, and the large majority of work places and shops). People stay home and it is not advisable to venture outside as there is the risk of injury or worse from flying debris.

Crime

  • You should beware of pickpockets, especially in tourist areas.
  • Recently a scam involving mainland Chinese visitors asking for money has become widespread, mainly in downtown Macau. These people, who are usually properly dressed, claim to have lost their wallet and not to have eaten the whole day, asking for MOP20-30 to buy some food. The police have issued warnings in the local media not to give money to these people.
  • In the mid-90s, Macau had some vicious gang wars among the Chinese triads, with mobsters with automatic weapons fighting each other and some high-ranking police who got in their way. However, first the Macau police cracked down and then the Chinese took over which is believed to have scared the triads into more low-profile activity. There has been no sign of open mob conflict since the 1999 handover. The triads usually don't bother ordinary people, so the advice is not to mess with them (such as by borrowing money from loan sharks and then failing to repay it), and they won't mess with you!

Stay healthy

One unexpected cause of sickness in Macau is the extreme temperature change between 35°C (95°F) humid summer weather outdoors and 18°C (65°F) air-conditioned buildings. Some people experience cold symptoms after moving between the two extremes often; it is not unusual to wear a sweater or covering to stay warm indoors, and it is therefore usually good advice to carry a long-sleeve item of clothing when expecting to visit air-conditioned places for extended periods of time.

Whilst tap water is technically safe to drink (taste aside), most locals boil or filter their water or buy inexpensive bottled water.

Because of recent concerns about SARS and the threat of Avian Flu, good personal hygiene is strongly advisable. Wash hands before eating and after returning from public areas to your place of accommodation.

There have been some cases of Dengue fever in recent years. The government has pro-actively sprayed insecticide in areas where there is the potential of mosquito breeding, so this risk is largely contained. However it is best to avoid being bitten by using mosquito repellent and/or wearing long clothing, especially at dusk.

When eating sea-food make sure the food is properly cooked as you may otherwise end up with an upset stomach or worse.

Respect

Most Macau people are quite friendly but may be shy when approached by foreigners as only a small minority of locals speak English well enough to communicate.

When visiting Chinese temples basic respect should be shown, but taking photos is usually allowed and you don't need to ask for permission as long as there isn't a no-photography sign posted.

Contact

The tourist information offices on Largo do Senado and at the jetfoil terminal have maps, information on museums and events, helpful English-speaking staff, and at the Largo do Senado office free Internet access. You may have to queue for the Internet, since there are only a few machines.



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