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Macau

3.8 /5 33 votes

Weather:

Best Time: Middle of October to December. Read More

Ideal duration: 3-5 days

Nearest Airport: Macau Check Flights

"Las Vegas of the Far East "

Macau Tourism

The resort city of Macau, or Macao, is an amalgam of holidays, events and festivities. Lauded as the 'top gambling destination in the world', Macau is located in southern China, a one-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong. Spread across 30 square kilometre in size, it is small enough to feel intimate yet big enough to retain a degree of mystery.

The most densely populated region in the world, Macau offers a bevvy of world-class luxury entertainment. Though that'n not all! You just need to take a step back into the old town to get a dose of its rich Portuguese history and Chinese culture. The historic centre of Macau is home to 25 historic locations listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Macau was a Portuguese colony for 300 years, which manifests in its lifestyle, architecture and food. One of the most striking landmarks is the Macau Tower offering sweeping views of the glitzy city. Places like St Paul's Ruins, A-Ma Temple and Monte Fort tell a tale of its wonderful heritage.

South of Macau are the former islands of Coloane and Taipa, connected together by Cotai, where lies the epicentre of giant casinos and gaudy malls. The food of Macao is based on Cantonese and Portuguese cuisine with influences from Indian and Malay dishes. A fusion of east and west in all aspects, Macau has much to see, do and eat!

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Shopping in Macau

Due to its free port status, shopping in Macau is one of the top picks from the list of things to do by tourists and travellers from all over the world. Known more for luxury shopping, it is a bit difficult to find local arts and handicrafts in Macau, though there are some antique shops and stalls located near the Senado Square, Ruins of St Paul's and Rua Do Cunha.

If you are on a budget then Cinema Alegria Night Market is best to buy clothes, accessories and some lip-smacking delicacies. Visit New Yaohan and Macau Landmark for buying duty-free electronic gadgets. Jewellery, watches, wines and other accessories are the best to buy in Macau.

Currency in Macau

The official currency of Macau is the Macau Pataca, often abbreviated to “MOP”. But because it is pegged to the Hong Kong Dollar, HKD is also widely accepted within the country making it the semi-official second currency in Macau.

One Pataca (MOP$) is divided into 100 Avos (Similar to Paisa in India) and are issued by the Money Authority of Macau in denominations of 10, 20 and 50 avos, and 1, 2, 5 and 10 patacas. The banknotes are printed in both Chinese and Portuguese and are issued by the Banco Nacional Ultramarino and the Bank of China in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 MOP$. 

ATMs are widely available throughout the region and it allows the customers to withdraw cash in either Macau Pataca or Hong Kong Dollar. Cards are generally accepted in hotels, casinos and restaurants.

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Exchanging Money in Macau

The exchange rates of the Macau Pataca with some of the other popular currencies used in the region as of January 2020 are:
1 Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) = 1.03 MOP$
1 US Dollar (USD) = 8.01 MOP$
1 British Pound (GBP) = 10.48 MOP$
1 Chinese Yuan (CNY) = 1.15 MOP$
1 Indian Rupee (INR) = 0.11 MOP$

If you’re on the lookout for currency exchange centres, apart from the 24-hour money exchange facility available at the Macau International Airport, currency can also be exchanged at ferry terminals, shopping malls, major hotels and tourist areas.

Daily Budget for Macau

Daily expenses in Macau can range anywhere between under MOP$1000 per day for the budget traveller to above MOP$2000 if you're the one who likes to splurge. 

Religion of Macau

Macau is predominantly represented by Buddhism and Chinese folk religions. Over eighty percent of the population in Macau practices Buddhism. Other religions occupying a certain structure of the place are Islam, Taoism, Christianity and other folk religions.

Macau Customs

  • It is considered rude to gift someone bells and clocks as gifts in Macau, as they are often considered as a token of hope that someone will die in the family.
  • It is customary to accept a token of thanks given by a family and it’s impolite to reject them.
  • Be sure to take off anything covering your forehead when you enter a temple as a gesture of respect.
  • Never put chopsticks upright on the rice bowls.
  • The tea lids should remain open as they are regularly refilled by the host.
  • Tipping is not a commonly used practise in Macau; however, a small amount is appreciated.

Language of Macau

The official languages of Macau are Cantonese and Portuguese. Cantonese is the most commonly spoken language in Macau while Mandarin is not so common. Even though Portuguese is considered one of Macau’s official languages only around 0.7 per cent of the population speak it. English is also widely spoken language in the region, especially at all the tourist-related spots like hotels, restaurants, and attractions.

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History of Macau

Going back to over six thousand years, Macau was home to a lot of different and diverse civilisations. It was a thriving port under the rule of the Portuguese for a century, as it served as a link between Asia and the rest of the world. Exotic goods like spices, silks, teas and more were all bought and sold by international merchants. It also served as a base of operations for St. Francis Xaviers whose influence led into building a number of churches that still stand tall today. However, this age of prosperity did not last long, as the British slowly gained control over its trade routes. Later, it even fell under the shadow of Hong Kong and thrived as a perfect getaway space for activities like espionage, crime, gambling and such.

It was only in 1999 that Macau was returned to China after being under the rule of Hong Kong over the ‘One Country, two Systems’ policy which states that Macau would remain a capitalist economy under China for fifty years. Today, Macau ranks among the top five richest territories on Earth and has emerged with a multi-million dollar travel industry and as the top gambling region in the world.

Nightlife in Macau

There's a reason Macau is known as the Las Vegas of the Far East, it's best to tuck your kids into bed before hitting the nightlife scene in Macau. The nighttime entertainment includes gentlemen's clubs like - Divino Gentleman's Club, Playmates Strip Club and Live adult shows at places like Golden Dragon, Fortuna and Jai Alai. Besides this Macau also has a lot of nightclubs like - Sky21 Lounge, China Rouge, D2 Nightclub, MGM Lions Bar and Club Cubic Macau.

Restaurants and Local Food in Macau

There are some great outlets in Macau for various foods - some expensive, some very low budget- all equally delicious. Portuguese egg tarts ar Lord Stow's, pork chop bun at Tai Lei Lok Kei which is in Taipa, egg rolls at 312 Rua Direita Caros Eugenio in Taipa sold by a local, Portuguese seafood rice at Temptations, Prawn Tartar at Casa de Tampas, almond cookies and sweet pork jerkey. Serradura for their desserts like chilled puddings, pork lard at Casa dos Grelhados and black garlic chocolate at McPherson's sweet's shoppe.
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