Out of all the places for punters to visit, none are more alluring than Macau. This bustling city is more than Asia’s gambling hub, it showcases a rare unity of Eastern & Western cultures. Once a key trade port for the Portuguese, Macau was given back to China in 1999. From there it opened its doors to a slew of larger than life casinos, quickly becoming an oasis for gambling.
This couldn’t have been at a better time, since it allowed Chinese companies to skirt Hong Kong’s strict gambling laws. Macau is located just across the river from Hong Kong, & it can easily be accessed by ferry. This short trip is going to be even easier once the bridge is built. It’s currently under construction, but it will open doors to even more tourism from China.
Even without the bridge, Macau has made undergone dramatic changes in the last 10 years. They are home to the Venetian Macao, the largest casino in the world. On top of this massive achievement are countless other massive casinos. Together they have surpassed Las Vegas in revenue, & these figures continue to grow each year. All these rapid advances make Macau the perfect escape for punters.
There’s no amenity missing from this bustling city, but there are still a few things to know when traveling there. A few tips go a long way, saving tourists both time & cash. For this reason, we have compiled a list of Macau travel tips for travelers visiting this marvelous city. It should be on any punter’s bucket list, so prepare to plan the trip of a lifetime!
Indispensable Macau Travel Tips
Travel Tip #1: Language & Etiquette – Even though locals are friendly to tourists, they are extremely shy around Westerners. This is due to the fact that only a small minority of the population speak English. Cantonese & Portuguese are the main languages, so getting around can be a challenge. To avoid any confusion, have someone from your hotel or place you are visiting write down your next destination.
The etiquette of Macau is surprisingly strict, so try to blend in as best as possible. Dress codes are aggressively enforced, so don’t be surprised if you are denied entry while wearing informal attire. Tipping isn’t common place, since a 10% service charge is included in the price of most goods. Even though it’s rare, small tips are appreciated by waiters & bellhops.
Travel Tip #2: Best Times to Visit – Depending on the time of year, your trip to Macau can vary drastically. This area is generally hot & humid, so showing up in the wrong season can be extremely uncomfortable. The ideal time to visit Macau is from October to April, when the weather is cool & dry. During this season temperatures rarely slip below 14°C, & the humidity stays manageable.
If you are unlucky enough to travel to Macau from June to September, bring an umbrella. The temperatures routinely surpass 30°C & the humidity levels are horrific. Typhoons are another inconvenient reality, so umbrellas are essential for surviving surprise rainstorms. This may be the most uncomfortable time to visit, but it does provide cheaper rates & less crowds. The choice is up to you, since you will most likely spend your trip in air-conditioned casinos & hotels.
Travel Tip #3: Currency Conversion – It may be part of China, but Macau maintains a separate currency. They use the pataca (MOP), which converts to roughly 8 patacas to the US dollar. While this is the official currency, Hong Kong dollars are preferred at casinos. Every atm dispenses both currencies, but the best deals are on the street. Independent money changers at the Barrier Gate offer the most favorable exchange rates. Patacas can’t be changed outside of Macau, so remember to change all notes before leaving the city.