Visitors to the Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China requiring a visa may obtain it upon arrival in Macau for a fee of MOP100. Visas can also be obtained from Consulates or Embassies of China in Hong Kong or elsewhere. Access to and from Macau is chiefly by boat from Hong Kong. Large numbers of competing vessels make the one-hour journey between Macau and Hong Kong's Shun Tak Centre daily. They include jetfoils, catamarans and high-speed ferries. Tickets vary slightly in price according to type of boat, time and class of travel. Ticket prices all include a government departure tax. In Macau, advance tickets are available from the Jetfoil Terminal in the Outer Harbour. Otherwise, for travel in either direction, simply show up at the pier, purchase a ticket for the next sailing, clear passport control and board. Guangzhou is the other important city linked to Macau by boat. By air, you can fly to and from Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan, Bangkok, Pyongyang and Singapore. Hopefully soon, direct flights from Europe and North America will be included. By land, you can walk across the border (daily 7am-9pm) at the Barrier Gate, into the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone. Alternatively, there are two daily bus services from Guangzhou, taking six hours. The MTIB (Macau Tourist Information Bureau) can provide you with more details; tickets are available at the Kee Kwan Motors on the inner harbour. There are no import or export restrictions on currencies.
Lantern Festival, Macau
Macau is subtropical and therefore humid conditions prevail with moderate temperature fluctuations depending on the season. Extreme weather, although rare, comes in the form of tropical cyclones or depressions. Ample and adequate warning signals are given to alert the public. In springtime (Mar.-May), evenings can be cool enough to warrant a lightweight jacket or sweater. Summer (June-Sept.) has the humidity at its highest (86% avg.) and temperatures hover between 18C-33C. Autumn sees clear sunny days and wonderful temperatures-even the humidity is backed off some. Winter months are from December to February and generally mild with occasional drops in temperature to a chilly 10C (50F).
Legal tender in Macau is the Pataca (MOP) = 100 avos. Notes are in denominations of MOP 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of MOP 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20 and 10 avos. Hong Kong dollars are widely accepted.
Foreign currency may be exchanged at hotels, banks and licensed bureaux de change (moneychangers). Numerous ATMs are available for cash withdrawal by credit card. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. Travellers' cheques may be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and at many hotels. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros.
UTC / GMT (+8) Macau follows the daylight saving time system from mid-April to mid-September.
In China, banks, offices and government departments are open Monday to Saturday. Most will open for business at around 08:30, close for lunch from 12:00 to 14:00, when they will reopen until around 17:30. Many branches of the Bank of China open Sunday morning but some will close on Wednesday afternoon.
Telephone: IDD service is available. International facilities are available at the General Post Office at Leal Senado Square, Macau City, the Central Post Offices in Taipa and Coloane, as well as all phone booths.
Dual band GSM network covers the whole territory. Main operators include CTM (website: www.macau.ctm.net) and Hutchison Telephone Company (website: www.hutchisonmacau.com) and SmarTone (website: www.smartone.com.mo). Major hotels have fax facilities. Internet service providers include MacauWeb (www.macauweb.com). Telegram services are available at larger hotels and telecommunication offices, as well as all phone booths. Airmail to Europe takes 5 to 7 days. Automatic vending machines are available at various locations for stamps. Newspapers are in Portuguese or Chinese, however, there are English-language papers available from Hong Kong.
220 volts (50 Hz) There is no standard plug size in Macau; check with your hotel regarding its type.
The official languages are Chinese (Cantonese) and Portuguese. English is widely spoken by those engaged in trade, tourism and commerce.
Business people are expected to dress smartly. Calling cards are essential, appointments should be made in advance and punctuality is appreciated. Some finer restaurants have a dress code. Tipping in Macau is very important. Waiters and waitresses will expect around ten percent of the bill. Even when there is a service charge already included, it is still customary to leave a small amount. Taxi drivers tend to round up the fare to the nearest Pataca and if not, will appreciate a little extra. Bellboys, porters and toilet attendants will also expect a small tip
Getting around the city is relatively easy. Public buses run from 6:45 am to midnight. All the city's cream and black taxis are metered (they have a surcharge for each piece of luggage put in the trunk). The radio-dispatched taxis are yellow and many of the drivers do not speak English so it is handy to carry a bilingual map. Rental cars are easily available, but keep in mind parking is difficult to find.
Health care facilities are adequate but foreign visitors are advised to carry comprehensive medical coverage.