In recent years Macau has become the foremost gambling hub in the Oriental world, providing a rich environment for gamblers and poker players alike to visit. With a wide range of casinos, the biggest poker cash games in the world, and a host of shows and other entertainment to enjoy, there is much to do and see here, making it a popular tourist destination.
This article will provide useful information for travelling to this exotic locale, some advice on the best accommodation once you arrive and other general tips to assist you in your stay.
The history of Macau is an interesting one. A former Portuguese colony, since 1999 Macau has operated as an SAR (Special Administrative Region) of China. This gives the area autonomy from China in several key areas, meaning it has its own distinct legal, economic and judiciary system.
Its lenient policies on gambling have encouraged casino enterprises to flourish and much of Macau’s industry is now built on the tourism associated with gambling. Revenue from gambling has now made it the world’s top casino market, surpassing even Las Vegas.
Before you can experience the many attractions of this exciting destination however, you’ll need to travel there. Here’s our poker travel tips.
Macau is a peninsula of China, and can be reached by land, sea or air, depending on where you are travelling from. If you are travelling any distance from Macau, you will likely have to stop off in at least one other Asian airport before continuing through to Macau.
Hong Kong airport is a popular nexus point, and from there you have many options, so we’ll run through some of the best of these. However, please note that access from other major Chinese cities is also possible and depending on what deals are available from the travel operator you choose, you may prefer to travel via a different airport.
Here are our suggestions for the best ways to travel to Macau.
Reaching Macau by Ferry
This takes approximately one hour.
From Hong Kong Island – Macau
These ferries are operated by TurboJet (Tel: +853-7907039 in Macau, +852-28593333 in Hong Kong) and the cheapest tickets will cost around HKD$142.
From Hong-Kong International Airport – Macau
The advantage of travelling direct from the airport by ferry is that you can bypass Hong-Kong immigration, which can be a lengthy process. Buy your ticket in advance online and you can even get your bags checked in all the way to Macau. Fares start at HKD$180 and services are operated by TurboJet Sea Express.
Reaching Macau by Air
Macau International Airport (MFM) hosts traffic from a number of neighbouring Asian airports, including Beijing, Nanjing, Ningbo and Shanghai as well as Hong Kong.
More extravagant visitors might choose the option to reach Macau by helicopter with flights between Macau’s Terminal Maritimo and the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Pier operating every 15-30 minutes. This will cut your journey time down to a mere 16 minutes but expect to pay a minimum of HKD$3,700 (USD$476) for the privilege.
As Macau is a peninsular, it is also accessible by foot, bus and car, although be warned these methods will take much longer than the methods listed above.
As you would expect of a glamorous gambling destination, Macau offers a wide range of hotel accommodation, boasting luxurious surroundings at very affordable prices. Where you intend to visit or play will dictate the best location for your hotel but below we’ve listed some hotels that we would recommend.
(Prices will vary throughout the year based on seasonal fluctuations.)
Royal Hotel Macau (5 stars)
Estrada da Vitoria 2-4, Macau, Macau.
The Royal Hotel offers 5 star facilities at a very reasonable price. It is a twenty-minute drive from the airport and is a little away from the major hustle and bustle of Macau, providing a tranquil base to retreat to following an action-packed day.
The Venetian Macau Resort Hotel (5 Stars)
Estrada Da Baia De North Senhora Da Esperanca S/n Taipa Macau, Macau
Another hotel offering first class services, The Venetian is famed for its elegant ambience and decadence. Expect to pay a premium for these luxurious furnishings though – this is not a hotel for the traveller on a modest budget.
Although Macau is a hot and humid area, you will find many buildings air conditioned and extremely cool, so bear this in mind when choosing your clothing. The local currency is the pataca (MOP) which is roughly equivalent to the HKD in value (USD$1 = 7.75MOP.)
Whilst abroad in Macau, here are some useful contact numbers and information.
999 is the number to dial for the emergency services and there is also a supplemental number – 112 – for the police’s special tourist hotline.
Passport/ Visa Issues
If you experience passport or Visa difficulties whilst in Macau, you may need to contact the British consulate-general in Hong Kong to assist. Below are the contact details:
Hong Kong, British Consulate-General
1 Supreme Court Road
Visa Information Services (+86) 21 2893 9105
Passport Information Helpline (+44) 208 082 4744