Places in Macau
Fisherman's wharf, Macau
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

Fisherman's wharf, Macau

© Creative Commons / xiquinhosilva

Macau Travel Guide

Key Facts

28.2 sq km (10.9 sq miles).


601,969 (CIA estimate July 2017).

Population density

21,346.4 per sq km.


Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

Head of state

President of China Xi Jinping since 2013.

Head of government

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng since 2019.


220 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs with round or square pins are used.

Slipping more and more comfortably into its reputation as the “Vegas of the East,” Macau plays host to a dizzying array of large-scale casino resorts. Famously the world’s biggest gambling hub, it is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China – the other being neighbouring Hong Kong.

Macau showcases many of the same brands as its Nevada counterpart: MGM, Wynn and Sands are all in town, while its flagship Venetian Resort – complete with canals and mock Italianate plazas – is currently the largest casino on the planet.

But there’s more to the destination than poker tables and betting halls. When Macau's historic centre was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in 2005, it underlined the strategic and cultural importance which the territory has had over the centuries.

Portuguese colonists arrived in the mid-16th century and developed Macau into a major regional trading post. They held onto it long after it had been eclipsed by Hong Kong as a magnet for merchants; longer than they held onto Goa or Brazil.

Overlooking the South China Sea, Macau consists of a peninsula and two small islands, Taipa and Coloane. The three areas have been artificially joined by land reclamation, much of which is covered in casinos. Mercifully, it is possible to escape the neon lights and gambling dens in Macau’s urban parks and historic centre, where colonial Portuguese architecture sits among the bustle of a modern Asian city.

The street stalls and restaurants of the old town are also a fine introduction to local food, which encompasses traditional Chinese and Portuguese dishes alongside Goan, Brazilian and African influences.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

This travel advice covers the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR). For mainland China, see travel advice for China.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you: 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Macao set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Chinese Embassy in the UK.   

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Macao. 

Passport validity requirements

Your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 90 days after the date you leave Macao.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

Macao is part of the People’s Republic of China, but it remains a Special Administrative Region (SAR) with its own immigration controls.

You can stay in Macao for up to 6 months without a visa.

To stay longer (to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons), you must get a visa before arrival. Check which type of visa you need with the Macao Immigration Department.

Travelling through Macao to China

If you plan to travel through Macao to mainland China on a British passport, you must get a Chinese visa before you arrive at the border. If not, you could be fined or detained by the mainland Chinese authorities.

If you enter and leave Macao through mainland China, you must get a double or multiple entry visa to re-enter mainland China.  

The mainland Chinese authorities may carry out thorough checks at border crossings, including your electronic devices.

Vaccination requirements

To enter Macao, you must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a yellow fever vaccination if you’re coming from a country listed as a transmission risk.

For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Macao guide.


You must stay in licensed accommodation. You could be fined up to 3,000 Macanese pataca (£300) if you stay in illegal accommodation. Find accommodation or check your accommodation is licensed on the Macao Tourism Office website.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Macao. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Macao airport has a passenger guide that explains the allowances.

COVID-19 medicines and supplies

The Macao government limits the amount of some COVID-related medicines and supplies you can take out of Macao. Do not carry more than 5 boxes or bottles of:

  • analgesics and antipyretics
  • cold and flu medicines
  • antitussives and expectorants
  • COVID-19 rapid antigen tests

You are exempt from these rules if you have a prescription.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Macao

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Macao, attacks cannot be ruled out.


Protecting your belongings

Crime levels are low but pickpocketing and other street crime does happen. You should take particular care:

  • of passports, credit cards and money in crowded areas
  • of your belongings when checking out of hotels
  • when visiting casinos late at night

Contact the Tourism Crisis Management Office on (853) 2833 3000 (24-hour hotline) for immediate and general tourism advice in English.     

Laws and cultural differences

Safeguarding National Security Law  

You could face criminal charges if you take part in activities that the authorities believe threaten national security. This includes activities in and outside the Macao SAR, including the UK. The Safeguarding National Security Law (NSL) outlines the types of activities that are illegal, such as preparing for or carrying out treason, secession or subversion against the central government. The police have the right to collect evidence from individuals’ social media and private communications to gather evidence of NSL crimes.   

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Do not become involved with drugs. Possession of drugs can lead to imprisonment.

Using cameras in secure areas

Do not take photographs of military installations.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Macao, see information on information on driving abroad.

You can drive in Macao with a Hong Kong, Chinese or Portuguese driving licence.

If you are using a UK driving licence, you need a 1949 international driving permit (IDP) as well. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

If you still have a paper driving licence, you must update it to a photocard licence.

You will also need to register to drive in Macao for more than 14 days.

Car hire

Some car hire companies have additional requirements, such as at least a year of driving experience and a minimum age of 21.

Unlicensed taxis

Uber is illegal in Macao. The Macao police will take action against drivers and passengers of unlicensed taxi services, including Uber.

Extreme weather and natural disasters


Typhoon season normally runs from April to October. Typhoons very occasionally hit Macao and could cause flooding and landslides. Public offices will shut down when the ‘Typhoon 8’ signal is issued. Be aware of local warning signals issued in advance and follow advice issued by the local authorities.

Monitor weather updates from the World Meteorological Organization and the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau.

Read more advice on what to do if you are caught up in extreme weather or natural hazards.


Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:  

See what health risks you’ll face in Macao, including malaria and dengue fever.  


Prescriptions issued by UK doctors are not valid in Macao. You will need to see a local doctor to get a prescription.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities in Macao

FCDO has a list of medical facilities in Macao where some staff will speak English.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Macao  

Telephone: 999 (ambulance, fire, police)

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Macao and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Consulate General in Hong Kong who provide consular assistance for Macao.   

You can also contact FCDO online.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Macao on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.