Macao has a long history. The first known settlers were fishermen from Fujian Province and farmers from Guangdong Province. It was named Ou Mun (the Chinese name for Macao), or “Door of the Bay”, because of its location in the Pearl River Delta.
Macao had been under Portuguese rule for over 400 years from the middle of the 16th to the end of the 20th century. Under the mixed influences of both Eastern and Western cultures, Macao has developed its unique culture and evolved from a small village into a beautiful and peaceful international city that attracts travellers from all over the world.
On 20 December 1999, Macao’s sovereignty was returned to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and since then becomes a Special Administrative Region of the PRC. Benefiting from the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, Macao SAR remains a unique society, where Eastern and Western cultures continue to flourish and complement each other.
Location, Area, and Population
Macao is located on the west bank of the Pearl River Delta, neighbouring major cities like Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Macao has a total area of 31.3 km2 and is comprised of the Macao Peninsula, the islands of Taipa and Coloane , as well as the Cotai area..
The population is around 600,000, most of which are ethnic Chinese. About 6% of the population consists of Portuguese and other ethnic groups.
The official languages in Macao are Chinese and Portuguese. In everyday life, most people speak Cantonese (a Chinese dialect) and some speak Portuguese. Some local people can also speak English and Mandarin, but learning some expressions in Cantonese, such as numbers, names of places, and food, will certainly help you in your daily life. Local students are happy to teach you Cantonese. So, try to talk with the local students and learn some Cantonese!
The Pataca (MOP) is the official currency in Macao. There are coins and banknotes in the following denominations:
Coins: 10, 20, and 50 cents; 1, 2, and 5 Patacas
Banknotes: 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 Patacas
Foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks or authorized money exchange dealers located around the city. Banks usually provide better exchange rates.
Macao has a subtropical climate with an annual average temperature of about 20°C. The temperature can rise above 30°C in summer and drop to 10°C in winter. Humidity is high and the average values vary from 73% to 90%. The average annual rainfall is around 2000mm, with the heaviest precipitations during summer.
The bus service in Macao is provided by 2 companies: Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos de Macau, S.A.R.L. (TCM) and Transportes Urbanos de Macau, S.A.R.L. (TRANSMAC). Most buses travel around Macao, Taipa, and Coloane daily from 6a.m. to midnight. There are both Chinese and Portuguese route descriptions at each bus stop.
For more information about bus passes or routes, please visit the website of the Transport Bureau: http://www.dsat.gov.mo/bus/en/search_index.aspx
or contact the bus companies:
|Bus Company||Tel. Nr.||Website|
|Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos de Macau, S.A.R.L. (TCM)||2885 0060,
|Transportes Urbanos de Macau, S.A.R.L. (TRANSMAC)||2827 1122||http://www.transmac.com.mo/|
The fare for a single trip is MOP6. No change is available on the buses. You are required to pay by coins, monthly pass, or “Macau Pass”.
The Macau Pass is a rechargeable stored value smart card for making electronic payments. You can use the card for payment on buses and also in some other shops. Subsidised by the Macao Government, you can enjoy a discount on bus fares by using Macau Pass Student Card. It costs only MOP1 for any bus route.
The Macau Pass Student Card is a personalised card with your name, photo, and period of validity. Please do not share your Macau Pass with anyone. If the card is lost, you need to report to the Customer Service Centre immediately.
|Location||Address||Tel. Nr.||Office Hours|
|Macau Pass Customer Service Centre||Avenida da Amizade No.918, World Trade Centre, Res-Do-ChaoA-B, Macau||2875 2132||Monday ‒ Sunday 10:00 ‒ 19:00
(Closed on Mandatory Holidays)
|Estrada Marginal da Areia Preta, No.235, Nam Ou Fa Un Res-Do-Chao G, Macau||2872 7688||Monday ‒ Saturday 10:00 ‒ 19:00
(Closed on Mandatory Holidays)
The flagfall charge of taxis in Macau is MOP19 for the first 1600 metres. MOP2 will be charged for every additional 240 metres as well as waiting on passengers’ request for every 60 seconds. There is a MOP3 surcharge for each piece of luggage stored in the trunk, MOP5 surcharge for boarding at the University of Macau, Macau International Airport or trips from Macao to Coloane, and MOP2 surcharge for trips from Taipa to Coloane. There is no surcharge for trips from Macao to Taipa or from the two islands back to Macao.
You can also make phone booking for taxis, Booking fee for special taxi (applicable when the taxi arrives within 10 minutes after the booking time) is MOP5, the booking fee is not applicable when a special taxi different from the type requested is sent without the passenger’s prior consent.
Sightseeing and Travelling
Macao has a history of over 400 years and has been a melting pot of the East and the West. There are a lot of well-preserved historical architectures and modern buildings that are definitely worth visiting. Some of the most attractive spots include Leal Senado, Ruins of St. Paul, Monte Fort, Museum of Macao, Penha Hill, Macao Tower, Statue of Kum Iam, A-Ma Temple, Lin Fung Temple, Kun Iam Temple, Lou Lim Ieoc Garden, etc. There are many attractive spots in Taipa as well, including Pou Tai Un, Taipa Village, Carmo Church, and Taipa Houses-Museum, where you can immerse yourself in both the Chinese and the Portuguese cultures.
The above information is just an abstract of the popular sightseeing spots in Macao. There are far more interesting places awaiting you to discover. For more information, please visit:
Macao Government Tourist Office
During vacations, many students enjoy visiting nearby regions. Visiting Hong Kong and Zhuhai is convenient. You can travel to Hong Kong by ferry in an hour and to Zhuhai by crossing the border. Students from the United States, Canada, and many European countries can travel to Hong Kong without a visa. You may get further information at the website of the Immigration Department of Hong Kong:
Mainland China students entering Hong Kong and international students entering China are required to have a visa, which can be applied at the China Travel Service (Macau) Ltd.
Address: Avenida Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues, Edf. Nam Kong, 1/F
Tel.: 2870 6888
Eating and Shopping
Macao is famous for its international cuisines — Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Brazilian, Italian, French cuisines, etc. You should definitely try local Macanese cuisine, which is actually Portuguese food in Macanese style. You can find good Macanese restaurants close to the A-Ma Temple, along Rua do Almirante Sérgio and Rua Central and Travessa de S.Domingos in the city centre, along Rua do Cunha and Rua Fernando Mendes in Taipa, on Hac-Sa beach, and in Coloane Village. Besides, there are a lot of Chinese restaurants that serve delicacies with different flavour and style. You may try “Yam Tcha” (or “dimsum”, a Cantonese way of dining and is a custom for many local Macanese) in the morning or during lunch time in the Chinese restaurants.
There are many restaurants along the two sides of Rua da Dr Sun Yat Sen and at the city centre in Taipa. Some of these restaurants provide delivery services, so students can collect their takeout menus and make phone orders when needed.
For shopping, Rua de Campo, Rua de S. Domingos, and Rua Pedro Notasco De Silva are full of boutiques and shops, such as “Sun Star City” and “New Yaohan”, which sell fashionable clothes and items. If you are interested in traditional Chinese items such as collectibles, antiques, clothestea, etc., you may enjoy a treasure hunt in shops around Senado Square and Ruins of St. Paul.
If you like luxury items, you may visit the shopping malls in our grand hotels and resorts, such as The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel, Wynn Macau, MGM, City of Dreams, Studio City, Galaxy Macau, etc.
Useful Contact Information:
|Organisation/ Services||Tel. Nr.||Organisation/ Services||Tel. Nr.|
|Emergency||999||Weather Report||1311 / 1312|
|Police||2857 3333||Directory Enquiries||181|
|Fire Station||2857 2222|
|Conde de São Januário General Hospital (CHCSJ)||2831 3731|
|Hospital Kiang Wu||（Macao）2837 1333
|MUST University Hospital||2882 1838|