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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > China > Macau

Macau travel guide

About Macau

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.

Key facts

Area:

28.2 sq km (10.9 sq miles).

Population:

601,969 (CIA estimate July 2017).

Population density:

21,346.4 per sq km.

Government:

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.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Macao on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Commercial flights are currently only operating between Macao and cities in Mainland China.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Macao.

Everyone should comply with the measures put in place in Macao to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Public spaces and services

As of 3 May, Macao has introduced a QR three-colour code system, which replaces the previous digital health declaration needed at border checkpoints and for entering public administration premises, casinos and other venues. The new code requires its registrants to confirm whether they have been in COVID-19 quarantine at home or in a government-run facility and consists of three colours: red, yellow, green. Visitors receiving red or yellow codes may be subject to testing, hospitalisation or restrictions on their movements.

Bus services between Hong Kong and Macao, using the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, recommenced a limited service on 8 May. All passengers wanting to board a shuttle bus to cross the bridge departing from Hong Kong to Macao must present a certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within seven days of their departure. Contact the service provider for the latest schedule.

Healthcare in Macao

For contact details of doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Macao.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Macao

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. As further information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. Sign up to get email notifications.

The Macao SAR Government’s national vaccination programme began on 9 February 2021. British Nationals resident in Macao are eligible to take part. You should visit the Government of Macao SAR’s national vaccination programme website for further details and information on how to book an appointment.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organization COVID-19 vaccines page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

The Macao government website provides further information.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Macao, attacks can’t be ruled out. You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

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 more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Crime

Crime levels are low but pick pocketing and other street crime can occur in some areas. Take extra care of passports, credit cards and money in crowded areas. Be careful of your belongings when checking out of hotels. Take extra care when visiting casinos late at night.

The Tourism Crisis Management Office (853) 2833 3000 (24 hour hotline) are able to provide general assistance in English, Cantonese, Putonghua and Portuguese to tourists in Macao.

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

Do not take photographs of military installations.

Take care when visiting Macao to stay in licensed accommodation. You risk penalties of up to MOP3000 (£300) if you stay in illegal accommodation.

The Macao authorities consider the taxi service Uber to be illegal, and the Macao Police has recently been taking enforcement action against both the drivers and passengers of unlicensed taxi services, including Uber.

For more information on visiting Macao, see the Macao government tourist information website for more details.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Macao

The Macao government has announced that all travellers arriving in Macao, who are not residents of Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan or mainland China, will be denied entry.

Residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan or mainland China who have travelled overseas in the 21 days prior to their arrival will also be denied entry.

Testing / screening on arrival 

As of 3 May, Macao has introduced a QR three-colour code system, which replaces the previous digital health declaration needed at border checkpoints and for entering public administration premises, casinos and other venues. The new code requires its registrants to confirm whether they have been in COVID-19 quarantine at home or in a government-run facility and consists of three colours: red, yellow, green. Visitors receiving red or yellow codes may be subject to testing, hospitalisation or restrictions on their movements.

Screening on departure

All air and ferry passengers departing from Macao must present a certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within seven days of their departure.

Travellers from Macao to Guangdong must present negative test results for COVID-19 issued by either Taipa Maritime Terminal or the Conde de Sao Januario Hospital only. Travellers presenting negative results from any other hospital or clinic will not be allowed to cross the border.

Quarantine requirements

Residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan or Mainland China, who have visited Hong Kong 21 days prior to arriving in Macao, must hold a certificate of a negative result for COVID-19 nucleic acid test performed within the past 24 hours and will need to go to a designated places for a 14-day medical observation on arrival in Macao.

Residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan or Mainland China, who have visited Taiwan 14 days prior to arriving in Macao, must hold a certificate of a negative result for COVID-19 nucleic acid test issued within the past 7 days and will need to go to a designated places for a 14-day medical observation.

Residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan or Mainland China, who have visited Mainland China 14 days prior to arriving in Macao, must hold a certificate of a negative result or a certificate of specimen collection for COVID-19 nucleic acid test issued within the past 7 days. The Macao Special Administrative Region Government has placed further restrictions on arrivals from specific locations within Mainland China. You can find details from the Macao Government Tourism Office.

Transiting Macao

As of 3 May, two of Macao’s mainland border crossing points have resumed normal service. Macao’s Barrier Gate checkpoint at the Zhuhai land border is operating between 6am and 1am daily. The Macao-Zhuhai checkpoint on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is also operating between 8am and 10pm. Private cars are allowed to access these two border crossings.

Transit services are suspended at Macao International Airport.

All other crossings between Hong Kong and Macao have ceased until further notice.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

Although Macao is now part of the People’s Republic of China, it remains a Special Administrative Region with its own immigration controls. You can stay in Macao for up to 6 months without a visa. If you intend to work in Macao you must get a visa before arrival. Contact the Macao Immigration Department.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of one month from the date of entry into Macao. If you are staying longer than one month your passport must be valid for the duration of your visit.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Macao.

Visits to mainland China

If you intend to travel to mainland China via Macao using a British passport you must get a Chinese visa before arrival at the border. Failure to do so could result in a fine and possible detention by the mainland Chinese authorities. If you’re entering Macao via mainland China and leaving again via the mainland you’ll need to have a double or multiple entry visa to re-enter mainland China.

There are reports of greater scrutiny from mainland authorities at border crossings into Macao at this time, including checks on travellers’ electronic devices.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Macao on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Macao.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Medical treatment

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Prescriptions issued by UK doctors are not valid in Macao. To obtain prescription medication, you will need to see a local doctor. For further information, see our list of medical facilities in Macao.

Health risks

Dengue fever is common in Macao. You should take precautions against mosquito bites.

The typhoon season normally runs from April to October. Typhoons very occasionally hit Macao and may cause flooding and landslides. Warning is given in advance. Public offices shut down when the ‘Typhoon 8’ signal is hoisted. You should follow advice issued by the local authorities.

Monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation, the China Meteorological Administration and the Japan Meteorological Agency. See our Tropical cyclones page for advice on what to do if you’re caught up in a tropical storm.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can not provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can not offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can not find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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