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Macau is bordered with Zhuhai of Mainland by land and is surrounded by ocean. It consists of Macau peninsula, Taipa and Coloane islands.

* Please click the above figure to get a larger/printable picture.

A Brief History of Macau
Fishermen from Fujian and farmers from Guangdong were the first known settlers in Macau, when it was known as Ou Mun, or "trading gate", because of its location at the mouth of the Pearl River downstream from Guangzhou (Canton). During ancient times port city was part of the Silk Road with ships loading here with silk for Rome.

Even after China ceased to be a world trade centre, Guangzhou prospered from seaborne business with the countries of Southeast Asia, so the local entrepreneurs welcomed the arrival of Portuguese merchant-explorers. They followed in the wake of Jorge Alvares, who landed in southern China in 1513, and set about finding suitable trading posts.

In the early 1550s the Portuguese reached Ou Mun, which the locals also called A Ma Gao, "place of A Ma", in honor of the Goddess of Seafarers, whose temple stood at the entrance to the sheltered Inner Harbor. The Portuguese adopted the name, which gradually changes into the name Macau, and with the permission of Guangdong's mandarins, established a city that within a short time had become a major entrepot for trade between China, Japan, India and Europe.

It also became the perfect crossroad for the meeting of East and West cultures. The Roman Catholic church sent some of its greatest missionaries to continue the work of St Francis Xavier, (who died nearby after making many converts in Japan). A Christian college was built, beside what is now today's Ruins of St Paul's, where students such as Matteo Ricci prepared for their work as Christian scholars at the Imperial Court in Beijing. Other churches were built, as well as fortresses, which gave the city an historical European appearance that distinguishes it to this day.

Portugal's golden age in Asia faded as rivals like the Dutch and British took over their trade. However the Chinese chose to continue to do business through the Portuguese in Macau, so for over a century the British East India Company and others set up shop here in rented houses like the elegant Casa Garden. As Europe's trade with China grew, the European merchants spent part of the year in Guangzhou, buying tea and Chinese luxuries at the bi-annual fairs, using Macau as a recreational retreat.

Following the Opium War in 1841, Hong Kong was established by Britain and most of the foreign merchants left Macau, which became a quaint, quiet backwater. Nevertheless it has continued to enjoy a leisurely multicultural existence and make daily, practical use of its historical buildings, in the process becoming a favorite stopover for international travelers, writers and artists.

In modern times Macau has developed industries such as textiles, electronics and toys, as well as building up a world class tourist industry with a wide choice of hotels, resorts, sports facilities, restaurants and casinos. As in the past, Macau's economy is closely linked to that of Hong Kong and Guangdong Province, in particular the Pearl River Delta region, which qualifies as one of Asia's "little tigers". Macau provides financial and banking services, staff training, transport and communications support.

Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China since 20 December 1999, and, like Hong Kong, benefits from the principle of "one country, two systems". The tiny SAR is growing in size - with more buildings on reclaimed land - and in the number and diversity of its attractions. The greatest of these continues to be Macau's unique society, with communities from the East and West complementing each other, and the many people who come to visit.

Getting to Macau

  • By Air

  • - Helicopters
    East Asia Airlines and Heli Express Limited co-operates aircraft between the helipads on the Macau and Hong Kong Ferry terminals. Each flight takes only approximately 16 minutes. Macau to Hong Kong service operates from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and the Hong Kong to Macau service operates from 9:30 a.m. to 10:59 p.m.

    The helicopter service between Macau Ferry Terminal and Shenzhen Baoan International Airport, PRC is also provided. The journey takes about 15 minutes at day and approximately 25 minutes at night. Macau to Shenzhen service operates at 9:45 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:45 p.m., 4:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. and the Shenzhen to Macau service operates at 11:45 a.m., 1:45 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.

    Passengers can enquire for flight details from their Hotline: Macau (853) 2872 7288; Hong Kong (852) 2108 9898, Shenzhen: (86) 755-2777 8333 or visit the website: http://www.heliexpress.com.

    - Aircrafts
    Tourists can use the Macau International Airport for travelling to several destinations in the region on direct flights or catch connecting flights to different portsof Asia, Europe or America. The airport is located on Taipa Island and is 15 minutes away from the Macau Ferry Terminal, 20 minutes from the Barrier Gate and only 10 minutes away from the COTAI Frontier Post. It operates 24 hours a day. For detailed information on flight schedules, please dial (853) 2886 1111 or visit http://www.macau-airport.com.

    Reservations on Air Macau flights can be made through telephone number (853) 8396 5555 or website: http://www.airmacau.com.mo. Air Macau counters are located at the Airport (Departures - 2nd floor) and 398 Alameda Dr. Carlos d'Assumpção, R/C, Macau. Viva Macau flights can be reserved at Tel: (853) 2871 8880, through their website, http://www.flyvivamacau.com or visit their office at 12/F, AIA Tower, No 251A-301, Avenida Comercial De Macau, Macau.

    There are approximately a dozen and a half companies flying to and from Macau, connecting to several cities in Mainland China, Taiwan, Korea and Southeast Asia. (For detailed information on immigration and customs formalities, you can visit the Immigration Services website at http://www.fsm.gov.mo).

    - Transportation Service
    All major hotels provide pick-up service which can be booked in advance or arranged on arrival. Taxis are air-conditioned and inexpensive, they are freely available at the taxi station outside the Airport. There will be a surcharge of five patacas and each piece of luggage carried in the trunk will cost three patacas.

  • By Sea

  • (1) Hong Kong International Airport Ferry Terminal to Macau Ferry Terminal, Macau
    (2) Hong Kong Ferry Terminal to Macau Ferry Terminal
    Tourists can find quite a number of jetfoils, Catamarans and ferries available, run by TurboJET, First Ferry and the Cotai Strip CotaiJet™.

    - TurboJET
    Journeys will take one hour from Hong Kong to Macau and vice versa operating almost 24 hours. Drinks and snacks are available on board. The ticket prices range from MOP142 in Economy class on weekdays day service to MOP176 Economy class for night service. Tickets in Super class range from MOP244 to MOP275, VIP cabins for 4 to 6 persons are available at prices from MOP976 to MOP1,650. Trips are made between the Hong Kong Ferry Terminal (located in the Shun Tak Centre at Sheung Wan) and the Macau Ferry Terminal (located in the Outer Harbour). For inquiries call Macau (853) 8790 7039 or Hong Kong (852) 2859 3333. For telephone bookings, call Hong Kong (852) 2921 6688. You can also visit the website: http://www.turbojet.com.hk.

    - First Ferry
    Catamarans from the First Ferry offer roundtrip sailings to and from Macau and Kowloon, arriving at the China (HK) Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. The journey takes about 60-75 minutes. The ticket price ranges from MOP140 to MOP275. For details, please call Hong Kong (852) 2516 9581 or Macau (853) 2872 6301. You can also visit the website: http://www.nwff.com.hk.

    - The Cotai Strip CotaiJet™
    The company runs ferry service between Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal and Macau Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal. Travel time is approximately 1 hour. Fares range from MOP142 to MOP176 for Class; from MOP244 to MOP275 for First and from MOP1,952 to MOP2,200 for VIP Cabin. Enquiries for schedule and booking please call HK (852) 2359 9990, Macau (853) 2885 0595, or visit the website: http://www.cotaijet.com.mo.

    (3) Shenzhen Ferry Terminal to Macau Ferry Terminal
    The Yuet Tung Shipping Co. offers a ferry service between Macau (at the end of Av. Almeida Ribeiro, Rua das Lorchas, near the Macau Masters Hotel, Pier 11A) and She Kou (Shenzhen). The trip takes about one hour and twenty minutes. Tickets cost MOP129 for adults and MOP78 for children. Please call (853) 2857 4478 for detail.

    TurboJET's service also extends to carrying passengers to and from Shenzhen. The company offers trips between Macau, Shenzhen Airport Fu Yong Ferry Terminal and She Kou. The journeys are about 1 hour. Ticket fares from Macau to Fu Yong Ferry Terminal: MOP196-1,776. Ticket fares between Macau and She Kou: MOP171-1,626 (Adults), MOP75-100 (Children). For more information, please visit http://www.turbojet.com.hk.

  • By Land

  • There are two gateways available, the Barrier Gate and the COTAI Frontier Post. The Barrier Gate operates from 7:00 AM to midnight. The COTAI Frontier Post at the Taipa-Coloane Reclaimed Area operates from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

    To and from major cities in Grangdong Province, mainland China. The Kee Kwan Motor Road Co. offers an air-conditioned bus service between Macau and major cities in Guangdong Province during 7:15 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Buses depart from the bus stop near the Master Hotel (at the end of Av. Almeida Ribeiro and Rua das Lorchas). Tel: (853) 2893 3888.

    Passport and Visas
    All visitors must hold a passport or a valid travel document. If travel arrangements are made through an agent, the visa processing is handled by Macau tour operators.

    A. Visas are required by all visitors except:
    a) Residents of Macau
    b) Nationals of Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Croatia, Czech, Cyprus,
        Denmark, Dominica, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland,
        Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Mexico,
        Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak, Slovenia, South Korea,
        Spain, Sweden, Tanzania and the United Kingdom (6 months) for a stay up to 90 days
    c) Nationals of Australia, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Malaysia,
        Monaco, Namibia, New Zealand, Philippines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa,
        Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United States of America and Uruguay for a stay up to 30
    d) Nationals of China with valid Macau entry/depart documents, including residents of Mainland
        China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas Chinese for a stay of up to 30 days
    e) The "Hong Kong Identity Card" (with symbol "*", "***" or "R"), "Hong Kong Permanent Identity
        Card" or "Hong Kong Reentry Permit" holders may stay in Macau for a maximum period of
        one year
    f) Holders of Diplomatic Passport or "Laissez Passer" issued by the United Nations
    g) Holders of Consulate/Diplomatic documents issued by the Macau SAR or Hong Kong SAR

    B. Visas can be obtained from the Immigration Services through Embassies/Consulates
        of the PRC and should be used within the validity, the visa is expired after the valid

    C. Visas are also available on arrival in Macau at the Immigration Services for a period
        of 30 days
    (There are three types)
    a) Individual - MOP$100, for individual traveler for a single stay of up to 30 days in Macau,
        children under 12 years of age pay MOP$50.
    b) Family - MOP$200 for couples, husband travelling with wife and or children (under 12 years of
        age) of same surname or on proof of their relationship.
    c) Group - MOP$50 per person for bonafide groups of 10 or more and children aged 12 or under.

    For further information, please call the Macau Immigration Services of Public Security Police Force: (Macau Area code) 853 - 2872 5488 or visit the website: http://www.fsm.gov.mo.

    For those who want to travel to mainland China, visas may be obtained at any of the China Travel Service (CTS) offices counters in Macau (the main branch is located at Rua de Nagazaki, 35 (tel.853-2870 0888) or at the Gongbei Immigration and Customs (after the Border Gate).

    Portuguese passport holders who need the consulate's assistance may go to the Portuguese Consulate located at Rua Pedro Nolasco da Silva, 45, or call Tel: (853) 2835 6660/1/2 or fax: (853) 2835 6658.

    Note: most of the above information is adapted from Macau government websites. For more information, please visit the following websites.
    1. More about Macau: http://www.macautourism.gov.mo/
    2. Macau city guide: http://www.cityguide.gov.mo/
    3. Macau World Heritage: http://www.macauheritage.net/Info/indexE.asp
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