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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Macau. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
  • Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. It has separate visa and entry administration to that of Hong Kong and mainland China. See Entry and exit.
  • Typhoon season is between May and October. Businesses and transport services close during severe typhoons. Monitor regional weather forecasts and local media. Plan accordingly and follow the instructions of local authorities. See Additional information.
  • Australia doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Macau. The Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong provides assistance to Australians in Macau. This includes a monthly visit to provide passport and consular services.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

If you’re visiting Macau for tourism for less than 30 days, you generally won’t need to get a visa. In other circumstances, you'll need a visa. Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. It has separate visa and entry administration to that of Hong Kong and mainland China.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of the People's Republic of China or visit the Macau Immigration Service or Macau tourism websites for up-to-date information, well in advance of travel.

Travel between Macau and mainland China

If you plan to travel between Macau and mainland China, you’ll need a visa. If you plan to return to mainland China after visiting Macau, make sure you get a multiple-entry visa for China. If not, you'll need to get a new visa to re-enter China. Get your visa for China before leaving Australia.

If you intend to apply for a visa at the border of Zhuhai and Macau, and you held a Chinese visa in a recently replaced passport, you may be asked to present your previous passport and Chinese visa. If you have visited China previously, you may be denied a visa on arrival if you are unable to produce your previous China visa.

More information:

Passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible. You can either:

Money

The currency in Macau is the Macanese Pataca (MOP). Hong Kong dollars and Chinese yuan are also accepted by some retailers.

Credit cards are widely accepted in Macau. Take care when using ATMs as petty crime occurs. See Safety and security.

Safety and security

Crime

There is little violent crime in Macau but you could encounter pickpocketing, bag snatching or other petty crime. Petty thieves are most active in crowded shopping areas, markets, the airport and near casinos. Drink spiking is possible.

  • Take care of your belongings, especially in crowded places.
  • Use common sense.
  • Look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • Use ATMs in controlled areas such as inside banks, shops, shopping centres or casinos.
  • Take precautions when using ATMs or direct debit machines.
  • If approached while using an ATM, cancel the transaction before speaking to anyone.
  • Be wary of strangers who approach you in bars, night clubs and casinos.
  • Don't accept drinks, food, gum or cigarettes from strangers or new acquaintances.
  • Don't leave your food or drinks unattended.

More information:

Civil unrest and political tension

Protests and demonstrations are rare but large public gatherings could occur without warning.

  • Avoid all crowds, protests and demonstrations.
  • Monitor the media for information on planned and possible unrest or strikes.
  • Follow the advice of local authorities.
  • Be prepared to change your travel plans in case of disruptions.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat overseas

Local travel

Industrial relations disputes can result in disruptions to transport and the supply of essential services. Monitor developments and plan accordingly. 

Road travel

The road network is generally well developed but congested throughout the day.

  • Check you have adequate insurance cover before driving.
  • Familiarise yourself with local road rules and practices.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Don't drink and drive.

More information: Road safety and driving

Driver's licence

You'll need a valid international driving permit (IDP) along with your current Australian driver's licence to drive a vehicle in Macau. Driving without an IDP could void your travel and vehicle insurance.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when riding a motorcycle. Most travel insurance policies have exclusions for not complying with local laws or wearing a helmet. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis and ride-share services

Use only licenced taxis or reputable limousine services, preferably those arranged through your hotel. Always insist that the meter is used.

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

Public transport

Public buses are inexpensive and frequent, though travellers may have difficulty finding them outside major tourist areas and drivers generally have limited English.

More information: Macau Government Tourist Office

Sea travel

Ferries are a common mode of transport between Macau, Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. There are occasionally ferry accidents that result in casualties.

A number of cruise lines stopover in Macau.

More information: 

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation in Macau.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs, including 'soft' drugs drugs such as marijuana, include heavy fines and imprisonment.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws  

Macau has strict laws regarding the import and possession of weapons and items that may resemble weapons, including replicas, antiques, toys, or fashion accessories that resemble such items. To import, possess or purchase such items legally (including from local markets), you need to get permits from local authorities in advance.

Macau has strict laws in relation to owning stun guns and tasers.

While legal in some countries, the following activities are illegal in Macau:

  • public demonstrations without government approval
  • taking photographs of military installations.

Always stay in licensed accommodation. You risk penalties of up to MOP3,000 if you stay in illegal accommodation.

More information: Macau Government Tourism Office

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Macau's basic law allows dual nationals of Chinese descent to register their Australian nationality with the Macau Identification Bureau if they wish to be considered as a national of Australia. If you are an Australian/Macau dual national, seek further information on completing a Declaration of Change of Nationality, and the consequences of this, from the Macau Identification Bureau.

Macau Identification Bureau

Largo do Senado No. 18
Edificio Comercial China 2.0-5.0 Andares, Macau
Telephone (853) 2837 0777
Website: dsi.gov.mo

If you plan to enter mainland China from Macau, do so on your Australian passport. If you travel on other documents, we will not be able to provide you with consular assistance because China does not recognise dual nationality.

More information:

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

If travelling on a cruise ship that stops in or passes near Macau, ensure that your travel insurance covers you for any medical treatment in Macau, including possible medical evacuation costs.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in Macau and each destination you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel.

Take legal prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Air pollution

The levels of air pollution in Macau may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. If you have an existing heart or respiratory illnesses, reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities on days where high pollution levels are reported. The Macau Bureau of Meteorology provides up-to-date air quality reports on its website.

Mosquito-borne diseases

Outbreaks of the mosquito-borne illness dengue fever occur from time to time. You could also encounter Japanese encephalitis.

Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • consult your doctor about the getting vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis before you travel
  • ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing.

Other infectious diseases

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is common in Macau with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. Outbreaks usually start in March/April and peak in May but can continue until August to October each year. HFMD mostly affects children under the age of 10 years, but adult cases (particularly young adults) occur. The illness is characterised by fever as well as blisters and rashes on the hands, feet and buttocks. HFMD is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges and faeces of infected people.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis and hepatitis) occur sporadically. 

  • Use hygiene precautions, including careful and frequent hand washing.
  • In rural areas, boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities in Macau is adequate.

Private hospitals in Macau insist on confirmation of insurance cover, guarantee of payment or an up-front deposit prior to admitting patients.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to Hong Kong. Medical evacuations can be very expensive.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergencies

  • Fire: 999, 110 or 112
  • Ambulance: 999, 110 or 112
  • Police: 999, 110 or 112 or contact the local police at the nearest police station

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas. Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Macau. For consular assistance, contact the Australian Consulate General in Hong Kong. The Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong, visits Macau each month to provide passport and consular services.

Australian Consulate-General, Hong Kong

23/F Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Telephone: (852) 2827 8881
Facsimile: (852) 2585 4457
Website: hongkong.china.embassy.gov.au

Facebook: Australia in Hong Kong and Macau

Check the Australian Consulate-General website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are unable to contact the Consulate-General in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters

Macau experiences typhoons. These may cause severe transport delays and a temporary shutdown of infrastructure.

If there is a natural disaster:

  • use common sense
  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a water proof bag)
  • follow the advice of local authorities and emergency services
  • closely monitor the media, other local information sources and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System for up-to-date-information
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

Typhoons and severe weather 

Typhoon season is between May and October. The precise path and strength of a typhoon is difficult to predict and can change quickly. Local safety procedures require businesses and transportation to close during a typhoon level 8 (T8) and above. In accordance with Hong Kong typhoon management strategies, the Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong closes when the T8 signal is given in Hong Kong.

Flights and ferry rides into and out of Macau may be delayed or suspended during a typhoon. Contact your travel operator or airline for the latest departure information.

  • Read our severe weather page for advice on what to do if there is a typhoon.
  • Closely monitor weather forecasts and alerts from the Macau Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau local media for weather updates and information about preparations in the face of severe weather.
  • Check the latest typhoon information from the World Meteorological Organization Severe Weather Information Centre.
  • Follow the advice of local authorities and emergency services.

More information:

If you are travelling during typhoon season, contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.

Additional resources