After reading our last blog: Top 12 things to do in Macau, I’m sure you are keen to book your next trip there. You will be pleased to know that travelling around Macau is super easy. Here are 5 tips on how to get around Macau:
1. The casino hotel shuttles are free!
Most of the casino hotels have free shuttles that take you between sister casinos, to and from the ferry terminals and the airport. When you board the bus you don’t need to show the hotel reservation to the driver, or let them know where you are getting off. The buses serve different routes and stop at multiple casino hotels (usually written on the side of the bus). If you are unsure where it’s going though, ask the driver.
Also if you are staying on the Cotai strip (where most of the new casinos are), you can save some $ and get a free shuttle into the old town by catching the Studio City/City Of Dreams shuttle. This shuttle goes to the Grand Emperor Hotel which is just a short walk away from Senado square in the old town.
2. Hong Kong Dollars are accepted as currency
You can use either Macanese Pataca MOP or Hong Kong Dollars HKD as currency in shops, taxis, or buses. The HKD is worth slightly more than the MOP, but in Macau they are used interchangeably at 1:1 rate. There are some instances however, when HKD can’t be used, for example, nowhere accepts the 10 HKD coin (the reason why is not clear), also larger money such as 1000 HKD or 500 HKD is not accepted in a lot of places so you are best to use smaller notes and coins.
Typically change is given back in MOP, but on our most recent visit we received change in HKD. This is super convenient for anyone travelling from Hong Kong. Note, the reverse is not true, you cannot use MOP in Hong Kong, so if you do have any MOP, make sure you spend it before you leave Macau.
3. Public buses are best
Catching the public bus is easy. The bus stops are clear and the route is easy to follow. The drivers are also really friendly and help you to get off at the right stop if you ask them. The bus is a standard rate of 6 MOP or 6 HKD. When you get on the bus it is a little confusing as you don’t hand any money to the driver. You have to put the money in the top of the machine pictured below. Make sure you have the exact money as they don’t give any change!
4. You can get by if you don’t speak Mandarin
While the official language is Mandarin, a lot of people do speak English. We suggest getting your hotel staff to write in Mandarin any places you want to visit. Also get them to write down the hotel name, so if you get stuck you can always show a taxi driver to get you back. If you have data on your phone you may also want to download a translation app. Otherwise if you get really stuck, wechat is a popular app which the locals use, and while it is mainly used for messaging and payment it has a language translator and they are happy to use it to help you out.
5. Offline Google maps is your friend
While this isn’t a Macau specific tip, it is something we find useful to help us get around no matter where we travel. When we head to a new place we download an offline google map of the place so we can find our way around when we don’t have wi-fi or data. Sure we could buy a SIM card and get data, but often we find it’s not worth it when we are only in a place for a couple of days.
Now that you know how to get around Macau, all that’s left to do is book your trip and go. Be sure to try out what we think are the Top 12 things to do in Macau and let us know what you think!