Macao is an international city located on the southeast coast of China. Since the middle of the 16th century, Macao has been a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures. The Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China was founded on December 20, 1999. Under China's "One Country Two Systems" policy, Macao maintains a high level of autonomy, including rights to its own administration and legislation, independent judicial system, and final judgment, while maintaining its unique social and economic characteristics.

Macao's economy has flourished in recent years. In 2016, its gross domestic product per capita was about MOP560,000, one of the highest in the world. In addition to its booming, world-famous tourism industry, four hundred years of Eastern and Western cultural influences have left a long-lasting mark, imparting a unique historical heritage to the city. In 2005, the "Historic Centre of Macau" successfully became a UNESCO "World Heritage Site", further boosting Macao's image as a historical and cultural city to the rest of the world.

Useful Information for Living in Macao

Even though Macao is a relatively small city, thanks to the rapid speed of economic development, the quality of life has continuously improved. According to a report by ECA International, Macao was named the 19th most livable city in Asia, taking into account factors such as climate, health care service, housing and related facilities, etc.

Geographic Location and Climate

Macao is located at the southern tip of the Pearl River Delta, on the coast of southeastern China (longitude 113°37’, latitude 22°04’), 60 kilometers away from Hong Kong. Macao's territory includes the Macao Peninsula, as well as Taipa and Coloane Islands -- covering a total of around 30.4 square kilometers.

Macao is in a monsoon region: its summers are hot and wet, its autumns are sunny and cool, its winters are slightly cold and rainy. From June until September, its outdoor temperature can exceed 30 degrees Celsius; from December to November, it can fall below 10 degrees Celsius. Its average temperature is around 22.7 degrees Celsius, with the hottest weather in July and the coldest in January. In addition, during summer, Macao can be affected by tropical storms (typhoons) originating from the southern Pacific Ocean.

Population and Language

According to second quarter statistics from 2017, Macao has a population of about 650,000 people. Ethnic Chinese comprise the majority of the population, with Portuguese and other nationalities comprising approximately 8% of the total.

Aside from using Chinese, Macao's government also uses Portuguese. Locals generally speak Cantonese, and many can also communicate in Putonghua. English is widely understood in Macao, and can be spoken in many situations. As Macao strengthens its ties with mainland China and the rest of the world, more and more locals are using Putonghua and English to communicate.

Air Quality, Water, and Electricity

Because there are so many people living in Macao's urban areas, the air quality is a concern for many. However, since industry in Macao produces relatively little pollution, the overall air quality in the city is quite good. According to data from 2016, air quality in high-density residential areas ranges from average to good, and pollution density is not high -- both meeting air quality standards.

Macao, like most international cities, has high-quality, clean tap water produced by a local water company. Most of Macao's tap water comes from mainland China, and is filtered, sterilized, and chlorinated as it enters the city. Even though the tap water has undergone purification and cleaning, it is still recommended to boil it before consumption to further sanitize it.

The standard electricity voltage in Macao is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Power outlets generally take square or round three-prong plugs.


Outbound Transportation

By Air:

The Macau International Airport is located on Taipa, only 15 minutes away from the Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal via car. It is only 20 minutes away from the border gate (crossing to Zhuhai) and 10 minutes away from the Cotai border checkpoint. The airport operates 24 hours a day.

By Sea:

The Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal on Macao peninsula and the Taipa Ferry Terminal on Taipa island provide 24 hour ferry service to Sheung Wan, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Tuen Mun in Hong Kong, as well as to Hong Kong International Airport. In addition, they provide service to the three corners of the Pearl River Delta in China's Guangdong province, including Nansha, as well as Shenzhen's Shekou and Fuyong docks.

By Land:

There are many ways to enter Macao from the mainland, though the main entry points are through the Border Gate and the Cotai border checkpoint. The Border Gate is open daily from 6:00 AM till 1:00 AM; the Cotai border checkpoint is open 24 hours a day.

Inner-city Transportation

Public Buses:

Macao's three bus companies provide large and small bus services throughout Macao, Taipa, and Coloane. Every bus stop contains Chinese and Portuguese bus route information, describing the locations at which each bus stops. Students can buy a special "Macau Pass" card (rechargeable card) from specially marked locations to ride the buses for a discounted ticket price.


Taxis in Macao have a black body with a cream-colored top. Taxi fares are standardized by the government and passengers should pay according to the meter installed in each car. Starting from April 1, 2017, On-call Taxi are available, and can be booked via telephone, mobile app, or online portal.

Taxi Fares (MOP)

First 1,600 meters


Every 240 meters after


Macao is currently constructing a light rail network that, when completed, will make inner-city travel even more convenient.


Macao's official currency is the Macau Pataca (MOP). Many merchants in tourist areas also accept Hong Kong dollar, Chinese yuan, and US dollar. Tourists and locals can freely exchange currency at banks or money changers. Currently, most of Macao's banks provide foreign currency remittance services. In addition, credit cards can be used at most shops in Macao.


Outward communication is very easy in Macao. Its telecommunications networks have full coverage in the city, providing stable and reliable mobile internet service. Consumers are free to choose which telecommunications provider best suits their needs.

Across Macao, there are 201 locations (including public facilities, government venues, and tourist attractions) that provide convenient, free WiFi internet service. In addition, fiber optic broadband service is becoming more and more common throughout the city.


Macao is a very safe and secure city. Its police department and reporting center provide round-the-clock services. If you are in an emergency situation and need police assistance, dial 999, 993, 110, or 112 for help.

Health Care and Insurance

In 2004, Macao was named one of the WHO's “healthy cities”, and became a founding member of the “Alliance for Healthy Cities”.

The health care system in Macao is considered relativity well-developed. Non-local students who seek medical care in a public hospital will need to pay for the treatment. Finding a private doctor is also easy, and the fee is usually around MOP100-200 per visit. In order to ensure that non-local students have medical support, schools in Macao provide medical insurance for students, with an annual fee starting at MOP120.


Macao's higher education institutions usually provide new students with student dormitory facilities. Some schools may also have policies requiring first year students to live in their on-campus dormitories. The accommodation cost for these facilities differs between schools, and can vary from MOP12,000+ to MOP30,000+ per academic year.

Prices and Living Costs

Thanks to Macao's hundreds of years of eastern and western culinary traditions, countless types of Chinese, Portuguese, and other authentic, international cuisine can be found both in the city's small alleyways and wide boulevards. Some schools provide on-campus cafeterias for students and staff. The cost for a meal in these cafeterias is usually cheaper than elsewhere in the city. A person's living costs depend greatly on how much one is willing to spend: a student should expect to spend anywhere from MOP25,000 to MOP45,000 a year.

What is spending like in Macao? Here are some example prices for goods and services in Macao (for reference):


Price for Reference (in MOP)

McDonald's Value Meal

30 – 40

One can (330 ml) of Coca Cola (from convenience store)


One lunch meal at an dinning establishment (including main dish, rice, and soup)

40 – 60

One lunch meal at a school cafeteria

35 – 45

One movie ticket

50 – 120

One taxi ride (starting price)


One bus ride :


Using Macau Pass:3

(USD100 = about MOP810)

Culture and Recreation

Macao is a melting pot of eastern and western cultures. Aside from festivals, Macao hosts many large-scale international events each year:


Holiday and Event


Chinese New Year


Procession of the Passion of Our Lord, the God Jesus


Procession of Our Lady of Fátima, Feast of Buddha, Feast of the Drunken Dragon, Tam Kong Festival, Macao Arts Festival, Macao International Dragon Boat Races


Macao Lotus Flower Festival, Feast of Na Tcha


FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Macao


National Day of the Peoples Republic of China, Mid-Autumn Festival, Macao International Music Festival


Macao Grand Prix, Macao Food Festival


Macao International Parade; Macao International Film Festival and Awards, Macao Special Administrative Region Establishment Day

There are 16 public libraries in Macao, as well as around 20 government and privately-operated museums. Macao also hosts a wide variety of exhibitions. The city's many sport or recreational facilities often run low-priced and free events for the public, enriching everyone's leisure life.