Macao Photo by Renato Marques

Macao Driving Guide

Macao is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-08-04 · 10 mins

Macau is a quaint 115.3km2 nation along the southern coast of China. Like Hong Kong, it presently stands as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. What makes this tiny country stand out is its massive investment in the entertainment industry, particularly in the legal gambling sector. It often comes as a surprise to many that a casino industry in the far east brings in more revenues than the world-famous Las Vegas!

But beyond the prestige of slot machines and newly opened chip trays, Macau holds a rich history that goes far beyond the Mediterranean. For over 400 years, Macau was an overseas territory of the Portuguese. This is why when you travel to Macau, it’s not all Chinese. You will find plenty of fascinating Portuguese culture remnants, including buildings with grandiose European architecture, road signs written in Portuguese, gondolas, and the Bacalhau.

How Can This Guide Help Me?

Interestingly, amidst Macau’s rapid modern developments, some areas still provide a tranquil and muffled environment. This guide will help you navigate to all of these destinations, from the glittering casino centers down to the quiet sands of Coloane.

Specifically, you will learn about the formalities of driving in Macau as a foreigner, including what type of driving license to get, what road rules to follow, what etiquette to practice, what directions to take when driving in different Macao locations, and many more. Hopefully, at the end of this guide, you will be able to navigate through the streets of Macau with absolute ease and assurance.

General Information

Both land and ocean border Macau. With this, it is influenced by overland and oceanic circulations. These circulations give birth to the country’s four (4) distinct seasons: Summer, Spring, Autumn, and Winter.

Geographic Location

Macau is located on the western portion of the Pearl River Estuary. It is bordered in the north and west by China and south by the South China Sea. The nearest Chinese province to Macau is Guangdong, and it borders the country in the north. Macau is also approximately 62 km west of Hong Kong, and the two (2) countries are connected via the 55 km-long Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

Languages Spoken

Macau has two (2) official languages: Chinese and Portuguese. As such, all public information must be released both in Chinese and Portuguese languages. The predominant language, however, is Chinese, specifically Cantonese. Other languages spoken in Macau are Mandarin, Macanese Portuguese, and English.

If you don’t know how to speak either of the two(2) official languages, here are some common phrases that you can start with:

  • Hello!

Portuguese: Olá

Cantonese: Néih hóu

  • How are you?

Portuguese : Como vai você

Cantonese: Néih hóu ma?

  • Do you speak English?

Portuguese : Você fala inglês?

Cantonese : Néih sīk-m̀h-sīk góng Yīngmán a

  • Thank you

Portuguese: Obrigado

Cantonese: M̀h'gōi

  • Goodbye

Portuguese: Adeus

Cantonese: Bāaibaai

Land Area

Macau is about 115.3 km2. It is only about a 10th of its neighboring, fellow Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong. Since the country is relatively small, it doesn’t have a capital city. So when you go driving in Macao right now, you’d be able to go around it in less than a day! Although, because of the volume of roads, when you go driving in Macao, maps are still relevant and useful.

The best times to visit Macau is during the spring and autumn seasons, when rains are less likely to occur. Autumn occurs between October - December, while Spring occurs between March-May.


Macau is the first country in East Asia that became a European colony. The Portuguese seized it in 1557. It served as the main port of trade between Asia and Europe, where silks, teas, spice, ivory, gold, and other economically valuable goods were bought and sold. The country’s pre-colonial name was “A Ma Gao.” It was the Portuguese who gave Macau its current name.

The country also became the main base of Christianity in East Asia. The 16th century was a prosperous era for the religious ministry. Churches were built, and numerous Japanese and Chinese people were converted to the Christian faith.

It was only during the 1814 Opium War that Macau retreated from its position as East Asia’s central hub. After the British defeated the Chinese, Hong Kong was established and succeeded Macau as a powerhouse. It took four (4) centuries before Macau was released and given to China. After its 1999 independence from European rule, Macau continues to prosper with plenty of the sustainable infrastructures left by the Portuguese, land reclamations, an international port, and cultural and historical infrastructures.


Since Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, it is led by a chief executive, but it’s still under China’s president. The country has autonomy; however, its foreign affairs and defense are taken care of by China.

The chief executive is the head of government, and he/she appoints the head of the judicial branch of government. The legislative branch, on the other hand, consists of 33 members, where 14 are duly elected party lists, 12 are duly elected by special interest groups, and the chief executive appoints seven (7).


From 2008 to 2019, Macau has exhibited a steady 47.6% increase in tourist arrivals. For the gaming sector alone, revenues rose continuously within the same 10-year period from MOP109,826,300 in 2009 to MOP303,879,000 in 2019. These are just some of the values that chronicle the booming tourism industry of Macau. But what factors contributed to this?

With multiple attractions to choose from and activities to do, you will have many things to do when you travel to Macau. The road network is also very well planned, which justifies how orderly the traffic is in the country. If you want to go driving in Macau now from Hong Kong, the Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macau Bridge will give your road trip a definite good start. The bridge only allows the passage of private cars and a few authorized buses, and at certain times, it would be like having the bridge all to yourself!


When you want to go driving in Macao, maps aren’t your only best friend. To kick-off your road adventure, the first thing you’re going to have to do is secure an International Driving Permit (IDP). An International Driving Permit allows you to drive legally in foreign countries. It is a translation of your valid native driving license to 12 of the world’s most spoken languages. One (1) IDP will already contain all the translations, so you wouldn’t have to apply again and again in every country you’ll travel to.

You can use the same IDP within countries that participated in the same road traffic conventions. For Macau, the 1949 Geneva Convention IDP is used, and it is valid for one (1) year.

Can I Use My Native Driving License in Macau Without an IDP?

If you’re planning on extending your stay in Macau for more than the standard duration of a tourist visa, you’ll need to have your native driving license validated at the police station. Likewise, should you plan on staying in Macau for more than one (1) year, you’ll need to exchange it for a local driving license.

For those staying within the standard time for tourists, if your native driving license is printed in either Chinese, Portuguese, English, or French, you may be able to use it in Macau without an IDP. You can go driving in Macau with a Hong Kong license, a Chinese license, and a Portuguese license. Outside those languages, you’ll have to obtain an International Driving Permit for the authorities to be able to understand what is written on your native driving license.

Nevertheless, even if your native driving license is in Chinese, Portuguese, French, or English, an IDP is still highly recommended because of the other benefits it will give you when driving in Macau now.

Why Is An IDP Essential When Driving in Macao Right Now?

Apart from being able to go driving in Macao city boundaries legally, the International Driving Permit will give you the following advantages:

  • Rent a car in Macau and other countries
  • Be eligible for third-party car insurance
  • Have an alternative form of identification that you can use in establishments
  • Drive and use the same IDP in other countries that participated in the 1949 road traffic convention
  • Not having to explain your identity to authorities if you don’t know the local language
  • Have a highly accessible digital copy in case you lose your printed IDP
  • Trade your native driving license for a Macau license (for residents)

What Are the Requirements For Getting a Driving License in Macau?

Getting an International Driver’s Permit is very easy. As long as you are at least 18 years old and have a valid driving license from your home country, then you can apply for an International Driving Permit. To obtain an International Driving Permit in Macau through us, all you need to prepare are the following:

  • Valid driving license from your home country
  • Passport-size photo
  • Credit Card or PayPal account for payment

An excellent tip to remember would be that you need to make sure that your native driving license will still be valid for more than one (1) year. This would ensure that you’d be able to use your IDP up to its maximum validity. Lastly, if you’re wondering whether you’d need to take driving classes in Macau; Worry less because you don’t need to take driving classes in Macau to secure an IDP.

How Do I Apply For An International Driving Permit in Macau?

Macau’s government only issues International Driving Permits to its residents and citizens. For foreigners, you can apply for it from an authorized, private agency like us. We have streamlined the entire IDP application process, and you can access it wherever, whenever! It will also not take you more than 10 minutes to complete your application, considering you have prepared your requirements. Since you don’t have to take driving classes in Macao, you can go ahead and start your application any time by following the steps below.

  1. Navigate to our homepage.
  2. Click on the shopping cart button on the upper-right-hand corner of the page.
  3. Choose the IDP Plan that best suits you.
  4. Complete your personal information.
  5. Indicate your delivery details.
  6. Pay for your IDP.
  7. Verify your identity.
  8. Wait for confirmation.

Renting a Car in Macau

The best way to see the entirety of the country is to go self-driving in Macao. Right now, renting a car in Macau has already been made faster with the International Driving Permit. Apart from serving as a valid identification card and driving license, an IDP is often necessary for third-party car insurance. Without an IDP, you may not be eligible for car insurance, a requirement for most car rental companies. Hence, if you’ve said yes to get an International Driving Permit, here are some quick tips on renting a car in Macau.

Car Rental Companies

There are tons of car rentals in Macau. Most of these companies have streamlined their booking process on their websites, while others welcome advanced bookings through phone or email. Nevertheless, you should get to know your car rental company more before you pay for your car.

Apart from being legally registered, the best car rental company should exercise quality customer service and transparency. This includes letting you know about additional costs that you may incur like administrative fees, cleaning fees, fuel fees, insurance fees, additional day costs, upgrade costs, age-defined costs, etc.

You can check out some of these car rentals before traveling to Macau:

  • Vang lek Rent-A-Car Service Co Ltd.
  • Avis Macau
  • Macau Car Rental

Documents Required

Car rental companies may have different requirements regarding age, years of driving experience, health status, etc. It is recommended that you check with various companies to compare which conditions would be comfortable for you. Nonetheless, to rent a self-driven car, you must be able to present the following minimum requirements:

  • International Driving License - Macau
  • A Valid Passport and Macau Visa (if applicable)
  • Proof of Age (i.e., birth certificate)
  • Identification Card with Photo
  • Credit Card

Vehicle Types

What are the best vehicles for driving in Macao city streets? Well, the roads in Macau are pretty much in good condition. Also, since the entire country’s terrain is generally flat, you wouldn’t need to rent the all-terrain type of vehicles. Sedans, SUVs, and low sports cars can cruise through Macau’s roads and streets without getting a scratch.

However, when choosing a car, some premium features might come in handy. This includes rear-view dash cams, back-up cameras and sensors, vehicle motion alarms or back-up beepers, as well as enhanced car security systems. Although driving in the Macao zip code is generally safe, safeguarding your rental car should still be a priority because petty crimes still exist.

Car Rental Costs

The cost of car rentals in Macau, as it is in other countries, depends on several factors. These include the type of vehicle, the rental duration, upgrades, and the driver’s age, to name a few. For daily rates, car rentals can cost between:

  • MOP600-MOP700 for sedans
  • MOP850-MOP1500 for luxury vehicles and SUVs

If you want to save on car rental costs, some tips would be to research diligently for economical cars, book in advance, and plan your itinerary, so you’ll see if you can reserve multiple days in one (1) booking.

Age Requirements

You need to be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Macau. However, some car rental companies may charge you additional fees if you are between 21-25 years old or 70 years old. These are the ages where drivers are assumed to be more vulnerable, so companies need more “safety nets.”

In addition, some car rentals may only allow you to rent if you’ve had a valid driver’s license from your home country for at least two (2) years. Again, this ensures that you already have enough driving experience to take care of their cars.

Car Insurance Cost

Again, the mandatory car insurance in Macau is only third-party insurance. Additional car rental insurance will have to be purchased at a daily rate. This means that your coverage period will also depend on the number of days you paid for. Car rental companies should only apply for and charge you with insurance fees depending on how long you will rent the car. Rates may vary depending on the insurance company, but here are some of the costs:

  • Personal Accident Insurance: USD10.00 - USD 15.00 / day
  • Super Collision Damage Waiver: USD30.00 - USD45.00 / day
  • Recover and Rescue: USD10.00 - USD15.00 / day

Car rental companies will not be held liable for the additional or excess car rental insurance. With this, you have the option to purchase them before renting a car or before traveling to Macau.

Car Insurance Policy

The motor vehicle insurance policies in Macau are regulated by Decree-Law No 57.94/M. It states that all vehicles used for driving in all Macao locations shall only be authorized provided that the owners have third party insurance covering the damage. Although this is the state’s minimum insurance policy requirement, many car rental companies offer additional insurance coverage. Some of the most common policies include:

  • Personal Accident Insurance
  • Third-Party Insurance
  • Collision Damage Waiver
  • Loss Damage Waiver
  • Rescue and Recovery
  • Other riders

The bulk of car insurance requirements are the responsibility of the car owner/car rental company. For travelers like you who only wish to hire a car, the basic requirements that the company will ask of you is your valid domestic driving license and an International Driver’s Permit for Macau.

Other Facts

Aside from the fast facts above, you may have other questions in your mind about renting a car in Macau. Here are some other frequently asked questions by travelers.

How Does Public Transportation Compare to Self-Driving in Macao Daily?

Public transportation services in Macau include taxis and buses. Buses are the relatively cheaper option, even for tourists. However, according to a 2020 study done by the City University of Macau, commuters have a huge dissatisfaction with the country’s bus transportation system. The reasons behind this include:

  • Buses are uncomfortable to ride in
  • Buses don’t drive through their regular route and instead pass through detours
  • Buses drive away rapidly in bus stations
  • Buses are not punctual

If you’re going to go around Macau for a couple of days, taking the bus might not always be the wisest decision. Even if it’s relatively cheaper, it might not save you a lot of time. Hence, you’ll have to compare it properly with the net value of your car rental options. You never know, self-driving in Macao daily might give you more considerable benefits.

Can I Go Driving in Macao From the Airport?

You can start driving in Macao from the airport provided that you already have your International Driver’s Permit. Like Hertz, some car rentals have a booth at the airport so inbound travelers can check them out immediately upon arriving. Other car rentals also allow a customized pick up point for their cars. This means that you can instruct them to deliver your rental car to the airport when you arrive.

Do I Need to Take Driving Lessons in Macau Prior to Renting?

To rent a car in Macau, all you need is to be of legal driving age, have a valid International Driving Permit, have a valid native driving license, and a credit card for security purposes. You don’t need to take driving lessons in Macau in order to rent a car, nor present proof that you took driving classes.

However, some car rental companies may only allow individuals who have ample driving experience (more than one year) to rent. In addition, others charge extra if you are below 21 years old or above 70 years old. Hence, you need to disclose these types of information to your car rental company before making your reservation.

Downtown Photo by drown_ in_city

The Road Rules in Macau

The road rules are put in place in order to maintain peace, order, and safety within the roads and their immediate surroundings. Make sure that you review all the Macau road rules before heading out to drive.

Important Regulations

Important road regulations are the road policies that have corresponding penalties if defied. If you are caught disregarding these rules, you’ll not only incur the fines, but you may also have your driving license impounded for a particular time period.


Driving while intoxicated is considered gross negligence in Macau, even if you don’t get into an accident or cause any road mishap. Driving under the influence of alcohol or any drugs can cause temporary dysfunction of the mind and body. The penalties for drunk driving depend on the severity of the situation.

  • Blood alcohol concentration of 0.5g - 0.8 g = fine of 10,000 MOP
  • Blood alcohol concentration of 0.8g - 1.2g = fine of 30,000 MOP and prohibition to drive in Macau up to 24 weeks
  • Blood alcohol concentration of more than 1.2g = imprisonment for 120 days up to one (1) year and be prohibited from driving in Macau for one (1) - three (3) years

If you come into a collision with another road user because of your intoxication then abandon the victim, you will risk imprisonment for 120 days up to one (1) year as well. Lastly, proposals are underway to have the penalties doubled for drunk driving violations, so be careful and drink moderately.

Parking Laws

One of the biggest challenges of traffic managers in Macau is roadside parking. This not only causes inconvenience to passing motorists but as well as risk the safety of all road users. With this, vehicle towing was made stringent, and in 2018, the fines were increased. If your car rental was towed for illegal parking, you’d have to pay the following:

  • Towing charge - MOP1,500
  • Vehicle unlocking (for cars that were just blocked and not towed) - MOP500
  • Recovery tax from the impounding lot - MOP100/day (the longer you don’t claim your car, the higher the recovery tax)

Take note that the rates above are for light passenger vehicles. There are other rates for motorcycles, heavy vehicles, and others.

General Standards of Driving

All vehicles in Macau are required to undergo a mandatory annual inspection. With this, if you’ll drive your own car to Macau, you need to ensure that your vehicle is in good condition. You should also bring other documents associated with the maintenance of your car, such as recent emission testing results, just in case traffic authorities request it. If you have a diesel vehicle, you are only allowed a maximum of 40 Harttridge Smoke Units. For other limits, make sure to check regularly with the Transport Bureau.

Speed Limits

When driving in Macau, you should watch out for speed limit signs. You shouldn’t drive above the maximum speed limit and below the minimum speed limit. What if you went driving in Macao over the speed limit? You may incur the following penalties:

  • 20 km/hr - 30 km/hr difference from the speed limit : 2,500 MOP
  • > 30 km/hr difference from the speed limit: 1,000 MOP and driving prohibition of up to one (1) year

In addition, when you go driving in Macao, KMS (kilometers) units are what is used to define the speed limits. So, if you come from a country that uses miles instead of kilometers, you have to make sure that you don’t get confused.

Driving Directions

Macau has many causeways and bridges. This is because the country includes two (2) islands, with some parts that are reclaimed. When approaching causeways, make sure that you maneuver to the left lane. Avoid overtaking or merging onto another lane if you are already in the causeway. When exiting, watch out for directional signs because some bridges may have more than one (1) exit ramp.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic road signs in Macau are categorized into warning signs, regulatory signs, and information signs. The standards followed by the country’s traffic signs follow the universal standards, meaning that the signs you see in your home country are most likely what you’ll see in Macau. Nevertheless, warning signs come in triangular shapes, regulatory signs come in circular shapes, and directional signs come in rectangular shapes.

Warning Signs are used to notify drivers of imminent road obstacles ahead. If you come across these signs, you should exercise elevated caution to avoid obstructions. Examples of warning signs include:

  • Double curve
  • Intersection with a minor road
  • Speed bump
  • Dangerous curb+
  • Pedestrian crossing ahead
  • Steep descent
  • Steep ascent
  • Road works
  • Falling rocks
  • Slippery road

Regulatory Signs are used to inform drivers of regulatory policies being enforced in that section of the road. If you recall, regulatory road rules can incur fines when disregarded. Regulatory signs include:

  • Stop
  • No stopping
  • No parking
  • No vehicles and motorcycles
  • Speed limit
  • No horns
  • One-way
  • right/left turn only
  • Keep left
  • Weight limit

Informational Signs are used to advising drivers of their current location. If you find yourself lost in Macau streets, you’d probably want to keep an eye out for informational signs. These include:

  • Parking area
  • Highway
  • This way to ___
  • Hospital 500 m ahead
  • Street / road names
  • Dead-end

Right of Way

In a normal traffic setting, vehicles on the left have the right-of-way. However, in some other circumstances, the right-of-way is given to drivers who:

  • Are driving away from parking, fuel station, building, or residential area
  • Are already inside the roundabout
  • Are driving a motorized vehicle
  • Are driving priority vehicles, policy convoys, ambulances, and other emergency response vehicles
  • Are not making a turn

If you don’t observe the right-of-way, you will have to pay a fine of at least MOP900. So be careful, especially when you are not used to driving on the left side of the road. You might be confused about which way to give.

The minimum legal driving age in Macau is 18 years old. If you come from a country that allows younger individuals to drive legally, Macau’s rules will still apply once you arrive in the country. If you are a Hong Kong resident, you can go driving in Macau with a Hong Kong license because the legal driving age in Hong Kong is also 18.

Unless you are taking driving classes in Macau with a learner’s permit, it is only then you can drive in the country as a minor. If you only have a full driving license, you are advised not to drive in Macau.

Laws on Overtaking

In Macau, you can only overtake on the right side. You should only do this if the road is clear enough ahead and there are no vehicles behind you that are also trying to overtake. Once you’ve started to overtake, you need to drive quickly past the vehicle in front of you. If you are overtaking a huge vehicle (like a truck), be aware that these types of vehicles have large blind spots, so do not forget to signal the entire time.

Driving Side

The driving side in Macau is on the left-hand side of the road. This is similar to Mainland China and Hong Kong. If you get caught driving on the right-hand sand of the road, you will have to pay a fine of MOP900. So if you’re someone who is not used to driving on the left-hand side of the road, it will not be a waste of resources if you enroll at a driving school in Macau.

Other Road Rules

Another reason why traffic build-up and traffic incidents in Macau are well managed because the government imposes penalties for road violations stringently. Don’t worry; if you have a driving license, you should be familiar with the most common road rules: not beating the red light, parking only in designated areas, wearing seatbelts, etc.

What Are the Seatbelt Laws in Macau?

Seatbelts are one of the most effective car safety gears. However, not all countries implement specific seat belt laws. When you go driving in Macau, make sure that you observe the following seat belt protocols:

  • All passengers should wear a seatbelt
  • No two (2) persons or more should share a seat belt
  • Children aged 12 years and below are not allowed to sit on the front seat
  • Seat belts should be worn properly (fit and secured)

What Are the Laws About the Use of Mobile Phones While Driving in Macao?

It is never good and advisable to use any device that will distract you while driving. This includes mobile phones, handheld radios, or any other communication devices. However, Macao tolerates the use of the hands-free function during calls. Nevertheless, if you get caught using your mobile phone while driving, you will have to pay a fine of MOP600.

What Are Other Road Rules and Their Penalties?

There are a lot of other road rules in Macau. If you want to get a complete list of them and their associated penalties, you may look for it from the Transport Bureau.

  • Driving on a curb/sidewalk without the intent of entering or exiting a building - MOP600
  • Not keeping enough distance from another vehicle while driving - MOP600
  • Not signaling in advance before turning, stopping, decelerating, etc. - MOP600
  • Using low/high beam lights instead of indicator lights in well-lit roads - MOP600
  • Not decelerating in special/services zones - MOP900
  • Driving below the minimum speed limit - MP300
  • Not properly overtaking - MOP900
  • Not queuing in the correct lane before making a turn - MOP900
  • Reverse driving in forbidden areas - MOP900
  • Parking in special, no-parking areas like school zones, pedestrian lanes, etc. - MOP900
  • Not wearing of seat belts - MOP300
  • Not stopping during a red light and under stop signs - MOP 5,000 - MOP 10,000

Driving Etiquette in Macau

Due to the Oriental-European history of Macau, Macanese people know the essence of diverse cultural space. They know how to practice a balanced sense of courtesy, understanding, and respect no matter where you come from. This includes being at their best behavior when driving out and about in Macau. With this, foreigners are encouraged to maintain the same level of behavior when driving around the country.

Car Breakdown

Road emergencies may include blown tires, brake failure, engine failure, blocked accelerator, fractured windshield, empty fuel, overheating, and other car impairments. If any of these happen to you while you’re in the middle of the road, do not panic. If you can, get your car off the middle of the road and maneuver it to the side of the road. If other hazards have developed like fire, move away from your vehicle as much as you can.

Make sure to bring emergency gear with you if you can, like road triangles to signal other vehicles driving behind you. If your car does not return to its normal state, immediately contact the help hotlines to request for assistance.

  • 24-hour tourist emergency hotline: 110, 112
  • Police, Fire or Ambulance: 999

Police Stops

If police are calling you over, do not try to dodge them. There are corresponding penalties for this kind of response in Macau. Instead, you should drive your car to the side of the road carefully and prepare your identification documents: driving licenses, car registration, etc.

Pull down your car windows and respectfully ask the police why you were pulled over and what do they need. It is important that you maintain a respectful tone while you’re talking to anyone so as not to cause aggravation. Here are some local phrases that you can use:

  • Hello, officer! : Nǐ hǎo, zhǔrèn
  • May I ask what do you need? : Qǐngwèn nín xūyào shénme?
  • Thank you! : Xièxiè
  • Have a good day! : Zhù nǐ yǒu měihǎo de yītiān

If you were overspeeding because you forgot that when driving in Macao, kms (kilometers) is used instead of miles, just apologize, accept the consequences, and say that it won’t happen again.

Asking Directions

Macanese people are friendly and approachable. If you ask many locals and visitors about what they love about Macau, you’ll mostly get an answer about its people. In addition, because Macau is a very multi-cultural country, citizens and residents are accustomed to having foreigners around.

To ask for directions, you can start by saying “Hello.” In Chinese, you can say “Nǐ hǎo.” Then say “Qǐngwèn zhè shì nǎlǐ?” or “May I ask where this is?”. Afterward, do not forget to say “Thank you” or “Xièxiè”!


There are rarely any vehicle checkpoints around Macau. All police checkpoints are located within land border crossings, the International Airport, and the seaport. Police, however, still patrol the streets and roads of Macau by way of mobile vehicles and remote monitoring (CCTVs). With this, you still have to ready your documents in case you will be hailed over.

Other Tips

Proper road behavior doesn’t just stop at how you should interact with other road users. It should also be seen at how you take care of your car and how you drive in certain situations.

How To Maintain the Car?

To avoid untoward accidents, you should make sure that your car is in top shape. As much as possible, double-check the following regularly:

  • Tires are not deflated
  • Mirrors are not broken
  • Windshield wipers are running smoothly
  • Car brakes are fully functional
  • Gears are in good working condition
  • The steering wheel is connected well
  • The car lock system is in place and functional
  • Car horn is functional
  • All lights are functional
  • The signalling system is functional (like back-up beepers)
  • Accelerator is not stuck
  • Oil, water, and battery does not need some refilling and recharging
How To Drive in Macau Intersections?

When you come across an intersection, you should remember who to give way to, especially when there are no traffic lights (you can refer to the previous section on right-of-way rules in Macau). Nevertheless, you should approach intersections with utmost caution and care. This means that you should decelerate and slowly maneuver your car to the lane nearest to where you are going to turn to. Do not stay on the center lane if you’re just going to turn left or right.

Also, you should avoid overtaking when crossing or turning intersections. Maintain a considerable distance, not just with the car in front of you, but also with the car beside you (if there are). This is because vehicles have blind spots, and you wouldn’t want to get caught in someone else’s blind spot to avoid any accident.

Do Driving Schools in Macau Teach Road Etiquette?

When you enroll at a driving school in Macau, you’ll not only learn about the road rules and hone your driving skills. You’ll also get to know a lot of local tips on how to behave within Macau and how to handle certain situations with the locals.

Taking driving courses will make you understand more your skills and limitations as a driver. If you’re not yet confident with driving in a foreign country, you might as well give yourself and other road users a favor and take driving classes. Foreigners are allowed to take driving classes as long as they have a valid native drivimanyse, an International Driving Permit, and that they are at least 18 years old.

Driving Conditions in Macau

The structure of urban development in Macau is a mix of the country’s contemporary and traditional culture. Different areas will give you a different kind of driving experience. But a popular question is, is it safe to go driving in Macau?

Accident Statistics

In 2018, Macau recorded an average of 37 traffic accidents per day. This was a 6.5% reduction from previous years. Most road accidents in Macau happen because of technical car glitches and overfatigue drivers (for buses).

On a brighter note, the U.S. Department of State still categorizes Macau as a low-threat country. However, all visitors/tourists are still highly encouraged to exercise caution wherever they go, especially when driving in Macau at night. Petty street crimes may still be lingering, so you have to make sure to lock your car doors at all times and not display any bags or valuables on your car seat whenever you leave the car.

Besides all that, all roads and streets in Macau are well-lit at night, so you shouldn’t find it difficult to drive around (unless you tried all the alcoholic beverages in town).

Common Vehicles

Macau is a world-class tourist destination. As such, you’ll probably see all types of cars powering through Macanese roads. Cars that serve tourists mostly range from the small Honda hatchbacks, to Toyota sedans, to Subaru SUVs, and even luxury Bentleys, Mercedes’, Rolls Royces, and Hummer limousines. Luxury cars are very common in Macau, so don’t be too surprised to see one even in small streets.

There are also plenty of trucks, buses, and taxis that ply along the roads of Macau. If ever you drive adjacent to a truck, make sure to keep your distance and stay away from its blind spots.

Toll Roads

Since Macau is a relatively small country, there is only one (1) toll road connected to it. That is the Hong Kong - Zhuhai Macau Bridge (HZMB). Light vehicles are required to pay a toll fee of RMB150 or about HKD170+. However, the HZMB Authority sometimes offer toll-free passage, so watch out for this.

Two (2) years after its opening in 2018, the bridge continues to implement a daily quota on the number of private vehicles allowed to pass the bridge. If you want to drive from Hong Kong to Macau and vice versa, make sure to regularly check HZMB Authority announcements.

Road Situation

If you watch “Driving in Macau” videos, you’ll notice that all roads and streets in Macau are very well-paved and well-maintained. As Macau expands into the river delta, more and more reclamation projects envelope the country. To support its development, the government invests hugely in the road transportation network in the country. In fact, Macau has one (1) of the highest road densities in the world!

Have you ever wondered what it is like to go driving in Macao? The zip code in Macau is 999078, and although the roads in Macau are well-paved, most of the roads are narrow. Lane separators and islands delineate main highways, but roads and streets outside the city centers often don’t have such markings. Due to this, parking on sidewalks is rampant in Macau, which makes the roads narrower.

There are also no pedestrian sidewalks in some places, which forces pedestrians to walk in the middle of the road. When you're driving outside main highways, be alert with passing pedestrians and be mindful that you’re not going to hit any car parking on the sides.

Driving Culture

Macanese society is characterized by the predominantly conservative culture of the Chinese. People emphasize respect for elders, close familial ties, and reserved public behavior. You’d expect that the Macanese will be able to handle road incidents professionally.

Gender roles in Macau are also pretty much equal. You can find both women and men driving cars in Macau. Don’t be too surprised if you find women driving public transportation.

Things To Do in Macau

Macau is not only a place to experience luxurious gambling and cultural tours. It is also a great country for the foodies and many more! Some tourists find themselves going to Macau after their first, second, third, or even tenth trip because the country is just very inviting. Plus, it gives very conducive atmospheres for different types of ventures.

Drive As A Tourist

One of the very basic yet most exciting things you can do as a first-time traveler in Macau is to drive around. Driving as a tourist is an adventure in itself because you get to plan, explore, and figure things out by yourself. By figuring things out, we mean where to go, where to pass through, best times to go, and many more. Wouldn’t it be exciting and rewarding to say “I survived”!

In addition, while you are on the road, you can document your drive and create a vlog about it. We’re sure many travelers would also be excited to watch “Driving in Macau” videos, especially when it’s informational.

Work As A Driver

You can also get a driving job in Macau. Driving jobs in Macau include driving taxis, driving buses, delivering goods, and transporting guests around. According to Salary Expert, a transit driver in Macau receives an average base salary of 88,652 MOP/year. That’s about 11,095.42 USD. If you want to get a driving job in Macau, make sure that the company you are applying for is legitimate, and you get a valid work permit.

Work As A Travel Guide

If you want to work as a travel guide, it’s either you get yourself employed by a travel company, get employed by a hotel, or establish your own travel business. Whichever channel you choose, you should work as a travel guide legally, and this should involve getting a valid work permit. If you have a work permit, you will also be one step closer to qualifying for a residency permit.

Apply for Residency

If you’re planning on spending more time in Macau, you can apply for a visa extension or apply for a long-term type of visa. The good thing about living in Macau is that the cost of living isA declaration low, income tax is also low, and the government even pays its residents if there is a surplus from casino revenues.

You can find the full instructions on how to apply for a resident visa at the Corpo de Policia de Seguranca Publica. Nonetheless, if you are not from Mainland China, not a child of Macanese parents, and not Portuguese, here are the requirements that you need to submit:

  • Completed application form (format 4)
  • Declaration that you’ll comply with the laws of the Macau S.A.R
  • A Guarantee that is duly signed by your guarantor (format 5)
  • Copy of Valid Passport
  • Copy of Birth Certificate or equivalent documents
  • Macau Certificate of Criminal Record
  • National Certificate of Criminal Record from your home country
  • Proof of Two-Year Residence from your home country
  • Proof of Financial Capacity
  • Proof of Billing / any document stating your Macao address

Other Things To Do

If you’re planning on extending your stay in Macau, there are still other progressive activities that you can venture to beyond the tourism industry. You can volunteer, attend school, or start a business.

Where Can I Attend School in Macau?

Macau has plenty of regional-leading academic institutions, which supports the country’s 93.5% literacy rate. Macau provides a conducive environment for all of its students and scholarships too for individuals who work hard for their academics. There are about eight (8) higher-level education institutions in Macau that you can check out. Each offers various kinds of programs in different fields of expertise.

  • University of Macau
  • Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau
  • Institute for Tourism Studies
  • Macau University of Science and Technology
  • City University of Macau
  • University of St. Joseph
  • Macau Polytechnic Institute
  • Macau Institute of Management
Can I Start a Business in Macau?

A lot of foreign investors see Macau as a good opportunity for business. This is because of Macau’s strategic location, stable political environment, and ample human resources. In addition, the country offers a low tax rate and operates on a free-trade economic system.

You can join the business industry in Macau as long as the following conditions are met:

  • You partner with a local shareholder (for start-up businesses)
  • You open only a branch (if you don’t have a local partner)

Macau is strongest in its tourism and gaming sector. With this, it would be good if you can come up with a business that would revolve around these sectors.

The Top Destinations in Macau

Macau is an excellent place to enjoy the holidays and all the days of the year. The entire country’s spiritedness, including those outside tourism areas, just don’t go away 24/7. It would be difficult not to be drawn into Macau’s vibrance, so get your driving shoes ready and prepare to explore the following sites.

Macau is an important historic district because it is where western culture blended seamlessly onto the east. You will see a lot of buildings designed with both Chinese and Portuguese influences. Likewise, Macau is where you will find China’s .”dest lighthouse, China’s first western-style theater, and many more precursors of development in the region. There are at least 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites that you can visit within the Macau Historic Centre. Some of these sites will be introduced separately in this guide.

Ruins of St. Paul's Macao Photo by Joshua J. Cotten

Ruins of St. Paul’s

The Church of St. Paul was once known as the “Vatican of the Far East”. It was here that Jesuit Priests continued to strengthen the ministry of the Roman Catholic faith in Asia. The Church and the school were destroyed by fire in 1835, leaving behind the 27-meter tall ruins that you’ll see today.

It took 38 years during the early 17th century to build the original structures. The majestic granite facade resulted from both Chinese and Japanese craftsmanship and was only reinforced with concrete and steel during the modern era. At present, the ruins serve as an altar and a museum for all those who visit.

Driving Directions

The Ruins of St. Paul is about 10 km from the Macau International Airport. If you drive directly from the airport, it will take you less than 20 minutes to reach the ruins. Keep your eyes out for the street signs, though, as some of the street names or road signs are written in Chinese characters.

From the airport:

  1. the roundabout, take the 4th exit to stay on Av. Wai Long.
  2. At Rotunda de Pac On, take the 1st exit onto Estr. de Pac On.
  3. Continue to drive towards Pte. da Amizade (you’ll be driving over the outer harbor).
  4. Take the exit toward Centro.
  5. Keep left to stay on Largo do Terminal Maritimo.
  6. Continue to drive straight onto Av. do Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues.
  7. Turn right to stay on Av. do Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues.
  8. Keep to the left to drive towards Estr. do Reservatortio.
  9. Turn left onto Av. de Sidonio Pais.
  10. Turn right onto R. Filipe O’Costa.
  11. Drive straight onto Estr. do Cemiterio and R. de Tomas Vieira.
  12. At the Rotunda do Alm. Costa Cabral, take the 3rd exit onto R. de Dom Belchior Carneiro.
  13. You will find the Ruins of St. Paul to your left, about 256 m from the rotunda.

Things To Do

The Ruin’s of St. Paul is probably the most visited tourist destination in Macau. It doesn’t only lure history buffs but also those in the arts. Here’s what you can do at the ruins:

  1. Take a Picture By the 68-Stone Grand Staircase

    The grand staircase is a favorite spot for a lot of photographers. Apart from the aesthetic of the staircase’s material, you get to have the entire ruins as your backdrop. Furthermore, if you are fond of shooting portraits, this is a great venue to find people because of the non-stop crowds.
  2. Climb the Steel Stairway At the Back of the Ruins

    For visitors to see the intricacies that were put in to build the church, the government constructed a staircase at the back of the facade. Climb up to see the carvings up close and get a really stunning view of the city.
  3. Visit the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt at the Bottom of the Ruins

    Learn about the history of Macau through the lenses of the Roman Catholic faith. You’ll not only get to learn about the religious history of the country but because the college was also used as barracks in the 19th century, you’ll have a glimpse of its cultural and economic transformation as well.
A-Ma Temple Photo by Constantine S

A-Ma Temple

A-Ma Temple is the oldest Chinese Temple in Macau. It was built in the late 15th century in honor of Mazu, the great sea goddess. If you visit Macau during the 23rd day of the third moon in the Chinese Calendar, you will be able to witness colorful street performances in the A-Ma Temple Square. Likewise, when you go around the temple, you will be able to find Chinese poems and inscriptions on some stones.

Driving Directions

The A-Ma Temple is about 9.5 km from the Macau International Airport. The shortest route is through Av. dos Jogos da Asia Oriental, and it will not take you more than 20 minutes to reach the area. Be cautious of where you are going to make your turns because there are plenty of one-way streets in Macau.

From the airport:

  1. Drive south along Av. Wai Long.
  2. At Rotunda do Istmo, take the 3rd exit onto Estrada da Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperanca.
  3. At the succeeding roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Av. dos Jogos da Asia Oriental.
  4. Continue driving towards Pte. de Sai Van (this crosses over the harbor).
  5. Take the exit towards Nam Van.
  6. Stay on the left at the fork to continue driving towards Praca do Lago Sai Van.
  7. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Av. Dr. Stanley Ho.
  8. Then turn left towards Av. da Republica.
  9. Turn right onto Calcada da Praia.
  10. Then on the 1st corner, turn left onto Est. de Santa Sancha and Estr. da Penha.
  11. On the 3rd corner, turn left onto Estr. de Dom Joao Paulino.
  12. Then turn right onto R. de Sao Tiago da Barra.
  13. Turn right again onto Tv. do Gelo.
  14. Then left towards R. de Sao Tiago da Barra.
  15. You will find the entrance to the A-Ma Temple at the end of the street.

Things To Do

The A-Ma Temple is a very important cultural heritage in the country because the name “Macau” was derived from the same goddess the temple was built for. Before the Portuguese, the country was known as “A-Ma-Gau,” which meant “Bay of A-Ma”. The temple has a very interesting site plan because it is perched on the slopes of Barra Hill. While it has plenty of charming pathways to stroll along, here are the different sections that you shouldn’t miss when visiting A-Ma Temple:

  1. The Gate Pavilion

    The Gate Pavilion is a 4.5-meter-wide granite structure designed with ceramic animal sculptures on its roof. As the name suggests, this structure is what greets you when you enter A-Ma Temple.
  2. The Prayer Hall

    Also called the “First Palace of the Holy Mountain”, the original prayer hall was built in 1605. This was built in honor of Tian Hou, the goddess of seafarers, and it features granite walls with lattice windows. The hall was rebuilt in 1629.
  3. Hongren Hall (The Hall of Benevolence)

    The Hall of Benevolence is believed to be the very first hall in the temple, dating as far back as the late 15th century. It features glazed tile roofs and brick walls, similar to the prayer hall.
  4. Zhenghiao Chanlin Pavilion

    The Zhenghiao Chanlin Pavilion is a popular retreat area. It has the most intricate architectural designs compared to all the other halls in the temple. It also has a shrine dedicated to Tian Hou, with beams and coverings that are believed to be firewalls.
Macau Tower Photo by Renato Marques

Macau Tower

The Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre is an iconic, 338m-tall multi-use building in the heart of the country. It was built in 1998 and was opened to the public in 2000. It was inspired by the Sky Tower of New Zealand and is now one (1) of the world’s best attractions!

Driving Directions

Macau Tower is about a 12-minute drive from the Macau International Airport. The fastest route that you can take is through Av. dos Jogos da Asia Oriental.

From the airport:

  1. Drive south along Av. Wai Long.
  2. At Rotunda do Istmo, take the 3rd exit onto Estrada da Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperanca.
  3. At the succeeding roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Av. dos Jogos da Asia Oriental.
  4. Continue driving towards Pte. de Sai Van (this crosses over the harbor).
  5. Take the exit towards Nam Van.
  6. Stay on the left at the fork to continue driving towards Praca do Lago Sai Van.
  7. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Largo da Torre de Macau.
  8. You will find the Macau Tower to your right.

Things To Do

Did you know that the Macau Tower was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Highest Commercial Bungee Jump? Now, if you’re not into these kinds of heart-pumping adventures, there are still plenty of entertainment and dining zones for you to choose from.

  1. Experience walking in glass floors

    Don’t have any fear of heights? Visit the viewing deck at Macau Tower and walk on its glass floors perched 223 m above-ground! That’s about 60 floors up! Don’t worry; the glass floors are fully inside the building, and you don’t need any harness to experience them. You can also get 360° views of the entire Macau in this part of the building, so it’s a destination that you surely don’t want to miss.
  2. Climb The Tower’s Antennae Mast

    If you are one of those adrenaline junkies, you might be interested in this activity. Where can you find a building in the world that allows guests to reach its topmost point? Because it is the antennae mast that you’ll have to climb, you’ll have to reach it by scaling the exterior part of the building (with a guide and safety gear, of course!)
  3. Watch Blockbuster Films at Macau’s Largest 3D Movie Theatre

    The 3D movie theater at the Macau Tower seats 500 people. It caters to both 2D and 3D movies. If you want to watch 3D movies, the ticket price is MOP110. 2D movies, on the other hand, are MOP70. Furthermore, the hall also serves as an auditorium where a lot of live cultural, business, and entertainment events happen.
  4. Taste the Feijoada at the Tromba Rija Restaurant

    Feijoada is a traditional Portuguese dish featuring a bean stew made with either pork or beef (meat and bones) and vegetables. The beans used are also either red or white. The Feijoada is of Portuguese origin; however, it became one of Brazil’s most well-loved national dish.


Coloane is where you’ll see the highest accounts of Portuguese influence in Macau. Cobblestone streets, solid-colored colonial buildings, and a waterfront promenade are just some of the sites you’ll see in Coloane.

Driving Directions

Coloane is on the southern tip of Taipa Island. To get to Coloane Village and the A-Ma Cultural Village, you’ll have to drive about 7.4km from the Macau International Airport. It should take you less than 15 minutes to reach the village via Estr. do Istmo and Estr. do Alto de Coloane.

From the airport:

  1. Drive south along Av. Wai Long.
  2. At Rotunda do Istmo, take the 2nd exit onto Estr. do Istmo.
  3. At Rotunda Flor de Lotus (next roundabout), take the 2nd exit to stay on Estr. do Istmo.
  4. At the next roundabout (Rotunda de Seac Pai Van), take the 3rd exit onto Estr. de Seac Pai Van.
  5. Once at the next roundabout (Rotunda da Harmonia), take the 1st exit to stay on Estr. de Seac Pai Van.
  6. Then turn left onto Estr. do Alto de Coloane (just a few meters after the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion).
  7. You will find the village at the end of Estr. do Alto de Coloane.

Things To Do

Contrary to the festive atmosphere of Cotai (central entertainment district of Macau), Coloane radiates a subtle kind of spirit similar to Taipa Village. As it is fondly called “Macau’s Green Lung”, locals and visitors will surely find a place to recharge the soul in Coloane.

  1. The Hac Sa Black Sand Beach

    Hac Sa Beach is the only natural beach in Macau. You might find the beach and immediate water a bit murky because of the eroding sand; nevertheless, the place is still safe for swimming and just lying and relaxing on the soft sand.
  2. Fernando’s Restaurant

    Fernando’s Restaurant is a well-loved Macanese restaurant. It was established in 1968, and it is located near Hac Sa Beach. It serves different kinds of dishes from seafood, meat dishes, vegetables, pastries, and many more. The atmosphere is very family-friendly so that you can take anyone with you there.
  3. The Original Lord Stow’s Bakery

    Have you tried the famous, mouthwatering Macanese egg tarts? Established in 1989, Lord Stow’s Bakery specializes in European cakes and pastries. It later created the iconic egg tarts, which soon became a craze in the entire continent during 2007. At present, you can find branches of the Lord Stow’s Bakery in Hong Kong, Japan, and the Philippines.

Warner Brothers Fun Zone

The Warner Brothers is an iconic brand in the entertainment industry. It started as a producer of major motion pictures during the 1930s, with movies covering different genres like action and suspense. Later on, it created the kid-favorite Looney Tunes film series, a worldwide phenomenon even up to this day.

Driving Directions

The Warner Brothers Fun Zone is located within Studio City. It is about a short 7-minute drive from the Macau International Airport if you drive through Estr. do Istmo.

From the airport:

  1. Drive south along Av. Wai Long.
  2. At Rotunda do Istmo, take the 2nd exit onto Estr. do Istmo.
  3. At Rotunda Flor de Lotus (next roundabout), take the 4th exit to stay on Estr. do Istmo.
  4. Then turn left onto Av. de Cotai.
  5. You will find Studio City Macau to your left.

Things To Do

Opened to the public in 2015, the Warner Brothers Fun Zone is a 297 m2 themed playground that offers highly interactive activities that kids and the kids-at-heart will surely enjoy. You can visit the studio daily from 10:30 am - 7:00 pm.

  1. DC Comics Super Hero Action Arena

    DC Comics is a subsidiary of Warner Brothers. They are the makers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, The Green Lantern, and Aquaman, to name a few. Roleplay your favorite DC superheroes and experience different child-friendly stunts at the action arena! Even if your kids aren’t familiar with the characters, they will surely love the activities.
  2. DC Comics Super Hero Raceway

    If you know your superheroes, then you know that most of them do not come without their cool cars and gadgets. At the DC Comic Super Hero Raceway, children will experience driving their superheroes’ cars and speed through the huge raceway.
  3. Warner Bros. Hypercade

    Play futuristic arcade games at the immersive Warner Brothers Hypercade. The Hypercade is a 4,822 ft2 zone that features highly interactive games like 4D rides and virtual gameplay. You’ll not only be sitting and looking at the screens as it is in a lot of classical arcades, but you’ll be moving around and using your body to play the games.


About MacauA Brief History of MacauA Brief History of the Ruins of ST. Paul’sA-Ma TempleA-Ma TempleApplying for Residence in Macao S.A.RCar Rentals in Macau - A Complete Guide for Renting a Self Drive CarChina: Officials to Require Quarantine for More Areas of Mainland China as of Ja. 4/ Update 28Climate in MacaoColoane VillageDecree-Law N 57.94/M of 28th NovemberDiscussion on Road Traffic Problems and “Public Transport Priority” Policy in the Macau PeninsulaHistoric Centre of MacaoHistoric Centre of Macau: 12 Top UNESCO Sites to SeeHow to Plan a 1-Day Trip from Hong Kong to MacauImplementation of Toll-Free Policy for Small Passenger Vehicles using Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge During Lunar New Year HolidayIntroduction (Macao Giant Panda Pavilion)MacauMacau: GovernmentMacau | Illegally Parked Removal and Returning Fines Increased By More Than 500 PCTMacau Transit Visa for Turkmenistan Passport Holder Living in United States of AmericaMacau AirportMacau Climate & WeatherMacao Driving License: Exchange to Macao Driving License from Foreign LicenseMacau in Figures 2009Macau in Figures 2019Macau | Local Vehicles Still Falling BElow Emission Standards - Transport BureauMacau Special Administrative Region: Law No. 3/2007, Road Traffic LawMacau: Stricter Fines, Penalties for Infractors Under Road Traffic Law Soon on Public ConsultationMacau TowerMacau Travel AdvisoryMacau Visa PolicyMacau 2020 Crime and Safety ReportNumber of Traffic Accidents Involving Bus Operators Has Decreased in Recent Years - Gov’tOn the Official Languages of the Macao SAR: from the SFG Discourse Analysis PerspectiveRental GuideRoad DensityRoad Density (km of road per sq. km of land area) - Transportation - Infrastructure - World Development IndicatorsRoad Traffic LawRoad Traffic Law Amendment Includes Heavier FinesRuins of St. PaulRoad Traffic LawStudy in MacauThe Cars of Macau - An Analysis of the SAR’s Auto MarketThe Pros and Cons of Working in MacauTransit Driver SalaryWarner Bros Fun ZoneWarner Bros. Fun Zone, MacauWhy It Literally Pays to Live in MacauWhy Set Up Your Business in Macau?World Borders: How to Get From China to Macau (Gongbei Port to Portas do Cerco)

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