Macau is a glamorous place. It is also full of luxury, and lavish and wealth are almost synonymous with this special administrative region of China. It kind of resembles Las Vegas, and it is the only region in China that allows gambling.
The first time you visit Macau, you will be overwhelmed by the fact that it is so unique, and really, unlike any other place you have been to in the world. Indeed, it is a great adventure to go to Macau, but is it safe? That is the topic we will be focusing on in this article.
Why Macau is a Safe Place to Visit
Before we focus on the safety of Macau, let’s first talk about why we should go there in the first place. What’s in Macau that is worth visiting? What are some of the things we can do to enjoy our stay in this luxurious place?
Portuguese influence everywhere – Macau is a Chinese region, but once upon a time in its history, it was invaded by the Portuguese. In fact, it was only recently (1999) that Portugal eventually gave Macau its freedom.
Because of this European influence though, you will see traces of Europe in Macau, especially in the architecture of its buildings. In fact, you will enjoy getting immersed in a class of cultures, one Chinese and one European. That will prove to be a wonderful and unforgettable travel experience.
Two currencies – Because of the Chinese and Portuguese influence in Macau, it has two currencies. Its main currency is the Macanese Pataca. Aside from this official currency, you can also pay for stuff using Hong Kong Dollars.
What’s truly amazing about having these two currencies is that both basically have the same value. So if you’re giving someone 1 Pataca, you can receive 1 Hong Kong Dollar in return and you will get the same value.
On public transportation – The best way to go around Macau with public transportation is by bus. You can also ride a taxi, and taxis can be relatively cheap in Macau, but according to some sources, many of these taxis do not have seatbelts so there could be a safety issue there.
A bus service that is connected to the hotel you are staying in is available, and you can use that service so they can take you to the airport or the nearest sea port.
Visit iconic locations – When you’re in Macau, the first thing you need to do is know where the iconic places are and visit them as soon and as you are able as possible. One great location is the Macau Tower. It offers a lot of activities, with the most popular one being the world’s tallest bungee jump.
Another adventurous thing you can do in the Macau Tower is the Tower Climb. You get to reach the top of Macau, 338 meters above the region. It’s kind of hot though during the summer, but you will definitely be amazed at the scenery and the sense of achievement you will get.
Casinos everywhere – In China, gambling is not allowed, but Macau is an exception, and that’s probably because Macau is not 100 percent a part of China yet. One surprising thing about gambling in Macau is that more money is gambled there than in Las Vegas.
It is said that Macau will soon be a part of China by the year 2050, and for now its just a special administrative region. What happens to the casinos by then? Only time will tell. For now, Macau continues to build more and more casinos, as it is apparently plays a huge role in its economy.
Having this Casino culture, though, has its perks. Primarily, it makes for a vibrant and excited city, full of life.
On accommodation – Since Macau is like the hub of casinos in Asia, it has lots of tourists from all over the world (during normal, non-pandemic circumstances). Usually, with these casinos, there are hotels tied to them, so you already have a place to stay and are a walking distance away to the casino.
You need to be 21 years old or older to be able to play in the casino. Always bring your ID or passport with you so that you can prove your age, and that you are allowed to even pass through the casino going to your hotel room.
Where should you stay? There are many hotels, as I mentioned, but some of them are obviously more popular than others, mainly because they offer better services. Perhaps the most popular hotel is The Venetian. This hotel is inspired by Venice, as the name suggests, and you can see in the architecture of the buildings that they are inspired by Renaissance culture.
Going to other places – When you’re in Macau, and after you’ve done everything you feel you need to do in the place, you may want to visit other neighboring places, like Hong Kong. After all, Hong Kong is so close. All you need to do to go to Hong Kong is ride a ferry for one hour, then you’ll be able to visit all the tourist destinations in that place, such as Disneyland.
Ways to get to Macau – There are basically two ways to go to Macau. First, you can ride an airplane to Hong Kong then take a ferry to Macau. Second, you ride an airplane directly to Macau. For some reason, most people prefer the former.
Safety in Macau
Here are some of the important things you need to remember when talking about Safety in Macau. These tips are categorized based on crime, civil unrest, terrorism and natural disasters.
Crime – When it comes to violent crime, there are very few instances of that happening in Macau. What is more common, although not as prevalent too, is petty crime.
Petty crime includes pickpocketing, which often occurs in the following areas:
- Casinos – these places are usually crowded and people are busy playing, so there’s a good chance there are pickpockets just waiting for the right moment to strike.
- Airport– the airport can be a busy place as well, especially in a place like Macau that is a top tourist destination.
- Markets – here pickpockets can be quite prevalent. As people are busy buying stuff, pickpockets can grab your wallet, especially if you place it in your back pocket, while you go over your purchase choices.
- Shopping areas – you should always be vigilant when visiting shopping areas, especially during days when they get quite crowded.
So what can you do, in general, to prevent becoming a victim of these pickpockets?
You just need to be careful about your belongings, especially when you are in crowded areas.
You have to be aware of your surroundings, and if someone appears to be acting in a suspicious manner, just be careful.
Another common crime is drink spiking. In Macau, where there are lots of casinos, there are also lots of bars for people to hang out and
relax, socialize and meet new people.
However, some have taken the ugly road and resorted to crime by drink spiking. They will intentionally put some sort of substance in your drink when you’re not looking, causing you to become dizzy and they can do all sorts of harmful things to you.
How do you avoid this? Well, here are some important tips:
- First, the old adage, “do not talk to strangers,” is really effective to a certain degree. People will approach you when you’re in casinos or clubs and bars, and just try to feel them out and figure out on the fly if they are trustworthy or not. In any case, don’t let your guard down.
- Another adage, “don’t receive anything from strangers,” also applies. This adage probably doesn’t exist, but it’s good advice whenever you’re in a bar. Don’t receive cigarettes, gum, food or drinks. All of these can be spiked, and if you’re not careful, you can fall victim instantly.
- Another important tip is to not leave your drinks or your food unattended. When you’re not around and your food or drink is left on the table, someone with bad intentions can spike it without your knowledge.
- Another kind of crime that has happened several times in Macau is ATM fraud. What happens is that when you are withdrawing from an ATM on the street, someone might approach you. If this happens, and you don’t know the person, cancel your transaction right away before you begin to engage in a conversation.
As a general rule, just don’t participate in public rallies, events and protests. These events may start peaceful at first, but anything can happen, and the peace can escalate into violence quickly.
One thing you can do to avoid these protests is to be up to date with the local and the latest news. Be sure that where you’re going, there isn’t any protest coming up, and listen to the advice of authorities.
Terrorism is a threat wherever you go. It has been categorized as a global threat by many governments, and although Macau isn’t really affected by this threat so far, unlike other countries, you should still be vigilant because terrorist organizations are constantly planning.
What’s more, terrorist groups like to target foreign tourists, and Macau has lots of tourists during normal days, so that’s why you still need to remain vigilant and understand that terrorism is a worldwide threat.
When it comes to natural disasters, what are the most common ones that Macau experience? Well, these are typhoons and, in general, severe weather.
What happens when weather is severe? There are many consequences, but one of them is that transportation comes to a halt or is delayed, causing many important transactions and travels to be suspended, and that can result in a domino of unwanted consequences.
Severe weather can also lead to the shutting down of important infrastructure, such as those that provide energy and water.
So what should you do in case there is a natural disaster? Well, here are some important tips:
- Your passport is a very important document. It allows you to stay and leave Macau without hassle. That’s why you need to protect it from harm caused by any kind of weather. In particular, you need to keep it in a waterproof container.
- Always listen to local news and follow the advice of the authorities. If they ask you to evacuate, then do so without hesitation.
- Keep in touch with your family and friends, update them about your current situation so they will know, and they can provide help when necessary.
Some really strong typhoons can pass through Macau. Most typhoons occur during the season that starts in May and ends in October.
Weather and climate prediction centers will try to analyze where the typhoon will fall during the following days, but they can be quite unpredictable, in terms of the path they will take and the strength and their ability to cause damage.
What do you need to do when a typhoon occurs? Well, here are some important tips:
- You just have to listen to the authorities and follow their advice.
- Aside from the government authorities, there are people in Macau who are responsible for analyzing occurrences of severe weather and notifying the public about an upcoming weather situation, and providing advice on what to do. Listen to them as well.
- If the typhoon is severe enough, it can cause ferries and airplanes to temporarily suspend their services, and for good reason. You don’t want to be moving around when a strong typhoon is occurring; you want to stay put and be in the shelter of a strong home, enough to withstand the strong winds of the typhoon.
There you have it. These are some of the most important things you need to remember when it comes to safety in Macau. As you can see, Macau is a really nice place to go to, and not only that, it is a really safe place as well.