An OFW’s Guide to Life in Macau

Macau, a former Portuguese colony, is now one of China’s special administrative areas. In contrast to Hong Kong, it is known as the “New Las Vegas” because of its highly developed economy, which is primarily dependent on gaming. Macau offers a business-friendly environment as well.

Living in Macau will provide you with the opportunity to enjoy high-quality living amid an incredible combination of cultures and ancient traditions with modernism. In this guide, we share some of the basic things that you need to know about life in this country, such as visas, work, accommodation, banking, and healthcare.

An OFW’s Guide to Life in Macau

Here’s What OFWs Need to Know About Living in Macau

Living in another country as a foreign national is never an easy thing. That’s why getting some help from other Filipinos and/or experienced travellers will be crucial to your move in this country. Listed below are some of the essential things that you need to know as a Filipino living in Macau:

Neighborhoods in Macau

Macau has eight major neighborhoods, each with its own set of benefits and downsides. What you are looking for in a residential area will mostly determine where you choose to live.

  • The Historic Centre is the first stop; the entire neighborhood is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, complete with small Mediterranean-style alleyways and a plenty of retail opportunities. There aren’t many housing options in the neighborhood, and the apartments are on the expensive side.
  • Then there’s NAPE, which is a business zone during the day and Macau’s interesting nightlife centre at night.
  • Inner Harbour is the city’s first waterfront neighborhood.
  • Outer Harbour is home to Macau’s ferry port as well as a number of major construction projects.
  • There is a lot of Portuguese architectural influence in La Barra.
  • The majority of the residential compounds are in Taipa and Coloane, which are linked by the Cotai Strip. Taipa is a fast rising region full of freshly constructed high-rises, and Coloane Island is well-known for its oriental flavor and peaceful ambiance.
  • The Cotai Strip, a 5.2-kilometer runway lined with casinos, resorts, restaurants, and bars, connects the two islands.

Types of Accommodation and Prices

Macau is a high-rise city. With its small land area and high population density, there just isn’t enough room for too many housing possibilities. You should also be prepared for high-rises that are frequently tight, which means you won’t have much garden space around your apartment complex. In Macau, you can choose from a modest studio to a large three-bedroom apartment, serviced flats, and furnished and unfurnished options. Your choice of lodging is determined by the length of your trip, your family circumstances, and your budget.

Depending on where you live, a studio apartment might cost anywhere from 6,000 MOP to over 8,000 MOP per month, while a three-bedroom apartment can cost up to 13,000MOP.

Where to Search for Accommodation

Because of the availability of several English-language websites and English-speaking real estate brokers, finding lodging in Macau should be simple. However, it may take some time to find a location that meets all of your needs.

With this in mind, begin your search by browsing apartment searching websites to obtain a sense of the market, pricing, and neighborhoods. If you know exactly what you want, you can contact a real estate agent directly with your specifications. Keep in mind that you will need to pay an agent fee in this case. You can also look through expat forums and classifieds in local newspapers and online. Apartment sharing is another popular option for city expats.


The Philippines was colonized by the Spanish several centuries ago and occupied for more than three centuries. As a result, Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in the archipelago. Macau, which was a Portuguese territory from the mid-16th century until late 1999, is also home to many religious structures. When it comes to their beliefs, Filipinos are quite faithful. There are numerous lovely churches frequented by Filipinos in Macau that are well worth a visit. Many Filipinos visit Our Lady of Carmel parish in Taipa, as well as the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady. If you want to practice your Catholic faith, there are plenty of churches to choose from in Macau.

Banking and Finance

As an expat, often known as an OFW, or Overseas Filipino Worker, you will most likely need to transfer money to family members, both immediate and extended, for remittance. Don’t worry, there are Banco De Oro remittance facilities in Macau.

It makes no difference whether you’re sending money to a different bank, such as BPI or Metrobank; you can send money to multiple accounts for a little price. It is simple to conduct transactions and payments to the Philippines; however, make sure you always have a valid identification card.

Tips: Applying for Macau Work Visa

It takes time to obtain a working visa and what is known as a Blue Card or work permit from the Macau Government. It could last two to three months. The government, on the other hand, is very organized, and their criteria are well-defined, so make certain that you have fulfilled with all of their requests.

Find out what documentation you might need on the Macau Government website and work with the HR department of the firm that hired you to coordinate. The Public Security Police Force website and the Macao SAR Identification Department are two useful websites to refer to for your visa processing needs.

Tips on Finding Places

Get lost walking around Macau! It’s a little city where you may easily go from one area to another. Ask as many questions as you can of the people you meet, and you’ll be astonished at how much money you can save if you know where to go for seafood, baby clothes, coffee, or furniture.

Wear comfortable shoes because walking is essential to getting around in Macau, and it’s how you’ll learn your way through the city.

Tips on Speaking with Locals

Because the expat community is still a small percentage of the overall population, conversing with some natives can be difficult in some regions. Just in case, make sure you have Google Translate on your smartphone. You’ll appreciate being able to look up the local names of the buildings where you reside, the landmark closest to where you want to travel, and so on.

Tips on Finding Other Filipinos

There are fantastic Filipino groups that help make the transition to living in Macau as easy as possible. There are organizations that actively support the Philippine Consulate General Macau SAR’s activities. Thirty-eight of these are Filipino organizations and 40 are faith-based or religious groups registered with the consulate.

These include regional groups, occupation-based organizations such as engineers, architects, and pharmacists, as well as organizations based on mutual interests and hobbies such as dance groups, bands, sororities, and fraternities.

Tips on Finding Family-Friendly Places

Having children and keeping them entertained is not difficult; Taipa Central Park is a favorite, with two playgrounds positioned at opposite ends of the park and featuring slides, swings, animal rides, and monkey bars. It contains a large swimming pool with a kiddie area, a gym, a dog park, a jogging route, a basketball court, vending machines, a yoga lawn that is also used for Zumba, a chess area, and the family-favorite: an underground library.

These are just some of the things worth noting if you plan to move to Macau for work, whether by yourself or with family. As you may have noted, the community is a big part of an expat or an OFW’s success in relocating to a country like Macau. Make sure to keep this guide on hand for a quick reference to everything you need to know about relocating to Macau, especially if it’s your first time.

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