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Macau - Getting there & away, getting around

Macau - Getting there & away

Macau opened its flash new airport on Taipa Island in December 1995, with high hopes for a tourism-led boom. Only trouble is there are few direct flights from Europe, so the dream of visitors jetting in direct to Macau rather than via Hong Kong is still to be realised. The airport is one of Asia's least used, so you'll whiz through immigration and baggage pick-up. Macau airport has direct links to Asian cities like Bangkok, Singapore, Seoul, Taipei and Manila; mainland China destinations include Beijing, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Dunming and Guilin. You can catch a helicopter to Hong Kong if you've got US$155.00 to spare. Departure tax is around US$16.00.

Hong Kong is linked to Macau by more than 150 sea crossings every day, with a choice of jetfoil, turbocat, foilcat or express ferry services; the trip takes just under an hour by jetfoil. There's a daily ferry crossing to Shekou in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, north of Hong Kong. The Zhuhai Special Economic Zone town of Gongbei borders Macau to the north, on the other side of the historic Barrier Gate, and there are regular buses to Gongbei and Guangzhou.

Getting around Macau

Other than walking, the best way to get around the Macau Peninsula is by air-conditioned bus or minibus. Routes take in the Lisboa Hotel, Avenida Almeida Ribeiro, the Barrier Gate, the Floating Casino, the A-Ma and Kun Iam temples, and Taipa and Coloane villages. Taxis are metered and reasonably priced, but not too many drivers speak English. As for those touristy three-wheeled pedicabs (triciclos) clustered round the Jetfoil pier and Lisboa Hotel - well, they can be more expensive than the taxis, plus they're slow-moving and restricted to touring the waterfront. Driving in Macau can be a somewhat hair-raising experience - there's way too many cars in too small a space, and the drivers all seem to think they're Grand Prix heroes. Mokes can be hired, but they're best reserved for more tranquil Taipa and Coloane.

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