The Ugly Side of Macau – Be Wary

Macau is a great destination for short vacation with its vibrant nightlife and good spread of activities to suit both young and old.

Just as in any countries, there are things that visitors should take note while in Macau to ensure a long awaited holiday stays enjoyable and memorable (in the right way).

Losing 7% on exchange rate

Macau HK dollar fly away

Macau’s currency is the Macau Pataca, in short MOP. Visitors can only exchange their local currency into MOP in Macau or Hong Kong. Though the MOP and the Hong Kong dollar (HKD) are used interchangeably in Macau as if they are of equivalent values, the truth is they are NOT. Their exchange rate has remained stable at 1MOP to 0.97HKD for the past decade.

Goods and services are priced in MOP but payment can be made in MOP or HKD. The shop will always tell you “it is the SAME”. This becomes an opportunity for shops to make exchange rate gain from unknowing visitors.

Assuming you buy a product for 60MOP and pay 100HKD for it. You should get back 43MOP. Instead you will get back 40MOP. So in this example, you lose 3MOP or 7% in exchange rate.

Alleys of rubbish

Being a tourist, Senado Square and its surrounding are definitely the place you can’t miss. That said, chances of you walking through narrow alleys is 100%. These alleys are part and parcel of experiencing Macau and are never boring with food carts and shopping carts at every other corners. However, some mental preparation is necessary.

In our opinion, Macau has a rather poor hygiene management. Lining the side of these alleys are heaps of rubbish emitting an awful rotten stench into the air. Besides that, water from flower pots, air-conditioning, wet clothes and other what’s not is constantly dripping from the apartments above. So, the alleys are a “dodging” game by itself!

Fake factory outlet shopping

While planning for our trip, shopping for international brands’ T-shirt at factory outlet is one of the recommended activities. We found 3 shops at a back alley of Senado Square, and another 4 shops at the supposed cluster situated a few streets away from Senado Square. International brands indeed but the T-shirts are of poor quality and the prints are too fake to be the real stuff. Also note that size of these T-shirts starts from XXL.

Massage and Spa

Unlike Thailand where we can pop into almost any massage parlours for a quick “perk me up” Thai massage, here in Macau, decent massage parlours are extremely difficult to come by. Couples and women travellers, don’t be too delighted when you spot a massage parlour. Always check for telltale signs that implicit “men only”.

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