Macao is a small piece of Portugal in the heart of the Far East. It’s hard to imagine waiting for the exploration of well-preserved colonial buildings and cobblestone streets just 60km from Hong Kong’s urban jungle.
Take a walk along the busy streets to the cathedral’s ruins, and you’ll find the city’s rich past everywhere. And the best method to tour around this place is through a car, but before considering renting a car, you should check driving eligibility in Macao.
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
Why do people carry IDPs in Macao?
Your IDP validates identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo, and driver’s license number. It is capable of translating your identity details into 12 other languages. It strongly advises international drivers’ licenses for tourists. In many countries, a license to drive is strongly recommended. The IDP is not issued to the United States but must be issued separately. The issuance of an IDP accompanied by the United States driving license is restricted to the USA only. Some countries require IDP drivers to drive legally. Driving without an id could result in severe consequences. Check country conditions before traveling.
Benefits of carrying an IDP
Functionality as an ID
IDPs are a convenient travel document as it doubles as identification documents. This is advantageous if you want to keep your passport under lock and key due to security considerations. An IDP can be used instead of a national ID card, especially if it is in a language that is not internationally used.
Quicker traffic authority stops.
Traffic police may have trouble deciphering your driver’s information on your license during a routine traffic stop. Having an IDP ensures that officers can quickly note down your particulars and send you on your way. This may be especially handy during the unfortunate event of an emergency or motor misfortunes.
Car rental companies
Car rental companies worldwide require you to have an International Driving Permit and a valid driving license to rent a car. This is due to the United Nations recognizing an IDP as a valid driving permit. Having an IDP will ensure that your valuable vacation time isn’t wasted on trying to convince a conservative car rental agency of the validity of your foreign driver’s license.
Driving requirements in Macao
You can legally drive abroad if you have an international driver’s license. This is a translation of a valid native driver’s license into the 12 most spoken languages in the world. You don’t have to keep reapplying in every country you travel to, as one IDP already contains all the translations.
You can use the same IDP within countries participating in the same Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. In Macau, the IDP of the 1949 Geneva Convention is used, valid for one year. If you are staying during normal tourism, you may be able to use it in Macau without an IDP if your native driver’s license is printed in Chinese, Portuguese, English, or French. In Macau, you can drive with a Hong Kong driver’s license, a Chinese driver’s license, or a Portuguese driver’s license. Other than these languages, you need to apply for an international driver’s license so that the authorities can understand what is written on your national driver’s license.
Obtaining an international driver’s license is very easy. You can apply for an international driver’s license if you are 18 or older and have a valid driver’s license from your home country. You can apply for an IDP quickly and easily from our website. All you need is a valid driver’s license, a photo, and an ID card.
If you stay in Macao for more than a year, you will need to exchange it for a local driver’s license.
Applying for an IDP
You can apply for an IDP through our website.
Exchanging your license
Applications for exchanging foreign driver’s licenses in Macao must be made by the “Road Traffic Act” and “Administrative Regulations.” Suppose you have a foreign driver’s license. In that case, you can get a Macau driver’s license from your foreign driver’s license at the Transportation Bureau from the day you live in the Macao Special Administrative Region or within one year of your first arrival in Macao. You can apply for direct conversion to a driver’s license.
There are some things you should note while exchanging your license. Your application will not be accepted if your foreign driver’s license is damaged, invalid, lost, or stolen. A foreign driver’s license must be valid, and the application can be made by the owner or someone approved by the owner. You will need to show the ID of the authorized person as well. The applicant must hold a medical certificate including all categories so you can drive.
You can apply for an exchange through the Reception area of the transport Bureau Macao. You will need to fill out some forms, and after you use them, you may be required to take a driving test to obtain a driving license.
Car rental in Macao
The best way to see the whole country is to drive to Macau. Car rental in Macau is already faster with an international driver’s license. In addition to acting as a valid ID and driver’s license, automobile liability insurance often requires IDPs. Without an IDP, you may not be able to get car insurance, which is a requirement of most car rental companies.
We will process it on their website, while others welcome bookings by phone or email. Nevertheless, it would help if you got to know your car rental company better before you pay for your car.
Legal registration aside, the best car rental companies must provide quality customer service and transparency. This includes notification of additional costs that may be incurred, such as administration, cleaning, fuel, insurance, daily allowances, upgrades, and aging fees.
Car rental companies may have different requirements regarding age, driving experience, medical condition, etc. It is advisable to check with other companies to compare what conditions are comfortable. IDP, valid passport, and photo ID are required.
The legal minimum driving age requirement in Macao to rent a car is 21. However, some car rental companies may charge an additional fee if you are 21 to 25 or 70 years old and older. Companies need more “safety nets” because these are the age groups in which drivers are considered more vulnerable.
In addition, some car rental companies only allow you to rent if you have a valid driver’s license from your home country for at least two years. Again, this ensures that you already have enough driving experience to take care of their car. Macau’s compulsory car insurance is liability insurance only, and additional car rental insurance must be purchased daily. This means the insurance period also depends on the number of days paid.
Road rules in Macau
It’s wise to brush up on the road rules before getting behind the wheels in a foreign country.
Some things to keep in mind are:
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- One of the biggest challenges for Macau traffic managers is the curb of the parking lot.
- Do not drive above the maximum speed and below the minimum speed
- The legal driving age in Macau is 18 years old
- Overtaking is only allowed on the right side
- Do not use devices while driving
- Try to stay away from sidewalks or pedestrian tracks to avoid any accidents.
- It’s advised not to travel at rainy times from Jan – March
- If possible, carry emergency gear, such as a road triangle, to signal other vehicles driving behind you
- The emergency number is 999
- Carry your license, IDP, passport, and insurance with you
Top 5 Places to Visit in Macau
Macau has a large economy dependent on its tourism & gaming sector, and it significantly focuses on the gambling industry, which generates more revenue for casinos than Las Vegas. Despite this, Macau is not only a fantastic destination for the visitor, and this country has many UNESCO World Heritage sites which make for an ideal destination for cultural excursions.
Ruins of St. Paul’s Church
It was once the ‘Vatican of the Far East.’ The church of the seventeenth century was the epitome of the East Rome Catholic Church. Its 27-meter façade was ruined by fire in 1835. The original granite façade was reinforced with steel to preserve the entire construction. The ruin serves today as an altar and museum and is open to visitors every day free of charge.
Located in the historic center of Macau, Senado Square is a fun pedestrian road that will likely initiate a visit to Macau. Highlights include the impressive old Senate building, now occupied by the city council and widely recognized as the best example of Macau’s Portuguese colonial architecture. Built-in 1784, the building received a magnificent façade in 1870 and was completely restored in 1940. The interior highlights are the council room with large wooden panels and the Senate Library with over 50,000 rare manuscripts over 500 years ago. The square is also great for shopping and dining at European and Chinese restaurants. There are also many other attractions, such as the 17th-century Church of St. Dominic.
Home of Macao Museum
Built in 1626, Fortaleza Do monte has long been the center of Portugal’s military presence in this region of China, eventually serving as the governor’s residence until 1749. Today, this former fortress has a three-story Macau Museum that focuses on Macau archeology and anthropology and how Chinese, Portuguese, and Macau people live and work together. I’m focusing on Macau. It is also worth visiting the Tomizawa Flower Garden, which has a moat-like pond and flower beds, and the Moore-style Manson Evocatiba de Sanyassen, built in memory of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of Sun Yat-sen. The first Republic of China. Another related site is Sun Wen Park, with its beautiful gardens, Victorian greenhouses, and aviary.
Part of the convention and entertainment hub of the large Macau Tower, Macau Tower is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and a popular tourist attraction. The tower is 338 meters high and is built for telecommunications and broadcasting. The fun side of the tower is an observatory with stunning views of the city, as well as a variety of restaurants, theaters, and shopping. For those seeking thrills, the Macau Tower Skywalk is a breathtaking walk along the outer edge of the observatory. Or you can experience the world’s best bungee jumping at 233 meters.
The giant panda pavilion in Cotai is a bit far away, so the crowd is often sparse. It’s also one of the best things to do in Macau for your family. Enter an architecturally unique building and marvel at the translucent roof in the shape of a giant seashell. The wildlife pavilion has several giant pandas, cute red pandas, and a variety of monkeys.
Can foreigners drive in Macau?
As long as the age is 18 and the driver is in the United States, you can apply. To obtain International Driving Permits in Macau from us, you only have to provide Driving licenses of your home country, photographs, and an ID.
How do I get an International Driving Permit for Macau?
You can apply through our website. The whole application process will take around 20 minutes at the most, and you can get a digital copy of your IDP in 2 hours through email, and a printed copy of your IDP will arrive in 2-30 days.
Is it necessary to have an IDP in Macau?
Various nations do not recognize a driver’s license in the US, although the government is recognized as an IDP. Other countries may accept a US driver’s license but need local translations. IDPs can handle such situations. Although the government of a country can not require an IDP, a few rental car companies based in the country, like Hertz, might require the IDP for car hire. Purchasing an IDP before departure will help reduce the potential hassle.
Can I use my native license in Macao?
Your native language can be eligible if it has a language translation document in Macao. You may need to approve your native license from a police station; if not, you’ll need an IDP.
Why is an IDP beneficial while driving in Macao?
Apart from being eligible to drive in Macao through boundaries legally, the International Driving Permit will give you the following advantages: to be able to rent a car in Macau and other countries, be eligible for third-party insurance, have an alternative form of identification that you can use in establishments and drive and use the same permit in other countries that participated in the 1949 road traffic conventions.