GETTING THERE: Since Macau has no airport, visitors arrive by boat from Hong Kong. Jetfoils take about an hour, hydrofoils take a bit longer, and both leave about every hour from the departure wharf on Hong Kong's Connaught Road, Central District. There's also a steamer with restaurants, bars and poker machines that makes the crossing in 2 1/2 hours. The fares for all three range from $7 to $10 each way, depending on when you go.

To be assured a seat, book both ways and buy your return ticket the same time you purchase your departure ticket in Hong Kong. No visa is necessary for U.S. citizens.

GETTING AROUND: For casual sightseeing, pedicabs in town are pleasant. Taxis are inexpensive and plentiful. Or rent a Moke as you disembark from the Hong Kong ferry; rental is about $35 a day.

Take an extra passport photo along with you and you may obtain a visa to walk into China at the Portas do Cerco on the Macau-China border. For a more elaborate, organized, overnight tour of China, a travel agency called International Tourism -- with locations in both Hong Kong and Macau -- offers many options.

WHERE TO STAY: The hotels of Macau prefer guests to pay for accommodations before arrival. If you're in Hong Kong, there's a Macau tourism office on the Kowloon side near the Star Ferry. There you can arrange (and pay for) hotel rooms and transportation.

The romantic Pousada de Sao Tiago costs about $85 a night double. Because there are only 24 rooms, advance booking is recommended.

If you're just going to Macau to gamble, and want a luxurious, western-style hotel, the Mandarin Oriental near the outer harbor is your ticket. It also boasts the newest and swankiest casino in Macau.

The Hotel Lisboa, with its 24-hour casino, is located closest to the heart of old Macau; its 725 rooms were recently renovated.

INFORMATION: The Macau Tourist Information Bureau, P.O. Box 1860, Los Angeles, Calif. 90078, (800) 331-7150.