TurboJET Ferry: Hong Kong To Macau in a Day

Although our trip to Hong Kong was completely on a whim and we had no idea what our itinerary would behold, we knew that we could not visit without a trip to Macau (also known as Macao). We allowed ourselves 4-5 days for the trip, figuring two nights would be spent in Macau. That is, until hours of research returned results of hotels only over $200. Since we had already underestimated our budget for Hong Kong, we knew that just wouldn’t do. Although we weren’t exactly thrilled with our room at Lee Garden Guest House, $83/night was sounding better and better. We made the decision to keep our room in Hong Kong and take a day trip to Macau instead and fit in as much as we possibly could. Turns out, one day was all the time we needed.

 macau

TurboJET Ferry: Hong Kong to Macau

The cost of a roundtrip ferry ticket ran about $50 USD/person on a Saturday. Supposedly prices are a little higher on the weekend, and usually the ride from Hong Kong to Macau is a little more than the return. We took the TurboJET that departed from China Ferry Terminal in Kowloon. Ferries also depart from Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal on Hong Kong Island. They are all high speed boats, usually running every 15-30 minutes and the trip from island to island is about 60 minutes. They start running from Hong Kong at 7 am and you can return up until midnight from Macau (and sometimes later). We heard there was no need to book ahead and had no problem showing up 30 minutes prior to arrival. The ferry exceeded expectations. It arrived and departed exactly on time. The large seats were comfortable and provided ample legroom. There was even a concession selling cold drinks. It was far superior to any ferry we’ve taken on our travels through S.E. Asia. Immigration was really quick at both ferry ports. We didn’t wait longer than 10 minutes at each.

Historic Centre of Macau

senado square macau

A former Portuguese colony until 1999, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site , the old city of Macau was described by UNESCO as: “with its historic street, residential, religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the historic centre of Macao provides a unique testimony to the meeting of aesthetic, cultural, architectural and technological influences from East and West.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. We took a bus from the ferry station to Senado Square and from there we explored the old city by foot. Just bring your walking shoes and be prepared for the crowds. There were so many people, unfortunately it kind of took away from the ambiance and made it very difficult to take pictures without photo bombers. The food was a bit of a let down as well. We were told we couldn’t visit Macau without trying some of their signature dishes. We both looked forward to trying the egg tarts and the pork chop bun, but neither of us could finish our treats. Everyone around us seemed to be enjoying them but we just didn’t get it. We spent about 3 hours in the historic district before moving on to Macau’s other big draw – the casinos!

St Paul's ruins macau

historical centre of macau

Macau Casinos

macau lisboa casino

If you know anything about Macau, you’ve likely heard it is “the Vegas of Asia”. I spent a short time in Vegas and it really is an amazingly magical place. Just walking down the strip is entertainment in itself. You could spend an entire day getting lost in a single casino and still probably never see it all. The food takes it to another level. Since Charlie has yet to see Vegas, I was excited for him to get a taste of it in Macau and experience the thrill that I did in Vegas. He was also stoked to get his gambling on at the blackjack table. Unfortunately, I found Macau to be nothing like Vegas. While it does have a number of outstanding casinos, they still did not hold a candle to the ones in Vegas, other than the Venetian. I feel the big difference is that it lacks a real “strip”. The casinos are pretty spread out and you have to take shuttle buses to get from one to the next, which kind of took the fun out of it. They were so crowded and we were exhausted from all of our walking, Charlie never even played a hand. We visited about 4 of the largest casinos and called it a day way earlier than planned. If you’ve never seen Vegas, you will surely be impressed. Charlie was more than I was. However, if you’ve done Vegas, try to remove that comparison from your head or you will likely be disappointed in the end.

macau venetian casino

We spent around 7 hours exploring Macau and that was plenty for us. We saw everything we wanted, and we don’t feel any need to go back in the future. If you are a gambler or interested in the history, you will likely want to spend more time there.

FYI:

  • Hotel/Guest House: Lee Garden Guest House (Hong Kong)
  • Time spent in Macau: 7 hours
  • Cost of round-trip ferry from Hong Kong: approx $50/person
  • Favorite Casino: Venetian
  • Best Tip: Take the free shuttle buses to hop from casino to casino as they are pretty spread out

For a taste of Macau, check out our video!

Have you ever visited a destination and felt that one time was enough? Is there any place you wouldn’t want to re-visit? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

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  1. We’ve been to Hong Kong twice but not ventured to Macau because it sounded soooo expensive! Think we need to brace ourselves and do a day trip there next time (and watch our money fall out of our wallets!)

    • Charlie and Brittany May 17, 2015 at 4:43 am · ·

      It was really pretty expensive although we didn’t have time to plan ahead! Maybe if we had, we would have had better luck! Definitely makes a nice day trip from HK though if you don’t want to spend the night – and in our opinion you don’t really need too much time to explore 😉

  2. I did this same day tour in 1999 but it looks completely different from back then. One day was enough – and one trip to Hong Kong was enough for me based on the never ending crowds – but I still loved the trip and am not sorry at all I went.

    • Charlie and Brittany September 28, 2015 at 8:03 am · ·

      Completely agree! I would like to return one day and explore more outside the main city center because it was beautiful. But only if I have a bigger budget 😉

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