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    How to plan a trip from Hong Kong to Macao
    Don’t leave your trip to chance: here’s everything you need to know about visiting Hong Kong’s neighbour Macao
    Macao
    Find the best fares to
    Hong Kong SAR

    Macao has gone from sleepy fishing villages to Portuguese colony to flashy Vegas-style casino hub (it’s the only place to legally gamble in China). But you don’t need to be a high-roller to appreciate a day trip or weekend getaway to the other SAR.

    It only takes about an hour to get from Hong Kong to Macao, where you’ll find a rich melting-pot history, distinctive cuisine, a growing arts and entertainment scene and even sandy beaches. Read on for tips on how to easily transit by ferry or bus, plus an overview of where to go and what things to do once you’ve arrived.

    Turbojet speedboat

    Credit: Shutterstock

    Travelling to Macao by ferry

    To travel from the centre of Hong Kong to Macao, take a ferry ride from either the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan or the Kowloon China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui.

    There are two high-speed ferry operators that take passengers to different parts of Macao in about one hour. Ferries operated by TurboJet  from Sheung Wan and Tsim Sha Tsui sail to and from the Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal on the Macao Peninsula every 15 minutes. Cotai Water Jet  sails to and from the Macau Taipa Ferry Terminal on the island of Taipa every 30 minutes.

    TurboJet also operates six services a day from the Tuen Mun Ferry Pier in the New Territories to Macau Outer Harbour, and five return journeys.

    Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

    Credit: Shutterstock

    Travelling to Macao by bus

    Travellers used to rely primarily on ferry services to move between the two cities, which made the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) a game-changer when it opened in late 2018.

    Connecting passengers between Hong Kong and Macao as well as the city of Zhuhai on the Chinese mainland, the HZMB is the world’s longest sea crossing by bridge and tunnel, spanning 55 kilometres. Operating 24 hours a day, the HZMB takes just 45 minutes to travel across.

    There is a shuttle bus  connecting the cities, with tickets sold in the departure hall of the Passenger Clearance Buildings in each of the three locations. The Hong Kong departure hall can be reached by public bus or taxi from the city and the airport. Detailed transport information is available on the HZMB website .

    Travellers also have the option to take a privately run coach or car for direct travel from within Hong Kong. Trans Island  and One Bus  are two such operators, which offer advance ticket bookings online.

    Exploring Macao’s three main areas

    Macao consists of the historic peninsula, the islands of Taipa and Coloane and Cotai – each with their own characteristics and charms. Here’s a quick primer.

    Ruins of St Paul’s

    Credit: Shutterstock

    Macao Peninsula

    This area is known as ‘old’ Macao for its cluster of historic sites: Senado Square; the Ruins of St Paul’s  dating back to the 17th century; and Guia Fortress , which affords sweeping views of the city.

    Portuguese restaurant
    St Francis Xavier Coloane village

    Credit: Shutterstock

    Taipa and Coloane

    Both islands are excellent foodie destinations and reflect a more traditional, laid-back side of Macao. Located in Taipa Village is Tai Lei Loi Kei , a cafe that’s said to have invented the iconic Macanese pork chop bun. Old Taipa Tavern , a casual neighbourhood gastropub, can be found there as well.

    Coloane, in Macao’s sleepy southern tip, is full of pastel colonial buildings, cobblestone streets and beaches. It’s also a popular destination for al fresco meals at Fernando’s , which puts a Macanese spin on Portuguese cuisine, and for egg tarts made fresh at the original branch of the legendary Lord Stow’s Bakery .

    Macao's Cotai Strip

    Credit: Macao's Cotai Strip

    Cotai

    This is a newer part of Macao, created from reclaimed land that connects Taipa (to the north) and Coloane (to the south). Its centrepiece is the glitzy Cotai Strip, whose lineup of casino and hotel complexes – with upscale shopping, dining and entertainment – deliver on Macao’s reputation as the ‘Las Vegas of Asia.’

    The House of Dancing Water

    What to do in Macao

    Macao counts scores of world-class restaurants such as the Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at Morpheus and Cantonese fine-dining spot Jade Dragon. There’s a growing contemporary art scene as well as blockbuster live shows like the long-running The House of Dancing Water called ‘the world’s largest water extravaganza’.

    For more detailed recommendations, consult our roundup of 20 old and new reasons to visit Macao.

    Morpheus

    Where to stay in Macao

    Major hotels include MGM Cotai , the Hollywood-themed Studio City , the French-inspired Parisian Macao  and the Zaha Hadid-designed Morpheus  (above left). For something more old-school, head south to Pousada de Coloane  (above right), a charming Portuguese colonial-style resort that was formerly home to a tycoon.

    Senado Square

    Credit: Shutterstock

    What to know before you go

    • Keep your passport on hand, as there are immigration and customs checkpoints between the two cities.
    • Macao’s currency is the pataca, but Hong Kong dollars are also widely accepted at an equivalent rate. However, patacas cannot be used in Hong Kong.
    • The official languages of the city are Cantonese and Portuguese; Mandarin and English are also commonly spoken.
    • Many hotels run free shuttles to and from the ferry terminals throughout the day, which allows you to skip taxi queues.
    • It’s common practice for taxi drivers to round up the fare, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself slightly short-changed.
    • Many of Cotai’s hotels and casinos are linked through massive complexes that can take a long time to navigate, so give yourself plenty of time to wander.
    • Macao launched its light-rail transit system in December 2019. The inaugural Taipa Line’s 11 stops include the airport, ferry terminal and Cotai West.

    Hero image credit: Shutterstock

    More inspiration

    Hong Kong travel information

    Country / Region
    Hong Kong SAR
    Language
    Cantonese, English
    Airport code
    HKG
    Currency
    HKD
    Time zone
    GMT +08:00
    Climate
    Subtropical
    Country / Region
    Hong Kong SAR
    Time zone
    GMT +08:00
    Currency
    HKD
    Airport code
    HKG
    Language
    Cantonese, English
    Climate
    Subtropical
    Find the best fares to
    Hong Kong SAR