Travel from Hong Kong to Macau
Hong Kong and Macau were the last of a long list of foreign enclaves to exist in China. Hong Kong was devolved by the British in 1997, and Macau remained under Portuguese control for another two years. Since their annexation by Beijing, both have maintained a unique “one country, two systems” form of government, characterized by a high degree of autonomy. Hong Kong is a global trading hub, self-proclaimed as Asia’s world city, while Macau has acquired a reputation for being the Vegas of the East.
Given the proximity between them, and the fact that HK dwarfs its former colonial cousin, it is likely most foreign visitors will travel to Macau via Hong Kong. There are currently no intercontinental flights serving Macau, but it is a short ride from Hong Kong.
The best way to travel between Macau and Hong Kong is by ferry. The helicopter is fast, but very expensive, so is probably better suited for business travellers. While it is possible to circumvent the Pearl River Estuary by crossing the border, it doesn’t make sense unless you intend to visit Mainland China, so we do not cover this route here. Please note that Macau and HK have their own immigration controls, different from the mainland. Make sure you check entry requirements for your country of citizenship before you travel.
1. Travel by Helicopter
Shun Tak ferry terminal in HK and Outer Harbour ferry terminal in Macau.
4,300HKD/4,450MOP455GBP/555USD one way
You can book tickets online at the SkyShuttle site, by telephone and at the ferry terminals of Macau and HK.
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This is the fastest way to travel from Macau to Hong Kong. There are 20 departures per day, each way, and the duration of the ride is about the same as a football (soccer) halftime! You could attend a business meeting in Hong Kong and be back before lunch the same morning, or begin the evening by gambling in one of Macau’s casino hotels and go clubbing in HK afterwards. If you require an express outing, you cannot do better than taking the SkyShuttle.
Both heliports are conveniently located adjacent to the ferry terminals. In Hong Kong Island, helicopter departures leave from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal or Shun Tak. While in Macau the heliport is by the outer harbour ferry terminal. The ferry terminals are easily accessed by public transport.
Helicopters are, however, only suitable for travellers with deep pockets. Even children above the age of 1 will have to pay an adult fare. Moreover, baggage restrictions are stringent: One carry-on bag of up to 5kg and check-in up to 7kg included per person. Every kg thereafter is 300 HKD/MOP. So not ideal if you cannot travel very light.
If a flight were to be cancelled by bad weather however, you will get a refund (except promotional tickets) and alternative ferry transportation arranged for you.
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2. Travel by Ferry
Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, Kowloon China Ferry Terminal, Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal, Skypier HK International Airport
Macau Taipa Ferry Terminal, Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal
60 minutes (from Hong Kong island to Macau)
170HKD/175MOP/18GBP/22USD one way for an economy ticket. Fares depend on the route, the day of the week and the time of day, with weekends and night ferries most expensive.
It is almost always best to book tickets in advance. At certain times such as peak hours and weekends the ports can get really crowded and tickets sell out fast. You may want to consider buying the tickets at the ferry terminal if you are travelling from the airport or you are unsure about the length of your stay. You can buy tickets online directly on TurboJet or CotaiJet’s website (check out the many promotions available). If you struggle with their booking interface for whatever reason you can use Klook travel* where you can pay directly in US Dollars, Pound Sterling, Euros or AUD. Also, If you are planning a day trip to Macau from HK, we highly recommend buying a package tour from ChinaHighlights* or Viator*. Everything will be organized on your behalf; you will be picked up from your hotel and visit all the major sites with an English-speaking guide.
Many casino hotels offer a free shuttle bus service to/from the ferry ports, including Wynn, Sands, Galaxy and Venetian. You can compare casino hotel prices in Macau with our own hotel search engine* (opens a new window). Also, Hong Kong dollars (HKD) and are widely accepted by most businesses in Macau so there is no need to exchange currency.
There are seven ferry routes linking Hong Kong and Macau:
1. Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal – Macau Outer Harbour
2. Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal – Macau Taipa
3. Kowloon China Ferry Terminal – Macau Outer Harbour
4. Kowloon China Ferry Terminal – Macau Taipa
5. Skypier HKIA – Macau Taipa and Outer Harbour
6. Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal – Macau Outer Harbour (Turbojet only)
7. Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal – Macau Taipa (Turbojet only)
Most tourists will take the route connecting Hong Kong’s Macau Ferry Terminal with Macau’s Outer Harbour, as it is the route with most sailings and goes from city center to city center. However, your hotel may be located in Kowloon, or you may be heading to a casino in Macau’s Cotai area, in which case you may want to use an alternative route.
There are two competing companies operating ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau: Turbojet and Cotaijet. There are honestly few differences between them, but of course some people will disagree. A standard ticket costs pretty much the same and the ships look almost identical. Additional fees for hand carry luggage over 20kg may apply with both companies. Free on-board WiFi is available.
While Cotaijet specializes in services to Taipa in Macau from HK, TurboJet links with the Outer Harbour in the Macau Peninsula. Turbojet in addition sails between Tuen Mun (part of the New Territories area of HK) and Macau. Cotaijet on the other hand offers a handy free re-scheduling service to passengers with pre-booked tickets and missed connections as a result of a delayed flight.
Both companies provide direct sailings between Hong Kong International Airport and Macau (Outer Harbour and Taipa). This is great for travellers who arrive at HK and want to go directly to Macau as you do not have to go through HK immigration formalities. You will only deal with the Macau border check. Simply follow the “Ferries to Mainland/Macau” signs at the airport. The ferry is accessed by train through the SkyPier terminal. It is best to buy the tickets at the airport, because there are only about 8 sailings per day and tickets are non-refundable, so if your flight is delayed you may lose your money and have to wait a long time for the next available boat. At the ticket kiosk, hand over your checked-in baggage tag receipts so that your baggage is transferred directly to the ferry. In Macau, there are many airline desks at the ferry terminals so you can check-in to your flight before you sail.
Please note Turbojet also has a similar “Macau Express Link” service if you want to travel between Macau International Airport and Hong Kong. It includes a bus service connecting the ferry port to the airport.
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