On my last full day in Hong Kong, I decided to take a day trip to Macau from Hong Kong by boat because it’s the one place in China you can visit without a China visa and the only way to get into China without a visa! I was totally blown away by Macau, it’s such a unique and crazy place so if you’re in Hong Kong for a couple of days then I suggest you add a day trip to Macau into your Hong Kong itinerary!
Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
Macau is like Hong Kong in that although it is technically part of mainland China it has its own government, flag and currency. Until 1999 Macau was ruled by the Portuguese where Portuguese was taught and spoken and had a huge effect on the culture.
Another and maybe one of the main unique differences about Macau is that gambling is legal here unlike in China or Hong Kong where it is not and this is why it has all the huge hotels and casinos and attracts so many tourists and Chinese locals alike.
Hong Kong to Macau Ferry
There are ferries running between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island to Macau so you can get the one which is closest to you.
The journey from Hong Kong to Macau takes roughly 1 hour and costs $168 HKD/ £14.00 there and $189 HKD/ £16.00 back in economy seating. Their prices are noted on their website.
The ferries run every 30 minutes or so but I would recommend booking a ticket online rather than waiting until you get to the ferry terminal as they book out fast (as I learned the hard way).
The ferry was actually pretty comfortable with big seats which were pre-assigned to us at boarding and there was even free (although slightly dodgy) wifi!
If you’d rather do a day tour from Hong Kong to Macau or a tour once in Macau, these are good ideas:
Things To Do in Macau on a Day Trip from Hong Kong
On arrival in Macau we had our passports checked once again (no stamps, unfortunately) and headed into Arrivals.
I went straight to the tourism desk to ask how I could get to the Ruins of St Paul’s as I knew this was the central area of tourism in Macau. The lady advised me to catch bus number 3 from just outside which cost $3.20 HKD/ £0.27 and to get off an Almedia Ribeiro Avenue which was all very easy and cheap!
After getting off I followed the crowds which were a good indication I was in the right place. It was really busy but it was also a Sunday which I assume may be why the ferry tickets were so booked up as local people from Hong Kong were perhaps going on a day trip with their families too.
I headed into the main square and was totally surprised by the buildings! I really felt like I was in Europe with the plaza square, fountain and bright coloured buildings.
I followed the signs to the Ruins of St Pauls Cathedral and pushed my way through the very busy streets and all of a sudden it was in front of me and its a pretty impressive structure!
Something very popular in this area is the Portuguese Egg Tarts so I bought two and sat down and ate them in front of the ruins and they were very yummy! Make sure you get one, or three!
The crowds were getting to me so after walking around the area for a bit I decided to head to the Grand Lisbon Hotel which I could see dominating the skyline with its huge gold structure. Of course, it’s easy to find as you barely lose sight of it in the sky and once there I had a little look inside.
As I was there on my own and wasn’t there to gamble it was a bit of a case of walk in and then walk back out but it was cool to see!
It was getting into the afternoon by now and the one hotel I did really want to see in Macau was The Venetian as I had been to the one in Las Vegas and loved it.
I got bus number 3 back to the ferry port and from there, there are free shuttle buses to all of the big hotels which are across the bridge and slightly away from the ferry port and old part when I had been. Time-consuming but easy and cheap again.
I headed straight to see the canal which is also in Las Vegas and I felt like I had stepped back in time to my Vegas trip in 2011! It was cool to have a look around and of course, there were plenty of shops and a McDonald’s and Starbucks.
From here I had to buy my return ticket and like when I arrived all the ones within the next hour had sold out so I got some dumplings and waited for my ferry back to Hong Kong!
Travel Tips for Visiting Macau from Hong Kong!
Remember to take your passport with you and have the departure form that was given back to you on arrival in Hong Kong as they will take it when you leave Hong Kong and then you are given another arrival and departure form while on the boat back to Hong Kong. You do not need to complete anything to get into Macau
Hong Kong Dollars are widely accepted so there’s no need to exchange money if you’re just going for the day.
It was very busy when I was there which was probably due to it being a Sunday so maybe try to avoid weekends!
It would be a great place to spend the night hotel and casino hopping if that’s what you’re after!