Hong Kong and Macau Part 7: Getting from Hong Kong to Macau

 

My short stay in Hong Kong ended after 3 days, and now it was time for me to head to Macau for two days and one night at the brand new Sheraton Macau hotel. I wasn’t sure initially how to get to Macau – all I knew was that the cities were not too far apart and that a plane was likely not needed. I checked with someone that had been there before and he confirmed that a simple one hour turbo-boat ride would get me to Macau.

The route from Kowloon to Macau was relatively short.

The route from Kowloon to Macau was relatively short.

The dock is called the China Ferry Terminal. There are dozens of different boats here going to various locations, and many go to Macau. I spent one of the previous days in Hong Kong walking around the city and thought I’d check out the distance from the Sheraton to the China Ferry Terminal to see if it was walk-able with my luggage. It was about a 20 minute walk, and while that doesn’t sound like very much, I definitely would not recommend doing it if you have luggage. There’s a lot of foot traffic and the sidewalks are not exactly level, so I highly recommend taking  a taxi.

The taxi from the Sheraton to the Terminal was quick and painless. The fare came out to be just $20 HKD, which is only about $3 USD. Totally worth it! The major operator to Macau is Turbojet. I’m not sure if they run that route exclusively, but they have a boat running every 30 minutes during the day most times of the year (and more frequently during peak season). I read that the fare can run from $130 HKD – $175 HKD (or about $17-$23 USD) depending on the season, which to me seems like a great deal. My ticket cost me $151 HKD.

A couple of notes on buying the ticket. First, there was a guy standing right next to the ticket counter that seemed to be selling tickets. He looked like a ticket scalper and was getting lots of business, but he was only speaking Chinese. I didn’t want to risk getting a fake ticket so I went directly to the counter. I got there at 9:35am, hoping to catch a 10:30am boat, but found out that the next available departure was at noon. I was kind of bummed, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. There are a few shops in the terminal and even a McDonald’s and Starbucks, so there were a few things I could do to kill the time. The entire building was next to a giant mall as well in case you really get stuck.

The second note is that there are economy class tickets and first class tickets. I don’t know what the difference is, nor was I interested, but the first class tickets were much more expensive. Finally, the third note is that I took the Kowloon-Macau route, since my hotel was technically in Kowloon. Just wanted to clarify that point.

After killing some time I decided to get in the boarding line. There are a couple of lines to board, one for the first class passengers and one for economy. The line moved slowly, and when I got to the front there was a gentleman that checked my ticket and assigned me a sticker with my seating assignment.

I then went through passport control to get stamped out of Hong Kong, then proceeded to the terminal. There are about a dozen gates from what I could tell. I got to mine and had a short wait before the boarding process began. I apologize for not having pictures of terminal!

Boarding was interesting. Everyone had all their luggage with them so it was a bit annoying when people were dragging massive bags behind them. Getting on the boat was simple enough, but then we had to store our luggage. All luggage is to be stored in a designated area at the front of the boat. It was kind of a free-for-all when this was happening, and it’s definitely first-come-first-served. I got on early and found a good spot for my luggage before heading to my seat.

I got on early, but there was still a rush to store luggage at the front.

I got on early, but there was still a rush to store luggage at the front.

To give you an idea of the boat, it was a 2-3-3-3-2 seating layout with plenty of rows. I was sitting in an aisle seat next to the window, and I thought this was a great seat (remember, I didn’t have a choice of a seat so I just got lucky). The guy next to me looked at me funny when I sat down, and I think it was because he knew he was in the wrong seat. I didn’t really care either way, as long as he left me alone!

A lot bigger than a plane!

A lot bigger than a plane!

There was plenty of legroom, I would say several inches more than Economy Plus or similar. The seats weren’t particularly comfortable but thankfully I wasn’t interested in catching any sleep. The cabin was quiet in terms of the sound of the boat, but there was lots of noise from conversations people were having.

All you economy-class flyers...you jealous?

All you economy-class flyers…you jealous?

If you get seasick, this may not be the best option for you. This boat moves really fast and there’s a constant up-down-up-down motion. It’s not as dramatic as that description sounds, but it’s noticeable. I don’t go on boats very often and when I do I’ve never felt seasick, but I started to get a little bit of motion sickness on this ride. I wasn’t on the verge of vomiting or anything – I just didn’t feel right. Once I got back on terra firma I felt fine again.

The ride was just over an hour long. After docking in Macau, there was a mad rush to get luggage. You can imagine what it looks like for dozens of people to stand up and rush to the front to get their luggage. I was in something like row 10-12, so I was far from the front and was a little worried that my bag might not be there when I got to the front. Thank goodness it was, so I grabbed it and made my way into the terminal.

It’s sort of like an airport once you get inside. You have to fill out a form like you would for entering any country, go through passport control, and get stamped in. The lines were very long and it took a good 45 minutes to get through, but It was still early in the afternoon and I had plenty of time left in the day to see parts of the city.

The only thing I’d change about this trip is the purchase of the ticket. I highly recommend buying the ticket in advance, either at the terminal or via your hotel’s concierge (I’m assuming they can make this purchase). I had to wait 2.5 hours which was annoying, and I’d hate to have to wait any longer. Aside from that, the trip was short and simple, and I would recommend this route if you had to get to Macau!

Next up, you’ll see my review on the brand new Sheraton Macau Hotel, Macau Central. It was BY FAR the best part of my trip, so stay tuned!

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Comments

  1. We did this trip in reverse. We went straight from the airport to Macau. It was extremely easy and convenient. Didn’t even have to claim luggage – ferry company took care of it. Stayed at Westin Macau for 3 nights, which I loved ! Amazing location ! Ended up at the Sheraton Hong Kong too !

    • Travel Summary says:

      I didn’t check out the Westin, but I was VERY impressed with the Sheraton in Macau. I did the Macau to HKG airport ride on the way back!

  2. I have a few friends who have done this trip several times to play poker in Macau. I believe there is also a helicopter option that costs something like US$300.

  3. TravelSummary, thanks for the trip report, it’s bringing back great memories for me of my Dec. 2010 trip.

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