The autonomous region of Macau (also spelled Macao) is a mixing pot of cultures on the south coast of China. Its abundance of casinos and the lively Cotai Strip have earned it the nickname "Las Vegas of Asia," and—another selling point—it's just a hop, skip, and jump from Hong Kong. The two cities are just across the Pearl River Delta from each other and travel between them is as interesting as helicoptering, ferrying, or driving across the longest sea bridge in the world. Depending on which mode of transportation you choose, you can cover the 34 miles (55 kilometers) in less than an hour by road or 15 minutes by air.
|Bus||45 minutes||from $8||Traveling on a budget|
|Ferry||1 hour||from $171||A relaxing ride|
|Helicopter||15 minutes||from $555||Arriving on a time crunch|
|Car||45 minutes||34 miles (55 kilometers)||Exploring the local area|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From Hong Kong to Macau?
The cheapest way to travel between these two cities is by bus. The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge (HZMB)—a 34-mile (55-kilometer) bridge and tunnel system—made travel between Hong Kong and Macau a breeze when it opened in 2018. Before then, getting between the two required boarding a boat or a helicopter. Now, the 24-hour HZMB Shuttle Bus commutes between the two in 45 minutes or less and it costs only $8 each way ($9 if you're traveling between midnight and 6 a.m.).
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From Hong Kong to Macau?
The fastest way to get between the two is by the Sky Shuttle, a commercial helicopter that transports commuters across the Pearl River Delta more than 30 times a day. Both cities do have major international airports, but there's no need to endure wait times and security lines when the Sky Shuttle takes only 15 minutes to get from the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal and the Macau Maritime Terminal. The helicopter operates between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily and costs $555, including a $120 Hong Kong Departure Tax and $30 Macau Civil Aviation Authority Charge.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
Thanks to the HZMB, driving between Hong Kong and Macau now takes only 45 minutes, but that doesn't include all the city driving you may have to do. Hong Kong and Macau are both big cities with congested streets and limited parking, so drive at your own risk. In any case, the 34-mile (55-kilometer) bridge will alone take you 45 minutes and cost $21 in tolls.
How Long Is the Ferry Ride?
Before the longest sea bridge in the world connected the two, the best way to get between Hong Kong and Macau would have been to take an hour-long ferry. There are a few different services that run the route, including TurboJet and Cotai Water Jet, all departing from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan several times per hour. TurboJet arrives via the Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal and the Cotai Water Jet arrives via the Macau Taipa Ferry Terminal, which are about 10 minutes apart. Both of these services offer economy tickets from Hong Kong to Macau for $171, but other, pricier classes are also available. Tickets can be booked online or purchased at ticketing booths at the terminals.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Macau?
The climate in Macau is subtropical, meaning: sweltering, sticky summers and a five-month-long typhoon season. Summertime is best avoided because of the heat, the relentless rain, and the tourists. The best time of year to visit is October through December, after the weather dries up and cools down but before the winter chill hits (note: there aren't many places in Macau with central heating). As far as your transportation from Hong Kong goes, the ferries, buses, and helicopters run year-round, but they do often inflate prices for nighttime travel.
Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Macau?
U.S. citizens may visit Macau for up to 30 days and Hong Kong for up to 90 days without a visa.
What Is There to Do in Macau?
This gaming capital is home to ample casinos and a Cotai Strip on which to gamble and party the night away. If that's your scene, The Venetian Macau, City of Dreams, MGM Grand Macau, and Pharaoh's Palace are not to be missed. If, however, a mix of nightclubs and slot machines is not your thing, there are plenty of other sites and activities in Macau to keep you entertained. How about the Ruins of Saint Paul's, a 17th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site, or the ornate A-Ma Temple? You can get a bird's-eye view of the city from the top of the Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre (or bungee jump off of it, if you're feeling especially daring), or treat yourself to the shopping and dining at Senado Square.