macau day trip
Asia,  Hong Kong

Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong

Macau is a great place to go for a great day trip from Hong Kong. Macau was once a Portuguese colony, was handed back to China in 1999 under the principle of “one country, two systems,” granting it a high degree of autonomy. It’s just a short ferry ride away from Hong Kong, and Macau has such a unique blend of Portuguese and Chinese history, cultural diversity, and amazing food that makes it a fun destination. You can experience the skyline, casinos, cobblestone streets, historic sites and nature all in one area. Here is my experience during my solo traveling trip to Macau from Hong Kong in August 2023.

Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
View of Ruins of São Paulo from Monte Fort

Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal – Starting my Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong

My journey started from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal on the third floor of Shun Tak Centre at Sheung Wan. I hop onto MTR’s Island Line and got off at Sheung Wan Station, Exit D which led me right into the Shun Tak Centre. The main two ferries that go from Hong Kong to Macau is TurboJet Ferry and Cotai Water Jet. I went on the TurboJet Ferry which connects Hong Kong and Macau within an hour! By the ticketing Office, there were bathrooms, ATMs and the departure gate as well. Check out Turbo Jet’s official website for more additional information.

Turbo Jet Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
Turbo Jet Day Ferry Boat

To make things easier, you can buy tickets online from Klook for both TurboJet Ferry and Cotai Water Jet. This makes the redemption and the buying process so much easier since you don’t need to line up or talk to anyone. You can start your journey instantly by entering the pier with your QR code on your voucher. More detail about ferry information on Turbo Jet’s official website

Turbo Jet ticket booth Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
Turbo Jet ticket booth in Shun Tak Centre

Once I got my ticket to get on the ferry and past departures, to the waiting area for the ferry, I presented my passport for immigrations to be cleared to depart. Turbo Jet recommends passengers to head to the boarding area at least 30 minutes prior to the departure time in order to allow time for documents checking by staff. While I was waiting to board, I saw people going up to the desks and so I decided to go as well. Once I got to the front of the line, the attendant put a sticker on my ticket with my seat number.

Boarding area for Turbo Jet, Hong Kong to Macau
Boarding area for Turbo Jet

The seats on the ferry were quite good and roomy, and the ride was a comfortable journey. It was a short and sweet ride with nothing to really complain about.

Turbo Jet ferry, interior
Turbo Jet ferry, interior

MACAU OUTER HARBOR FERRY TERMINAL

After the hour ferry ride, I landed at the Macau outer Harbor Ferry Terminal at the Largo do Terminal Marítimo. The Arrivals level is on the first floor and departures were on the second floor. The third floor is dedicated to the dining and shopping area as well as the passenger waiting area. The Terminal provides facilities and services including tourism information counter, post office, travel agencies, banks, luggage storage and more. It’s a really convenient ferry harbor!

 Macau outer Harbor Ferry Terminal at the Largo do Terminal Marítimo
Macau outer Harbor Ferry Terminal at the Largo do Terminal Marítimo

The next goal was to get to the center of Macau to start seeing the famous sites. The free hotel shuttle area was a little hard to find, having to go through an underground tunnel from the terminal. It wasn’t too hard to get to from the ferry, and once I got to the terminal, there were countless amounts of shuttle buses.

Macau outer Harbor Ferry Terminal Free hotel bus terminal
Macau outer Harbor Ferry Terminal Free hotel bus terminal

I got on to the Lisboa hotel shuttle bus since it’s the closest walking distance to the main tourist area, the serrano square and Ruins of São Paulo. The Grand Lisboa Shuttle departs from the outer ferry terminal every 25 minutes for free. More information and other routes can be found on their official website. There is also a great guide to the hotel and casino shuttle bus services in Macao.

free shuttle bus in Macau, Lisboa hotel shuttle bus
free shuttle bus in Macau, Lisboa hotel shuttle bus

After a quick 15 minute ride, I arrived at The Grand Lisboa. As the shuttle dropped us off, it seemed that most of the people on board was there just for the free ride from the ferry as well.

Macau Peninsula

I haven’t had anything and I was starving by the time I was at the Macau Peninsula. I headed to Sei Kee Cafe, one of Macau’s popular cafe. They are known mostly for their homemade milk tea, clay pot brewed coffee and pork chop. They have been open and has been a Macau classic since 1965. I got Minche, which is Macau’s national dish and milk tea from Sei Kee Cafe. It was actually very good, and the workers were also very friendly and helpful when they saw me struggling with what I wanted.

Minche at Sei Kee Cafe
Minche at Sei Kee Cafe

Sei Kee Cafe is located right by the water with the perfect view of the Macau Tower. Although I did not visit the tower, it seems like a really cool place to visit. At the Macau Tower, you can walk the 360-degree observation deck for unobstructed views across Macau – and see even as far as Hong Kong! If you want to check it out, get discounted tickets from klook!

Macau Tower Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
Macau Tower in the distance

After a full belly, I then headed to Senado Square, one of the main plazas and attractions of old Macau. It is part of the UNESCO Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site with many beautiful cultural Portuguese architecture and a beautiful mix of Chinese and Portuguese cultures.

Senado Square, Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
Senado Square

In the Senado Square area, there are many Macau style egg tarts for sale from various stores. I got mine from Pastelaria Koi Kei, located right by the fountain in Senado Square. Although there are many locations to get egg tarts, Paselaria Koi Kei has a designated booth outside the store only for egg tarts making it quick and easy to get. The egg tart was nice and warm with the perfect amount of gooey goodness biting into it.

egg tarts from Paselaria Koi Kei, Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
egg tarts from Paselaria Koi Kei, Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong

The walk from Senado Square to Ruins of São Paulo is about 10 minutes, but it took longer for me since there were many different stores to look through and look at. The area is also very congested with people making it hard to walk in a normal speed.

The streets of Macau
The streets of Macau

The Ruins of São Paulo is one of the most famous landmarks in Macao and is a must visit when in the area. Ruins of St. Paul is actually just the front structure of the cathedral that was built in 1580, but unfortunately burned down in a fire in 1835. Throughout history, it remains as a symbol of Macao’s rich blend of history. Right behind the ruins of Sao Paulo, built in the inner area, there is the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt. In the Museum and the Crypt, there were many artifact and items as well as a remains of a tomb.

The Ruins of São Paulo Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
The Ruins of São Paulo

After checking out the Ruins of San Paulo, I headed to take a quick hike to the Garden of the Surrounding of Monte Fort. It is a large fort completed in 1626 featuring a rooftop park with cannons & expansive skyline views. Its really a great place to get a 360 view of the whole city while enjoying a nice relaxing and open area. Macao can get super-chaotic and very busy but this tranquility can really be the perfect break.

View of Macau from Monte Fort
View of Macau from Monte Fort

The summit of the park is a garden by the Macao Museum. It is a great place to stroll on a sunny and warm day and take on the views from the city. The garden continues throughout the hill and going over the many pathways can relax the visitor before heading back to the confusion found on the streets. There are also an escalator that connects the museum from the bottom for people who do not want to do the small hike. It is a modern and well-designed museum that gives you a quick guide to the history and culture of Macau. Although I didn’t go into the museum, I rested here to get some cold air conditioning and rest my feet for a little bit.

exterior of the Macao Museum
exterior of the Macao Museum

I loved taking the time to stroll around the streets of Macau to take in all the scenery. Every corner I turned, it was a different and aesthetically pleasing scenery.

the streets of Macau
the streets of Macau

Cotai Area

After checked out the main Macau island area, I then headed to the Cotai area to check out the Casino area, which is called the Las Vegas of the East. Back then, I never been to Las Vegas, and thought that environment would be really cool to check out and experience. Did you know that Macao’s gambling industry is seven times larger than that of Las Vegas. I walked back to the Grand Lisbona, and hopped on a public bus at the bus terminal by the hotel. I went on the 25AX which costed 6 MOP and went straight to The Parisian Macao in about 35 minutes.

Once I arrived, I wasn’t too sure where to go as I don’t gamble, but I took in the London and Paris scenery right in front of me. I then went and explored inside The Londoner Macao and eventually ended up at The Grand Canal Shopping are at The Venetian Macao since all of the hotels were connected to each other.

The Londoner Macao and Paris, Macao Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
The Londoner Macao and Paris

Walking through The Venetian was really cool and awe inspiring. The ambiance and environment makes its gorgeous to walk around. I didn’t need to buy anything to enjoy the area. There were so many details in every part of the mall, and in March 2024, I visited The Venetian in Las Vegas and I can say confidently that it is the same scale or even bigger then the one in Vegas! The Grand Canal Shopping has many different shops, cafes and restaurants. The Gondola Rides with people singing as the boat passes by was also a great touch. It really felt like I was in a whole different world. The teamLab SuperNature Macao is located right here as well.

The Grand Canal Shopping in the The Venetian Macau Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
The Grand Canal Shopping in the The Venetian Macau

While at The Venetian, I tried Lord Stow’s Bakery which is said to be where the birth place of the famous Macao’s egg tarts. The wait to order was about 30 minutes, and although it was good, I honestly don’t think it was worth the wait, and would recommend to just get a Macanese egg tart at any bakery anywhere in Macau.

Egg Tart at Lord Stow's Bakery in The Grand Canal Shopping in the The Venetian Macau
Egg Tart at Lord Stow’s Bakery

After my little snack, I went through a slight maze throughout The Venetian’s Casino to get to the Hotel West Lobby for the hotel’s shuttle back to the ferry terminal to get back to Hong Kong. The signs were easy to navigate with multiple free shuttle buses going to different points throughout Macao. I made sure the bus I was getting on was for Macao Ferry for a peace of mind of going to the same place I got off from.

The Venetian's free shuttle area
The Venetian’s free shuttle area

After making sure I was on the right shuttle to Macao Ferry, and a quick ride over the Amizade Bridge connecting The Cotai area and the Macau Peninsula, I arrived at the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal ready to go back to Hong Kong. I went back on the Macau Ferry by TurboJet and about an hour later, I was already back at Hong Kong Island.

Harbor Ferry Terminal at the Largo do Terminal Marítimo,Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong
Harbor Ferry Terminal at the Largo do Terminal Marítimo,Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong

I spent about 8 hours exploring Macau, and I personally think that it was just the perfect amount of time to get a glimpse and a little taste of Macau. Day Trip to Macau from Hong Kong is a must do! Check out my other posts for Hong Kong here!


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