From Hong Kong to Macau on the ferry

July 9, 2012 5am in Travel | Comments (3)

I flew into Hong Kong with a plan to go to Macau, which is an hour or so ferry ride from Hong Kong. If you arrive between 11am and 6pm you can get the ferry direct from Hong Kong Airport to Macau, meaning that you don’t have to go through HK immigration, but since I arrived at 7am no way was I going to sit around for four hours on the wrong side of immigration.

There was barely a queue for “Visitors” for immigration and I got my bag straight away from the baggage carousel. To get to Hong Kong from the airport you can get the Airport Express for HKD$90 (NZD$15) or buses to pretty much anywhere for around HKD$40 (NZD$7). Being cheap like I am the decision was an easy one for me! Plus, I figured you’d be able to see more from a bus than a train which was most likely underground.

There’s a great website here where you can see where all the buses go to from the airport, then you can click on the routes and see a map of where they go. I worked out beforehand that the bus from the airport to the Macau ferry terminal on Hong Kong Island was A11. I worked out that it was the first stop after going through a big tunnel but I didn’t need to know that because the airport bus had a good information display that showed what the next stop was plus in Chinese and in English, plus if you buy your ticket from the window they give you a bus map as well which is really clear.

On the plane ride a guy and his girlfriend wanted to sit together but were sitting one in front of the other instead in the middle seats. The guy asked the four people around if any of them would consider swapping seats so they could sit together. I was the only one of the four that responded and I said “no, I like the window seat, sorry”. So that made for a bit of an uncomfortable flight. Surprise surprise, these two were also on the A11 bus that I took from the airport, sitting right in front of me. Needless to say we didn’t say anything to each other!

Getting on the bus, I could see very dark clouds forming, and near to getting off the bus, it started pouring with rain. The rain was sideways rain and very strong. But luckily it stopped just before my stop.

I knew it was going to be hot in Hong Kong in June, but when I got off the air-conditioned bus, I think my words were “holy Mother of God it’s hot”. It’s really humid and it looks like it is going to rain all the time – dark clouds are always looming. The high during the day was 32 degrees and the low at night was 28 degrees. Macau was exactly the same.

Getting off the bus stop labelled “Macau Ferry terminal”, it wasn’t clear where the ferry terminal actually was. You get dropped off under a big overpass, and there were construction fences as well so you couldn’t see any buildings. Plus it was morning rush hour and people were all walking in one direction, so I decided to follow them. The crowds led me to Sheung Wan MTR station (Hong Kong’s tube / metro / underground system), so I figured that was wrong. I walked back in the other direction, and found the vehicle entrance to the Macau Ferry, but pedestrians couldn’t walk in there. I was so glad I was really early and had plenty of time so I didn’t need to stress.

So I walked back to the bus stop, and tried to find a map or something. Everybody looked in a hurry and I wasn’t sure how many people spoke English so I just kept looking. By chance I turned behind me away from the road and saw between the construction “TurboJet ferries”. Hooray! So the moral of the story is, get off the bus, turn 180 degrees and walk straight ahead to find the ferry terminal!

I dragged my bags up the series of escalators to get to the ferry ticket office, and I noticed I was the only one with any real luggage, and also the only foreigner. I bought my ticket which cost HKD$151 and went through the “departures” area. Someone pulled me aside, saying “your luggage is oversized; you need to go that way”. He pointed me in the direction of the luggage check in. He weighed the bag and said “That’ll be HDK$20 please” because it weighed 20.5kg. Apparently if it weighed 20kg or less, it would have been free. Oh well, that’s fine. Customs grilled me about the contents of my bag and seemed a bit surprised that I was taking such a big bag to Macau. I convinced him that it contained nothing but clothes, but I bet he looked through it anyway. At this point I was just impressed and happy that everybody I had encountered spoke English.

I was tired after the flight and had completely forgotten that leaving Hong Kong and entering Macau is treated as an international trip, despite both places being part of China, so I was surprised that I had to go through a passport check. The waiting area after that was chaotic, people everywhere talking really loud and really crowded, lucky there were big signs saying which gate is for which ferry. I wouldn’t have wanted to end up somewhere in Mainland China.

When the ferry was ready to board, everybody piled forward in a big push. I heard the guy by the gate shouting at some girls “Seat number!! Seat number!!” and I managed to work out that you were supposed to go and get a seat number from the little table to the right. I’m glad I found that out before the guy started yelling at me! I got seat 9A. Then I got on the ferry and the staff showed me where to sit. Finally I could relax and check out all the big buildings of Hong Kong which seemed to go on forever.

Hong Kong from Macau ferry 1
Hong Kong from Macau Ferry 2

3 Responses to “From Hong Kong to Macau on the ferry”

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  1. Comment by Ursula — January 9, 2014 7am  

    Hi, where should you claim your checked-in luggage in Macau Ferry Terminal? In my previous trip, I didn’t need to check in my luggage & didn’t see any signs of baggage claim.

  2. Comment by matt — January 9, 2014 7am  

    When you get through passport control, people typically go to the left, however if you go to the right there’s a small area where you can pick up your luggage.

  3. Comment by Ursula — January 9, 2014 10am  

    Oh, alright. Thanks then :)

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