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|Home > HK Guide / Resources > Traveling in Asia > Macau||Life is short; let's living / study abroad!|
People from most of the western countries do not need to get a Visa to Macau, but you need to bring your passport even if you are going from HK. And fyi, Macau is not an island, although the most common way to go to Macau from Hong Kong is by ferry.
Macau Ferry Pier
Kowloon - 3/F China Hong Kong City, Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Exit from Austin MTR Station (East Rail from Kowloon Tong, change to West Rail at Hung Hom). Leaves every half an hour during the day.
Hong Kong Island - 3/F Shun Tak Terminal, Exit D, Sheung Wan MTR Station. Leaves every 15 mins during the day.
In general, it is not necessary to buy the ferry ticket in advance (it is cheaper to buy it online for ferries leaving from Sheung Wan, http://www.turbojetseaexpress.com/en http://www.cotaiwaterjet.com) . It runs 24 hours a day. as low as HK$ 150 one way for an one hour ride. You can buy the return ticket (recommended if you are returning in the evening) together, or wait to do so when you come back from Macau.
I have been to Macau for more than 50 times, to see the firework competition, world's 2nd highest bungee jump, F3 GP car racing, greyhound racing, and the beautiful casinos. I have also taken the helicopter ride from HK to Macau, which it is soooo cool. If you have won some money from the casino, you should try that once in your lifetime.
The helicopter ride takes about 30 mins and costs about HK$ 3,000 per head. Actually it takes only 20 mins from HK to Macau but the pilot will fly around Macau for free sightseeing and that takes about 10 mins.
Macau Tower - a 300m / 1000ft tower facilitated with shops, bars, cinema, restaurants (revolving with 360' view of Macau), and some extreme sports you can do like bungee jump (bungee jump costs about HK$ 2,000, and it is better to make a booking in advance before you go to Macau)
Casino - they are everywhere, but the biggest one at this moment is the Venetians on Taipa Island. Lisboa is the most popular one. Please beware that some big casinos (Sands and Lisboa) do not allow guys to enter in a sleeveless / tank top or in sandals.
With the opening of some world class casinos like Wynn's, MGM, Venetians, Sands, Galaxy and Crown etc., Macau has taken over Las Vegas as the biggest gambling city in the world (in terms of turnover).
Taipa - the island connected to Macau, where the Venetians is located. Actually, there is more to see besides the surreal casino buildings. There is an A-Ma Cultural Village which is a very big temple, but there is not much going on there. The food in Taipa, whether Chinese or Portuguese, are little better and cheaper than in Macau. Food in Macau is generally better and cheaper than in Hong Kong anyway.
Because of the Macau Airport on the Island, Taipa is attracting more and more foreigners to stay. The peaceful environment as opposite to Macau is also a major reason for that.
Macau old city - It is like a must see in Macau. The Portuguese architecture, the Catholic church, the ruins of St. Paul, the Museums, everything is just better than Hong Kong speaking of heritage. Churches in Macau are not as fancy as those in Europe but they are still eye catching. There are so many churches in Macau given the fact that Macau is just a few hundreds square feet in area. I visit Macau whenever I got fed up with the overcrowded scenes in Hong Kong.
It is also fun to see the greyhound race at the Macau Canidrome - Avenida General Castelo Branco, Macau. They like making out together every time before the race starts...And in every November, there will be car racing in Macau - Formula 3, Motor GP, etc.
Budget - Bring enough cash from HK if you don't want to pay for the charge from using ATMs there. You can withdraw and use HK money in Macau, but not vice versa
Ferry ticket - about HK$ 150 - 170 at both Tsim Sha Tsui and Sheung Wan. Which means $300 - 340 for the trip
Dining - about HK$ 100 in restaurant, similar to the situation in HK
Macau Tower - about HK$ 100 for the observatory floor, there is a package which you can go to the observatory floor as well as the bar / restaurant. Bungee Jump - HK$ 2,000 from Macau Tower, the world's 2nd highest
Wine/Spirit - 40% cheaper than in HK in general if you buy it from supermarket, also come with more variety. You can bring back as many bottles of wine you want; but for liquor, only 1 liter or less
Cigars and cigarette - Also cheaper. As low as HK$25 for a pack of Marlboro if you buy it on the ferry. You can only bring back 19 cigarettes back to HK though.
Transport - I would suggest taking Taxi / cab if it is a little far (like from Macau Tower to 'Lan Kwai Fong'). It is also cheaper than in HK. Otherwise, make use of all the free casino shuttles to between Taipa, Macau and the piers
Shopping - like the Lady's Market or Night Market in HK, not much to buy actually, but you can try some unique Macau snacks.
Gamble - are you kidding???
Showcase of casino / hotel - From US 50 to US 500 / night, Macau offers you all kinds of hotel. However, most of the hotels are connected to casino and; apart from casino, you are not provided with many facilities. If you are going to gamble your life away, you may choose a cheap hotel. It makes no big difference after all whether you are staying at a US 50 or a US 500 / night hotel. You don't even have time to admire the luxurious setting in your room.
You can always go to the Sheung Wan pier a few days before you go to Macau and reserve a hotel room from a travel agency there on 3/F. It is way more expensive to reserve a room directly from the hotel.
SANVA Hotel - If you are looking for something really cheap and nice, try this Sanva Hotel near the Ruins of St. Paul and the very nice cultural alley. Only HK$ 100 for 2. The hotel is opened in 1873; it has also appeared in a few famous HK movies. Some come with a nice private balcony. It is so cheap and there are only 33 rooms, so please make your reservation asap. www.sanvahotel.com
The Venetians, Macao - I was staying at their suite one time, 2000 sq ft, ~ HK$ 3,000 per night
REGENCY Macau - US 70 / night on weekday, US 100 / night on weekend
It is the former Hyatt Hotel Macau but is sold to Regency Hotel few years ago (Hyatt has moved to another location and became just another nice looking hotel). Nevertheless, the hardware is still the same. Room is a bit under-maintenance and the staff needs more training. But if you want to look for a hotel where you can stay quietly and get the most relaxing experience, Hyatt Regency should be one of the best choices for staying for a day or two in Macau. Other hotels in Macau are more glamorous, thus more expensive than Regency. However, it is just because they are trying to attract high roller to their adjacent casinos. Glamorous hotel like Grand Lisboa and Crown, both charge for US 300 / night at minimum, don't even provide an outdoor swimming pool. Regency also has a small fitness center, sauna rooms and hot tub. For US 70 / night only, and it's a 4-stars hotel after all, what's more you can ask for?
Another hotel - ROCKS Hotel at the Fisherman's Wharf - US$ 140 per night on weekday; US$ 240 on weekend. The waterfront balcony is the essence of the hotel
SANDS Hotel - This is located in between the Fishermen's Wharf and Hotel Grand Lapa. The Sands casino, in my opinion is the most entertaining one in Macau with the best performers offering free shows every night. Perhaps, one may say that the Venetians has more to offer other than the casino. The Sands hotel itself is not bad either. It costs about US 200 per night though.
Hotel GRAND LAPA - Its near to the ferry pier and right next to Sands Casino. It is actually a decent hotel with excellent facilities (365 days heated-pool). It is reasonably priced (HK$ 1,000 only on weekends) but it is not very popular. I guess it is not located in the city center which makes it less popular. It is a good thing however, in my opinion.
I have also stayed at MGM, Sofitel, Fortuna, New Century, Lisboa, Rio...etc...The most disappointing one is the MGM.
MGM Macau - it is disappointing because it is expensive but small. Pool is heated 365 days but closed from October to April...The casino and club are not fun either.
SOFITEL Macau - on the other hand, this one is nice. Nice pool and near the city center. HK$ 1,000 per night on weekend.
There is the Michael Jackson Museum inside the Sofitel Hotel. Quite interesting!
The City of Dreams
HARD ROCK Hotel - Not very impressive. Again, expensive and small. Pool is okay though.
GRAND HYATT Hotel - A lot better than Hard Rock. I was swimming in the heated pool when its 7'C outside. HK$ 1,500 for a suite.
The newest entertainment area - SANDS COTAI CENTRAL (Opened in April 2012) - Holiday Inn. (also includes Sheraton and Conrad) It is very similar to the City of Dreams and the Galaxy resort. However, facilities are much inadequate here compared to the others. Swimming pools are VERY small so no pool parties can be organized; no theater so no show can be watched. It is, thus, more fun to stay at the Venetians and Galaxy.
Sheraton Hotel - Decent size, reasonable priced (for Macau), but again, facility is just limited. Ideal for gamblers, but not tourists.
I thought the Hard Rock Hotel is expensive (because the room is small). This new HOLIDAY INN at Sands Cotai Central is even worse...
Westin Resort- Coloane. HK$ 1,000 for a sea view room. (now Coloane Resort)
Coloane is another island of Macau, bigger than Taipa. It still has its colonial style because of almost zero development in the last 4 centuries. It is a nice place to go if you really want to escape from the casinos and see the old Macau.
There are two hotels on Coloane: Westin and CHU WAN. Chu Wan is the true colonial style hotel and quiet, while the Westin is more crowded.
GALAXY Macau - the newest and biggest resort at the moment. Has the East Asia's largest artificial wave pool. I stayed in one of the three hotels in the resort - Okura. The others are Galaxy and Banyan Tree. HK$ 1,300 per night. Banyan Tree is HK$ 2,500. Honestly, why not spending the same amount of money to go to Thailand?
Pousada de SAO TIAGO - converted from an old Portuguese barrack the hotel Pousada de Sao Tiago may be the oldest hotel in Macau. It is away from casino or just everything; yet it is still in Macau city (the Southern tip of it) so it is not far from the main attractions. It is a nice and calm hotel with its own style. The only bad thing is, it is a bit expensive - ~HK$ 3,000 a night
(From the left - TV floating on the bathroom mirror; Bathroom; Bedroom; Living Room; View from the room; View from the Balcony)
Studio City - Another hotel / resort under Stanley HO (his son) with indoor and outdoor pools and decent size rooms. It is not a bad hotel but I guess it is a bit farther away from Cotai so the rooms are always cheaper than the other hotels in the area - HK$ 1,000 per night.
The outdoor water park and pool / The Batman ride
Parisien Macau - the newest member of the Sands hotel collection. Trying to copy from the Parisien in Vegas but everything just doesn't work in the one here in Macau. The Eiffel Tower is nice and the interior of the hotel looks expensive - I just don't have any feeling of Paris/France. Rooms are small and if there is not a picture of Paris, there is nothing I can associate it with Paris. The worst thing however, is the public pool. It is not small but it allows non-swimmers using the facilities around the pool, which results from in considerate visitors eating, smoking and sleeping around the pool, causing disturbance, hygiene problem and the lacking of facilities for real swimmers. The water park area is not free to guests also. HK$ 1,000 per night.
Lions at MGM Hotel - Not really good
Cubic at City of Dreams - known as the biggest club in Macau
SANDS - Sands Hotel, the best free entertainment at a casino in Macau
Club Lotus at the Venetians - struggling to be the best club in Macau with the Cubic
DD2 in AIA Tower, opposite to Emperor Hotel
DD3 at Fishermen's Wharf - Trying to be the next DD2 but quite empty
Macau Soul - Travessa de Paixao, near Ruins de Sao Paulo. A very nice, chill place especially if you like Jazz.
Restaurante FAT SIU LAU - Rua da Felicidade 64, firstname.lastname@example.org This 107 (at 2010) years old Chinese / Western fusion food restaurant is one of the best in Macau. A little expensive though, but the 107 years of history tells you many things.
Restaurante LITORAL - Rua do Almirante Sergio 261A, email@example.com This is a very nice little Portuguese restaurant selling real Portuguese food in very reasonable price. The setting of the restaurant shows you how Chinese and Portuguese interior styles could be mixed together harmonically.
DON QUIJOTE (not Quixote?) de la Mancha - Rua do Regedor no. 23, Chun Fok Village, Taipa. At the end of the shopping street of Taipa center, near the Galaxy Resort. This is a nice little Spanish restaurant is Macau. Food is cheap but not very great. However, their sangria is quite decent. So it is a nice place for casual drinking.
The Taipa shopping street also have a few more good restaurants; both Chinese and Western.
FERNANDO - Hag Sa Beach, Cologna Island. The most famous Portuguese restaurant in Macau but has lost its charm in recent years in my opinion.
ESPACO LISBOA - Cologna Town, Cologna, near the round about, right of the Stow's Bakery which makes famous egg tarts. This little restaurant may be the best Portuguese restaurant in Macau. The price is reasonable and the white Sangria and service there are excellent.
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