Traveling Between Hong Kong And Macau By Ferry


One of the most popular side trips from Hong Kong is Macau.  They are the only two Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of China, meaning they have a high degree of autonomy from mainland China.  As a result they operate types of businesses that you are not able to find in other parts of Asia.  They are also easy to visit as they do not have the Visa restrictions that mainland China has.  Citizens of most countries are allowed at least 30 days in the region without having to purchase a Visa in advance.  Combined with how easy and fast you can travel between the two locations, the Hong Kong to and from Macau route is busy.  By far the best way to make the trek is by ferry.

It takes roughly an hour by ferry to travel between Hong Kong and Macau and boats arrive and depart on a regular schedule between 7AM and midnight and intermittently during late night hours.  This makes Macau a popular day trip from Hong Kong.


Multiple Companies And Multiple Options

With the Hong Kong to Macau ferry route being so popular and with multiple ferry terminals, it can get confusing to figure out what is the best option for you.  The two companies providing ferry service are TurboJet with their red colored boats and CotaiJet and their blue colored boats.  The best way narrow it down is determine what ferry terminal in Macau you will be leaving or departing from.

The top heart indicates Outer Harbour and the lower heart is Taipa Harbour

There are two ferry terminals in Macau.  The Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal is located on the main island of Macau.  The Macau Taipa Ferry Terminal is next to the Cotai Strip.  If you are looking to find the closest ferry terminal to a casino or toursit attraction, here is what you want to look for.

  • Outer Harbour – Wynn, MGM Grand, Sands, Grand Lisboa, StarWorld, Ruins of St. Pauls, Senado Square and Portuguese colonial Macau.
  • Taipa Terminal – Wynn Palace, Venetian, City of Dreams, Galaxy, Studio City, and the rest of Cotai strip where all the newest casinos are located.

While both companies service both terminals, TurboJet primarily uses the Outer Harbour Terminal while CotaiJet primarily runs out of Taipa.

After figuring out the terminal to use in Macau, you can move onto Hong Kong.  On Hong Kong Island the ferry terminal is at Sheung Wan, which is near the Star Ferry.  If you are nearest to Kowloon, then the China Ferry Terminal in Kowloon is your best option.  There are also terminals at Tuen Mun for the new territories and the Hong Kong Airport terminal.  Both TurboJet and CotaiJet service all Hong Kong terminals.  To put it more simply:

  • If you are going to or from Macau Island, use TurboJet out of Outer Harbour to either Hong Kong Island or Kowloon.
  • If you are going to or from Cotai, use CotaiJet out of Taipa to either Hong Kong Island or Kowloon.

It should be noted however after having said all of that, Hong Kong and Macau are small and if you do end up choosing the wrong ferry terminal, it is fairly easy to correct.  It probably costs you about 20 minutes in travel time and perhaps a little extra in travel fare.

Things To Know 

After figuring out your arrival and destination points there are a few other things to keep in mind.

  • Arrive in advance.  Give at least 45 minutes to clear immigration.  Hong Kong and Macau are part of China, but as Special Administrative Regions are treated like separate countries for immigration purposes.
  • Buy in advance during busy times like weekends or holidays.  You can purchase online through a company like Klook for a small discount.
  • Like flights there are multiple classes of tickets.  There is economy and Super Class ticket options.  Super Class gets a private lounge (don’t expect much), priority boarding (an advantage at getting through immigration first) a cushier chair with more legroom, and a snack.  Remember this is an hour long and so if you can withstand economy on your flight you can take economy on your quick hop.
  • You will encounter people selling ferry tickets near the official counter trying to persuade you to avoid the line and buy from them.  Most of them are legitimate, but to be safe, buy from the official counters.
  • Most of the time the seas are calm however, storms can cause your trip to be cancelled due to rough seas.

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