The tiny region of Macau is well served by private and public transportation services for fast transport internationally, to Hong Kong and surrounding regions, and internally.
As one of the world’s major travel destinations, Macau is served by the Macau International Airport (MFM), ferries that link Macau, Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Shenzhen, and a border crossing checkpoint at the Zhuhai-Macau border.
There are numerous taxis and lots of inexpensive public bus routes (most routes cost about 50 cents USD more or less). Many casinos offer free bus rides from transportation centers, and these buses can be a convenient and quick way to get around.
The Macau International Airport (MFM) commenced operations in 1995. It has become a major low-cost airport for the region around Macau. Because of cheap flights on regional economy airlines, people are using the airport to travel to Hong Kong. The airport can handle 6 million passengers a year, and it is still utilized under-capacity. The airport is on an artificial island about three kilometers or two miles east of the Cotai Strip.
Macau's airlines are Air Macau and the budget carrier Viva Macau. Air Macau serves Osaka, Japan; Seoul, Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Bangkok, Thailand; and the major tourist cities in China of Beijing, Chengdu, Guilin, Nanning, Shanghai, Xiamen, Hangzhou, and Nanjing. So this airport is useful for traveling to destinations in China.
The airport has low landing fees, so this attracts economy airlines. The budget airline Thai Air Asia goes to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and other cities is Asia. Tiger and Jetstar serve Singapore. Cebu Pacific and Philippines Airlines serve Manila and Clark. Sometimes, people can get amazingly low-priced tickets to and from the Philippines.
Bus AP1 goes from the airport to the north border crossing for Zhuhai in China. It stops at stops in Taipa on the island including the ferry terminal, and then it crosses over into the city on the peninsula along the way. Tickets cost about 4.2 MOP. There is a charge of 3 MOP per piece of luggage. Bus 21 goes to Coloane from the airport. A Macau Dollar is almost exactly worth a Hong Kong Dollar at present. Other airport buses are MT2, N2, and 26.
The total fare includes a MOP 5 airport surcharge, a MOP 2 charge for the bridge, and MOP 3 per bag. So the total fare to go to the city center on the peninsula is about 40 or 50 MOP, and the trip takes about 17 minutes.
Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal
The Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal is also called the Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal. It is Macau's main ferry terminal. It is served by public buses that go to the border, around the main city on the peninsula, and to the island resort area to the south.
But the best way to travel to the various destinations is by the hotel bus service. When you exit the terminal out of the main exit, you can see the hotel buses parked about a hundred meters to the left. They are free and run frequently, and travelers can use them even if they are not planning to go to the hotels. These hotel buses may stop at various places along the way.
At the Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal, the several ferry services each have their own ticket windows on the second floor. There are small fast food places on the second floor as well. People traveling between Hong Kong and Macau must present their passports at the gates to receive a stamp.
Taipa Ferry Terminal
The Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal connects the southern island that has the Cotai Strip with has huge casino/resorts to Hong Kong. It is adjacent to the Ponte da Amizade Friendship Bridge on Estrada de Pac On. There is a free shuttle bus to The Venetian. A ferry service called the Cotai Jet ferries between Taipa and the SkyPier terminal at Hong Kong International Airport. The fee is about 220 HKD and takes about 45 minutes.
There is a lesser known ferry terminal at Pier No. 11 at the Inner Harbor. It is near the Macau city center on the peninsula. It services ferries to Shenzhen and Zhuhai.
Shenzhen Shekou Ferry Terminal
The Shekou Ferry Terminal is on the shore of the Shekou district in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen. It is near Haishangshijie that is a foreigners' enclave in Shekou. Ferries from there go to the Hong Kong Airport, Zhuhai and Macao. It is served by several public bus routes that have the ferry terminal as the terminus. The name of the public bus station right in front of the Shekou Ferry Terminal is Shekou Matou. This means Shekou Dock.
Long-Distance Jetfoil Transportation
Passengers also can take a jetfoil: a five-star Premier Jetfoil with exclusive and luxurious services of superb quality coming and going among Macau, Hong Kong, Hong Kong International Airport, Shenzhen Baoan International Airport, Shenzhen Shekou Port and Guangzhou Nansha Port.
The newest five-star Premier Jetfoil is equipped with the latest LED lighting system, a top-quality Samsung onboard entertainment system, and a VIP Cabin which comes with a self-controlled air conditioning and lighting system and free WiFi service.
Passengers of the VIP Cabin can use the online meal reservation service, reserving on www.turbojetbooking.com 24 hours prior to sailing time for a specified meal choice.
Hong Kong – Macau
Macau-Hong Kong Island: The TurboJet company operates ferries from Hong Kong's Macau Ferry Terminal 港澳碼頭 in the Shun Tak Center building on the harbor shoreline of Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island. They operate 24 hours a day at frequencies of every 15-30 minutes by day and hourly at night. In Macau, they dock at the Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal that is also called the Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal. This terminal is close to the favorite sightseeing area of Senado Square and its surroundings.
Their cheapest one-way ticket from Hong Kong is about 165 HKD, and the voyage is an hour. You can buy tickets online in advance to ensure you secure the sailing you want at busy times. Weekend/holiday fares are more expensive. Ferries are operated by TurboJet (☎ +853 790 7039 in Macau, +852 2859 3333 in Hong Kong).
Macau-Tsim Sha Tsui: Cotai Jet and TurboJet both offer frequent ferry service directly to Taipa from the China (HK) Ferry Terminal on Canton Road near the Bay Harbor Mall in Hong Kong. Taipa is where the biggest and newest casinos are located, and you'll find frequent and free shuttle buses to The Venetian and the others. The ferries run every half-hour from 07:00-22:30. Fares start at about 165 HKD, and the trip takes about an hour or a little more.
Macau-Hong Kong International Airport: TurboJet Sea Express operates ferries to Macau from the SkyPier Terminal at Hong Kong International Airport. These are less frequent, but they allow you to go directly to Macau from the airport terminal without going through the Hong Kong border inspection gates. The airport's SkyPier terminal is accessed by a shuttle train train. Fares start at about 180 HKD.
Macau-Shekou, Shenzhen: The Yuet Tung Shipping Company offers ferry service to the Macau Inner Harbour Terminal at Pier 14 on Rua das Lorchas near Senado Square. The pier is near the intersection with Av Almeida Ribeiro. The journey takes about 1 and a half hours.
Macau-Fu Yong (Shenzhen International Airport): TurboJet operates several ferries daily between the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal and Fu Yong Ferry Terminal. The journey time is about one hour. Free shuttle buses connect the Fu Yong Ferry Terminal with the airport.
The Sky Shuttle helicopter service flies between Macau's Terminal Maritimo and the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Pier in Hong Kong in 16 minutes. Flights go about every twenty minutes, and there are five flights to/from Shenzhen airport each day. Tickets go as high as 3,900 HKD.
There is no rail service in the Macau Special Administrative Region. But there is fast train service between Guangzhou and the Macau border. If you arrive at Shenzhen Railway Station or Hong Kong Railway Station, you might be able to take a train to Guangzhou South and then a fast train directly to the Macau border. Otherwise, the only way to Macau is either by road (bus), sea, or air (helicopter) from Hong Kong or Shenzhen.
Fast Guangzhou–Zhuhai/Macau Travel (80 minutes)
Guangzhou South – Macau: Here is quick way to get from Guangzhou to Macau and Zhuhai and for going to/from Chimelong Resort or the Canton Fair from there.
Fast and cheap: D trains get to the Gongbei Border Crossing in about 80 minutes. The Zhuhai Railway Station is at the Zhuhai Gongbei Port. Once there, follow the sign boards and crowds and walk to the Macau crossing building. Unless it is crowded, crossing takes only a few minutes. Have your passports ready. On the other side, you'll find both free hotel shuttles that will take you all over and a large underground public bus station. Bus 5 goes to the Senado Plaza.
Frequent: There are about 38 daily D-series trains leaving for Zhuhai every 25 minutes from 6:30 to 22:45. The ticket fares are about 70 RMB for second class seat to 90 RMB for first class seat.
Long distance: There are buses between Zhuhai and Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen. You can take the bus from Guangzhou to the Gongbei Bus Station. The trip takes about 2 hours and costs about 80 RMB.
There are also buses from the Shenzhen Airport and the Shenzhen Long-distance Bus Station to the Gongbei Border Crossing. The trip costs about 100 RMB (14 USD) and takes about 3 hours.
To enter Macau from the Gongbei Bus station, cross the street to the border crossing building and walk into Macau. You’ll need to present your passport with a valid Chinese visa.
Though taking a bus is possible, the way most travelers travel between Macau and Hong Kong is by ferry. TurboJET and Cotai Jet require between about an hour and 75 minutes to make the journey. This is much faster than going by bus through Shenzhen.
The Gongbei Border Crossing
Brief Introduction of Gongbei Port
Zhuhai borders Macau to the south. It is the main border crossing between Zhuhai and Macau and is called Gongbei Port (拱北口岸). The Zhuhai side is located in 23 Lianhua Road, Gongbei District (拱北区莲花路23号). The port is open from 07:00 to 24:00. Gongbei Port (aka Macau border crossing) is situated in the southern edge of Gongbei District, and the port has a cavernous underground shopping center, in which visitors can enjoy their shopping and taste local snacks.
Entering Macau: It takes about 20 minutes to walk past the Gongbei immigration building. However, be prepared for long queues that can make your total crossing time more than an hour (even 2 or 3 hours especially in weekends and during morning and evening rush hours). When passing through the Zhuhai side in Gongbei Port, remember that the left passageway is for Macau people and Hong Kong people, and the right passageway (with the sign of saying ’Foreigner’) is for foreigners and people from the Chinese Mainland and Taiwan.
Border urban bus station: The Portas do Cerco bus station is a big underground bus station under the border checkpoint plaza next to the building. There are buses to most parts of Macau including the main island with Taipa, Coloane and Cotai Strip areas. The station has washrooms.
Taxis are available too. A taxi ride to downtown Macau takes about ten minutes. The fare is about 30 MOP. You can exchange your money at the money changers stands. It costs about 45 MOP to Senado Square.
Macau Travel Tips
Most visitors to Macau don’t need a Macau visa. You can probably freely cross from China, and will be issued a temporary stay visa. But if you cross the border into Chinese Mainland from Macau or Hong Kong, you need a Chinese visa.
US nationals are allocated a thirty day visa for free stay in Macau upon arrival. Most European nationals and Japanese are allocated three month visas for free stay.
You can go by bus from Shenzhen to Zhuhai quite easily.
Taxis: Taxi fare is MOP 17 for the first 1,500 meters. Then there is a charge of MOP 1 for each additional 180 meters. There is a 3 MOP bag per piece of luggage. If the taxi waits with the meter running, the charge is about 1 MOP per minute. You can call for taxis, and there is no extra charge. Taxis generally accept Hong Kong dollars on a 1:1 basis for Macau money. It is a good idea to have your destination written in Chinese as most taxi drivers speak little English or other languages.
To go to the airport, there is an additional charge of 5 MOP for the airport surcharge, and 2 MOP for the bridge. There is a charge of 3 MOP for piece of luggage. Fares to the city center on the peninsula costs about 40 or 50 MOP, and travel time is about 15 or 20 minutes.
Taxi Service Numbers (to call for a taxi): (853) 519519 or (853) 967115.
Tourists in Macau can take a manpowered pedicab while traveling in some special scenic areas. Riders usually walk slowly so as to let tourists enjoy the beautiful scenery along the roads. Most riders are good tourist guides and they charge by the time of service. Tourists can bargain with them; the normal price is about 150-200 Macau dollars per hour.
Macau has two bus companies. There is a flat fare of MOP$ 3.20 for rides within the Macau Peninsula, MOP$ 4.20 between the peninsula and Taipa, MOP$ 5.00 between the peninsula and Coloane village; and MOP$ 6.40 between the peninsula and the Hác Sá area in the south of the island. Be sure to have loose coins to put in the coin box when you enter the bus.
Free Hotel Buses
There is also an amazing frequent and free hotel bus network that links the transportation points with the hotels. For transportation to resort and hotel sites and the Macau Ferry Terminal, the free hotel shuttle system is probably the best way to go.
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