The Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China and former Portugese colony of Macau is a popular excursion destination for visitors to Hong Kong. Macau is quickly and easily reached from Hong Kong by frequent fast ferry services and, for the more time conscious and affluent, by helicopter. There are also plans to revive a scheduled seaplane service last seen during the 1950's.
Frequent high-speed ferry services ply the Hong Kong -Macau route. Above, TurboJET catamaran on the one-hour journey from Macau's Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal to Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal at Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island
Visitors of nearly all nationalities can enjoy a visa-free stay of between 30 and 90 days. For most nationalities which are not elegible for visa-free stay, a visa-on-arrival is available subject to fee although from 1st July 2010 elegibility for visa-on-arrival was withdrawn for nationals (other than Hong Kong ID Card holders) of Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Full details of current visa requirements can be found on the Macau Government website;
Passports are required and must have a validity of at least 30 days from date of entry into Macau.
Visitors from Hong Kong to Macau pass through immigration and customs formalities on leaving Hong Kong, entering Macau and vice-versa and arrival and departure cards (handed out on the ferries) need to be completed.
Since December 10th 2009, under reciprocal arrangements between the respective governments, residents of Hong Kong and Macau have been able to register to use an automated clearance system allowing them to use e-Channels and avoid the need to complete arrival and departure cards when travelling between the two cities.
Frequent visitors to Hong Kong, who are enrolled to use Frequent Visitor e-Channels, are also able to use Hong Kong Immigration Frequent Visitor e-Channels at Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal and China Ferry Terminal;
FERRY TERMINALS - Hong Kong
HONG KONG MACAU FERRY TERMINAL, Shun Tak Centre, Connaught Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island
CHINA FERRY TERMINAL, Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
SKYPIER, HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (for international transit passengers making air/sea connections through Hong Kong International Airport only. Passengers must remain the airport restricted area during transit. There is no access to SkyPier from the non-restricted area of the airport)
TUEN MUN FERRY TERMINAL, Tuen Mun Promenade, Tuen Mun, New Territories. Service ceased operation July 2012. There is currently no service operating from Tuen Mun.
FERRY TERMINALS - Macau
MACAU OUTER HARBOUR FERRY TERMINAL (also known as Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal), Avenida de Amizade, Macau
TAIPA TEMPORARY FERRY TERMINAL*, Estrada de Pac On, Taipa, Macau
* a new, permanent Taipa Ferry Terminal is expected to open in mid-2013
FERRY OPERATORS AND ROUTES;
TurboJET fast catamaran racing through the Adamasta Channel between the Chi Ma Wan peninsula of Lantau Island and Cheung Chau en route from Macau to Hong Kong
HONG KONG MACAU FERRY TERMINAL, SHEUNG WAN, HK ISLAND TO MACAU MARITIME (OUTER HARBOUR) FERRY TERMINAL, MACAU
TurboJET operate a fleet of jetfoils and catamarans from Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal at Shun Tak Centre at Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island. The terminal lies a short distance west of Central Ferry Piers and is served by Sheung Wan MTR Station.
This is the busiest and most popular route with departures every 15 minutes from 07-00 to midnight increasing to every 5 minutes at peak times. Between midnight and 07-00 services operate at between 30 and 90 minute intervals. The journey takes approx one hour. Travellers can arrive at the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, buy tickets and usually be able to travel on one of the next one to three sailings. However at certain times, particularly weekends, public holidays or during special events such as the Macau Grand Prix services demand for tickets can be very high become and it may be preferable to make an advance reservation. Seat allocation is made at the departure gate about ten minutes prior to departure. For every departure there is a standby queue and it is often possible to obtain an earlier departure by joining the standby queue which is close to the seat allocation desk by the departure gate. Economy class cabin is comfortable and will suit most passengers requirements. Snacks and drinks can be purchased on board.
FARES (ECONOMY CLASS) - EFFECTIVE FROM 29TH MARCH 2013. Fare structure is based on date and time of sailing;
HONG KONG TO MACAU;
Day Service* on weekdays HK$159
Day Service* on weekends and public holidays HK$175
Night service* HK$196.
MACAU TO HONG KONG ( fares are lower in this direction since Macau departure tax was scrapped by the Macau Government in September 2011);
Day Service* on weekdays HK$147
Day Service* on weekends and public holidays HK$163
Night service* HK$184.
Day Service - 8th October to 31st January 07-00 to 17-00, 1st February to 31st March and 1st September to 7th October 07-00 to 17-30, 1st April to 31st August 07-00 to 18-00
Night Service - 8th October to 31st January 17-15 to 06-30, 1st February to 31st March and 1st September to 7th October 17-45 to 06-30, 1st April to 31st August 18-15 to 06-30
The full timetable and fares for other classes can be viewed on the TurboJET website;
HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SKYPIER TO MACAU MARITIME (OUTER HARBOUR) FERRY TERMINAL, MACAU
TurboJET also operate a catamaran service from Skypier at Hong Kong International Airport to Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal. This service enables passengers arriving at HKIA to transit to Macau without passing through Hong Kong Immigration, Customs or Baggage Reclaim and similarly allows passengers from Macau to check in at Macau Ferry Terminal to avoid HK Immigration and Customs when transiting via HKIA. The service is only available for transit passengers making air/sea connections through HKIA. Journey time is approximately 50 minutes.
FARES (ECONOMY CLASS) - EFFECTIVE FROM 29th MARCH 2013;
HK$246 each way
Tickets can be obtained from the Ferry Transfer Desk at the airport.
Timetable and fares can be found on the TurboJETwebsite;
More information on ferry services from Hong Kong International Airport Skypier procedures can be found here;
TurboJET Jetfoil interior upper deck Economy Class
CHINA FERRY TERMINAL, TSIM SHA TSUI, KOWLOON TO MACAU MARITIME (OUTER HARBOUR) FERRY TERMINAL, MACAU
Shun Tak - China Travel Macau Ferries Limited (TurboJET) operate a fleet of catamarans from China Ferry Terminal at Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, under the TurboJET brand. Shun Tak, who also operate TurboJET services from Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal and Hong Kong International Airport acquired First Ferry (Macau) and its vessels from New World First Holdings Limited in August 2011. Shun Tak announced that current sailing schedules will be maintained. China Ferry Terminal is located at China HK City, Canton Road, just north of Harbour City Shopping Mall. The nearest MTR Station is Tsim Sha Tsui (exit A1) about 10 minutes walk or the terminal can be reached by buses 3C, 14 and 238X.
A standard daily schedule has operated all year round since January 2009. Services from Tsim Sha Tsui operate at 30 minute intervals from 7am to 10-30pm daily and from Macau at 30 minute intervals from 7am to 10-30pm daily. Journey time is about 60 minutes.
FARES (ECONOMY CLASS) - EFFECTIVE FROM 29th MARCH 2013. Fare structure is based on date and time of sailing;
HONG KONG TO MACAU;
Day Service* on weekdays HK$159
Day Service* on weekends and public holidays HK$175
Night service* HK$196
MACAU TO HONG KONG ( fares are lower in this direction since Macau departure tax was scrapped by the Macau Government in September 2011)
Day Service* on weekdays HK$147
Day Service* on weekends and public holidays HK$163
Night service* HK$184
Day Service - 8th October to 31st January 07-00 to 17-00, 1st February to 31st March and 1st September to 7th October 07-00 to 17-30, 1st April to 31st August 07-00 to 18-00Night Service - 8th October to 31st January 17-15 to 06-30, 1st February to 31st March and 1st September to 7th October 17-45 to 06-30, 1st April to 31st August 18-15 to 06-30
For detailed timetable and fare information for other classes see;
Ex-First Ferry Catamaran now operated by Shun Tak - China Travel Macau Ferries Ltd (TurboJET). In August 2011 New World First Ferry Macau was taken over by Shun Tak who own TurboJET, and also operate services to Macau. Since mid-2012 all ex-First Ferry boats on the China Ferry Terminal, Kowloon to Macau route have been rebranded in TurboJET's familiar red and white livery
COTAI WATER JET
Cotai Water Jet High-speed catamaran
Cotai Water Jet (previously "Cotaijet") commenced operating services between Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal at Sheung Wan and Macau on 1 December 2007 following the opening of the Venetian Resort on the The Cotai Strip in Macau. The service is operated by CKS (Chu Kong Passenger Transport) for Cotai Water Jet Macao, a firm controlled by Las Vegas Sands Corp and Macau company Giant Dragon. The service was suspended from 11 December 2007 after only ten days of operation following court intervention after objections to the tendering process. However on 18th January 2008 the Macau Intermediate Court lifted the interim injunction and the service resumed on Sunday 20th January 2008. On 19th February 2009 Macau's Court of Second Instance ruled the service illegal for the Macau Government to have granted the service to CotaiJet without public tender. Las Vegas Sands appealed against the decision and services continued to operate. The court ruling resulted from a lawsuit by North West Express who were refused permission to operate a ferry service between Tuen Mun and Macau in 2006 (but were subsequently awarded a licence and commenced operating in April 2011). In January 2010 CotaiJet were finally awarded a 10-year licence by the Macau SAR Government allowing the company to operate the existing route and additional routes to China Ferry Terminal, Kowloon and Hong Kong International Airport Skypier with services on these routes commencing in February 2010 and July 2010 respectively.
HONG KONG MACAU FERRY TERMINAL, SHEUNG WAN, HK ISLAND TO PAC ON (TAIPA) TEMPORARY FERRY TERMINAL, MACAU
Services operate from Hong Kong from 06-30 until 23-59 and from Macau from 07-00 to 03-00 at intervals of mainly 30 minutes during the daytime and mainly 30/60 mins at night. and then at 30/60 minute intervals until11-59pm. Journey time is approximately one hour with a free 5 minute coach connection to and from The Venetian from Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal. Economy fares were revised on 25th March 2013 and from Hong Kong are HK$160 on weekdays , HK$172 on weekends and public holidays and HK$196 for night sailings (from 18-00). Fares from Macau to Hong Kong are HK$149 weekdays, HK$162 weekends and public holidays and HK$185 night (from 18-00). Timetable;
HONG KONG MACAU FERRY TERMINAL TO MACAU OUTER HARBOUR FERRY TERMINAL, MACAU
There is just one daily sailing on this route, departing Hong Kong at 7am.
Economy fare is HK$151 on weekdays and HK$163 on weekends and public holidays;
CHINA FERRY TERMINAL, TSIM SHA TSUI, KOWLOON TO MACAU OUTER HARBOUR FERRY TERMINAL, MACAU
There is just one daily sailing on this route, departing Hong Kong at 10am, with no return journey.
Economy fare from Hong Kong is HK$151 on weekdays and HK$163 on weekends and public holidays. Journey time about one hour;
CHINA FERRY TERMINAL, TSIM SHA TSUI, KOWLOON TO PAC ON (TAIPA) TEMPORARY FERRY TERMINAL, MACAU
There are five daytime sailings from Hong Kong on this route, between 8am and 1-30pm, with only one return journey from Macau at 5pm. Economy fare from Hong Kong is HK$151 on weekdays and HK$163 on weekends and public holidays. From Macau fare is HK$141 on weekdays and HK$153 on weekends and public holidays. Journey time about one hour. Timetable;
MACAU MARITIME (OUTER HARBOUR) FERRY TERMINAL, MACAU TO HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (SKYPIER)
This service is for passengers from Macau and transiting through Hong Kong International Airport to make flight connections without passing through Hong Kong Immigration, Customs or Baggage Reclaim. However, the service has been reduced to just a single journey each day departing Macau at 8-30am. Economy fare HK$234. Journey time about 50 mins. Timetable and air/sea transfer procedure;
HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SKYPIER TO PAC ON (TAIPA) TEMPORARY FERRY PIER, MACAU
Since July 2012 service frequency has been reduced to one daily sailing from Hong Kong International Airport and five sailings from Macau on this route, which is for passengers transiting through Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) only and enables passengers arriving at HKIA to transit to Macau without passing through Hong Kong Immigration, Customs or Baggage Reclaim. Similarly, passengers from Macau can check in Taipa Temporary Ferry Terminal to avoid HK Immigration and Customs when transiting via HKIA. The service is only available to transit passengers making sea/air connections through HKIA. Journey time is about 60 mins. Economy fare HK$246 from HKIA, HK$248 from Macau. Timetable and air/sea transfer procedure;
Cotai Water Jet Catamaran
*HONG KONG NORTH WEST EXPRESS LIMITED (HKNWE)
*SERVICE SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY WITH EFFECT FROM JULY 2012. THE SERVICE WILL NOT RESUME. TUEN MUN FERRY PIER REPOSSESSED BY THE HONG KONG GOVERNMENT FROM 10th SEPTEMBER 2012.
Hong Kong North West Express (HKNWE) were awarded the operating licence for services between Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal in the northwest New Territories and Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal (also known as Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal) in early 2011 and services commenced on 15th April 2011. The company, which has previously operated a single daily service to Shekou from Tuen Mun, had been seeking a licence from the Macau Government to operate services to Macau since 2003 and were last denied permission in 2006. In July 2012 services were indefinitely suspended with reports that HKNWE owed HK$4.7 million in unpaid rent for Tuen Mun Ferry Pier to the Hong Kong Government. In September 2012 it was confirmed that the service would not resume and the government was taking repossession of the ferry pier from 10th September 2012.
Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal is located at 148 Wu Chui Road, Tuen Mun. It is served by MTR "Ferry Pier Terminus" Light Rail Station. Passengers travelling on MTR West Rail can interchange to Light Rail at Yuen Long Terminus, Tin Shui Wai, Siu Hong and Tuen Mun West Rail Stations.
The following KMB bus routes terminate at Tuen Mun Ferry Pier;
59A from Sham Shui Po (Yen Chow Street)
59M from Tsuen Wan MTR Station
59X from Mong Kok East MTR Station
Tuen Mun Ferry Pier is also served by Fortune Ferry Company Tai O - Sha Lo Wan - Tung Chung - Tuen Mun ferry service which has a limited service but may be convenient for passengers travelling from Lantau Island;
MACAO DRAGON (CEASED OPERATING 15th September 2011)
Macao Dragon, a subsidiary of Giant Dragon Sea Transportation Company, commenced operations on 10th July 2010, but ceased operations on 15th September 2011. The company, which operated four daily sailings each way using 1200-seat fast catamarans, claimed it was unable to operate a viable business owing to restrictions on passenger quotas. The Macau Government initially issued a licence for vessels to carry a maximum of 1,152 passengers but this was later limited by the Macau Maritime Administration to maximum of 750 passengers on sailings from Hong Kong and 600 for the return journey from Macau. MacaoDragon substantially undercut its competitors, offering one-way fares from HK$88. The service had utilised two large 1200 seat multi-deck fast catamaran ferries originally built for a Spanish operator who was unable to take delivery, and operated the same route as the CotaiJet service from HK Macau Ferry Terminal on Hong Kong Island to Pac On Temporary Pier on the Cotai Strip in Macau. Macao Dragon's two ferries, Shen Long and Tian Long, were seized in September 2011 by lawyers acting for Bank of China and remained moored in Victoria Harbour until being sold, in March 2012, for HK$80 million each to an unnamed Chinese mainland buyer. It is believed the vessels are to be based on Hainan Island.
CKS (CHU KONG PASSENGER TRANSPORT CO LTD)
CKS operate a fleet of high-speed catamarans along several routes from Hong Kong to various Pearl River Delta ports including two routes from SkyPier at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to Macau. The services operated by CKS from HKIA to Macau are the Coita Water Jet (see above) services from HKIA to Macau which CKS also operate under their own name. These routes are only available to passengers transiting through HKIA to/from Macau;
HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SKYPIER TO TAIPA TEMPORARY FERRY TERMINAL, TAIPA, MACAU
There is one daily sailing from Hong Kong International Airport SkyPier and five daily sailings from Macau with a journey time of about 50 minutes. Economy fares are HK$246 Hong Kong to Macau and HK$248 Macau to Hong Kong. Passengers arriving at HKIA can transit to Macau without passing through Hong Kong Immigration, Customs or Baggage Reclaim. Similarly, passengers from Macau can check in at Macau Ferry Terminal to avoid HK Immigration and Customs when transiting via HKIA. Timetable;
MACAU MARITIME (OUTER HARBOUR) FERRY TERMINAL TO HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SKYPIER
There is just one sailing daily from Macau with a journey time of about 50 minutes. Economy fare is HK$248. Passengers arriving at Macau can transfer to international flights from Hong Kong International Airport without passing through Hong Kong Immigration, Customs or Baggage Reclaim. Timetable;
SKY SHUTTLE HELICOPTER SERVICE
Sky Shuttle Helicopters Ltd operate a helicopter shuttle service between Shun Tak Centre at Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong Macau Ferry Pier) and the Macau Ferry Terminal using a fleet of six Agusta Westland (AW) 139 helicopters. The company installed a second helipad at Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal during 2009. Flights operate daily at 30 minute intervals from 9-30 to 22-59 from Hong Kong and 9-00 to 22-30 from Macau. The journey takes 15 minutes.
Full details can be found on the Sky Shuttle website;
LOCAL TRANSPORTATION WITHIN MACAU
Macau Maritime Ferry Terminal is served by Macau Bus Routes 3, 10a, 12 and 28A and taxis are inexpensive and in plentiful supply. Details of local bus services within Macau;
Most casinos including The Venetian, Sands and MGM Grand operate free shuttle bus services to and from the ferry terminal.
Shenzhen-based Waterfront Air is planning to commence operating a scheduled seaplane service in 2013 from a new Kai Tak Waterfront Aerodrome to Pak On Ferry Terminal near the Cotai Strip in Macau. The company, which is co-founded by Peter de Kantzow, whose father was a co-founder of Cathay Pacific, and Canadian business partner Michael Agopsowicz, have arranged a partnership with Shenzhen Airport Authority which will provide a hub and maintenance base for the services. The service has the support of the Hong Kong Government's Tourism Commission, as bringing added value to the harbour. Pilots are being recruited from Canada and Australia and services are also expected to operate between Shenzhen and other Pearl River destinations. As at December 2012, the company was undergoing preliminary licensing approval from the Chinese aviation authorities.
The Hong Kong - Macau service is to use a fleet of leased Twin Otter DHC-6 series 300 floatplanes to operate 20 flights daily for the 15/20 minute flight. The planes will be configured to take 2 pilots and 16 passengers with a luggage allowance of 10kg each. Any excess luggage will follow by ferry. The planes are expected to fly at an altitude of about 150-metres to allow passengers to enjoy the views. The company intends to charge a one-way fare of HK$1800.
Scheduled seaplane services were previously operated between Hong Kong and Macau by Macau Air Transport Company from the late 1940's until December 1962. Macau Air Transport Company which was founded by Sydney Kantzow and Roy Farrell, co-founders of Cathay Pacific initially used Catalina flying boats and, later, Piaggio PI36 6-seater twin engine aircraft until silting up of the Macau harbour made landing too difficult.
For information regarding future operational developments see;