A more updated version of this article can be found here:
Hong Kong Travel Guide
Macau Travel Guide

Hong Kong and Macau are great places to have a first out-of-the-country trip. This realization dawned on me as soon as I started touring these “modern and futuristic” cites. The culture is not too different to alienate Pinoy first-time tourists and not too similar to bore them. The region is also connected by an impressively expansive systems of transportation — from its world-class airport terminals to its vast train network (Hong Kong) to its reliable bus system. They have all their major tourist attractions easily accessible. They also make the cities very friendly to kids and elderly, an important criterion for ideal family vacations.

All these pogi points combined make it one of the best foreign cities for first-time overseas traveler. I have been to Hong Kong and Macau three times, and I enjoyed every single moment I spent there. If these two cities are in your travel plans, here are some tips that you might want to consider to help make your trip run smoothly.

Booking Flights

If possible, book a flight to Hong Kong and then take a return flight from Macau, or vice versa. This way, you get to see and discover both cities.

If there really is no way that you can do a Hong Kong entrance-Macau exit (or vice versa), you can also book a roundtrip ticket to either. That means you’re gonna have to take the 1-hour ferry ride to the other.

Finding a Place to Stay

Finding cheap accommodations in Hong Kong is easy. The Tsim Sha Tsui area is littered with guesthouses and hostels offering affordable rooms. They are also consistently cheap throughout the year, ranging from HK300-HK500 for a double room. Here’s a separate article on the places I have tried in Hong Kong.

Check Hong Kong Rates Here
Check Macau Rates Here

Macau is a different story. There are so many cheap hotels in Macau but their rates usually increase on weekends and skyrocket during peak seasons. Take my two most recent trips for example. In February, I booked a room with Fu Hua Guang Dong Hotel for only HKD668. In November, in the middle of Macau Grand Prix, the rates doubled, almost HKD1500 per night. There are also cheap, cheap guesthouses and inns in the city but the reviews online are horrible so I didn’t bother trying. This means that you need to book way in advance to snag a cheap room and make sure it’s on a weekday.

If you can’t find a place to stay in Macau that is within your budget range and you have a roundtrip ticket to Hong Kong, you can just visit Macau on a day tour. Take the early morning ferry from Hong Kong and return the same day. Macau is small and if you’re planning on just sightseeing, you can cover almost every major point of interest within the day. Make sure you have the energy.

Getting Around Hong Kong: Places to Visit

Hong Kong’s MTR system is your best friend in the city. It’s extensive, tourist-friendly, and relatively inexpensive. Buses are also efficient and very organized. Here are some places you don’t want to miss. Tap or click on the pics to reveal more info:

Disneyland Hong Kong
Disneyland Hong Kong

Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery

Symphony of Lights at Avenue of Stars
Symphony of Lights at Avenue of Stars

Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak

Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware
FREE Things to Do in HK!

Mong Kok Night Market
Mong Kok Night Market

You might also find the following links useful:
Hong Kong Airport Guide
10 Kid-Friendly Places to Visit in HK
How to get to Avenue of Stars from Tsim Sha Tsui on Foot
How to get to Victoria Peak from Tsim Sha Tsui
How to get to Disneyland from Tsim Sha Tsui

Getting Around Macau: Places to Visit

The Historic Center of Macau harbors the most popular attractions. This includes the Ruins of St. Paul’s, the Senado Square, and A-ma Temple. Macau is a very walkable city, and most interesting sites are within walking distance of each other.

If you feel like your knees are not up for some great stroll, a good option is to take advantage of the free shuttle bus services provided by luxury hotels. Regular buses are also available, but make sure you have exact change. Here are some of the must-visit places in Macau. The pics lead to more info about the place.

Ruins of St. Paul's
Ruins of St. Paul’s

Senado Square
Senado Square

A-ma Temple
A-ma Temple

Macau Museum (Mount Fortress)
Macau Museum (Mount Fortress)

Hotel Attractions
Hotel Attractions

Macau Tower
Macau Tower

Lou Lim Ioc Garden
Lou Lim Ioc Garden

Camoes Square
Camoes Square

Guia Fortress
Guia Fortress

Macau Fisherman's Wharf
Macau Fisherman’s Wharf

Other useful links:
4 Must-See Hotel Attractions in Macau
5 Relaxing Parks and Gardens in Macau



Building a Hong Kong-Macau Itinerary

St. Paul Ruins in Macau

If you enter Hong Kong and exit in Macau, everything should go smoothly. Experience Hong Kong first and then spend the last two days in Macau. This was my itinerary for a recent 4-day trip.

Day 1: NGONG PING, VICTORIA PEAK
07:55 am – ETD: NAIA Terminal 3 Airport
09:55 am – ETA: Hong Kong Airport
10:30 am – Take A21 Bus to Tsim Sha Tsui
11:20 am – Check-in at guesthouse
12:00 pm – Ngong Ping  (Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery)
04:00 pm – Victoria Peak
07:30 pm – Avenue of Stars (Watch the Symphony of Lights)
09:30 pm – Sleep

Day 2: DISNEYLAND, MONG KOK
07:00 am – Wake up
08:15 am – Breakfast
11:00 am – Disneyland Hong Kong
08:00 pm – Disneyland Fireworks Show
09:30 pm – Mong Kok (Ladies’ Market, Temple Street Night Market, etc)
12:00 am – Sleep

Day 3: SENADO SQUARE, HOTELS/CASINOS
07:00 am – Wake up
08:00 am – Breakfast
10:00 am – ETD: Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal (or Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal)
11:00 am – ETA: Taipa Ferry Terminal (or Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal)
12:00 pm – City of Dreams: Watch Dragon’s Treasure at The Bubble
02:00 pm – The Venetian (Lunch at Food Court)
04:00 pm – Senado Square and St. Paul Ruins
07:00 pm – Wynn Hotel: Tree of Prosperity and Musical Fountain
09:00 pm – Checkin at Hotel in Macau

Day 4: MACAU HERITAGE
07:00 am – Checkout Hotel, Leave Baggage at Reception
08:00 am – Breakfast
09:00 am – Camoes Garden or Lou Lim Ioc Garden
11:00 am – A Ma Temple
12:30 pm – Lunch
02:00 pm – Guia Fortress or free time
06:00 pm – Pick up baggage at Hotel
07:00 pm – Have dinner and check-in at Airport
10:15 pm – ETD: Macau Airport
12:15 am – ETA: NAIA Terminal 3

Rule of thumb, always prioritize places that are farthest from the airport. For instance, if you have a roundtrip Hong Kong ticket and you wish to see Macau, explore the latter first and make your way back to Hong Kong in the next days. This way, you won’t have to hustle trying to catch your return flight. Here’s a sample itinerary.

Day 1: ARRIVAL IN HONG KONG, MACAU HOTELS, SENADO SQUARE
07:55 am – ETD: NAIA Terminal 3 Airport
09:55 am – ETA: Hong Kong Airport
10:30 am – Lunch
12:00 pm – Take Ferry from HK Airport to Macau
01:00 pm – ETA: Macau Ferry Terminal
02:00 pm – City of Dreams: Watch Dragon’s Treasure at The Bubble
03:00 pm – The Venetian (Lunch at Food Court)
05:00 pm – Senado Square and St. Paul Ruins
08:00 pm – Wynn Hotel: Tree of Prosperity and Musical Fountain
10:00 pm – Checkin at Hotel in Macau

Day 2: A MA TEMPLE, BACK TO HONG KONG
07:00 am – Wake up, Check out
08:00 am – A Ma Temple
10:00 am – Guia Fortress
12:00 pm – Lunch
01:00 pm – Take ferry to Hong Kong
02:00 pm – ETA: Hong Kong Ferry Terminal
03:00 pm – Check-in at Hotel in Hong Kong/Kowloon
04:00 pm – Victoria Peak
07:30 pm – Avenue of Stars (Watch the Symphony of Lights)
09:30 pm – Sleep

Day 3: NGONG PING, DISNEYLAND, MONG KOK
07:00 am – Wake up
08:15 am – Breakfast
10:00 am – Ngong Ping (Po Lin Monastery, Tian Tan Temple)
12:00 pm – Disneyland
08:00 pm – Disneyland Fireworks Show
09:30 pm – Mong Kok (Ladies’ Market, Temple Street Night Market, etc)
12:00 am – Sleep

Day 4: DEPARTURE
07:00 am – Wake up
09:00 am – Buy pasalubong, walk around the city, or visit museums
05:00 pm – Have dinner and check-in at Airport
08:45 pm – ETD: Macau Airport
10:35 pm – ETA: Clark Airport

I have to warn you, though, that these itineraries can get extremely exhausting because it involves a lot of walking. Ngong Ping, Disneyland, and Mongkok in one day is no joke and can be physically painful. You might want to adjust this if you have kids or elderly with you.

Budget Breakdown

If you’re going to follow the first itinerary above (4D3N Hong Kong-Macau), here’s how much you would probably spend. If you decide to use this as basis of your trip, please do so at your own risk. This is based on my trip in 2012 and figures might have been outdated already. Still, this should somehow manage your expectations as far as budget is concerned. Also, this is based on two people traveling. As usual, you can cut down cost if there are more of you in the group splitting almost everything.

  • HONG KONG LEG
    HK$ 500 – Taisan Guesthouse (2 nights at HK$500/night, divided by 2 pax)
    HK$ 100 – Octopus Card
    HK$ 17 – Bus to Ngong Ping (HK$135 if you take the cable car)
    HK$ 75 – Victoria Peak Tram and Skypass
    HK$ 350 – Disneyland Ticket
    HK$ 140 – Food Expenses
    HK$ 159 – Ferry: Hong Kong to Macau
    HK$ 1341 (PHP 7587) – SUB TOTAL
  • MACAU LEG
    MOP 334 – Fu Hua Guang Dong (1 night at MOP668, divided by 2 pax)
    MOP 50 – Dragon’s Treasure Ticket (City of Dreams)
    MOP 80 – Food Expenses
    MOP 40 – Incidentals (water, bus ride, etc.)
    MOP 504 (PHP 2763) – SUB TOTAL

TOTAL: PHP 10,350

The above figure does not cover airfare and other airport fees (Departure Fee of P550 and Travel Tax of P1650). Much of the expenses were for the entrance fees, with Disneyland taking the bulk.

But if you’re traveling on a really tight budget, there are a lot of things you can do in Hong Kong and Macau for FREE. Here are some suggestions:

10 FREE Things to Do in Macau
7 FREE Things to Do in Hong Kong

Additional Tips

Here are some more tips that you might want to consider.

  • Get an Octopus Card at the airport. Almost every form of transportation we used accepted Octopus Cards. We didn’t have to worry about coins or change. All we need to do was flash the card when boarding the bus or train. You might want to do the same. You can have it for HKD100 plus HKD50 deposit. Unused credits are refundable and the deposit for the card can be claimed back.
  • Grab a map or guide booklets at the Hong Kong Tourism section at the airport. The MTR and bus route maps are particularly useful.
  • Exchange only a little at the airport. There are many Money Changers with much better rates at Tsim Sha Tsui area.
  • If you’re hotel or guesthouse is just along Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, take the A21 bus instead of the MTR. The bus passes right through. If you take the MTR, you’re gonna have to change trains at least twice.
  • In Macau, you can take advantage of the FREE shuttle buses operated by hotels to get to your next stop. For example, from the ferry terminal you can take the Venetian shuttle to get to Venetian. You can cross the road to City of Dreams afterwards and after doing your thing there, take the bus at the basement of the hotel to the city center. (To get to Senado Square, take the shuttle going to Sintra.)

That’s about it! Have a safe trip and enjoy your trip to Hong Kong and Macau! If you have questions, just post a comment below and I’ll see what I can do to help you.

*Additional thumbnails courtesy of DiscoverHongKong.com and Tourism.gov.hk


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Yoshke Dimen

Yoshke Dimen

Storyteller at Yoshke.com
Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at Yoshke.com.
Yoshke Dimen

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Comments

  1. Ana says:

    hi

    I’m planning our 1st trip together – me & my 7-year old daughter but I got air fares the other way around. Macau-HK. Do you have a similar itinerary for this way instead? I’m trying to do this DIY style so I need all the help I can get.

    our trip is on Dec. too so I guess rates are high by then right?

    Cheers and thanks for your help
    Ana

  2. Mary says:

    Your blog is really helpful! Especially the tips which are so specific (like the bus to take). Your sample itineraries are helpful too. We’ll be in Macau-HK next week. I can use some of your tips. Thank you! :)

    • The Poor Traveler says:

      Thanks, Mary! Have a great time in Hong Kong and Macau!

  3. Pa Ul says:

    This information is really great! Now, I know what will be my itinerary next time I visit Hong Kong. Thanks Yoshke for sharing.

  4. I.R says:

    This is really helpful, I was able to make my own itinerary after reading evrything here.. Many THANKS to you:)

  5. Sam says:

    I’m really struggling making my mind up and creating an iti for our upcoming HK-Macau trip but after reading your blog, oh my, light bulb! =D Thank you so much for such an interesting, very informative blog. =)

  6. ren says:

    Hello, how were you able to book for a hostel here in Manila? One thing I know is that you will be asked by HK’s immigration officer for the place you will stay in. And I’m considering to travel in September. Hoping for your warm response. More powers!

  7. Stella says:

    This post is extremely helpul! We’re planning a trip to HK/Macau on mid-March. Do you have any tips with regards to weather and clothing?

    • yoshke says:

      Hmmmm… the closest time to March that I experiences is late February and I needed a jacket and a sweater. :)

      • Stella says:

        Thanks! I’ll just make sure to bring winter clothes to put on top of summer clothes. Haha!

        By the way, you may want to check out AirBnb for their affordable places compared to hotels and hostels in HK (or in any place for that matter). I actually just found the site from one of your blog’s ads. Found it a blessing!

        • Motski says:

          Hi Stella! Where are you staying at HK? we are goin there on March 12-15 and we still have to book our accommodation.

  8. firsttimetraveller says:

    Hi.. I really love your blog..
    It’s very helpful to us first time travelers..
    I don’t think we can stay in Macau for two days..
    Is it possible to go to a lot of places in Macau for a day?
    If so, do you have any alternative 1-day itinerary in Macau?
    Thank you so much for your help…
    This will mean a lot to me..:)

    • yoshke says:

      Hi! A Macau day trip is possible. You can visit the hotel attractions (Venetian, City of Dreams, Wynn, etc), Senado Square, St. Paul Ruins, and A-ma Temple in one day. :)

  9. Ben says:

    This is great! I’ll definite follow your 1-day itinerary to Macau, as I will be based in HK for our stay this June. Thanks a lot!

  10. yhana says:

    Me and my fiance will be celebrating our anniv on a macau-hk trip will u pls help us because our flight will originate in macau can you help us make a sample itenerary for a 5days 4nights this.is my email arsviesca@gmail.com :) I hope to hear frm you :) thank you because I really love your detailed itenerary! Very helpful!!! Keep it up!

  11. Jo says:

    hi sir…thank you for a very informative blog on your travels. will be travelling first time with my husband and son in jan 18-22, 2015 to HK & Macau. Will be flying in HK and flyout in Macau on the 22nd at 10:15PM. Could you please please help us with an itinerary. please email it to jonalyn_yaun@yahoo.com. daghang salamat!

  12. Karen says:

    Hi, in your suggested itinerary, will we not be questioned by the Philippine Immigration if we will not stay in HK on our first few nights since we plan to go directly to Macau? cause we need to write the address at the immigration card right?

  13. AFilipino says:

    the AirAsia flight we got is Manila-Macau-Manila (6D/5N). But we plan to spend most of the time in HK. and the stay in Macau for the last night. Do you have a sample itinerary for our case?

    • Bugsbunny says:

      Hi there i have a simple itinerary for you

      City of lights, avenue of the stars, clock tower
      Hk city tour (victoria peak, ma mo temple, mongkok at evening)
      Disneyland full day 9-9pm
      Lantau island full day 10-6pm , citygate outlets for shopping & dinner
      MACAU full day

  14. johnborja_ says:

    Hi. can you tell me more about the flight to Hong Kong and then a return flight from Macau. I checked online, and yes its really cheaper. What I’m curious about are the documents to be presented are there any specific ones needed for me to exit from Macau? (I have Id’s and a passport.) Thank you.!

  15. xtine says:

    This blog is amazingly useful to first timers…A well-detailed itinerary!! good job!!! Actually, we’re planning to go to Hong Kong with my family but the problem is that we don’t really know the exact travel month to travel except for cold and stormy months….what do you think is the best month to go there??

  16. This is a very informative post. I think travelling frugally in a place like Hong Kong not only saves you money but also gets you to see the real places and sights of the place. Otherwise it is all too easy for a foreign tourist to surround themselves in a cocoon.

  17. Rooh Bi Dooh says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. We will be following your itinerary for our HK-Macua trip this coming October. We will be going to HK via Clark airport and will be back to the Phil from Macau to NAIA but I am not sure if this possible. Please help. Thanks!

      • Rooh Bi Dooh says:

        I appreciate your response sir. I have another questions though – regarding the Octopus cards – I read from one of your blogs that the card has a deposit of HK50 that will be refunded once you surrender the card. In our case, we will be exiting via Macau so we don’t really know how to return the card. :( Any advice? Thanks a lot.

  18. rain says:

    hi i know this is a late reply to your post but i just want to ask if is it possible if i enter-exit macau and visit hk for 1 day? first time solo traveler here. :)

  19. Radmin Joy Satorre says:

    Hi! Acceptable po ba as hand carry luggage ang 20inch luggage at 32x27x12cm na small backpack? I’m flying with Cebupac po

  20. Ed says:

    hi! pag hk then exit sa macau to manila, di na po ba kelangan ng exit flight ticket from hk? kasi kung manggagaling ng macau naman pauwi sa manila diba?

  21. Brenda says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences the poor traveler..we are planning to visit hk and macau next year but gusto po sana namin yung itinerary namin is manila-hongkong-macau-manila I am not sure if this possible for us baka po kasi harangan po kme first timer po kasi kme at baka hanapin po xa amin nang immigration ng hk yung return ticket po namin..wala naman po bang any problem if we are planning to enter hk and exit macau?? Please help po..Big Thanks!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Brenda, okay lang yun basta meron ka nang ticket na Macau-Manila. :)

  22. VIDYA says:

    Hi can you also help me to know the contact persons n their alternative numbers as well. I am planning with my 6yr old daughter n husband. Want to go to cheapest which i found in this itinerary. Would be helpful to know whether November will be too crowed n expensive. Also i m unable to search cheapest flights from BOM.

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