MACAU ON A BUDGET 2018: Travel Guide & Itinerary

When the Portuguese landed on the shore near A-ma Temple over 400 years ago, they asked the locals what the name of the land was. The locals misunderstood and thought that they were asking about the name of the bay. “A-ma-gao,” they said. It means Bay of A-ma, named after the goddess revered at the nearby temple. The Portuguese translated it to “Macau.”

Understanding Macau

Over the next centuries, more Portuguese set foot on the beaches of Macau. Many of them were allowed to settle and establish an enclave after protecting the inhabitants from endemic pirates. Eventually, the land fell under their rule. As one of Portugal’s link to Asia, Macau absorbed much of the great flood of European influences that passed through it. Their architecture wrapped the land’s structures. Their language snuck into the locals’ mouths. Their laws and culture dominated their way of life. It witnessed several wars and revolutions, pacts and treaties. And then, the Portuguese power declined. The Chinese regained control of the region. Macau was given certain autonomies. Industrialization took over. Its skylines grew taller. Its cityscapes evolved faster. Macau became a city-wide playground, a melting pot of two hemispheres, a bastion of relentless development.

General Post Office Building next to Senado Square

Today, Macau (澳門) is formally known as Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is an autonomous territory, so even though it is officially part of China, it has its own currency and immigration policy, separate from that of mainland China or Hong Kong. In fact, even visitors from the mainland and HK will have to pass through immigration and customs check upon entering Macau.

Geographically, Macau is composed of four districts: the Macau peninsula, two islands (Taipa and Coloane), and the reclaimed land between the two (called Cotai).

  • Macau Peninsula. This is where the historical core of Macau is located. Most of the tourist spots are here. It’s also the most populated district.
  • Taipa Island. Although the airport is here, it is mostly a residential island.
  • Coloane Island. The least developed of the four areas. For tourists, places of interest here include hiking trails, old temples, and a couple of beaches.
  • Cotai Strip. The reclaimed land between Taipa and Coloane, occupied mostly by hotels and gaming buildings.

More info you need to know:

  • Language: Cantonese and Portuguese are the official languages. Around 90% of the population speaks Cantonese. Although an official language, Portuguese isn’t widely spoken by locals. However, most signs and tourism brochures have Portuguese translations. Mandarin and English are not common, but some locals, especially in the tourism industry, understand them a little.
  • Currency: Macanese pataca (MOP). MOP 100 is around USD 1.3, EUR 10, PHP 645, SGD 16.2 (as of April 2018). Hong Kong dollar (HKD) is often accepted at 1:1 rate.
  • Money Exchange. There are a lot of money changers throughout Macau. The most reputable companies are Soi Cheong Money Changer and P&W Casa de Cambio (aka Parkway Exchange), both of which have a branch in Senado Square.
  • Modes of payment: Most establishments prefer cash payment, but many of them also accept credit card transactions.
  • Electricity Info: 220V, 50Hz. Types D, M, G, and F are used.

Best Time to Visit Macau

October to December! The Macanese autumn sees fine weather, comfortable temperatures, and no threats of typhoons.

January and February are generally dry, too! But it can get chillier.

Image courtesy of Climate Portal Index

April is when the level of rainfall starts to rise, peaking in June and slowly subsiding in September. The rain can put a damper on your plans because most of Macau’s attractions are outdoor, unless you’ll be there for shopping or hotel-hopping, which aren’t a bad idea.

If you’re traveling on a budget, you might also want to avoid November, because that’s when the Macau Grand Prix happens, which pushes hotel rates to skyrocket. If you insist or you’re visiting for the race, book as early as possible because hotel rooms sell out even faster than the racers. Don’t search for accommodations at the last minute. I made that mistake once. I had a tough time looking for cheap rooms because most are sold out and the ones that had vacancies were super expensive. I ended up staying in Hong Kong instead and just visited Macau on a day tour.

Macau Visa and Immigration Requirements

Macau allows citizens of numerous countries to enter and temporarily stay in Macau without a visa. These include the following:

  • Philippines (30 days)
  • Hong Kong (1 year)
  • Indonesia (30 days)
  • Malaysia (30 days)
  • Thailand (30 days)
  • Singapore (30 days)
  • United Kingdom (6 months)
  • United States (30 days)
  • European Union states (90 days)

For more info, visit this page.

How to Get to Macau

Macau has its own airport, Macau International Airport (MFM) on Taipa Island.

Okay, here’s the thing. Hong Kong is so close to Macau, if you have the time and money, it would be a shame to visit one without the other. Hence, what I recommend is to book and entry flight to Macau and exit from Hong Kong. Or you can do it the other way around, enter Hong Kong and exit Macau. This way, you get to discover and experience both of these
amazing 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.

Manila to Macau

From Manila, the cheapest flights are operated by AirAsia and Cebu Pacific Air, with the fares within the P2000-P3500 range, if you book in advance. Note, however, that these are just the basic fares and do not yet include check-in baggage allowance and other add-ons. Philippine Airlines’ all-in ticket starts at P6500. It already includes baggage allowance, meals/snacks, and seat fee.

Macau Airport to City Center

You have four options:

  • By Free Hotel Shuttles. You can board any of the free shuttles provided by hotels to get to the city center. You don’t need to have a reservation at that hotel to be let in. Even if you have no plan on staying there, you can get on. Just pick the hotel closest to your destination. For example, here are the bus schedules for the Venetian, Wynn Hotel, and City of Dreams.
  • By Free Airport Shuttle. The airport has its own free shuttle service. At the Arrival Hall, find the north exit and travel on foot to the parking lot, where you’ll find the buses. There’s a bus every 15-20 minutes. Available from 11am-9pm.
  • By Public Bus. Fare is between MOP 4.2 and MOP 5. Here’s the public bus schedule.
  • By Taxi. There are parts of the city that are not easily accessible by bus. In these cases, taking the taxi makes the most sense. The flagdown rate is MOP 19 + MOP 2 for every 240 meters or every minute it’s not in motion. Additional MOP 3 charge for each piece of baggage in the compartment. The usual fare from the airport to the city center is MOP 70-90, depending on which part of the city you’re going.

Hong Kong to Macau

If you’re coming from Hong Kong, you can take the ferry to Macau. The journey takes only around an hour. Rates vary depending on the operator. Fares are also higher during the night.

Image provided by Klook

Two of the main ferry companies plying the Hong Kong-Macau route are CotaiJet and TurboJet. You can board the ferry at any of these 3 terminals in Hong Kong:

  • China Ferry Terminal. Situated next to Harbour City Mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. One-way fare: HKD 132 to 172 (in daytime) and up to HKD 211 (at night).
  • Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal (aka Sheung Wan Terminal). Located on the third floor of Shun Tak Centre (next to the IFC Towers) on Hong Kong Island. One-way fare: HKD 132 to 172 (in daytime) and up to HKD 211 (at night).
  • Sky Pier. Located at Hong Kong International Airport. Exclusive to tourists only. One-way fare: HKD 159 – 172, during the day.

In Macau, there are two terminals where ferries from Hong Kong can dock.

  • Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal, located on the Peninsula. This is closer to the city center.
  • Taipa Terminal, sometimes called Cotai Terminal, just a short walk from the airport and closer to the big hotels.

You can buy tickets at the terminal itself. However, if you want to score some discounts, you can book in advance online visa Klook! For example, the regular one-way TurboJet fare is somewhere between HKD 170 and 200. But with Klook, it’s only at HKD 165. And you can save even more if you purchase roundtrip tickets at once.

Images provided by Klook
For Discounted tickets, book below:

Please take note of the date and time of your trip because rates of sailing on weekends and at night are higher. Just click on any of the following links:

Taipa Ferry Terminal to City Center

  • By Free Hotel Shuttle. At the terminal, you can board any of the free shuttles provided by hotels to get to the city center. You don’t need to have a reservation at that hotel to be let in. Even if you have no plan on staying there, you can get on. Just pick the hotel closest to your destination.
  • By Taxi. The flagdown rate is MOP 19 + MOP 2 for every 240 meters or every minute it’s not in motion. Additional MOP 3 charge for each piece of baggage in the compartment. The usual fare from the airport to the city center is MOP 70-90, depending on which part of the city you’re going.
  • By Public Bus. I haven’t tried this personally. I always used the free shuttle bus. LOL. And taxi once. I have no information about this yet.

Where to Stay in Macau

While Macau is best known for its 5-star hotels, it also harbor cheaper forms of accommodations. These options are concentrated in the Macau peninsula, around the city center. Budget hotels, guesthouses, and hostels can be found within and in the outskirts of the historic core.

However, their rates usually increase on weekends and surge during peak seasons. Take my two trips for example. In February, I booked a room with Fu Hua Hotel for only HKD668. In November, in the middle of Macau Grand Prix, the rates more than doubled to almost HKD1500 per night. That’s a big jump!

Top Budget Hotels in Macau

If you ask Traveloka users, here are the top budget hotels and hostels in Macau.

Fu Hua Hotel, image provided by Traveloka

Search for More: Macau Hotels

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How to Get Around Macau

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. So yep, WALK WHEN YOU CAN.

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.

When I’m in Macau, I hardly pay for transportation, haha. I always either just walk or take the free shuttles.

Here are the modes of transportation you can take to get around Macau.

By Public Bus

Although they can get crowded during rush hours, public buses in Macau are generally comfortable. There are screens displaying the name of the next bus stop and announcements done in English, Portuguese, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

Here are the fares:

  • Within the Macau peninsula: MOP3.20
  • Macau to Taipa: MOP4.20
  • Macau to Coloane: MOP5.00

Using the bus system can be confusing and intimidating at first. I still am confused and intimidated by it, to be honest. Haha. The timetables posted at the bus stop are not easy to understand and the Portuguese names of the streets hard to keep in mind. But there are ways to make our lives easier. Take note of the following:

  • Download the MacauMap app. It is equipped with a map and a directory of all the bus lines.
  • When using Google Maps, hover at the nearest bus station you’ll see and it will display the bus lines that will stop at that station. I usually use it in conjunction with MacauMap app to double check.
  • Fares are cheaper if you have a MacauPass, an electronic pre-paid travel card that you can hover above the reader upon boarding.
  • You can also pay in cash, but make sure you have the exact amount. Buses have a strict NO CHANGE policy. To pay in cash, just drop your coins into a box right after the entrance, beside the driver.
  • Board using the front doors of the bus and exit through the rear.

By FREE Hotel Shuttle

Most of the time, you won’t have to take the public buses because you can use the hotel shuttle for free. Again, here are the bus schedules for the Venetian, Wynn Hotel, and City of Dreams.

There are a few more hotel shuttles available.

By Open Top Bus Tour

Image provided by Klook

You can also try Macau’s hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus, which stops at 16 of the city’s key tourist attractions. After visiting a tourist spot, you can hop back into the bus to your next stop.

This bus operates from 9:30am-4:15pm. Personal guided commentary in English or Mandarin and headphones are provided. Insurance is also included.

To use this bus, you need an unlimited 1-day pass which costs HKD 125. You can book one via Klook below:

RESERVE AN UNLIMITED PASS HERE

By Taxi

The flagdown rate is MOP 19 + MOP 2 for every 240 meters or every minute it’s not in motion. Additional MOP 3 charge for each piece of baggage in the compartment.

Places to Visit

You can classify Macau attractions into two categories: the historic and the crazy-psychedelic. At the heart of the city is its historic core, littered with UNESCO-listed landmarks. Under the sun, Macau bares its soul in its mosaic-art cobblestone streets flanked with historical Portuguese colonial buildings, calming parks, and long-standing temples. Many of these can be enjoyed for FREE. We also indicated below the entrance fee rates for those who require it and info on how to reach these places.

But as soon as the sun starts hiding under the horizon, Macau transforms into a totally different creature — more alive and definitely kicking! At nightfall, the city is ruled by neon lights that hypnotize and draw the crowd towards the vibrant and energetic resort hotels.

Macau‘s luxury hotels provide not only accommodations but also a wide variety of entertainment forms. From its exhibits and shows, these world-class hotels have become attractions on their own. After all, Macau is home to the biggest hotels in the world, even dwarfing their counterparts in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. They also house boutiques of several high-end brands where you can shop for clothes, jewelry, and accessories.

Senado Square

Senado Square

Senado Square is a giant outdoor museum. It is the centerpiece of the extensive Historic Center of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Macau represents an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble that illustrates the development of the encounter between the Western and Chinese civilizations over some four and half centuries,” UNESCO explains the site’s inscription on the list. “Leal Senado Square is the main public square of the town with the Leal Senado Building, a two-storeyed neoclassical structure.”

Brisk walking on the wave-patterned mosaic floor around the site is virtually impossible, for you would be compelled to stop to gawk at the fine architecture of the surrounding buildings.

More about it here: Senado Square Walk
How to get there: Take Bus No. 3, 3A, 4, 8A, 10, 10A, 11, 18, 19, 21A, 26A or 33. You may also board a free shuttle bus to Metropole Hotel then walk from there.

Ruins of St. Paul’s

Probably the most famost landmark in Macau, the Ruins of St. Paul’s (Ruinas de Sao Paulo) attracts droves of tourists all year round. It is also part of the city’s Historic Center. “Company of Jesus Square has the Ruins of St Paul’s, which represent the remaining front elevation of the Church of Mater Dei and Na Tcha Temple,” UNESCO describes the site.

The Iconic Ruins of St. Paul’s

Built in the 16th century, the site was actually a complex of a church and an academic institution. The church itself was constructed later in the 17th century. Today, only the facade remains the only structure standing after being battered by a typhoon and three fires.

Also worth your time is the Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt at the bottom of the ruins. It presents religious artifacts including Sino-Portuguese crucifixes.

More about the site here: Ruins of St. Paul’s
How to get there: Board Bus No. 10, 10A, 11, 21A, 2, 3, 3A, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8A, 26A, 33, 17, 18, 8A or 26

Macau Tower

Macau’s famous skyscraper! You can take the lift to the tower’s 360-degree observation deck for a spectacular view of the Pearl River Delta, which is more fantabulous at night.

You’ll find links to where you can book tickets in advance not just for the observation deck but also for other activities.

Photos provided by Klook

A-Ma Temple

A-Ma Temple

Built in 1488 under the Ming Dynasty, the A-Ma Temple is the oldest in Macau. It was erected in honor of A-Ma, the goddess of the sea. Legend has it that the goddess helps seafarers and guides them during their journey, especially during a storm. Located at Largo do Pagode da Barra in the southeastern tip of the peninsula, it is a bit isolated, making it a tiny isle of silence in the bustling, ravaging ocean that is the city center.

More about it here: A-Ma Temple

How to get there: Take Bus No. 6, 8, 9 or 28B
Opening Hours: 7am-6pm

City of Dreams: The House of Dancing Water

This is the world’s largest water show. See this spectacular world-class act performed only at the City of Dreams. It’s incredibly popular and sells out fast, so best to book online.

RESERVE DISCOUNTED TICKETS HERE

The Venetian: Gondola Ride

See the impressive interior of the Venetian Hotel in style: on a boat while being serenaded by a gondolier!

BOOK THIS RIDE

The Parisian Macao: Eiffel Tower

Image provided by Klook

If you feel like you won’t be seeing the real Eiffel Tower in Paris anytime soon, visit this replica at the Parisian Macao. Don’t miss the fantastic lights show that mesmerizes viewers every 15 minutes starting 6:15pm to midnight.

You can also climb to the top and see the city lights from its observation deck. You can purchase your tickets from Klook.

RESERVE A TICKET HERE

Studio City: Batman Dark Flight 4D Ride

Image provided by Klook

Join Batman fight the villains of Gothan in this 4D multi-sensory ride that the whole family will enjoy!

RESERVE A TICKET HERE

Studio City: Golden Reel Ferris Wheel

Image provided by Klook

Located at Studio City, this is the world’s first figure 8 ferris wheel. At 425ft above the ground, it allows breathtaking views of the Macau cityscape and the surrounding South China Sea.

RESERVE A SLOT HERE

Wynn Macau: Dancing Fountain

The Dancing Fountain starts mesmerizing guests at 7pm and ends at 12midnight in 15-minute intervals. This means it plays every 15 minutes and the cool thing about it is that it does not do the same number twice, at least not within the day! Inside Wynn Tower is the Tree of Prosperity.

Camoes Square

Macau’s oldest park, the Camoes Square was named after legendary Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes. It is also the largest, covering an area of 20,000 square meters. Three separate areas comprise the square: the Camoes Garden, where the poet composed many of his sonnets; the Casa Garden, a parkette built in 1770 in front of the residence of Portuguese merchant Manuel Pereira and is now an art gallery; and the Protestant Cemetery, the final resting place of some prominent figures including Robert Morrison (the first Protestant missionary in China) and Anders Ljungstedt (Sweden’s first consul general in China).

Camoes Garden

More about Macau’s relaxing parks here: 5 Must-Visit Gardens in Macau

How to get there: Take Bus 8A, 17, or 26
Opening Hours: Daily, 6am-10pm

Macau Museum

The Museum of Macau isn’t as eye-catching as its neighbor, the iconic Ruins of St. Paul’s, but it lodges significant artifacts narrating the history of Macau as a small settlement, as a Portuguese colony, and now as one of two Administrative Regions of China.

Its content isn’t the only thing worth admiring here. The location itself is of historical significance. The museum is set inside Mount Fortress (Fortaleza do Monte), Macau’s most important defense. Seated regally atop Mount Hill, the fortress affords gorgeous panoramic vistas of the city in all directions.

Macau Museum at Mount Fortress

Entrance fee is waived every 15th of the month (MOP15 the rest of the month).

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5:30pm
Official Websitewww.macaumuseum.gov.mo

Other Attractions

Lou Lim Loc Garden
  • GUIA FORTRESS
    Standing proud at the tallest peak of the Macau Peninsula, Guia fortress provides beautiful panoramic views of the metropolis, nearby islands, and even mainland China. The 15-meter-tall lighthouse takes most of the attention as the most arresting structure that tourists can see even from a great distance. The Guia Cable Car is a popular means of reaching the site (Fare: MOP 3), but walking is a great alternative for the physically fit and extremely budget-conscious.
    How to get there: Take Bus 2, 17, or 25  and alight at Flora Garden stop
    Opening hours: 9am-5.30pm
  • MACAU FISHERMAN’S WHARF
    A first of its kind, Macau Fisherman’s Wharf is the only cultural-oriented theme park in the city. It is a theme park, yes, but it is also a shopping and dining destination, perfect for families and barkadas.
    How to get there: Take bus no. 1A, 3 ,3A, 8, 10, 10A, 10B, 17, 28A, 28B, 28BX, 28C, or 32
    Open 24 hours
  • MACAU WINE MUSEUM
    Learn the history of wine and be familiar with the tools used in the production of this highly prized alcoholic beverage. The 1400-square-meter site is composed of a Historical section, a Museum and Exhibitions area, and a Wine Cellar.
    Address: Rua Luis Gonzaga Gomes
    Opening Hours: Wednesday-Monday, 10am-8pm.
  • JARDIM DE LOU LIM IOC
    It is a public park that has become a sanctuary to tourists and locals looking for some peace and quiet. Victorian and traditional Chinese structures stand in between ponds that are carpeted by lotuses all over.
    More about it here: Lou Lim Ioc Garden
    Address: 10 Estrada de Adolfo Loureiro, Macau. Board Bus 12 or 16
    Opening Hours: Daily 6am-9pm

Sample Macau Itineraries

Below are two sample itineraries. The first covers Macau only, while the other spans both Macau and Hong Kong. Both itineraries assume the following:

  • You’re a group of 2, splitting much of the expenses.
  • You have a budget of MOP 70-100 per meal (lunch/dinner). You’ll find meals much lower than this, but better to overestimate than under.
  • You’re skipping breakfast. It’s overrated, according to intermittent fasters. And healthy too. Haha.
  • You’re staying in a hotel in Macau Peninsula. Hotels here are much cheaper than in Taipa or Cotai strip. And because it’s where the city center is, you also save on transportation. I’m using 5footway.inn Project Ponte 16 as sample here. If you’re staying in another, like Fu Hua Hotel, just find the nearest bus station.

Itinerary #1: Macau Only

Duration: 3 days, 2 nights

DAY 1: ARRIVAL, MACAU TOWER
03:45pm – Arrival in Macau
04:30pm – Taxi to Hotel, MOP 50 (100/2pax)
05:10pm – Hotel Check-in
06:00pm – Dinner, MOP 70
07:00pm – Bus to Macau Tower, MOP 3.2
07:30pm – Macau Tower, MOP 87 (DISCOUNTED)
09:00pm – Bus Back to Hotel, MOP 3.2

Day 2: HISTORIC SITES
09:00 am – Walk to Ponte Cais n. 14 Bus Stop
09:15 am – Ride Bus No. 2, MOP 3.2
09:30 am – Alight at Jardim da Flora
10:00 am – Take cable car to Guia Fortress, MOP 3
11:40 am – Walk to Macau Museum
12:10 pm – Lunch, MOP 70
01:30 pm – Macau Museum, MOP 15
03:00 pm – St. Paul Ruins
03:45 pm – Stroll to Senado Square
06:00 pm – Dinner, MOP 70
07:00 pm – Walk to Wynn Hotel
07:30 pm – Dancing Fountain at Wynn Hotel, FREE
08:00 pm – See Tree of Prosperity
08:40 pm – Walk to Praca Ferreira Amaral Bus Terminal
09:00 pm – Take Bus 3A to Ponte Cais n. 14 Bus Stop, MOP 3.2
09:50 pm – Alight bus and walk to Hotel

Day 3: LUXURY HOTEL HOPPING
07:00 am – Walk to A-ma Temple
07:30 am – A Ma Temple, FREE
09:00 am – Walk back to Hotel
09:30 am – Hotel Check-out
10:00 am – Walk to Ponte Cais n. 14 Bus Stop
10:30 am – Ride FREE Shuttle to the Venetian
11:00 am – The Venetian, Leave luggage at Concierge, FREE
11:15 am – Explore the Venetian, shop around
12:00 pm – Lunch, MOP 100
01:00 pm – Cross the street to City of Dreams, explore, shop
03:00 pm – Walk to Studio City, enjoy rides if budget permits
06:00 pm – Move to the Parisian and take photos
07:00 pm – Pick up luggage at Venetian
07:15 pm – Board the FREE shuttle to the airport
08:00 pm – Airport Check in, dinner at airport, MOP 100
10:15 pm – Flight out

If you spend MOP 310 per hotel-night per person, this itinerary will set you back MOP1200 (USD150, EUR120, SGD195, HKD1165, PHP7760).

This does NOT include airfare and gaming expenses or hotel attractions (4D rides, shows). Just add the cost to the figure above.

Itinerary #2: Macau + Hong Kong

Duration: 5 Days, 4 nights

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 one of my trips.

For the Hong Kong leg of this itinerary, read this first: HONG KONG TRAVEL GUIDE.

DAY 1: ARRIVAL, MACAU TOWER
03:45pm – Arrival in Macau
04:30pm – Taxi to Hotel, MOP 50 (100/2pax)
05:10pm – Hotel Check-in
06:00pm – Dinner, MOP 70
07:00pm – Bus to Macau Tower, MOP 3.2
07:30pm – Macau Tower, MOP 87 (DISCOUNTED)
09:00pm – Bus Back to Hotel, MOP 3.2

Day 2: HISTORIC SITES
09:00 am – Walk to Ponte Cais n. 14 Bus Stop
09:15 am – Ride Bus No. 2, MOP 3.2
09:30 am – Alight at Jardim da Flora
10:00 am – Take cable car to Guia Fortress, MOP 3
11:40 am – Walk to Macau Museum
12:10 pm – Lunch, MOP 70
01:30 pm – Macau Museum, MOP 15
03:00 pm – St. Paul Ruins
03:45 pm – Stroll to Senado Square
06:00 pm – Dinner, MOP 70
07:00 pm – Walk to Wynn Hotel
07:30 pm – Dancing Fountain at Wynn Hotel, FREE
08:00 pm – See Tree of Prosperity
08:40 pm – Walk to Praca Ferreira Amaral Bus Terminal
09:00 pm – Take Bus 3A to Ponte Cais n. 14 Bus Stop, MOP 3.2
09:50 pm – Alight bus and walk to Hotel

Day 3: LUXURY HOTEL HOPPING
07:00 am – Walk to A-ma Temple
07:30 am – A Ma Temple, FREE
09:00 am – Walk back to Hotel
09:30 am – Hotel Check-out
10:00 am – Walk to Ponte Cais n. 14 Bus Stop
10:30 am – Ride FREE Shuttle to the Venetian
11:00 am – The Venetian, Leave luggage at Concierge, FREE
11:15 am – Explore the Venetian, shop around
12:00 pm – Lunch, MOP 100
01:00 pm – Cross the street to City of Dreams, explore, shop
03:00 pm – Walk to Studio City, enjoy rides if budget permits
06:00 pm – Move to the Parisian and take photos
07:00 pm – Pick up luggage at Venetian
07:15 pm – Board the FREE shuttle to Taipa Ferry Terminal
08:00 pm – Board Ferry to Kowloon (Hong Kong), HKD 160
09:15 pm – Walk to Guesthouse
09:50 pm – Check-in
10:30 pm – Late dinner (fast food), HKD 50
11:30 pm – Lights out

Day 4: NGONG PING & VICTORIA PEAK
09:00 am – Take MTR to Tung Chung Station, HKD19.5
10:00 am – Take bus to Ngong Ping, HKD17.5
10:30 am – See Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery
012:30 pm – Bus back to Tung Chung Station, HKD17.5
01:00 pm – Lunch, HKD70
03:00 pm – Take MTR to Hong Kong Station, HKD 25.5
03:30 pm – Walk to Peak Tram, Roundtrip fare: HKD95
04:00 pm – Explore Victoria Peak, wait for sunset
06:00 pm – Go down via tram, walk to Central Station
06:50 pm – MRT to Tsim Sha Tsui Station, HKD10.5
07:00 pm – Walk to Avenue of Stars
07:15 pm – Explore Avenue of Stars, FREE
08:00 pm – Watch the Symphony of Lights, FREE
08:30 pm – Dinner, HKD 70
09:00 pm – Walk back to hotel

Day 5: DISNEYLAND, DEPARTURE
09:00 am – Wake up, check out
10:15 am – MTR to Disneyland Resort, HKD23
11:00 am – Store luggage in lockers, HKD 110
11:10 am – Explore Disneyland Hong Kong, HKD 519 (DISCOUNTED)
12:00 nn – Lunch, HKD 100
06:30 pm – MTR to Airport, HKD15.5
07:15 pm – Check in, dinner, HKD 70
10:05 pm – Flight out

If you spend only HKD300 per night on accommodations (divided by 2 pax), the Hong Kong leg of this itinerary will cost you an additional HKD1800 (USD230, EUR187, SGD300, MOP1854, PHP12,000), excluding the airfare.

More than a third of the total cost is used on Disneyland expenses alone, so if you’re traveling on a shoestring or you’re not interested in Disneyland, the total cost is down to only HKD1280 (USD163, EUR133, SGD214, MOP1320, PHP8480).

This places the total Hong Kong and Macau expenses to:

  • With Disneyland: MOP3000 (USD371, EUR302, SGD487, HKD2913, PHP19,300)
  • Without Disneyland: MOP2500 (USD310, EUR252, SGD406, HKD2430, PHP16,100)

Of course, you can even reduce the costs even further by keeping the food expenses to a minimum. Like I mentioned, I added a big allowance to the food budget because it’s better to overestimate than under. You can also sleep at cheaper accommodations.

More Tips for the Poor Traveler

  • Walk when you can. I enjoy walking around Macau. If just within the peninsula, I always opt to just travel on foot. And when I need to go to the islands, I gallop to the nearest station where I can board a FREE shuttle service. This way, I don’t get to spend anything on transportation and reallocate the savings to other attractions.
  • Download the MacauMap app. It is equipped with a map and a directory of all the bus lines, which will help you understand the bus system better.
  • Try Macanese egg tarts and pork buns, the city’s favorite street foods! You’ll see them at many restaurants and stalls, especially at touristy areas.
  • If you can’t find a place to stay in Macau that is within your budget range and you’re also going to Hong Kong, you can just visit Macau on a day tour. 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.

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