Macau is about 40 miles West of Hong Kong across the Pearl River Delta. The territory was lent to Portuguese traders back in the 1550s as a trading port and remained under Portuguese leadership until about 1999 when it became a special administrative regions (SAR) of China.
The Portuguese influence is especially prominent in the architecture and it’s quite fascinating to see the fusion of the two cultures. If you’re not interested in casinos and the gambling scene, it’s worth a trip just to see the buildings. I visited right before Chinese New Year so there were quite a few people visiting, so many that it was almost impossible to move, but I can’t speak for any other time of the year. Although the influx of visitors did alter my perception and first impression of Macau, I still enjoyed my short time there.
To get to Macau from Hong Kong:
There are several ways to travel to Macau from Hong Kong. One option, the one I used, is to take the Turbo Jet at Sheung Wan MTR station. Once you get to the mall plaza, follow the signs to the Turbo Jet ticketing windows (on the third floor or so). You can buy a one-way ticket or round trip, and you choose the departing time for both if it’s a round trip. It costs HK$164.00 (about $21) to go to Macau and HK$153.00 (about $19) to come back.
The port in Macau.
It’s an hour ride to Macau and once you get there, you can take any of the free shuttles to the hotels or casinos. Just pick one and get in line. I recommend taking the Grand Lisboa Hotel shuttle. It takes you near the center of town and it’s about a 15 minutes walk to the Ruins of St. Paul.
Macau also has a different currency but they accept HKD. It’s important to note that they give change in MOP, Macau’s currency.
To get back to Hong Kong, you’ll have to get a free shuttle ride coupon from the help desk on the third or fourth floor of the Grand Lisboa casino, and then go back out the main doors of the casino to find the correct line for the shuttle back to the port where you arrived. It’s a little tricky, but the staff there would be able to provide any assistance.
P.S. Don’t forget your passport!