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Hong Kong | Macau Survival Guide
Hong Kong is a small group of islands.
- Kowloon Peninsula is slightly more historical. Locals shop on this side as it’s cheaper. For tourist interest, there’s Kowloon Park and Avenue of the Stars and specialty streets such as Temple Night Street Market, Mongok’s Goldfish street and Ladies Market, etc… Traveling north will take you towards more historical parts of the island as well as, the New Territories.
- Hong Kong Island is more contemporary and downtown main. This is the financial sector, it’s more business-oriented and shopping malls will be more expensive, booming with multi-levels and with designer labels. Trendy bars and nightclubs are in Lan Kwai Fong district and Hollywood streets. There are also Chinatown pocket businesses such as meat and produce streets and Herbal Medicine street. Victoria’s Peak is on this island as well as, you can visit some of the southern towns of Hong Kong such as Stanley.
- Islands (via Ferry or Cable Car): Lantau, Lamma and Cheung Chau, Macau
Hong Kong | Macau Travel Survival Guide
Electrical Converters in Hong Kong | Macau
Hong Kong runs on 220v. The converter plug is different from most Asian countries, so you will need to buy one of these: click here for Amazon.
Hong Kong Currency
Getting around in Hong Kong:
Transportation in Hong Kong is efficient and timely. Options for getting around are: metro, tram, bus and ferry.
Getting to and from Hong Kong Island / the Airport:
Metros and buses run to and from the airport. Taking a metro from the airport into Hong Kong Island will cost you $100HKD.
The cheapest ride is the airport bus. Bus station is located directly outside the airport terminal. They have maps, timetables, routes and fare costs listed directly upon entrance. An A route bus to Causeway Bay (Hong Kong Island) costs around $40. An E route bus will cost you half that, as it’s the employee bus and will make many employee stops along the way.
Transportation in Hong Kong
It’s easy to get around via metro and bus. The distinct feature about Hong Kong’s local buses and trams is that they are double-deck. Passengers will get an overview of the the streets by sitting at the top.
If you want a literal overview of the city and its streets, take the public bus (aka Double Decker buses). A distinct feature of Hong Kong transportation are its double decker buses. You pay by distance, through either your Octopus card or cash (you must have exact change!). It’s a great way to feel like you’re getting the perks of a double-decker bus tour!
The public bus is tightly organized. It’s a dynamic network between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. However, it isn’t always intuitive. Bus stop kiosks and schedules are plentiful, but are mostly in Chinese. Many kiosks list all the main stops on the route and some of them seem to just go the distance of a street and back. They make a stop at the end of the route, and you must get off. More information on Hong Kong transportation here
Traveling Hong Kong by MRT is easy and speedy. It allows you to cross Victoria Bay to pass between Kowloon and Hong Kong penninsulas. It services Hong Kong airport, Nong Ping and New Territories. Check this transportation timetable for MRT and buses.
Hours: Hong Kong 5:50a-
Star Ferry allows you to enjoy a leisurely ride on the bay. It runs between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui and between Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Hom.
The Peak Tram (bus #15) will take you to Victoria Peak (for an amazing view of the city). The base is located at Central MTR station or you can catch it from Star Ferry, cost: HK$9.80)Buy an octopus card
Buy an Octopus Card
Buy an octopus card at the metro station information booth on the second floor of the airport. It can be used on subway, buses, ferries, and trams.You’ll pay $100HKD as a deposit, which will be returned upon return. You can add as much money as you want on it. You can also pick these up at any metro station information booth.
They are at metro station info booths, hostels and hotels. You can also download a metro app online.
Best Day Trips from Hong Kong
Day trip to Lantau Island
Lantau Island is home of Nong Ping’s Giant Buddha. The half an hour ride cable car ride to the island welcomes an impressive view over the river and mountains. Walk through Nong Ping village have lunch at the temple’s vegetarian cafeteria and then take the bus to the oldest village on the island, Tai-O Fishing Village. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of one of their pink dolphins.
From Hong Kong Island, take the subway to Tung Chung station and then, hail the Ngong Ping Cable Car to the island. Outside Nong Ping Village is the bus terminal. You will need to take the bus to Tai O (bus #11, I think but the sign should say).
Where to Stay in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Island
As far as where to stay in Hong Kong, you’ll either stay on the Hong Kong penninsula side or Kowloon side. Hong Kong can be fairly pricy as it’s more modern and upscale dwellings and has a lot of prime shopping and it is closer to the airport and Lanta Island. Rent is insanely high here, reducing some locals to cage homes! A hostel might run anywhere from $25-50 USD. Across the river is Kowloon, which is a more historical Hong Kong, learning towards more traditional sights and buildings. While I didn’t stay in Kowloon, a cheap budget dive that travelers will try are Chungking Mansion– it’s a hit or miss!
Hong Kong Island is the more modern side of Hong Kong. I’ve researched budget accommodation from AirBnB (get $40 off your first visit) to hostels, even the YWCA (which was shockingly,… not cheap).
An issue i’ve found with booking accommodations for Hong Kong is that you really have to read the wording on listings well. Due to this housing insanity, you may find prices visibly misleading. Some costs listed might be very cheap until you go to book and find that it is a family or group rate. …Or even a minimum of days! I found researching places to stay in Hong Kong very frustrating and wasteful in time. I even almost went homeless for one night if it wasn’t for my hostel, which let me sleep on their couch! Always read ratings!
Agoda was my favorite search engine for Asia.Dorms are easier to book and straightforward, so I ultimately ended up in a hostel. It wasn’t bad and as a solo traveler, hostels can allow you to make friends and find travel partners.
Snooze Capsule Hotel is in a great location in Causeway Bay near Times Square Hong Kong. Pod with sideways entrance. Shared bathroom with free toiletries. Great for solo travelers.
Yesinn @Causeway Bay Causeway Bay, Hong Kong ( map) Conveniently located not far from the subway or bus stop. Staff is friendly, helpful and the hostel is modern, dorms/beds are clean and well-maintained. You get a curtain for privacy. I’d recommend. I’ve seen a couple of other hostels in the area and this was by bar the easiest and freshest. It’s located near the Times Square Area, which is a great location. Click here for other hotels nearby.
Check out the YWCA.
I’ve been recommended this place by several people. They have hotel like accommodations and offer long-term dorms.
A popular backpacker haunt and shopping spot is Chungking Mansions. it’s gathered quite a reputation for itself as a gritty crossroads for vendors from non-western countries. It’s said you’ll find some of the cheapest accommodations if you don’t mind it being a little dodgy.
Roomlord -Capsule Hotel (Formerly Vee Inn), Tsim Sha Sui, Kowloon. This wood panel minimalist capsule hotel hostel is located in the Yau Tsim Mong District. Has free wifi and plug charge in
Travel Posts on Hong Kong
Macau Travel Guide
Getting Around Macau
How to Get to Macau by Ferry
There are two ferry companies that operate and two ferry locations from Hong Kong. Turbojet runs ferries from Hong Kong Island and First Ferry runs the operation from Tsim Sha Tsui/ TST. It takes approximately 60-75 minutes, depending on sea conditions. Hong Kong to Macau Ferry Hours: 7:00am – 12:ooam. The ferries run every 15-30 minutes, depending on location (Central or Tsim Sha Tsui). First Ferry: China Ferry Terminal (Tsim Sha Tsui) & Macau Ferry Terminal
Macau Ferry locations: From Hong Kong Island: Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal is at Shun Tak station From Kowloon: China Ferry Terminal is at Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) on Kowloon. Ferry fares: Central: economy class one-way HK$124/$16USD – After 6p, it runs night service HK$176/$22.7. Seats are assigned seating. Prices range depending on the day and the time between HK$133 – HK$175 – economy one-way. Seats are assigned seating
Where do you buy tickets
You can get tickets primarily at the ferry terminals, either at the reservations window or the automated ticket machine.
Hong Kong has two ferry terminals: Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal: Shun Tak Centre,Sheung Wan Station (on Hong Kong Island) & China Ferry Terminal: Tsim Sha Tsui Station (on Kowloon)
Should you book ahead
With ferries to Macau running frequently, there is little need to book ahead. Generally tickets can be bought up to thirty minutes before departure. However, late evening and night sailings back to Hong Kong can get full. It’s best to book your return, if you plan on a late return.
Turbo Jet: http://www.turbojetseaexpress.com/eng/schedule/prd.html
First Ferry: http://www.nwff.com.hk/english/schedule/search_route.asp?line=macau
Getting around in Macau
Macau is a bigger island than it seems and you will need transportation to get to different towns. If you have only a day there, then downtown (near the Grand Lisboa) will be the easiest to tackle on foot. The rest will require bus transportation or taxi.
Exchanging money in Macau
Macau has its own currency called the Pataca | MOP. While Macau takes the Hong Kong dollar, but it will give you change in Macanese MOP in return.
Things to Do in Macau in 24 Hours
Macau is a lot bigger than it looks on a city map. The casinos are spread far apart, so don’t expect to stroll around as if you’re on the Las Vegas Strip.
Pick up a free city map from the Tourist Information office in Macau Ferry Terminal. If you have only a day, have the tourist information office suggest places to see and a route to getting to each place efficiently. They can give you directions and bus route numbers. Although depending upon time, you might just want to take the taxi to the sightseeing spots. Here’s a list of things to do there.
Take the Free Shuttle to the Casinos
When you get off the ferry, head straight outside and you’ll find a line of free casino buses taking tourists direct to the casino hotels. The Grand Lisboa bus will take you to downtown Macau and close to your sightseeing start.
Downtown Bus Terminal
A five minute walk from the old Lisboa casino will land you at the bus terminal, where you can inquire about bus routes and destinations.
Note: Although buses show their routes on the bus kiosk, it doesn’t list every stop it makes. Some buses make many local stops, so be advised your travel time on a bus may not match what you think it will take from your map.
Download a larger pdf file of the Macau Bus Network map here.