Hong Kong is a city that strongly embraces the outdoor lifestyle. Combined with a comprehensive and easy-to-navigate public transportation system, Hong Kong is a travel destination that will please outdoor enthusiasts and city-lovers alike. Having one of the highest concentrations of restaurants per capita, you never have to spend much time in Hong Kong hunting for your next meal.
Macau summons up images of Las Vegas in many people’s minds, and while it does boast the largest casino in the world and even overtook the Las Vegas Strip in gaming revenues in 2007, it has an old world charm that kept us off the casino floors and out exploring the city’s rich history. The food! The famous Macau pork chop bun alone makes the trip worthwhile…
Immediately after clearing immigration in Hong Kong, we each purchased an Octopus card. It is accepted for payment on public transit, at convenience stores, supermarkets, vending machines, etc. There is a HK$50 / 6 USD refundable deposit on the card, less HK$9 / 1 USD administrative fee.
From the Airport – We took the Airport Express to Hong Kong Station. It takes about 20 minutes and costs HK$100 / 13 USD each. They do offer group ticket discounts. From Hong Kong Station, you can take the subway to your final destination. Passengers using Octopus Card to pay for travel on the Airport Express enjoy free travel on the entire MTR network provided all connections are made within one hour of each other. It pays to make sure that your hotel is conveniently located near an MTR station!
Checked in to Apple Hotel (HK$659 / 85 USD per night) – Apple Hotel is located near Causeway Bay Station, a 5 minute walk from exit F1. The rooms are small, very small, but it was a pleasant stay and we loved the area.
The views along the trail were absolutely stunning! It was a very nice hike.
The hike ends at Big Wave Bay Beach. We could have easily spent an entire afternoon at this wonderful beach! Here you will find sun-bathers, swimmers, and surfers. They even have free showers and changing facilities! There are surf shops nearby that rent surfboards and body boards.
Before you leave the beach make sure to check out the ancient rock carving.
From Big Wave Bay Bus Stop, we took Minibus 18M back to Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus.
Exhausted from our day in the outdoors, we enjoyed a relaxing evening exploring Causeway Bay and took the Star Ferry to Kowloon and back to get views of the bay from both sides.
Cheung Chau Island – We took the ferry from Central Pier #5 (15 minute walk from Hong Kong/Central MTR). The ferry ride is 30 minutes or 1 hour depending if you take the fast or ordinary ferry. We chose the ordinary ferry because we love boat rides and didn’t want it to be over too fast!
Visit Cheung Po Tsai Pirate Cave – Turn right at Cheung Chau ferry pier, walk along the coast for 20 minutes to Sai Wan Tin Hau Temple, then walk uphill for about 10 minutes.
We loved the cave and had it all to ourselves, most likely because we were the only ones to bring headlamps!
Cheung Chau is a very small island with very narrow lanes that prevent normal-sized vehicles. With the exception of service vehicles (specially designed mini-fire engines, ambulances, and police cars), cars and motorcycles are not allowed. The preferred mode of transportation is bicycle, and there are plenty of rental options on the island.
We opted not to rent bicycles, our original plan, and instead explored the rest of the island by foot. It is a small island, and we enjoyed it more by not having to keep up with bicycles.
We returned by ordinary ferry and upon arrival visited the Hong Kong Maritime Museum – Central Station Exit A, Pier 8. Open 9:30 AM – 5:30PM. (HK$30 / 4 USD each)
10:15 AM Ferry to Macau – Hong Kong–Macau Ferry Terminal to Macau Ferry Terminal (HK$174 / 22 USD). Macau immigration took less than 15 minutes.
Tip: You can go directly to Macau from the Hong Kong Airport without going through Hong Kong immigration. Unfortunately for us, we were planning on a show midweek in Macau that prevented us from moving our dates to take advantage of this time-saving tip. For more information: Hong Kong Airport Ferry Transfer.
There is a free shuttle bus every 15 minutes from Macau Ferry terminal to Hotel Lisboa. The casinos have free shuttle buses, and you do not have to be staying at the casino to take it.
Checked in to Hotel Lisboa (HK$1085 / 140 USD per night) – A very luxurious break from the tiny hotel in Hong Kong!
We walked to Senado Square, the Ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral, and Monte Fort. Wow! Suddenly we wished we had more than two nights in Macau. Then we remembered the cost of our hotel per night…
We revisited Senado Square and the Ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral before walking to Guia Fort and Lighthouse. This was a very long walk but we enjoyed exploring the city. The architecture is amazing!
Next was a visit to the huge Sands Casino. This giant casino is a great place to people watch. As large as it is, it is still not the largest casino in Macau. That honor goes to the Venetian Macao. In fact, the Venetian Macao is the largest casino in the world!
Our city exploration finished with a walk along to Fisherman’s Wharf. This is the “skip it” activity of the trip. It feels like it is still under construction and there was not really anything there…
The ferry terminal is adjacent to Fisherman’s Wharf so we were able to catch a free hotel shuttle from there back to Hotel Lisboa.
Currency in Macau – The official Macau currency is the Pataca, or the MOP. The Hong Kong Dollar is accepted everywhere, and is the preferred currency in casinos, with some casinos only accepting HKD.
Most merchants in Macau accept the HKD and will, when requested, give change in HKD. On our visit, almost without fail, small shops tried to return our change in MOP. They profit by returning MOP as change because it is pegged to the HKD at the rate of 1 HKD = 1.03 MOP. We were never denied when we requested our change to be in HKD. The only MOP we touched in Macau was a small coin we found on the ground and kept as a souvenir!
Should you exchange HKD for MOP? For our short stay, we opted to not purchase MOP. Run the numbers and see if you will profit from the purchase. If you do purchase MOP, only purchase what you know you will spend.
Ferry to Hong Kong – Macau Ferry Terminal to China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon (HK$163 / 21 USD). Hong Kong immigration took less than 15 minutes.
Checked in to Hao’s Inn (HK$543 / 70 USD) – Hao’s Inn is in easy walking distance to the ferry terminal and has a good central location for Kowloon. Like the Apple Inn, the room was tiny!
After checking in to the hotel, we headed to Ocean Park (HK$163 / 38 USD). We took the MTR to Admiralty Station, Exit B. From there we took bus 629 to the park.
We saved 10% off the Ocean Park ticket price because we bought the tickets at the Admiralty MTR station. This also got us into the park quicker because we were able to skip the ticket purchase queue at the park.
We had debated whether to go to Disneyland or Ocean Park and, in the end, decided in favor of Ocean Park because it seemed to have more adult-themed rides. We love roller coasters! We were not disappointed.
We spent the evening exploring Kowloon by foot. All-in-all, we liked Causeway Bay much more than Kowloon. Kowloon felt more crowded than Causeway Bay and the hawkers are aggressive.
Tai O Fishing Village – We took the MTR to Tung Chung MTR station and then took bus 11 to the village (45 minutes).
You will be solicited for boat rides as soon as you get near the water. Keep on walking, the prices get better and you can even get a boat all to yourself!
We hiked the Coastal Path to the white dolphin viewing pavilion. We relaxed and watched for dolphins to no avail. As we started heading back, I noticed something surface for air – it was the white dolphins! We were treated to a pleasant 10 minute show.
The weather was cloudy and the wind fierce, with no views from the top! Lantau Peak is the second-highest summit in Hong Kong. While we could not see any ocean views, we loved getting out, getting exercise, and meeting some local outdoor enthusiasts!
We opted to do an in-and-out hike. Once back to the road, we simply flagged down the bus returning to Tung Chung MTR station. There are many other hiking options; research the trails and tailor your hike to make it perfect for you!
Kowloon Walled City Park – We took Bus 1 from our hotel. Get off at Tung Tau Tsuen Road (opposite to the park).
We wanted to go across the famous Tsing Ma Bridge, so we opted to take the bus to the airport. We got lucky and secured the front window seats on the upper deck. It was so much better than the Airport Express, but only if you have the time and can avoid rush hour traffic!
Our trip to Hong Kong and Macau was terrific! We loved the outdoor adventure lifestyle and the vibrant energy of Hong Kong. We were enchanted with the intriguing history and the delicious cuisine of Macau. While either city would be a great stand-alone trip, combining them into one trip seemed to solidify their differences and make each one seem even more special!
- Time of Year: April 2015
- Length of Stay: 9 Days, 8 Nights
- Total Trip Cost – 2 People: 1638 USD*
- Cost Per Day / Per Person: 91 USD*
- Visa Information: China Embassy
*Excluded from the cost analysis:
- International Airfare – International airfare is not included because fares vary depending on your starting location.
GPS Coordinates: Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8
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Hong Kong Airport @ 22.315857,113.936539
MTR Causeway Bay @ 22.280208,114.184102
Apple Hotel @ 22.278391,114.183876
MTR Shau Kei Wan @ 22.279189,114.228921
Exit Bus, Start of Dragons Back Hike @ 22.227012,114.239743
End of Dragons Back Hike @ 22.247195,114.245104
Big Wave Bay Bus Stop @ 22.2445,114.245601
Pier #5- to Cheung Chau Island @ 22.28728,114.160239
MTR Central @ 22.281964,114.15787
Cheung Chau Ferry Pier @ 22.208545,114.028372
Cheung Po Tsai Pirate Cave @ 22.200168,114.017552
Hong Kong Maritime Museum @ 22.286643,114.162054
Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal @ 22.289254,114.152331
Macau Ferry Terminal @ 22.198069,113.559532
Hotel Lisboa @ 22.189192,113.544269
Senado Square @ 22.193533,113.539759
Macao Museum @ 22.197248,113.542206
Ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral @ 22.19737,113.540905
Guia Lighthouse @ 22.196529,113.549611
China Ferry Terminal (Kowloon) @ 22.299262,114.167329
MTR Tsim Sha Tsui @ 22.297607,114.172169
Hao’s Inn @ 22.297741,114.172242
Ocean Park @ 22.246525,114.174124
MTR Tung Chung @ 22.289163,113.941269
Tai O Bus Terminal @ 22.252923,113.862159
Tai O Fishing Village @ 22.253918,113.862503
Bus Stop for Lantau Peak Hike @ 22.248871,113.942526
Lantau Peak @ 22.249371,113.919977
Kowloon Walled City Park @ 22.332126,114.190327
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You can copy and paste the latitude and longitude into Google Earth, your browser, or into your GPS.
*Disclaimer- ALWAYS verify locations, transportation routes, GPS coordinates, etc. Errors are made, routes changed, sometimes we are just plain wrong. No one knows what you like more than you. If the trip is worth doing, it is worth doing right! Do your homework.