Hong Kong and Macau are one of the top visited destinations in Asia together with Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia. Tourists have been coming to visit Hong Kong and making it a point to do side-trip in Macau since you can tour this place in a single day. If you’re having an upcoming trip to these destinations, this Hong Kong and Macau DIY complete guide contains everything you’ll need to know.
There is more to Hong Kong than just the famous Disneyland and Ocean Park. Hong Kong has everything you need from the busy shopping district in Mongkok to the bird’s eye view of the whole city of Hong Kong at Victoria Peak. Not to mention cruising on a sunset while enjoying yourself a bottle of beer. Macau haven’t joined the fun yet, enjoy a number of high-end casinos in Taipa, Macau and fascinating structural buildings while trying out their famous beef jerkey and Portuguese egg tart. No doubt why Macau is dubbed as the “Las Vegas of Asia”. If you’re not yet convinced to visit these 2 beautiful regions, continue reading!
Pre Travel Guide (Hong Kong and Macau DIY)
Before packing up your bags or booking your flight, take into consideration to read a few important reminders before your trip. Below is a pre-travel guide (Hong Kong and Macau DIY) that I created so you will be guided on your upcoming trip to Hong Kong and Macau!
Getting to know Hong Kong and Macau
Before anything else, let’s clear things up in this travel guide that Hong Kong and Macau are not countries. Both destinations are a special administrative region (SAR) in China that have their own governing rules apart from the rules in the mainland of China. The best way to describe it is the “1 country 2 systems” policy. However, this contradicts the current situation happening in Hong Kong and China right now wherein Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong would like the region to remain different from other Chinese cities. As of this date November 2019, the rally is still on-going and it may be necessary to suggest to take extra precautions before visiting Hong Kong. For recent updates, click here.
Language Spoken in Hong Kong and Macau
Hong Kong and Macau both has a mix of cultural influences. Macau was a former Portuguese territory until 1999 which explains some establishments and properties like the airport and ferry terminal signs are in Portuguese language. Most locals can speak Portuguese than english too. While in Hong Kong, english is widely spoken so you will not have a problem on communicating for directions and instructions.
|Currency||Hong Kong Dollars (HKD)||Macanese Pataca |
|Is USD accepted?||YES||YES|
USD is widely accepted in most establishments in Hong Kong and Macau. You don’t need to worry about changing your money to HKD or MOP because USD is accepted as a form of payment.
Best Money Changer Branch
Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui
The best money changer I’ve seen in Hong Kong is located in Tsim sha Tsui at Chungking Mansions. There are lots of money changer stalls inside the Chungking Mansions, you just have to go around the whole place and look for the best exchange rate. Word of advice, there are lots of indian sales agents outside Chungking Mansions so just ignore them when they offer you a discounted room. Don’t worry because there are lots of Filipinos inside the Chungking Mansions so you can ask around too.
Address: 36–44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
How to get there: Hop on to the nearest MTR to you and get to the red line (Tsuen Wan Line) then drop off at Tsim Sha Tsui station and take Exit D. From tsim Sha Tsui station Exit D, Chungking Mansions is just 1 block away for 1-2 minutes walk. Refer to the MTR map here.
Franki Exchange, World Wide Central
Another money changer is located in World Wide Central which is the Franki Exchange. Some of my friends and followers on Facebook said that it’s the best place to exchange your money because they have better rates.
Address: 19 Des Voeux Rd Central, Central, Hong Kong
How to get there: Hop on to the nearest MTR station and go to Central station either by Red line (Tsuen Wan Line), Blue line (Island Line), Green line (Airport Express Line) or Orange line (Tung Chung Line) then take Exit B. Refer to the MTR map here.
Best time to visit
Although Hong Kong and Macau is a year-round destination, the best time to go there is during October – December where the weather is not too dry and not too cold either. The wettest season falls in the months of April – June where it is highly suggested that you should avoid traveling to these months. After all, it’s no fun roaming around the Disneyland park with umbrellas and wet shoes on, right?
January is the coldest month in Hong Kong. It is also advisable to travel to Hong Kong during January to February as it is the colorful month of vibrant festivals like the Lantern Festival and events like the Chinese New Year.
How to get around Hong Kong and Macau DIY
Getting around Hong Kong
Hong Kong is more likely Singapore when it comes to transportaion. The secret to get around is through their MTR stations and using an octopus card. If you need to get to a place, the only thing you have to know is search for the nearest MTR in the location you’re going to and hop on a train. Then that’s just it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Below are the only 2 things you need to get around Hong Kong:
- Download the MTR map here
- Buy your Octopus Card with Klook below
Question: What is an Octopus card?
An octopus card is a top-on reloadable card that you can use for your public transportaions (MTR, taxi, bus) and you can also use it to purchase food on fast-food chains and other establishments that accepts it like 7-eleven and other convenient stores.
Hong Kong International Airport to Tsim Sha Tsui
From HKG airport, there are 3 ways to go to the main city and that is by taxi, airport express or by bus. The cheapest way to get there is by bus and it willl take 30-40 minutes to get there. Outside the airport there are a lot of bus and the bus that you need to look for is A21. It passes by Nathan Rd. in Tsim Sha Tsui. Drop at 36-44 Nathan Rd. and walk towards the accommodation you booked in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Getting around Macau
Macau, on the other hand, is a different story. Now there are no MTRs in Macau like Hong Kong and Singapore. So you have to use the primary mode of transportation which is the public bus and/or taxis. Mind you, there are lots of public bus in Macau since it’s the primary mode of transportation which is why the buses are organized in number codings. Each number codings have their own specific routes.
Interesting fact: Hotel buses are for FREE regardless if you’re a guest or not. The trick to get around Taipa and the other side of the island is to download the route map and schedule of the hotel bus’ near you. These buses will take you to and from Taipa without even having to spend a single MOP out of your pocket.
Did you know? If you ride a public bus you have to pay for the exact amount of fare or you will not get any change. Yeap! Horrible as it is but that’s how it is in Macau. However, there’s a top-on card that you can buy for your Macau transportation but I don’t recommend it if you’re only staying in Macau for less than 3 days since Macau is a very small province. You can honestly tour it in a single day. But if you’re gonna stay there for long, you can purchase MacauPass (MacauPass is a pre-paid travel and payment card – which you can pick up in 7-11s among other places – you need to buy them pre-loaded with a certain amount).
Important note: the octopus card in Hong Kong doesn’t work here.
Where to Eat – Recommended Restaurants (Hong Kong and Macau DIY)
I have a tried a few good restaurants in Hong Kong and I highly recommend these restaurants. For authentic hot pot Cantonese food, try The Drunken Pot at the Causeway Bay. They have the best dumplings and egg noodles in Hong Kong! I highly recommend that you try their Angus beef and Deep-Fried Homemade Beancurd and Seaweed Rolls. There are 2 branches of The Drunken Pot in Hong Kong, one is in Tsim Sha Tsui and the other one is in Causeway Bay. Noel and I have tried the branch in Causeway Bay and it has an incredible view from the 27th floor. I bet the branch in Tsim Sha Tsui has a stunning view of the harbour cruise too. Here’s a full review of my experience here: The Drunket Pot at Causeway Bay
Address: (1) 8 Observatory Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong; and (2) 27th floor, 18 Tang Lung St, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Nearest MTR: (1) Tsim Sha Tsui station red line (Tsuen Wan line); and (2) Causeway bay station blue line (Island line)
Another must try is the Dim Sum Icon in Tsim Sha Tsui. If you find yourself in Tsim Sha Tsui or if you’re accommodation is near there, I suggest that you try Dim Sum Icon. It’s a cardcaptor sakura inspired restaurant and cafe. Every food and beverage are too cute to not post on instagram! Here’s my full review: Dim Sum Icon in Tsim Sha Tsui
Address: Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui, Nathan Rd, Shop L308, Level 3, The ONE
Nearest MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui station red line (Tsuen Wan line)
Where to Stay (Hong Kong and Macau DIY)
Where to stay in Hong Kong?
For budget travelers who are looking for a place to stay with air-condition and a private comfort room, I suggest the rooms in Chungking Mansions. It’s the best place to stay for backpackers. But before you book your room there, let me just remind you that this is not the typical type of rooms you may normally expect. The rooms here are cheap but it’s good enough for me. As long as it’s airconditioned and it has its own comfort room and wifi I’m good with it. You can book your rooms with Agoda.
Tsim Sha Tsui is a good location to book your accommodation since it’s close to the Mongkok night market, Cultural Center, Victoria Harbour Cruise, Clock tower and the Dim Sum Icon. Most importantly, I’ve mentioned above that the best exchange rates are in Chungking Mansions as well.
How to get to Chungking Mansions form the airport? Ride an A21 bus outside the airport and drop off at 36-44 Nathan Road then walk towards Chungking Mansions.
Where to stay in Macau?
We stayed at Home of Macau and we booked it through Agoda. It’s walking distance to Ruins of St. Paul and other tourist destinations. There are Filipino food stalls outside and it’s a good place to get an accommodation.
Where to Book Cheap Tours/Tickets – Klook (Hong Kong and Macau DIY)
If you’re looking for the best way to tour Hong Kong and Macau without having to spend so much money, the answer to your problem is iVenture card from Klook! Don’t worry because Klook got you! Read here for the complete guide on how to use the iVenture Card.
An iVenture Card is a popular attraction pass card from Klook that contains more than 20 attractions you can visit just by presenting your card upon entering the destination. It offers the most popular destinations in Hong Kong & Macau like the Ocean Park, Peak Tram, Victoria Harbour Cruise, Ngong Ping Village, Sky100, and many more! Plus it gives you an incredible discount for Disneyland tickets.
Why purchase an iVenture Card?
- Save up to 45% on all tours and tickets just by purchasing iVenture card!
- Get to plan your own itinerary
You can avail the card with 3 different options: (a) 2 days (b) 3 days and (c) 5 days. It’s more expensive with the more days added so I suggest that if you will only use it with the least number of days, plan your itinerary well to maximize the card.
Things to do in Hong Kong and Macau DIY
What to do in Hong Kong?
- Watch the Symphony of Lights everyday at 8PM while cruising with Victoria Harbour Cruise
- Visit theme parks in Hong Kong like Disneyland, Ocean Park and Noah’s Ark
- Try authentic Cantonese dish at The Drunken Pot in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
- Watch the sunset at Victoria Peak
- Visit free entrance tourist spots like The Cultural Center, Clock Tower and the colorful bulding apartments in Lai Tak Tsuen
What to do in Macau?
- Try the Portuguese egg tart and beef jerkey in Macau
- Visit the famous grand canal in The Venetial Hotel
- Check out the mini eiffel tower in The Parisian Hotel
- Do casino-hopping and mall-hoppings
- Visit temples like Na Tcha and A-MA Temple
Places to visit in Hong Kong
The theme park that most Filipinos and tourists would love to go to is the the Disneyland Park and one out of 6 Disneyland parks in the world is in Hong Kong. It fits with all ages whether you are a kid or an adult, you will surely enjoy this beautiful place! Celebrate a magical day with vibrant parades, costumes, shows, colorful streetdance, rides, castles, fireworks, and with your favorite Disney characters. Know more about the adventures of Moana or fly in a magic carpet ride with Aladin! This is definitely a dream come true especially to kids who grew up with Disney channel.
Address: Lantau Island Hong Kong
Nearest Station: Disneyland line (Pink Line)
The Ocean Park in Hong Kong is one of the best parks in the world. It is incredibly huge in space and you will surely enjoy the rides and the animals you will see here. This is definitely one of the places you shouldn’t be skipping out when in Hong Kong. From cable cars, exhilarating rides, overlooking view, old Hong Kong theme places, amazing sea creatures, underwater shows and many more!
Address: Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Island
Nearest Station: South Island line (yellow green line)
If you want a full view of Hong Kong, Victoria Peak is the place for you. Located up in the mountains and accessible by bus, Victoria Peak offers a breathtaking view you will surely enjoy. Get a glimpse of that stunning city view!
The Cultural Center and The Clock Tower
One of the FREE things you can do in Hong Kong is to visit this magnificent Cultural Center. It’s free access and the structural building is quite impressive! The Clock Tower is just stone’s throw away from the Cltural Center.
Insider tip: the Symphony of Lights is a night show that happens every 8PM and you can watch it from the Cultural Center or the Clock Tower.
Address: Tsim Sha Tsui
Nearest Station: Tsim Sha Tsui Station (red line)
Ngong Ping Village
One of my most favorite place in Hong Kong that I truly enjoyed is the Ngong Ping Village. The atmosphere here is like that of Tagaytay and the place is so chill that you can really relax while just strolling. There are lots of stores and shops from the sidewalk and at the end part of the village you will see the gigantic buddha. You have a choice to climb it if you have a lot of time to spare.
Address: Lantau Island
Nearest Station: Tung Chung station (orange line)
The Art of Chocolate
A museum where everything inside the room is made out of chocolate! Experience decorating and painting a chocolate that you can keep for remembrance too. Also, there will be chocolate tasting and you’ll get to taste a very expensive chocolate that can only be found in one store in the world and that is The Art of Chocolate museum. It’s just located inside the Ngong Ping Village so I highly suggest that you drop by and visit the sweetest store in the world!
Address: Ngong Ping Village
Nearest Station: Tung Chung station (orange line)
Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck
Another way to see the city of hong Kong in a bird’s eye view is through the Sky100. It’s a 360-degree indoor observation deck on the 100th floor. The deck offers views of Hong Kong Island, Victoria Harbour, the Kowloon Peninsula and Tai Mo Shan in the background.
Address: International Commerce Centre, West Kowloon, Hong Kong
Nearest Station: Kowloon station (orange or green line)
Waterfront Victoria Harbour Cruise
After a tiring day strolling around the city or riding crazy roller coasters in Ocean Park, one way to end your day is to cruise on a sunset with Victoria Harbour Cruise. They offer an unlimited drinks and you can also watch the Symphony of Lights if you will add extra dollars for the fee. You’ll get a view of the Tsim Sha Tsui ferry terminal including the Clock Tower and the Cultural Center.
Address: Hong Kong Central
Nearest Station: Central Station (red line or blue line)
Noah’s Ark Theme Park
Join a tour of rediscovery at Noah’s Ark theme park. Get to know the animals aboard the famous Noah’s Ark! This is highly recommended for children and young adults.
Address: 33 Pak Yan Rd, Ma Wan, Hong Kong
Places to visit in Macau
Macau is a very small province that you can actually get aroud the whole province in one day!
The Ruins of St. Paul
The Ruins of St. Paul is probably the most popular tourist spot in Macau aside from the luxurious casinos and hotels. It is actually the ruins of a 17th-century Portuguese church dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle.
Did you know? The famous beef jerkey and Portuguese egg tart are sold outside the Ruins of St. Paul? There are lots of stores selling jerkey and souvenir shops too.
The Venetian Hotel
Macau’s version of Italy’s grand canal made it to one of the top tourist spots in Macau. The venetian hotel offers a mall inside the casino-hotel establishment and the theme is based on the grand canal in Italy. It’s just like the normal shopping malls with a classy theme of the grand canal. Honestly, it also looks exactly the same as Manila’s version of Venice Grand Canal mall.
Other sights in the Venetian Hotel aside form the duplicate copy of the grand canal is the huge clock tower and buildings that are the same as the ones in Venice, Italy. It’s literally like roaming around the streets in Venice.
The Parisian Macao
After a visit to Venice, Italy in The Venetian Hotel, beside it is The Parisian Hotel where the theme is obviously based on Paris, France. Take a quick tour with the huge duplicate of eiffel tower as the centerpiece.
Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Center
The Macau Tower is located near the bridge going to Taipa and is hard to miss with its tower measures 338 meters in height from ground level to the highest point. Its observation deck features views, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and the Skywalk X, a walking tour around the outer rim.
The Grand Lisboa has a very fascinating building structure. It’s like a huge vase made out of gold and can be seen afar from the Ruins of St. Paul. Grand Lisboa is a Macau original. Before the Las Vegas imports arrived, the Grand Lisboa was the biggest deal in town. Yet, the Grand Lisboa still remains most attractive because the casino offers less glitz and more gambling
Suggested Itinerary with iVenture Card from Klook (Hong Kong and Macau DIY)
You can follow my itinerary below for my Hong Kong and Macau trip for 5 days. Note that I only purchased the 3-day iVenture card from Klook. There are 3 options you can choose from: 2 days, 3 days and 5 days.
Day 0: Arrive in Hong Kong
- MNL – HKG airport
- Pick up iVenture card, octopus card, 4g sim card and disneyland ticket at counter A13. Read more here.
- Ride an A21 bus to Tsim Sha Tsui
- Check in at Chungking Mansions, dinner, stroll the streets in Tsim Sha Tsui
- Lights out
Day 1: Hong Kong Disneyland
- 7AM Breakfast
- 8AM Proceed to Hong Kong Disneyland Park (MRT Disneyland line: pink line)
- 10AM-8PM Hong Kong Disneyland
- 10PM Lights out
Day 2: Hong Kong
Activity availed using 3-day iVenture Card:
– Ngong Ping 360
– The Art of Chocolae
– Hong Kong Watertours Pre-Dinner Sunset Cruise
– Sky 100 Observation Deck
– Sky 100 VR experience ticket
– Victoria Harbour cruise: Central Pier No. 9 – cruise departing 6.30 pm. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to departure.
– Sky 100: 10am – 8.30 pm (Last entry 8pm)
- 7AM Breakfast
- 8AM Proceed to Lantau Island (MRT Tung Chung line: orange line)
- 10AM Cable car to Ngong Ping Village
- 11:30AM The Art of Chocolate
- 12:30PM Lunch
- 2PM Proceed to Sky 100
- 4PM Sky 100 Observation Deck and VR experience
- 5:30PM Proceed to Hong Kong Central for VIctoria Harbour cruise
- 6:30PM VIctoria Harbour cruise (unlimited free drinks plus sunset)
- 8PM Dinner
- 9PM Mongkok Night Market
- 10PM Lights out
Day 3: Hong Kong
Activities availed using 3-day iVenture card:
– Ocean Park
– Noah’s Ark Hong Kong
– Peak Tram; or
– Hong Kong Night Tour
– Cotai Water Jet
– Ocean Park Tour: Includes 1 day admission ticket and free single transfer; email firstname.lastname@example.org at least 24 hours in advance in order to avail free single transfer. Pick up location: K11 Art Mall on Mody Road Entrance at 8:30AM daily.
– Peak Tram: collect ticket at Traveleasy Ltd or Holiday World Tours Ltd
– Hong Kong Macau Night Tour: email email@example.com at least 24 hours before. Starts at 5PM, please arrive 15 minutes earlier.
– Cotai Water Jet: Please show your iVenture Card or iPass at the Beng Seng Travel counter in the Sheung Wan Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal to collect your ticket for your chosen schedule. Operated 8:30AM-12AM.
- 7AM Breakfast and check out from hotel, leave baggage in the reception
- 8AM ETA in K11 for free single transfer to Ocean Park
- 10AM-12:30PM Ocean Park (lunch at the park)
- 12:30PM Proceed to Noah’s Ark
- 3PM Noah’s Ark
- 5PM Peak Tram and/or Hong Kong Night Tour
- 7PM Dinner and pick up baggage from hotel
- 8PM Proceed to ferry terminal and ride a ferry to Macau using availed Cotai Water Jet from Klook
- 10PM Check-in in Macau accommodation (Suggested accommodation: Home of Macau booked through Agoda)
Day 4: Macau
Activity Availed using 3-day iVenture crad:
– Tour TKW Macau
– Macau Tower
– Broadway Macau
Places to visit:
– Ruins of St Paul
– The Na Tcha Temple
– Mount Fortress
– Leal Senado Square
– A-Ma Temple
– Nam Van Lake
– Macau Tower
– Grand Lisboa casino
– Macau Tour TKW: email reservation firstname.lastname@example.org at least 24 hours prior. Pick up location: Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal” at TKW Macau tour counter on arrival hall at 10am.
– Broadway Macau: Receive one free set meal (HKD70 Value) from any of these eight authentic restaurants and eateries at Broadway Macau: Broadway Kitchen, Seng Kei Congee, Ngau Ngau, Lei Ka Choi, Ba Shan Spicy Noodles, Ving Kei Noodle, Hung’s Delicacies, Happy Square.
- 8AM Breakfast
- 9AM Proceed to Macau Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal for the Macau Tour
- 10AM-4PM Start of Macau Tour TKW
- 1PM Fre lunch included
- 7PM Dinner at Broadway Macau
Day 5: Macau Free Time
Places to visit:
– The Venetian Hotel and Casino
– The Parisian Hotel and Casino
- 9AM Breakfast
- 10AM-2PM Visit The Parisian and The Venetian Casinos
- 3PM Check out from hostel and proceed to airport
- 6PM fliht back to Manila (MFM-MNL)
Travel Hacks and Tips from Joan’s Footprints (Hong Kong and Macau DIY)
Hong Kong Travel Hacks
- The ultimate secret is to buy your iVenture card from Klook to get the best discounted tickets for all your tours.
- For backpackers, book your accommodation an Chungking Mansions so you’ll have quick access to the best money changers in Hong Kong.
- Buy an octopus card instead of ourchasing MTR tickets for transportation. It will not only save a lot of money but it will also save time and effort.
- Disneyland doesn’t have to be very expensive! You can actually bring your own mickey mouse ears instead of buying mickey mouse ears worth PHP1,000.00 in the park.
- Visit destinations with free entrance like The Cultural Center, Clock Tower and the symphony of lights.
Macau Travel Hacks
- If you’re planning to stay longer in Macau, I suggest you purchase the —- card for your transportation. The buses in Macau doesn’t return changes. You will have to pay the exact amount of fare because they don’t give back fare changes.
- There are free shuttle bus of hotels in Taipa and —-. You can get a free transportation even though you’re not a guest in those hotels. All you have to do is to download the route map of those buses. Below are the bus schedules you can use.
- Venice Hotel Bus Route Map
- Parisian Bus Route Map
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