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By Boat

Located only 64km (40 miles) from Hong Kong across the mouth of the Pearl River, Macau is most easily accessible from Hong Kong by high-speed jetfoil, with most departures from the Macau Ferry Terminal, located just west of the Central District in the Shun Tak Centre, 200 Connaught Rd., on Hong Kong Island. Situated above the Sheung Wan MTR station, the Shun Tak Centre houses booking offices for all forms of transportation to Macau, as well as the Macau Government Tourist Office (Room 336, on the same floor as boats departing for Macau). If you're staying in a hotel on the Kowloon side, the China Ferry Terminal on Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, also provides limited service to Macau, as well as to other parts of China. The nearest MTR station for this terminal is Tsim Sha Tsui. If you plan to travel on a weekend or holiday, it's wise to buy round-trip tickets well in advance.

From the Macau Ferry Terminal on Hong Kong Island, the fastest, most convenient way to travel to Macau is via TurboJET (tel. 852/2859 3333 in Hong Kong, 853/790 7039 in Macau; www.turbojet.com.hk). Jetfoils depart every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, with the trip to Macau taking approximately 1 hour. One-way fares Monday through Friday are HK$236 for super class and HK$134 for economy class; fares on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays are HK$252 in super class and HK$146 in economy. Fares for night service (6:10pm-6:30am) are HK$267 and HK$168, respectively. Fares from Macau to Hong Kong are an additional HK$8, a reflection of a higher departure tax, included in the price of the ticket. Seniors 60 and older and children 11 and under receive a HK$15 discount. Super class provides wider, more comfortable seats, better views from an upper deck (though there isn't much to see), drinks, and a snack. But if you really wish to travel in style, TurboJET offers eight daily sailings of the Premier Jetfoil, which includes use of a VIP waiting lounge at the departure hall, free onboard Wi-Fi service, reclinable leather seats, one free check-in baggage up to 20 kilograms (44 lbs.), and, for Premier Grand Class seats, a hot meal and free wine. The Premier Jetfoil costs HK$212 for a regular seat and HK$312 for Premier Grand Class; night sailings cost HK$262 and HK$362.

TurboJET tickets can be purchased at either the Macau Ferry Terminal on Hong Kong Island or the China Ferry Terminal in Kowloon, as well as at all China Travel Service branches in Hong Kong. Credit-card bookings may be made by phone or online. All tickets are for a specific time and cannot be changed. If, however, you've purchased your ticket in advance and then decide you'd like to leave at an earlier time, head for the special queue for standby passengers. There's a good chance you can get a seat, except during peak periods.

If you're staying at a hotel in Kowloon, you might find it more convenient to take a First Ferry Macau (tel. 852/2131 8181 in Hong Kong; 853/2872 7676 in Macau; www.nwff.com.hk) from Tsim Sha Tsui's China Ferry Terminal. Departures are about every 60 minutes from 7am to 10:30pm. Fares run HK$133 to $168 for ordinary class, depending on the day of the week and time, while deluxe class runs HK$238 to HK$268.

If your destination is Taipa, Cotai, or Colôane, you can travel from the Macau Ferry Terminal directly to Taipa via Cotai Waterjets (tel. 852/2359 9990 in Hong Kong, or 853/2885 0595 in Macau; www.cotaijet.com.mo). Ferries depart every 15 or 30 minutes between 7am and 1am; there are also a few morning departures from Tsim Sha Tsui's China Ferry Terminal. One-way fares Monday through Friday are HK$236 for first class and HK$134 for economy class; fares on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays are HK$252 and HK$146, while night sailings (6pm-1am) are HK$267 and HK$168. Tickets can be purchased online or at Hong Kong's Macau Ferry Terminal, the China Ferry Terminal, or the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel.

If you plan to spend only 1 or 2 nights in Macau, consider leaving most of your luggage at your Hong Kong hotel, or in computer-monitored lockers located at both the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Macau ferry terminals. Then travel to Macau with only a small, hand-carried bag. Otherwise, you could end up paying an extra charge. Passengers traveling on a TurboJET are officially allowed one piece of luggage, not to exceed 20 kilograms (44 lb.). Additional baggage must be checked, with charges ranging from HK$20 to HK$40 depending upon weight; in my experience, though, authorities are somewhat lax about this rule and I've often traveled with two bags. In any case, baggage must be at the check-in counter, located just before Customs, 30 minutes before the jetfoil's departure. Obviously, your life will be easier if you leave heavy luggage in Hong Kong.

If you're arriving at Hong Kong International Airport and wish to travel directly to Macau, you can do so via TurboJET's Sea Express service (www.turbojetseaexpress.com.hk) without passing through Hong Kong Customs and immigration formalities (if you do pass through Customs, you will not be allowed to take the Sea Express). Upon exiting your arrival gate, look for the FERRIES TO MAINLAND/MACAU signs. At the Sea Express counter, you can purchase your Sea Express ticket and produce your baggage identification tag for baggage reclaim (your luggage will be retrieved from baggage claim by a TurboJET employee). You will then board a bus for the 7-minute shuttle to the SkyPier, take the TurboJET directly to Macau, and go through Customs there. Baggage is limited to 20 kilograms (44 lb.) in economy class and 30 kilograms (66 lb.) in super class, except for passengers from or to North America, who are allowed two pieces of baggage, with each piece not to exceed 32 kilograms (71 lb.). There are 13 sailings daily approximately every hour between 10am and 10pm (check-in 1 hr. before sailings), with fares costing HK$215 for economy class and HK$315 for super class. Note that if you're returning from Macau to Hong Kong International Airport, you will pay HK$20 extra to account for Macau's departure tax. On the plus side, because your departure point is considered Macau rather than Hong Kong, you will be refunded the HK$120 you paid for the Hong Kong airport departure, which was included in the price of your plane ticket.

By Plane

Macau's International Airport (tel. 853/2886 1111; www.macau-airport.gov.mo) opened in 1995, heralding the birth of Air Macau (tel. 853/8396 5555; http://en.airmacau.com.mo), the territory's fledgling carrier. The airport is located on reclaimed land on Taipa Island and is conveniently connected to the peninsula by a bridge and bus service. The airport serves flights from China, including Beijing, Xiamen, and Shanghai, as well as from several other Asian cities, including Taipei, Singapore, Manila, Seoul, Tokyo, and Bangkok. Contact your travel agent or the Macau Government Tourist Office for more information.

Arriving in Macau

Passengers traveling by boat arrive at either the Macau Ferry Terminal, located on the main peninsula, or at the Taipa Ferry Terminal near the International Airport. After going through Customs (which can take 30 min. or more, depending on the crowds), stop by the Macau Government Tourist Office for a map and brochures, including the useful Macau Guide Book. In the arrivals hall of the Macau Ferry Terminal, there's also a counter for hotel reservations, open daily 10am to 2am, where you can book rooms free of charge after paying a deposit. Outside the Macau Ferry Terminal are hotel shuttle buses. Most expensive and moderately priced hotels operate free shuttle services, including the Altira, Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt, Grand Lisboa, Hard Rock Hotel, Holiday Inn, Hotel Guia, Lisboa, MGM Grand, Pousada de São Tiago, Rocks Hotel, Sintra, Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel, Westin Resort Macau, and Wynn. Otherwise, city bus nos. 3, 3A, 10, and 10A travel from the terminal to Avenida Almeida Ribeiro, the main downtown street. The fare is MOP$3.20.

From the Taipa Ferry Terminal, free shuttles operate to Taipa hotels, including the Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt, Hard Rock Hotel, and Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. From the airport, there are complimentary shuttle buses to major hotels. Otherwise, the airport bus, AP1, travels to the Macau Ferry Terminal, Holiday Inn, Lisboa Hotel, and the Border Gate. The fare for this is MOP$4.20. A taxi from the airport to the Lisboa costs approximately MOP$47.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.