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Hong Kong vs Macau for Budget Holiday Travel: Which One Is Cheaper?

(Image via Pixabay)

Having a hard time choosing between Hong Kong or Macau for your Christmas vacay? Whether it’s your first time traveling abroad or not, either Hong Kong or Macau would make a great choice! However, if your final decision boils down to budget, look no further than this Hong vs Macau budget guide.

We’re here to pit the two against each other by category and give you the breakdown of everything, from accommodations and transportation to sightseeing options. Stay tuned for an exciting verdict below!

Accommodations

Hong Kong

(Photo via hktaisan.com)

Compared to Macau, finding suitable cheaper or ‘non-hotel’ accommodations is a piece of cake in Hong Kong. We recommend the H.K. Tai San Guesthouse in Tsim Sha Tsui for basic amenities, small but clean rooms and bathrooms, plus free Wi-Fi for as low as HK$500 a night.

For more luxurious options, we’ve done the homework for you and compiled our own HK list of top areas to stay in with hotel recos! Prices should remain relatively the same all year-round. Check out the facts below listed by KAYAK:

  • Low Season: June
  • High Season: August
  • Average price for a weeknight: HK$1629.19
  • Avg price for a weekend night: HK$1746.68

Macau

(Photo via (app.mastershotel-macau.com)

First thing’s first! After booking your flight, we need to find you a nice place to sleep. Macau has cheaper hotel prices, but it all depends on the season. Prices almost double during high season! Other types of accommodations like Airbnbs are also available with an average cost of HK$461.88 per night.

For hotel options, book your stay on a weekday and months in advance to snag the best deals — we recommend KAYAK hotels for you to compare prices and check out the facts below.

  • Low Season: April
  • High Season: July
  • Average price for a weeknight: HK$1198.40
  • Avg price for a weekend night: HK$1417.71

Pro-tip: Macau can be covered with a day trip if you’re not much of a gambler. We recommend Sofitel Macau in the Old Macau area for those who want to experience Macau’s rich cultural heritage, French hospitality and Portuguese-influenced architecture.

Cotai is a more family-friendly option with bigger gambling, shopping, and entertainment options.The Venetian Macao is the largest casino in the world, boasting a 5-starred luxurious resort that resembles its Venetian Las Vegas counterpart.

Transportation

From HK to Macau

Before we continue the budget showdown, should you need to head from HK to Macau in a jiffy, KKday has got you covered. Book TurboJet Ferry Tickets to reach the other side under an hour!

  • Cost: ~HK$149.73

Within HK  

Hong Kong showcases an extensive and easy to use MTR and bus system. Check out our more in-depth MTR guide to one of the world’s safest and most efficient train systems. Fare starts at HK$3.50 per single journey. We strongly suggest to pick up an Octopus Card straight from the airport for a cost-effective journey.

Alternative: the Airport Express Travel Pass, costs HK$250 for a one-way ticket and HK$350 for a round-trip ticket. In addition, you can also access unlimited travel on the MTR, Light Rail, and MTR bus for 3 consecutive days. Finally, enjoy 1 day of unlimited travel on the MTR and Light Rail with the Adult Tourist Day Pass (HK$65) and Child Tourist Day Pass (HK$30).

Within Macau

(Image via Flickr)

Macau is small, so their transit system is not as extensive. Light rail is currently in the works, so stay tuned for it this 2019 – 2020! You may be able to get away with going on foot depending on what or where you want to visit. Otherwise, you can board a public bus (prepare exact fare) and taxi at any stop. Bus lines are available at most major attractions in Macau Peninsula as they run through the same circuit around Macau. Check out our complete Macau Transportation Guide for more details!

Pro-Tip: Make use of the FREE casino shuttles.

  • Cost for buses: M$2.5 – $6 (less than HK$6) per stop, depending on distance

Food

Now, on to the truly exciting part! Overall, Hong Kong and Macau share similar food and pricing except for Macau’s Portuguese and Macanese cuisine. The cost of your meal will vary depending on the kind of shop you choose, for example, high-end Chinese restaurants vs cha chaan tengs (local restaurant cafes) will drain your wallet a lot more. You get the drift.

Hong Kong

Look for street food and local eats like hearty congee (READ: our guide for popular HK food!). Those HK dollars will go a long way inside cha chaan tengs, meaning local ‘cafe restaurants’ (here’s our top ten cha chaan teng list by the way!). Breakfasts often have filling meal sets with milk tea. For mouthwatering dim sum, taste Tim Ho Wan, the Cheapest Michelin-Starred restaurant in HK: expect each order to cost around HK$10 to HK$24.

  • Average casual lunch w/ drink: HK$90
  • Average fast food lunch: HK$38
  • Coffee: ranges between HK$15 to HK$38
  • Overall price: Many delicious eats can be found at around HK$50

Macau

You can also find similar HK dishes like those we listed above. For a taste of authentic Macau however, look for iconic local treats like Portuguese egg tarts, almond cookies, durian ice cream, and African chicken. Same as HK, Macau is also home to cha chaan tengs, which often have filling meal sets with a milk tea (READ: Top 6 Insta-worthy Eateries in Macau).

  • Average casual lunch: HK$78.24 w/ drink: add HK$5.81 to 8.19
  • Avg fast food lunch: K$41.08
  • Coffee: K$32.93
  • Overall price: Many delicious eats can be found at around HK$50

Sightseeing

Of course, Hong Kong’s major attractions (READ: Top 10 Attractions in Hong Kong You Must Visit) are hard to beat! But Macau boasts more free sightseeing spots. Here are the main ones to consider for your budget:

Hong Kong

  • Victoria Peak – HK$90 for adult (Peak Tram & Sky Terrace)
    • Book your tickets here in advance
  • Ocean Park Hong Kong: HK$385
    • Book your tickets here in advance
    • Check out our guide
  • Lantau Island Day Tour (Tai O, Big Buddha, Ngong Ping)  – $750 normal tour for a group of 2 – 3 travelers
    • DIY: HK$140 for the boat at Tai O fishing village. Getting there: MTR (HK$20) and taxi (HK$50), bus fare or Ngong Ping cable car (HK$86)
    • Save on time and costs: Lantau Island Day Tour with KKday: HK$347.59

Macau

  • Casinos & gambling – Minimum bets at Blackjack table: HK$300 to 500
  • Shows:

Wild Water at House of Dancing Water Show: HK$998

Catch the Monkey King here for HK$310 upwards

  • Macau Tower:

Entrance at HK$109

Bungy Jump: HK$3177.30

Skywalk: HK$692.77

Tower Climb: HK$990.85

  • Giant Pandas – M$10 or HK$9.30 (but free for children)
  • Museum of Macau – M$15 or HK$14.60
  • Maritime Museum –  M$10 or HK$9.30
  • Heritage Day Tour of Macau – HK$2223.08

Macau: Free Sightseeing Spots

  • A-Ma Temple
  • Ruins of St. Paul’s
  • Senado Square
  • Hac Sa Beach
  • Wynn Hotel: Tree of Prosperity and Musical Fountain

VERDICT: Macau is slightly cheaper (transportation, hotel, and sightseeing) but Hong Kong has a greater variety of choices for all categories. Either way, we recommend including both! Choose your own adventure and make the most of your trip to Hong Kong and Macau!

Check out more of our detailed guides in HK and Macau below:

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