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!
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
- Average price for a weekend night: HK$1746.68
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
- Average 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.
- Cost: ~HK$149.73
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.
- Cost for Octopus Card: HK$100 with HK$10 stored value
- Checking fare chart: http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/tickets/octopus_fares.html
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).
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
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 will drain your wallet a lot more compared to cha chaan tengs (local cafe restaurants). You get the drift.
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 (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
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
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 Disneyland: HK$619
- 1-Day General E-ticket through KKday (adult): HK$540.10
- Madame Tussauds Ticket at Victoria Peak: HK$350 for adult
- Victoria Peak – HK$90 for adult (Peak Tram & Sky Terrace)
- Book your tickets here in advance
- HK Markets (budget will depend on your individual shopping priorities)
- Check out our 10 Best HK Markets Guide 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
- Casinos & gambling – Minimum bets at Blackjack table: HK$300 to 500
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
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: