Free Things to do in Macau When the Budget is a Little Tight

Free Things to do in Macau When the Budget is a Little Tight

When you think of Macau, you think of the Vegas of Asia.

A highly-vibrant destination where you go to spend money with the high hopes that you’ll be coming home with a fortune, yet most hopefuls who visit Macau, rarely achieve that feat in what is a devil’s game.

There is more to life in the high-octane destination of Asia than chancing your luck at the roulette table.

In fact, you could easily enjoy a Macau day trip, only spending money on food or accommodation, and visiting a whole range of attractions that can provide you with a list of free things to do in Macau.

They are attractions that’ll keep you on your feet all day, even at times a little bedazzled by a few of Macau shows you’ll witness on the streets or in the casinos, because Macau is a vibrant destination that entertains their guest all around the clock.

Now, with all these things to do in Macau for free, let’s not waste another minute of your time and get you enjoying your stay while spending as little money as possible.

 

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things to do in Macau

Free things to do in Macau include enjoying the beautiful structures of the Casinos.

 

Free Things to do in Macau

 

 

Wander through the Casinos on Macau – It’s not only about Gambling.

Casinos are meant to be about spending big and traditionally that is the case.

However, like most significant casinos around the world and they lure the tourists through the front doors by offering free dazzling entertainment.

you know it, you become foolish enough to go and spend your hard-earned money on gambling, hotel rooms and fancy restaurants. The experience is no different during your Macau travel experience.

For example, at Wynn Macau, you can capture a variety of shows every half-hour at the Rotunda, the Dragon of Fortune is especially a dazzling five-minute event.

From there, you’ll have the chance to go outside and witness a fountain show at the Performance lake which is better seen under the Macau lights at night.

At Venetian Macau, you’ll love to wander through the Shoppes at Venetian. Naturally it’s expensive, but to take in the atmosphere of the Venetian area is amazing while enjoying the sights of little Italy, and watching Gondola rides flow through the water with Italian Opera Singer at full voice. There are also a few street style entertainments happening in the Venetian at various times of the day.

It is only scratching at the barrel on what is on offer inside Macau Casinos, because there are so many to see, with each Casino offering their style of entertainment to take full opportunity of the phenomenon, which is Macao tourism.

Top 5 Casinos in Macau

  • Venetian Macau
  • Galaxy Macau
  • Wynn Macau
  • Wynn Palace
  • MGM Cotai

 

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Macau tourism

Watch Gondolas flow through the water at Venetian Macau.

Macau Activities are better under the Night Lights

Macau is spectacular under the night lights, and you can be mesmerised by walking the streets at dark and seeing the buildings, the hotel and lavish Casinos all lit up at night.

Free entertainment is available when out and about, whether you’re taking in the atmosphere on the streets, before checking out a few freebies shows in the Casinos.

 

Macau activities

Macau looks even better at night.

 

 

Explore the crowded atmosphere at Ruins of St Pauls

Macau famous landmarks include the ever-popular Ruins of St Pauls, you know, the famous church that is now half standing due to a big fire caused by a typhoon back in the year of 1835.

While tragic back in the day. What remains of St Pauls, established in the 17th Century, can only be described as a tourist phenomenon. Every year millions of travellers make their way to one of the popular Macau tourist sites to have a glimpse of the church from afar or up close after.

After ascending the steps to the church and the wave of tourists in the way, you can discover a large number of facts about the church. It’s disaster and history timeline upon entering the through the entrance the Ruins of St Pauls.

 

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Free things to do in Macau

The crowds make their way to the Ruins of St Paul.

Go Hopping between Cathedrals and Churches

To find a famous Church in Macau may not come to the forefront of your mind during your Macau Itinerary. However, you don’t need to have a religious mind to appreciate the beautiful architectural designs of the buildings, because there are plenty and they look sensational on the inside and out.

Throughout the hidden streets of Macau, there will be many Cathedrals and churches to find, whether you’re meaning to or not.

There is the Cathedral of the Nativity of our Lady, the St Dominic’s Church, the Macau Diocese, the Igreja De Santo Agostinho and naturally, The Ruins of St Pauls, to the only name a few of many religious sites in Macau.

Top 5 Churches and Cathedrals to see in Macau:

  • St Dominic’s Church
  • Cathedral of the Nativity of our Lady
  • The Ruins of St Pauls
  • Macau Diocese
  • St Laurence Church

 

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Cathedral of the Nativity Of Our Lady

Cathedral of the Nativity Of Our Lady.

 

Enjoy Macau Sightseeing walking the streets

Get out those walking shoes and explore the city the way you are meant to because it’s guaranteed that you’ll come across something beautiful or something hidden throughout your Macau trip.

Without any prior planning, you may come across the famous Margaret’s Café e Nata. A bakery where tourists will queue up for miles to have a bite of their famous egg tart.

You’ll wander down to Jerky Street, where you guessed, beef jerky is on sale wherever you look with plenty of free samples handed out.

There is a little walking strip dedicated to delicious Asian soups. The lines are long, but it’s worth it to have a fulfilling bowl of soup in your hand, and you’re devouring all the flavours.

It never stops in Macau. You have bakeries in all corners of the city, retail outlets for the latest clothing designs, coffee shops and historic buildings. You’ll also stumble upon a few famous Macau tourist spots like the famous Fisherman’s Wharf’s neatly located along the Harbourfront.

 

Macau guide

Walk the crowded streets of Macau.

 

Take in the Macau Sights at A-Ma Temple

A temple to the Chinese Sea Goddess, the A-Ma Temple is one of the oldest temples in Macau that dates back to the 15th Century and is still an active place of worship among the locals or tourists who venture to the Sao Lourenco situated temple.

The A-ma temple is a variety of structures that ascends a slope, meaning there will be a few steps to navigate along the way as you wander through the maze of A-Ma temple.

It’s fantastic to look down over the temple from above and admire the sculptures and artwork on display. You can even admire the Inner Harbour towards Mainland China from a high vantage point. It certainly is one of the must-see places to visit in Macau during your time in the City.

 

A-Ma Temple

A-Ma Temple in Macau.

Take in a little bit of Portugal with Macau Historic Sites

It’s a well-known fact that Macau once had been colonised by Portugal before it was handed back over to China in December 1999. With that, there is a strong Portuguese architectural presence throughout the city with many historical places in Macau.

You can wander through the heart of the city and take in the sites of Senado Square, a vibrant area that consists of a paved town square with European style buildings.

Travellers love checking out the tourist places of Senate Square (another name), purchasing a few cherished items in the market stalls or the retail outlets situated along the pedestrian thoroughfare.

Historical Places in Macau continues far and wide. You have the Taipa Old market that sells your usual arts, craft and cherished souvenir items.

There are the Guia Lighthouse and Monte Fort which dates back to the 17th Century. With tourist eager for a photoshoot of iconic Macau sites, and you can capture one of East Asia’s first theatres, the Dom Pedro V Theatre.

However, during your Macau tour, you’ll find many Historic Sites in Macau while walking the busy streets. Make sure your camera is fully charged because you don’t want to miss the perfect picture while ut and about.

A selective list of Macau Historic Sites to check out:

  • Ruins of St Paul
  • Guia Fortress
  • Monte Fortress
  • Senado Square
  • Taipa Old Market
  • Dom Pedro V Theatre
  • Holy House of Mercy

 

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Senado Square

Senado Square.

 

 

Ride for free on the Macau Shuttle Buses

Shuttle buses are everywhere in Macau. That is because most hotels and casinos offer a free shuttle bus service between the Macau Ferry Terminal, shopping malls and other Macau tourist attractions. Hotel chains may have an association with major Casinos in Macau, whether it’s in Macau proper or Cotai Island for the use of their shuttle bus also.

The best part about these services is, you don’t need to be a guest at their hotel to ride the bus. You can stand in any queue, get on the bus upon arrival and take a journey to your next attraction without paying a cent.

Therefore, you can ignore the taxis stands or the overcrowded public buses and move freely through the tourist destination. Whether you’re taking a shuttle bus from Venetian Macau to Senado Square or back to the Ferry terminal on your way to Hong Kong.

It’s just another of those complimentary perks of the many free things to do in Macau.

While the lure will always be to the fascinating Casinos, remember, there are many other places to visit in Macau that don’t require you to spend any money.

 

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Enjoy Macau? Check out Fair Dinkum Traveller’s events in the Hong Kong Diaries – Edition 1 – A Hong Kong Family Trip.

 

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Macau Itinerary

Free entertainment is alive on the streets of Macau.

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Hong Kong Diaries – 2nd Edition – Hong Kong Family Holiday Concludes

Hong Kong Diaries – 2nd Edition – Hong Kong Family Holiday Concludes

Hong Kong Diaries – 2nd Edition – Hong Kong Family Holiday Concludes

 

To rest, simply wasn’t an option on this trip, not in a destination like Hong Kong which has so much to divulge, so much to see and with such little time available in our schedule to get it done, it was important to keep on the go and get in as much as possible. In that case, the second edition of our holiday in HK was always going to be full-on, as the action-packed Hong Kong family holiday continued its momentum.

To begin with, you can find all the events in the first edition of Hong Kong Diaries with a click of this link, and the highlights were plentiful right from arrival. We visited attractions that included a family package tour to Hong Kong Disneyland, the vibrant Tsim Sha Tsui and the impressive Tian Tan Buddha, the list would only continue to expand the further we explored the vast regions during our Hong Kong tour. Even if at that stage, we had only scratched at the barrel on our Hong Kong vacation.

In the final days, the action didn’t stop either. For the second leg of our trip we headed over to Hong Kong Island and their famous Peak, we got mesmerised by Cheung Chau Island and even had a last-minute spur of the moment idea to cross the border into mainland China to Shenzhen city.

All this and much more, were the major highlights of the second and last edition of Hong Kong diaries, as the Hong Kong Family Holiday concluded.

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Hong Kong family holiday

The Hong Kong family holiday concludes, but not before some great highlights.

 

 

Getting Around Hong Kong Island

Hong Kong Island is a tourist phenomenon that you’ll more than likely visit on a couple of occasions during your stay. That’s assuming you haven’t booked accommodations on the island already. The HK island is famous for Victoria Peak which gives you gorgeous harbor views over the city, scintillating shopping malls, abundance of ferry terminals taking you to various ports in Asia and a lengthy Esplanade full of entertainment that looks over Victoria Harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui.

Our accommodation was situated on the mainland of Hong Kong in an area called Tsuen Wan and the best way to get to Hong Kong Island was via MTR using the Octopus Card and catching the red line all the way to its last stop at Central station. Although there are other ways to the island, either by car using a taxi or Uber, buses, or the Star Ferry services.

Let’s cover a few of the highlights of our adventures in Hong Kong Island.

 

Hong Kong Island

Admiring the views on Hong Kong Island.

 

It’s all happening at the Victoria Peak

There is no argument in the matter, when you have a Hong Kong holiday, you’ll visit Victoria Peak.

The only decision you’ll need to make is how to get to the Peak itself. There’s a couple of good options to take you there, you can pre-purchase tickets from Klook to catch the Tourist Peak Tram and enjoy a scenic ride to the top or take the bus number 15A from various bus stops on Hong Kong Island using the Octopus Card.

On this occasion, we elected to take the regular bus service to the Peak, mainly to avoid the large queues that came with the tourist tram, plus it’s much cheaper to go by bus and it takes around 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic at the time.

Getting off the bus at the terminal on arrival at The Peak, the first thing we did was to make our way to The Peak Tower, a unique designed building used for multi-purposes such as a shopping mall, a tourist zone with family-fun attractions, number of fine-dining restaurants with great views and an Observation Sky Terrace that gives you 360 views of the surrounding areas.

At the forefront of the Tower there is a bit going on also, you have the stationary tourist tram where you can take a few photos, enter inside for a rest or receive information from the staff member at the desk, who’ll give you helpful information of the best walking tracks to take around Victoria Peak. More on that later.

Inside the actual Peak Tower, you are spoilt for choices with numerous attractions, while we didn’t visit them all, there were a few great things we did do during our travels, but I’ll give you brief run down on what is happening.

As previously mentioned, there is an Observation deck at top of the Peak Terrace to capture the gorgeous views that includes the picturesque Victoria Harbour.  You can take dazzling photos inside the Madness 3D adventure, where you can try and trick your family and friends back home that you were doing terrifying stunts during your holiday in Hong Kong. I know my boys had fun with this one, perhaps I did too.

Of course, for those who need retail therapy, you can spend your hard-earned dollars and go shopping with a large range of retail outlets to browse through (I still love that black jacket I bought), indulge in a choice of stylish restaurants even though we settled for Burger King, tempt your taste buds with a delicious ice-cream that is sure to hit your waist-line (but it sure was delicious) and find many more fun things available to the tourist if you simply take your time to wander around and take it all in.

Naturally, when you visit the Peak, you’re going to want to take a brisk walk along one of the trails to capture more mesmerising views. On this occasion we took the Peak Circle Walk, which starts close by to the Peak Tower, and is a around a 90-minute loop walk that has ample stopping areas to take that memorable photo over Victoria Harbour. I can only hope the day is clearer for you as it was for me when you visit, but that’s life when you travel to Hong Kong in winter.

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Victoria Harbour

On an overcast day, the Victoria Harbour views are still pretty good from the Peak.

 

The Promenade at dark and the Symphony of Lights Show

Due to the fact we came back from The Peak during rush hour, it took a good hour to arrive at the The Promenade precinct and the Hong Kong night lights were well and truly in affect with the usual 5:30pm sunset in the middle part of December.

We got off the 15A bus at Queensway Plaza and wandered through the mall, cutting through the streets and stepping over the footbridge, until we reached Tamar Park and the Central and Western District Promenade, where a dazzling lighting experience awaited us. Because let’s be honest, Hong Kong at dark with the towering buildings and Christmas lights looks spectacular.

During the month of December, in fact, it ran from November-29 to February-24 2019, there is a Hong Kong Pulse Light Festival showcasing a range of lighting arts throughout the promenade. The lighting show is perfect for all kinds of travellers, be it a family experience or a couple romantic stroll, and you can admire the dazzling event all the way through to the Hong Kong Observation Wheel and Ferry Terminal.

Not only can you appreciate the light show, you can look across Victoria harbour to watch the ferries and cruise boats flowing through the water and further towards Tsim Sha Tsui where more buildings in the distance are looking delightful in the night sky. Hong Kong is a city that is completely lit up.

It’s at 8pm every evening, all through the year, that everyone searches for a great vantage point to watch the Symphony of Lights show. It’s a lighting performance from the high buildings on Hong Kong Island as the lights beam over the harbour and dazzle the on-lookers.

Usually the best spot to watch the show is from the Tsim Sha Tsui side looking back towards HK Island, however, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it from Hong Kong Island where we were located, with good vantage points from the ferry terminal, as we did, or from the Golden Bauhinia Square.

For those who want to watch the Symphony of Lights show in style, you can view it from Aqua Luna cruise. A popular tourist cruise that runs daily and has a variety of sessions throughout the evening to further appreciate the night lights. This short cruise is ideal for lovers as you set sail on the Harbour, receive a complimentary alcoholic drink and admire the views hand in hand from unique looking cruise boat. You can purchase your Aqua Luna tickets from Klook for the cheapest prices.

 

Hong Kong family trip

The Symphony of Lights show.

 

 

Crystal Jade Dining Experience at Queensway Plaza

After admiring the night lights, it was time for a later than usual dinner. It was back to the Queensway Shopping Mall, where we previously set our sights on the Crystal Jade restaurant. It’s a fine dining restaurant, that doesn’t come too cheap, but the food of mainly Hong Kong cuisine is top quality and it capped off the day perfectly, before catching the train back to the Royal View hotel and making it a late finish to a hectic day.

 

Aqua Luna

The Aqua Luna Cruise is ideal for lovers in the evening lights.

A day in Shenzhen – China

Visiting Shenzhen for the day was certainly a spur of the moment idea that provided a few dramas for the family. Not the fault of the city, but the lack of my own research when studying about going to Shenzhen from Hong Kong and the Visa requirements needed to enter into mainland China.

I don’t want to bore you with all the details here, because I have written a separate article in which can be found with this link and will cover most things you’ll need to know for entry.

To get to the bottom story, we originally went to the wrong border area at Futian Checkpoint, where they don’t hand out on the spot Visas. Since we had already scanned our passports to exit Hong Kong, we had to get marched back through to Hong Kong, back to the MTR and took another train to Lo Wu checkpoint. The train ride only took around 10 minutes to Lo Wu, where we got our five-day Visa for China and before we knew it we were in Shenzhen. At least, it seemed that straight forward, but please see that Shenzhen Visa article for a detailed description.

Hong Kong to Shenzhen Visa

On the way to Shenzhen from Hong Kong.

 

The decision to go into Shenzhen was really inspired by my oldest son, he has a fascination with large buildings and Shenzhen is the home of the fourth tallest building in the world and I speak of the Ping An Financial Building. It’s a flush building only recently completed in 2017 and is well guarded by security detectors at most entrance points.

The Ping An Centre as a whole is a business district and a mega shopping mall, that at the time we visited was half empty due to its recent opening, but it was simply superb modern layout, with retail outlets and fine-dining restaurants which looked five stars.

The main purpose of visiting the Ping An building was to visit the Free Sky Observation deck, it cost 200 yuan to go to the top, in which I felt the admittance fee was worth it, even if our views were spoilt by a foggy day. Up the top of the observation area you can capture the birds-eye view of Shenzhen and beyond, take a ride on the virtual slide down the building, learn a few facts of the building and buy a souvenir item or two from the souvenir shop.

Now, I was only in Shenzhen a short time, so I am not your ideal travel guide to the city, there are plenty of other resources for that. In our short time in the Chinese city, we wandered the streets of Shenzhen, got lost in the large MTR system, explored the underground world of malls that in lead to the MTR stations and visited the boutique —- shopping mall.

A busy day in mainland China well spent after all the drama of the morning, before going back on course and continuing our travel tours in Hong Kong.

 

 

 
Ping An Financial centre

Ping An Financial Centre in Shenzhen.

 

A day trip to Cheung Chau Island

Cheung Chau Island, WOW!!! One of the best tourist attractions to visit and certainly a tourist destination that needs to be added to the list for travel in Hong Kong with kids.

A rare perfect sunny day embraced our day on Cheung Chau and many tourists had the same idea make their way to the picturesque island by ferry. On Cheung Chau Island, there is no skyscrapers, no modern buildings or any no motorised vehicle. You need to either get around the pretty island by foot (the preferred and safest option) or hire a pedal bike from several locations that are quite affordable. The only modern thing you’ll find on the island is a McDonalds fast-food restaurant and to be honest that is truly wasted with a number of delicious seafood restaurants that over look the harbour.

Cheung Chau gets your attention on initial sight, first of all you’ll see hundreds of boats anchored in the harbour and as you look into the distance, you’ll see an open highland that creates beautiful scenery from lower ground of the main town ship area. The best part of the Island will be wandering the back alleyways into further stores, marketplaces, restaurants and even run-down apartment buildings where the locals live. It’s all quite fascinating.

The further you go around Cheung Chau, you’ll find many wonderful things to see and do. You’ll stumble across many small temples that are hardly any masterpiece, but they are there, nonetheless. You can view mesmerising coastlines that offers scenic views over the bay and even provide a chance to take a refreshing swim in the several beaches available to you.

There are rock cravings, nature walks, lookout towers to capture even better views and the island even has a Mini Great Wall that is perfectly located on the oceans edge. A full day is well spent on Cheung Chau Island and it’s a must to visit for all tourists to Hong Kong and don’t forget to have a seafood lunch with a glass of beer, it was delicious, and it capped off our time on the island perfectly.

 

Cheung Chau Island

A day trip to Cheung Chau Island.

 

What’s Next? Macau

Our Hong Kong Family Holiday has concluded with Cheung Chau Island pretty much the last attraction we visited, and I have no doubt our time was spent wisely during the trip as you have figured out in our Hong Kong diaries.

The trip to the region has not quite ended there, however, with a ferry trip to Macau that followed Hong Kong immediately. Now, all you need to do is wait and check our adventures in Macau, a destination like I have never seen before.

 

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All smiles in Hong Kong.

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A Personal Experience of Getting a Hong Kong to Shenzhen Visa

A Personal Experience of Getting a Hong Kong to Shenzhen Visa

Do you ever wake up one morning while on your holidays and think, ‘yeah that seems like a good idea?’

I am sure it happens to the best of us and whether you end up on a winner in the thinking process all depends on the ultimate experience.

In theory, the idea of going on a day trip to Shenzhen from Hong Kong seemed like a good idea, it’s all under one Chinese government and obtaining a Visa shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

At least that’s what I thought when the idea of getting a Hong Kong to Shenzhen visa surfaced the mind.

In reality, getting a China Visa in Shenzhen isn’t too much of an issue with proper research.

However, mistakes were made on my travel to Shenzhen from Hong Kong, and when you’re travelling with a family, any setback can bring a few minor consequences, frustrating delays and the embarrassment of getting walked back into Hong Kong by the authorities in China. More on that later.

With the added dramas of getting a Hong Kong to Shenzhen visa, I feel like I’m in the perfect position to let you know of what to do and what not to do. Therefore, in future, you can avoid the silly mistakes I made to get into China proper hassle-free.

 

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Hong Kong to Shenzhen Visa

On the way to Shenzhen from Hong Kong.

 

What went wrong when getting a Hong Kong to Shenzhen Visa

Let’s cover the big mistake that was made by myself when entering Shenzhen from Hong Kong.

In the grand scheme of things, this is quite a simple error of judgement to make, and on the day, we weren’t the only clueless travellers to make the same error.

It’s a simple error of judgement. Mainly because, when you are travelling into Shenzhen China by train, there are two border checkpoints when travelling on the light blue East Rail MTR line with a regular Octopus Card.

One of the MTR stations in the Lok Ma Chau MTR takes you to the Futian Checkpoint, here, you can get through to Shenzhen if you already have a Visa or you’re a Chinese resident.

The mistake comes when you have not previously purchased a Visa.

At the Futian Checkpoint at Lok Ma Chau, there is no Visa department office to instantly give the tourist a 5-day Visa pass to get into Shenzhen.

In that instance, when you have no pre-organised paperwork, you are politely marched back through border you previously came from for entry back into Hong Kong.

It’s not the end of the world in this scenario.

You only need to get back on the MTR, change trains at the next stop at Sheng Shui and take the Lo Wu train on the East Rail line to the other checkpoint area into Shenzhen.

You have now arrived at the second checkpoint for entry into Mainland China. To which Lo Wu, they have a VISA office which will give you direct entry into Shenzhen with a five-day Visa.

It’s a quick process of getting a Shenzhen Visa, unfortunately, a bit of time was lost at the Futian Checkpoint and we only planned a Shenzhen day trip. Still, in the end, we made it.

 

Shenzhen from Hong Kong

Shenzhen city in China.

 

The Right Process for your Shenzhen China Visa

Below, through my personal experiences, I’ll run through the exact process of getting to Shenzhen from Hong Kong by train when you have not already purchased a Hong Kong Shenzhen Visa.

it’s quite a simple process when you get it right.

  • Catch the Hong Kong MTR train on the (light blue) to Lo Wu MTR to obtain your Shenzhen 5 day Visa for China and immediate entry into Shenzhen.
  • At Lo Wu, once you clear the Hong Kong MTR and scan your passport at the Hong Kong checkpoint area, you need to go to the foreigners VISA office on level 2 to obtain your visa before heading to the entry checkpoints on the lowest level.
  • At VISA office you need to do the following things:
  • Press the machine button at the entrance for your ticket number.
  • Head to the booth to take a photo, to get your photo taken, using your passport number for details, once you take photo, grab the paper slip and keep it with you.
  • Wait at your seat for your number to get called out.
  • Once called, go to the booth allocated and present your passport, photo ticket, from there authorities will take the passport to check if you’re eligible for clearance into Shenzhen.
  • Next, you pay the 168 Chinese Yuan at fee booth and go and sit down to wait for your Shenzhen VISA approval. A credit card will be accepted.
  • When your number is called again, collect your Visa and passport. You are now ready to spend a maximum of five days in Shenzhen. The whole process, if all goes smoothly, will last around 20-30 minutes.
  • From obtaining your China VISA, you go to the lowest floor at the foreigner’s checkpoint, scan for your fingerprints at the finger scanning machine, before queuing up in line. Make sure you do your fingerprints before lining up. Otherwise, you’ll be told to go back and do it all again.
  • Once the fingerprints are scanned, queue up and wait to clear customs, which at this point there should not be any issue.

Congratulations you are now in the China mainland! At that time, you may be confused about whether it is all one country, I have my doubts. Anyway, once through the checkpoints, make your way to the Shenzhen MTR to go deeper into the city, single journey trips will suffice at this stage.

Remember, at this point, you’re using Chinese Yuan and not Hong Kong Dollars, so you may need to exchange cash before heading out into the city. The excellent news about Shenzhen travel, however, is that everything is much cheaper than in Hong Kong and that includes MTR, shopping and food. Happy days!

 

Shenzhen travel

Navigate the Shenzhen MTR, it gets a little confusing.

 

What to do in your Shenzhen Trip

I’m not an expert in Shenzhen travel since I was only in the city for around half a day. I only have the previous experience of what to do or not to do when entering into the mainland. Therefore it’s probably pointless for me to give you great advice on what to do in Shenzhen.

We did in the short time in the city wander the streets of Shenzhen, check out the long underground shopping malls that lead to subways and explored the boutique Wongtee Plaza, for our hit of Starbucks coffee, browse the retail outlets and check out their rooftop garden.

The biggest thing we did do in Shenzhen was head the Ping An Financial Centre, the fourth tallest building in the world, which is a significant business area and shopping mall that has fantastic restaurants.

While at Ping An, we went up to the Free Sky Observation deck which sits at 562-metres in height, making it the third-highest observation deck in the world.

The cost to go up to the Free Sky is 200 Chinese Yaun. Appropriately priced for an observation deck and the views from the top are magnificent, even if it’s hindered on an overcast day.

There you have it, details on how to go about getting your Hong Kong to Shenzhen Visa and brief travel guide at what to do in Shenzhen City. I hope this clears up and concerns or queries you may have and good luck with your future travel ambitions, for now, farewell from your Fair Dinkum Traveller.

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Ping An Financial centre

Ping An Financial Centre in Shenzhen.

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Hong Kong Diaries: 1st Edition – The Hong Kong Family Trip Begins

Hong Kong Diaries: 1st Edition – The Hong Kong Family Trip Begins

There is always something special when venturing into a international destination for the first time, especially a place like Hong Kong that is renowned to be a spectacular tourist destination and has so much activities going on all round the clock. You only need to think about the world-class attractions in Hong Kong such as the action-packed Disneyland, the vibrant Tsim Tsa Tsui, the mesmerising views from Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island and the extravagant shopping malls like Harbour City instantly come to mind, but all those amazing attractions are only the beginning on what’s in offer in the amazing Asian destination and that’s what gets you excited during your pre-trip research.

It’s all those hours of research that had me long anticipating this trip in December of 2018 months I advance, a trip that I thought would never arrive but when it did, our Hong Kong trip truly lived up to it’s high standards. On this occasion, it was a Hong Kong family vacation to saviour, a trip that was exciting, fast-paced, required extreme patience and was at times, totally exhausting. However, thinking back on the family getaway, I wouldn’t have it had it any other way, for it truly was an educational, eye-opening experience to simply cherish.

In the first edition of Hong Kong Diaries, there will be two editions all up to cover our 2018 trip, I delve into how we got to the country, the accommodation we stayed in and the major highlights of the busy trip that hardly ever stopped, and if we did it was to get some wonderful Hong Kong food into us. Let’s get into this edition of travel diaries where the Hong Kong family trip begins in style.

 

Heading to Hong Kong for your own adventure? Find great deals at Booking.com.

 

Hong Kong family trip

Even on an overcast day, Hong Kong is full of great city views across the harbour.

 

The Highlights of Hong Kong Diaries: 1st Edition – The Hong Kong Family Trip Begins

 

Flying Singapore Airlines to Hong Kong

Singapore Airlines is fast becoming a favourite airline carrier of mine. To say it’s worth the few extra dollars for choice of air travel over a budget airline is an understatement. Especially when flying on long hauls and with children by your side. For the kids, they’re easily entertained with a selection of games and newly-released movies, and for the adults, all we need is a good movie, a glass of wine (take your pick of red or white) and a nice meal, from there, the duration of the flight should be relatively stress free as it was for us.

On this occasion, we left Perth International Airport at 7am, had a brief stopover at Changi Airport in Singapore, before arriving at our destination at around 6pm. A long day indeed, but our Hong Kong travel getaway had begun as we stepped outside the airport for the first time and took an Uber drive to our hotel.

 

Staying at Royal View Hotel

For the duration of our stay, there were eight nights in total before we hopped over by ferry to Macau, we stayed at the Royal View Hotel. It may not be the best place to stay in Hong Kong or cost effective for that matter, but it still was a nice hotel that offered plenty for the guest with few nice amenities, including a couple of dedicated kids rooms, and we were far from disappointed with our overall stay.

We stayed in a large single room that had two double beds, a small bathroom, a television with limited English channels, and WIFI that was rather good for a large hotel. The room was a little cramped for four people, especially with aging kids and I would have preferred to pay extra for an extra room, but it wasn’t in the budget.

The hotel did have a lot going for it, however, with a solid restaurant that served a quality buffet dinner & breakfast, gym and fitness, a nice outdoor swimming pool which was closed during the winter months, and a shuttle bus service that took you to the Cheng Wen MTR station every 15-minutes, for the Royal View Hotel is a little away from Central Hong Kong, but the free shuttle bus service helps close the gap somewhat.

If you do want to consider the Royal View Hotel for your Hong Kong trip, whether for family purposes or not, check out booking.com for all their latest prices by clicking on this link, but do your required research that you think will suit your individual needs.

 

A day trip to Lantau Island

When you tour Hong Kong as a family, or any sort of travel for that matter, you are bound to head over to Lantau Island on a couple of occasions. Firstly, it’s the home of Disneyland and that is a must go to attraction, and secondly, it’s an area you capture great Hong Kong views on the Cable cars and visit the famous Tian Tan Buddha.

 

It Begins at Tung Chung

When you’re making your way to the cable cars, you’re normally going to travel to the Tung Chung MTR on the Orange Tung Chung Line. In the area, you’re not going to do a lot, there is a boutique shopping mall and a few restaurants, but generally you’re going to head straight to the cable cars and that is where you’re going to a fair bit of waiting, at least that is what happened to us during our trip.

 

The Ngong Ping 360 Cable Cars

Is the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Cars worth it? Yes, it is, once you’re up there looking at the gorgeous views, most certainly. Is it worth the two and a half hours too queue up for the cable cars? That is entirely up to you and it often depends on the company you’re travelling with.

That’s right we waited two and a half hours before we finally got onto the Cable Cars, and if we hadn’t pre-purchased our tickets through Klook (where we saved quite a few dollars), we may have taken the bus over to Ngong Ping Village instead, which I can assure you is another and cost-effective option for when you are looking at what to do in Hong Kong with kids. Even though we travelled on quite an overcast day, with a few of our views hindered, the views and scenery were quite brilliant throughout the half-hour approx. journey over the highlands to the Village on the other side.

We ventured over and above the Hong Kong Airport and saw the planes coming and going, we saw the great views of the harbour below, the mountains above and soaring Tian Tan Buddha as we started to descend into Ngong Ping Village. The Cable cars was worth the money for sure, a pity about the queue’s, but in Hong Kong those things can’t always be helped. At least on the way back, the queue’s only last around about 45-minutes, which felt like a hundred-metre dash compared to before.

Book your Ngong Ping 360 Cable car voucher in advance with Klook. 

 

Hong Kong trip

A Hong Kong family trip included a ride on the cable cars.

 

Ngong Ping Village

The Ngong Ping Village is the first thing you’ll see once getting off the cable cars, even better at ground zero, Ngong Ping a beautifully designed tourist village that has a range of activities, entertainment, restaurants, and retail/souvenir shops spread-out through the busy pedestrian thoroughfare that is buzzing with happy tourists.

The best view from the streets of the village will be seen when you’re walking through the main village and the Tian Tan Buddha stands large in front of you, only a few hundred metres away. On the day I was there, it looked sensational amongst the mountain backdrop, with the thick white cloud surrounding the large buddha statue.

 

Ngong Ping Village

The Tian Tan Buddha, as seen from Ngong Ping Village.

 

Tian Tan Buddha

We saved the best for last, the Tian Tan Buddha, which sits on top of 268 steps. You’ll think on first vision there is a lot more steps to encounter and your tiring legs feel every step as you begin the climb, but I am assured it stands at the number 268. You only have to go back until 1993 when Tian Tan was completed in construction, so it’s certainly a short history in time, and the large buddha statue was made to harmonise relationships between man and nature.

Like the Monastery, it’s free to go up the steps to the buddha and take in the gorgeous views around the area, there is an entrance fees if you wish to go inside the exhibition halls, which includes a meal in the restaurant to further enhance your Tian Tan Buddha experience.

We elected not to pay the entrance fee, much like most other travellers who venture to the Buddha, instead we took in the Tian Tan buddha up close, taking a few a photos of the surrounding areas, including the large buddha above and admired a few of the sculptures that are awaiting at the top of the steps that always represents something meaningful and looks a masterpiece. I do recommend the Tian Tan Buddha when you visit Hong Kong.

 

Tian Tan Buddha

Say hi, to the Tian Tan Buddha.

 

Disneyland Hong Kong

They say Disneyland is the happiest place in the world. It’s hard to argue with such a statement, because a Hong Kong Disneyland trip is certainly an epic day out for the whole family and is worth the price of the admission fee.

Once again, we paid for our family package tour to Hong Kong Disneyland, using the Klook travel App to purchase our tickets and meal vouchers which had us saving around $400HKD for the day. An absolute bargain and is a very useful way to pay for adventures, not only in Hong Kong but throughout many Asian destinations.

It was the first time we had visited a Disneyland of any sort and it certainly lived up to expectations from start to finish. The day begun at 10am and finished in the dark amongst the stunning lights after 8pm. We got there with ease by train, getting off at the at Sunny Bay MTR and taking the Disneyland express train to the Disneyland Resort station. The Octopus Card will get it done for you.

Once you get through the main gates, which didn’t take too long at all, you struck by the main village, which hosts a lot of souvenirs stores, restaurants, café’s and any major street parades that take place during any part of the day. In the background, you’ll notice the famous Disneyland Castle and because we were there in the month of December, the Christmas decorations were out in full force and that would only get better at night.

Where do you start when you go Disneyland, it really is hard to say? On this day, we went to the left and ventured through many themes like Toy Story Land, Fantasy Land, Grizzly Gulch and Tomorrow Land. We waited in line for a few rides, watched a few magnificent shows with the Lion King performance absolutely a standout and we used our meal voucher pass for lunch and dinner. Many times, during the day, it’s great to wander around and capture the magnificent architecture, landscapes and the bubbly atmosphere that we were surrounded in. It was a great day and more often or not you’ll be tempted come back for a second day which is possible with a two-day pass.

During the evening, we enjoyed a few more dazzling shows, The We Love Mickey Street Parade, which was an amazing cartoon sequence on the side of the buildings and the evening tree lighting session gave you a magical touch of Christmas and concluded the long day nicely. You could say it was sad to leave the theme park as the curtains drew on the day, but on the other hand, we were knackered, and it was a sound sleep that night in our Hong Kong hotel room.

Get your Hong Kong Disneyland Package tour from Klook and find the deal that best suits you. 

 

Hong kong Disneyland

The train goes by at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Tsim Sha Tsui

There is so much going on in Tsim Sha Shui, it’s little wonder it is one of the most vibrant and busiest tourist hotspots in Hong Kong. Best advice to tackle Tsim Sha Tsui  is to get off the train at the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR on the Central red line or come across from Hong Kong Island via the famous Star Ferry and go from there. For now, I’ll go over a few of our highlights in the busy district.

 

Harbour walk along Tsim Sha Tsui

On this occasion, our harbour walk on the Tsim Sha Tsui side was unfortunately hindered by a lot of construction going on in the area, just about everywhere on the Promenade was closed off. That included famous spots such as the Bruce Lee Statue and the Avenue of Stars which are promptly located as part of the Harbour walk.

The only chance we had to see the Bruce Lee statue was from the viewing point from the edge of the Middle Road’s Children Playground, which is worth a trip up the stair case to see more views across the harbour towards Hong Kong Island. Just because the Avenue of Stars promenade attractions was ruined for us on this trip, doesn’t mean it will be for you, completion is due to be finished within a few months of publication of this article.

 

Tsim Tsa Shui

Great views are seen along the harbour of Tsim Sha Tsui.

 

Great city Shopping on the city streets

Street shopping may not entertain the kids too much, but once you get off the MTR, you’ll land in a haven of street shopping. Whether it’s window shopping on the city streets or going into one of the malls in Tsim Sha Tsui you’ll find a way to to catch up on some retail therapy. The men will even get asked whether they want to buy a suit by a tailor who’ll be eager for your business.

 

Harbour City Shopping Mall

A gigantic mall, a fabulous mall, Harbour City is located right near the Star Ferry terminal and over looks terrific harbour views, hence the name.

It’s a mall with the lot, with many brand name outlets, women’s cosmetics, fashion outlets, sports stores and an awesome food court area to grab a feed and an appropriate rest. Be warned, not a lot comes cheap inside Harbour City, that’s not to say you can’t have a good look around and buy a delicious ice-cream that the kids will really appreciate after hours on their feet.

 

Harbour city Hong Kong

Christmas is alive at Harbour City.

 

Step out onto the Temple St Market

Starting from 5pm every evening, the popular Temple St Market comes to life, when tourist flock to the large pedestrian street market to look for a bargain, then after have a bite to eat in a number of surrounding seafood restaurants, you’ll see what I mean during your travels.

Temple St Market has a lot of the merchandise you’ll usually find in most famous markets in Asia, local souvenirs such as fridge magnets, mobile phone accessories that are hardly top of the range, microphones, headphones, handbags, a few clothing options ad a heck of a lot more. Just remember one thing, be prepared to barter the price down to save yourself a few more dollars.

 

Temple St Market

Enter the gates of Temple St Market.

 

A Hong Kong Dinner at Ming’s Kitchen

You’ll always find a great restaurant when wandering the streets of Hong Kong, it’s a food kingdom Afterall. Ming’s Kitchen is a major franchise in Hong Kong with various stores located throughout the city streets. The Ming’s kitchen we ate at is not far from Temple St Market and Jordan Station, but let google maps guide you to the closest restaurant.

The food at Ming’s Kitchen is a mixture of Dim Sum’s, roast duck, assorted Chinese dishes and a whole lot of more yummy Chinese cuisines. The food in the upscale restaurant doesn’t come cheap, but it was a delicious feed with much appreciated ice-cold beer to conclude a very busy day.

That is a recap of the first edition of Hong Kong diaries, kicking off the Hong Kong family trip in fine fashion. The activities certainly mounted up, but that really is only the beginning, in the second edition of Hong Kong Diaries there will be a whole lot more, which includes a trip to Cheung Chau Island and even Shenzhen, which is past the immigration border gates into mainland China.

 

Ming's Kitchen

Enjoy great food at Ming’s Kitchen.

Klook.com

Booking.com

Hong Kong diaries

Hong Kong trip

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The Convenience of Going From Hong Kong to Macau by Ferry

The Convenience of Going From Hong Kong to Macau by Ferry

Travel is a breeze through the open waters, and the process is simple for any traveller when you’re going between Hong Kong to Macau by ferry and back again.

It’s ideal transportation for a quick getaway for either sightseeing, gambling in casinos or to even check out what it’s like on the other side because of a simple case of curiosity.

I can personally vouge about the ferry experience between the two destinations, using the services of Turbojet during my travels in Hong Kong and Macau.

It was quick, easy and even affordable when choosing this form of transportation in the open waters of the two popular Asian destinations.

The overall trip comes with little fuss, including through the custom gates where it is often as simple as scanning your passport through the gates and onwards to continue your adventures.

Sit back, the seats are comfortable on these cruise ferries, and enjoy the seas of travelling between Hong Kong and Macau by Ferry. 

I promise you the trip is mainly hassled free, but I can’t guarantee you that you won’t get a little seasick as the seas get a little rough. Don’t worry the Macau ferry trip is usually over in around an hour.

 

Are you travelling to Hong Kong? Find great hotel rates at Booking.com.

 

Hong Kong to Macau by Ferry

Travelling between Hong Kong to Macau by ferry.

 

 

 

The Ease of Going From Hong Kong to Macau by Ferry and Back Again

 

 

Main Ferry terminals in Hong Kong and Macau

There are the four main ferry terminals to travel from between Hong Kong and Macau, which one you depart or arrive at may depend on where you are headed to in either destination.

Not that it matters too much in Macau as it doesn’t take a great deal of time to get around the unique and vibrant destination.

In Hong Kong, you have the two main ports; the major one is the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal situated in Sheung Wan on the Hong Kong Island, not far from the accessible Central Piers.

The other terminal is the China Ferry Terminal, which departs in the other Hong Kong hotspot of Kowloon.

In Macau, there is the Macau Outer Harbour, which is located to the famous city streets, popular attractions, cathedrals and casinos.

The other terminal is the Taipa Ferry Terminal, which is located to nearby popular attractions including Venetian Macau, Galaxy Macau, City of Dreams Shopping Mall and the Hotel Parisian.

Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong to Macau Ferry

  • Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal (Sheung Wan)
  • China Ferry Terminal (Kowloon)

 

Ferry Terminal in Macau to Hong Kong Ferry

  • Macau Outer Harbour (North part of Macau)
  • Taipa Ferry Terminal (South Part of Macau)

 

Klook.com

 

Jetturbo hk

Get comfortable on Jetturbo HK.

 

Cruise companies between Hong Kong and Macau

Two major cruise companies operate between Hong Kong and Macau.

First, there is the TurboJet, the red-coloured ferry cruises that run from ports between Hong Kong and Macau. The TurboJet operates from Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal to Macau Outer Harbour from 0700 -2359 and runs every 15-minutes in both directions.

There is also a least frequently operated cruise from TurboJet that operates between Kowloon/Hong Kong Macau Ferry terminal to Taipa Macau.

You can check the Hong Kong Macau ferry timetable for a full schedule.

 

The blue-coloured Cotai WaterJet is the other cruise company that runs between all ports in Hong Kong and Macau. The Cotai runs mainly from the Hong Kong Macau Terminal to the Taipa Terminal in Macau at a frequency of every 15-minutes between 7 am to 1 am daily.

You can check out Cotai timetables and schedules at their main website.

 

 

Hong Kong Macau Ferry ticket price

The ticket prices remain steady between the two cruise companies, with different pricing available for weekdays, weekends and night sailing.

Prices through the website usually start at HKD$171 and extend for depending on the time of cruise or class you elect to travel with to your destination. You can find fantastic ticket prices through Klook, which is usually cheaper.

Extra allowances are starting from HKD$25 for large luggage pieces which you pay upon entering the gates for your cruise on the day.

 

To find a real bargain for cruise prices, you can book through the travel agency app, Klook. With Klook you can save several dollars, and the process is hassle free from booking to boarding. It’s what I used for my travels between Hong and Macau, and I saved a few dollars each time.

You can check out Klook for further booking details, but tickets are always limited so plan.

 

Klook.com

 

How long travel between Hong Kong and Macau?

No matter which port you travel between, you’ll find the actual cruising times go from around 1-hour to one hour and fifteen minutes. Allow extra time for preparing your pre-bought ticket at the counter and immigration checkpoints on either side of the cruise.

If you find you get to the terminal early, the cruise company usually allows you to travel on earlier cruise departures, depending on availability.

With cruises often running every 15-minutes they are not traditionally sold out, so there is a strong likelihood you can leave early and avoid unnecessary waiting times at the terminal.

 

Are you thinking of staying at hotels near Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal? Find accommodation at Booking.com!

 

hong kong macau

Departing Hong Kong by Ferry.

 

Getting through Customs at entry points is a swift process

Getting through Immigration points at either Hong or Macau is a pain-free process with queueing times taking no longer than 15-minutes, but it can vary depending on how packed the ferry/ferries are. Below is the process for each direction.

Hong Kong to Macau

  • Get a ticket in Hong Kong
  • Scan Passport at Hong Kong Immigration Point
  • Get seat allocation and board ferry
  • Disembark ferry in Macau
  • Passport check at Immigration point in Macau
  • Continue your adventure

Macau to Hong

  • Get a ticket in Macau
  • Show Passport at Immigration point in Macau
  • Get seat allocation and board ferry
  • Disembark ferry in Hong Kong
  • Fill in Hong Kong Arrival card before queuing if a foreigner (only takes a minute)
  • Passport check at Immigration Point in Hong Kong
  • Continue your adventure

 

Catching a Shuttle bus upon arrival in Macau

When arriving in Macau, do your best to avoid catching a taxi, most hotels in Macau have free shuttle bus services operating around the clock, which can save you some handy dollars.

There are no checks when entering a shuttle bus, so if you know of another hotel/casino nearby to your hotel, get on that bus and walk the rest of the way instead of hanging around and waiting. You won’t get caught out.

Shuttle buses are a great way to get around Macau for free for the duration of your trip, with many of the complimentary buses going to and from many casinos in the area at no cost (remember casino’s want you to spend the money gambling).

You can hop on and go Casino hopping during your stay, even if you have no desire to gamble and only want to check out the stunning shows that take place in the major casinos such as Venetian Macao, Wynn Macau and Galaxy Macau to name a few.

 

Are you travelling to Macau by ferry? Check out great hotel rates on Booking.com.

 

Klook.com

 

Venetian macau

Venetian Macau.

 

Finding your way upon returning or first entry into Hong Kong

When arriving in Hong Kong from the Hong Kong Macao Ferry Terminal, the best way to go to your next Hong Kong destination is by train. From the main terminal, you can catch a train at the Sheung Wan MTR and transfer to Central on the next stopover with several MTR lines available to you at Central or Hong Kong MTR.

If you need to transfer to the Hong Kong Airport express train from Sheung Wan, you can catch a train to Central MTR, walk to the nearby Hong Station MTR and get on the Airport Express Train from that location, follow the signs to get there.

Using your Octopus Card, the fare to the Airport from Hong Kong MTR cost HKD$110. It won’t let you on if you don’t have the right amount of credit, but the Information office at the Hong Kong Station can help you top up either by cash or credit card as needed. Children using the kids Octopus Card travel free and remember all Octopus Cards are refundable at the information office at the Hong Kong International Airport.

There you have it, a handy guide when travelling from Hong Kong to Macau by Ferry and back again. It is hassle-free and appropriately cost. Your biggest worry may be whether you get seasick or not.

 

Are you travelling to Hong Kong? Find great hotel rates at Booking.com.

 

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Night lights.

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Hong Kong ferry

Hong Kong Macau ferry

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James Bond Island

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