Macau’s currency is the Macau Pataca (MOP), but the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) is widely accepted everywhere. We would get change in a mix of MOP and HKD. Sometimes even Chinese RMB is accepted, using a 1:1:1 exchange rate. For convenience, we just used HKD for all our purchases. Even though we were technically losing a bit of money on the 1:1 exchange, it wasn’t worth the effort to withdraw and keep MOP due to our short stay.
Dates visited: August 25, 2014 – August 26, 2014
# of Days: 2
Daily Average Budget: $72.89 per person
Exchange Rate: USD 1 to HKD 7.75
Macau basically has no budget accommodations such as hostels. The one or two listings on Airbnb were both far away from attractions. Hence, we were forced to book a hotel that cost us $101 a night (and that was the cheapest we could find).
Food & Drinks
Food is fairly cheap in Macau. A meal for one person at a mid-range restaurant costs around USD 8.50. A bottle of water or tea (330ml) costs from USD 0.50 to 1.50. Macau classics like Portuguese egg tarts and pork chop buns are a must try!
Money Saving Tips – Casinos often offer free drinks (water bottles, juice, tea) and snacks. Feel free to grab as many as you want! We found a group of people all sitting around the slot machines but not actually playing – then we realized they were just waiting for the food to come out of the nearby kitchen to grab it before it’s gone. Even if you already have your mouth full, they still offer you more!
Ferry (Hong Kong – Macau) – The ferry is still the cheapest way (and fastest!) of getting from Hong Kong to Macau without entering China. Turbojet is the most popular company, with ferries running 24/7 and costing about USD 20.00 one way per person. Since our stay in Macau was short, the daily average of the transportation category was quite high.
Bus/Metro – Macau is too small to have a metro system, but the bus system makes up for it. The bus lines are will get you to most places at an affordable price of USD 0.40 per ride.
Money Saving Tips – If you are staying longer, getting a Macau Pass not only saves you 30% of the bus fares, but also gives you a free second trip AND is hassle-free (no need to have exact change)! Alternatively, you can use the free shuttles from the various casinos to go around the city. We recommend this method only if you are coming from and going to places that are nearby casinos, otherwise that amount of time you spend looking for a free ride is not worthwhile. For example, the Venetian offers free shuttles to/from the ferry terminal and Sands casino.
Macau Tower – This is definitely worth a visit for an unparalleled view of all of Macau, especially at night of the casinos. If you are into radical sports, the world’s highest bungee jump is right on the top of this tower. The entrance fee is USD 17.00 per person.
Gambling – You can’t go to Macau and not gamble at least once. Since our budget was limited, preventing us from sitting at any of the USD 65.00 minimum bet blackjack tables, we spent about USD 2.60 on the slot machines just for kicks.
A-ma Temple (the oldest Taoist temple in Macau)
Ruins of St. Paul’s
Lotus Square (bronze lotus statue symbolizing the everlasting prosperity of Macau)
Kun Iam Statue (bronze statue of the goddess of mercy)
Fisherman’s Wharf (theme park with lots of stores modeled after world ports)
Fortaleza do Monte
Casinos (at least walking in is free, from there on it’s on you!)
In Macau, we were compelled to join the Asian trend and buy umbrellas to protect us from the sun, each costing USD 2.60 at a street stall near Senado Square.
Due to the short stay, our daily average was high, since the transportation costs from Hong Kong to Macau didn’t spread out throughout more days. If you are staying longer in Macau, we recommend you to budget as much as for Hong Kong.