How to handle tricky Hong Kong/Macau airport/ferry logistics?
December 24, 2011 1:08 AM   Subscribe

I need urgent help figuring out transit logistics through Hong Kong Airport and Macau (via ferry), staying in Hong Kong for less than 24 hours.

Hi all,

Thanks for any help you can offer in advance! Apologies if this sounds panicked.

Here's the fact pattern: My wife and I are arriving at Hong Kong Airport at 5PM on the 26th. We have a hotel room near the Central MTR station, but ideally we want to go to directly to Macau (via the ferry), look around Macau for a few hours, and then ferry to Hong Kong Island and head to our hotel around 10PM.

We fly out the next day at 2:20PM on the 27th -- less than 24 hours after we arrive. We have everything we need for those 24 hours in light backpacks we'll take with us everywhere, and a checked bag that we want to keep at the airport if at all humanly possible.

Here's what we're trying to figure out:

-I'm seeing online that we can check in for our flight leaving Hong Kong within 24 hours of departure -- does that mean we can dump our checked bag in at that time as well?

-Hong Kong airport has ferry transfer service to Macau; will we be able to dump our checked bag / check in for our onward flight and then use it, or is it only for people going directly to Macau before they clear customs? Put another way, would we have to take our bulky checked bag with us in order to use that ferry?

-Are there multiple speeds of ferry we can choose from, or is it "one size fits all"? I've done a lot of web crawling on this point, and I'm more confused than when I started.

-We won't have any problem taking a ferry from Macau to Hong Kong around 10PM on a Monday night, will we? Are there huge queues for the ferries around that time? Last time we were in HK, we were caught flat-footed by the 90 minute queue for the Victoria Peak tram, and that really threw off our schedule... if you can warn us about anything along these lines we need to be aware of, please do let us know!

-Is there any reason to consider a backup plan of taking the airport express to Central, checking into our hotel, and then taking the Macau ferry from Hong Kong Island?

Thanks so much for any advice you can offer. :) My wife and I enjoy doing these 'lightning' trips to see a bit of a place when we have a 24-hour layover, but this one is turning out to be a bit trickier than most.
posted by Televangelist to Travel & Transportation around Hong Kong (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I highly suggest calling your airline's HK office to answer the checked baggage question.
posted by mdonley at 4:57 AM on December 24, 2011

Also, see if the friendly folks over at Flyertalk's Hong Kong destination forum can help.
posted by mdonley at 5:16 AM on December 24, 2011

I am not sure that you can check your bags that early for your next flight.

I do suggest, however, for you to take a taxi right to the ferry terminal. Get a round trip ticket on the fast ferry, it is a 45 min ride with reserved seating. If you had more time, you could save money with the regular ferry, but I'm guessing you'd like to spend as much time as possible in Macau.

Have a great time! Eat lots of almond cookies and if you're into sweet soups, get an almond sweet soup, black sesame and a peanut one! Oh, if you're not veg, they're famous for their pork chop sandwiches.

Please visit St. Paul's ruins, the view from the upper level is fabulous. I'm scared of heights so it took me some time to get down.

There are all sorts of casinos to check out, I'm not a big gambler but I do like to play a game or two, but the casino tour is the best fun, you can sit in an open vehicle while they drive around and show you all of the casinos and a little history too.

Enjoy your time there!!
posted by Yellow at 5:18 AM on December 24, 2011

If you are flying on a supported airline, you can check-in at the airport within 24 hours of your flight. Alternatively, you may also check-in at an Airport Express station, if your airline has In-town Check-in services. The check-in service and actual train journey are separate components of your Airport Express ticket. Finally, the airport also offers a baggage storage facility.

The SkyPier service is before immigration and your checked baggage is intercepted.

While TurboJet operates multiple ferry types (jetfoils and catamarans), the journey time is similar. Other operators use catamarans. You can also purchase round trip tickets if you need to ensure a specific return time and purchase tickets online.

For your trip, you should be able to check-in and get to Sheung Wan (Shun Tak Centre) within three hours (Airport Express to Hong Kong and MTR from Central to Sheung Wan; Hong Kong and Central are connected, but the walk is not particularly short). An alternative is to take the Airport Express to Kowloon and a taxi to the China Ferry Terminal (return tickets may be more difficult, but the transfer is probably easier).
posted by UrbietOrbi at 5:34 AM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

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