The Macau-Hong Kong Ferry- A snarky review

There are few options when traveling between Macau and Hong Kong. The fastest and most economical method is the ferry (or water jet). It costs the equivalent of $25 USD. There is also an option to take a helicopter, but I assumed that the cost of that ride would cost slightly more than the ferry.

When I first heard that our travel plans involved a ferry (or water taxi) from Macau to Hong Kong I was excited. I like being on the water. I enjoy cruises and fishing off of a boat. Ferries are the next best thing. How unique!

Before we arrived at the ferry terminal, I was informed that the ride from Macau to Hong Kong would only take about an hour. “I didn’t realize the cities were so close” I thought.

Actually, it’s about 40 miles from the Macau ferry terminal in Taipa to the Kowloon terminal in Hong Kong. “How would we cover that distance in less than an hour?” I asked.

As we descended the ramp to the boarding gate for the ferry, my question was quickly answered. The “water jet” is… a water jet. It’s a speedboat built for a few hundred people, and no cars.

After departing Macau, our boat got up to speed; about 45 mph. I was amazed at how the boat cut through the water. It was so smooth. You could hardly tell we were on a boat. It felt more like a train.

After about 15 minutes, something changed drastically. Maybe we had entered the center of the shipping channel, maybe we were in more open and choppy water, maybe the captain was having a bad day. Whatever the reason, the boat suddenly started “jumping” up and down in the water as we apparently entered a patch of rough water. There was no warning. The only guidance we had from the boat crew was the seatbelt light illuminating (much like an airplane when you hit turbulence).

For the next 20 minutes our boat continued to thrust up and down as we moved through the rough water. We slowed down a bit, but the boat was pointing sharply down after launching over each wave. Most people nervously looked around for guidance. I did the same before becoming nauseous, at which point I grabbed firmly onto my armrests and focused on keeping my lunch down. Luckily the water jet company is prepared and each seat comes with a “water sickness bag” which I fortunately did not have to use.

Eventually the water became smooth again. We arrived in Hong Kong about 10 minutes later, but the damage was done. After stepping off of the boat, I felt like I had been at sea for a month. I did not feel 100% until the next morning.

Somewhere in the middle of that ferry ride was a violent mixture of water, at least on that particular evening. It made for an interesting ride. And I was amazed that most of the other passengers did not seem fazed by the roller coaster ride in the middle of an otherwise smooth ride.

That being said, I can see why someone would put up with the turbulent ride if you frequently take the ferry between Macau and Hong Kong. Can you find a faster and cheaper way to get between the cities?

What’s that you say? There is bridge-tunnel that connects the two cities? And you can take a bus for half the cost of the water jet? I’ll have to keep that in mind.

Hong Kong (Central) from Tsim Sha Tsui

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