When we traveled on the Hong Kong – Macau route recently, we noticed a real lack of information on selecting Cotaijet or Turbojet, so we’ve done the hard work and tried both, and will reveal which offers the best service and value, plus how to get to them and how much they cost. This is must-read guide for all tourists that we didn’t have- so enjoy.
Travel by ferry is essential to get to Macau from Hong Kong, unless you fly directly into Macau Airport missing Hong Kong altogether, or pay for a chartered helicopter transfer of 15 minutes.
From Hong Kong to Macau- getting to the ferry
You have three options:
- SkyPier at Hong Kong Airport- only if you don’t clear customs
- Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal- take the MTR to Austin station. Exit out to the intersection of Austin and Canton roads and be on the west side of Canton Road, then take a short walk south along Canton road to the China Ferry Terminal.
- Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal- take the MTR to Sheung Wan station. Follow signs to the ferry, you don’t need to leave the building if done correctly.
There’s not much difference between terminals so choose the one closest to you that works. Purchasing a ticket at the terminal direct from the company is quick and easy. Check with your preferred carrier for sailing times from each terminal, if you have no preference then you can almost safely show up and get on a boat with minimal waiting.
At the other end, you can pay for a taxi but the best method is to take a free casino shuttle bus to your desired location.
Getting from Macau back to Hong Kong
Take a free casino shuttle bus or taxi to your desired terminal. Select the desired terminal based on your preferred carrier. For Cotaijet, you need to use to Macau Taipa terminal, while for Turbojet it doesn’t really matter. At the other end it’s pretty easy to get on the MTR and proceed to your final destination.
First Class or not?
We traveled in First both ways given that the price difference is $5-$10 AUD each way. For this you get:
- Seating in First upstairs which offers larger seats, more leg room and a quieter cabin
- Onboard dining- see comparisons below for details
- More staff
- Selected complimentary drinks
- Priority disembarkation- a real help in the stampede towards immigration
Turbojet also offers a flexible ticket (sail at any time that day). For 4 passengers it may be worth looking at the private cabin option available on both ships.
The Cotaijet Experience
On both carriers things can be a little disorganised during boarding with no priority facilities for First. You don’t get a say in your allocated seat.
Once onboard Cotaijet you get to go upstairs to First Class. The cabin is fresh and reasonably new, and the seats are wide with excellent legroom. It’s about the standard of an airline’s narrowbody Business Class.
CotaiJet comfortably beats TurboJet on the leg we took in this regard. Also the staff seem newer and are more enthusiastic, offering better customer service and a greater desire to please.
As for onboard dining, there is a decent drinks menu offering soft drinks, tea, coffee and a couple of beers.
Once the trip gets underway passengers are offered instant noodles- on this trip is was either seafood or corn flavour. This was served on a standard meal tray with the beverage. By the time the meal was over the 60 minute crossing was nearly over.
The TurboJet Experience
The TurboJet experience is slightly higher priced compared to CotaiJet, but sailings are more frequent. Purchasing a First Class ticket (called Super Class) gives you the option of boarding any sailing on the day of departure. When we traveled departures were every 15 or so minutes.
Like CotaiJet, you get to sit upstairs in First on TurboJet. However, the interior is older, and the seating is more like an airline’s economy class rather than the regional business onboard Cotaijet.
As is visible in the pictures, the legroom is also tighter onboard TurboJet. We also thought that the service was better on CotaiJet, with staff more enthusiastic and willing to help.
CotaiJet also offered more staff in the First Class cabin. After departure, a meal was served onboard which was a redeeming factor for TurboJet- it was more substantial that the instant noodles served on CotaiJet.
- The meal was a decent curry with rice, with an Asian dairy dessert and small water. Other passengers were consuming coffee and tea but it wasn’t offered to us. Unlike the drink list on CotaiJet, things were obviously limited and on a ‘by request’ basis.
Both vessels were smooth and had a travel time to Macau of around 1 hour. All in all, both offerings were a very comfortable way to travel.
We would choose CotaiJet where possible- it’s cheaper, while offering a newer vessel with more comfort and personal space and the service provided was better. The only redeeming factor for TurboJet was the meal offered a curry over the instant noodles. If anything, go with CotaiJet for the price. However, both offer a reasonable transport option and you could safely select the most convenient depending on your preferred departure location.