Hong Kong 3: For the LOVE of Avios! With Swiss and British Airways
TurboJetting to Macau
- Memo to Self: Stop looking at Booking Engines Late at Night
- Leaving Birmingham, Servisair Lounge, To Zürich with Swiss and OLT Express on LX425
- Zürich Night Stop – “Zürich Dayrooms”, Senator Lounge
- LX1952 Barcelona to Zurich
- A Free Tour of Barcelona
- Back to El Prat, Lounge, BA0475 Barcelona – London
- British Airways T5 First Class Lounge
- BA027 London Heathrow – Hong Kong
- Holiday Inn Express Soho, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island
- One Time Exception: Macau with TurboJet (THIS SECTION)
- GhettoIFE Special: Images of a Fragrant Harbour
- Lounging Around Hong Kong Airport
- BA026 Hong Kong to London Heathrow
- British Airways T5 First Class Lounge, BA484 London Heathrow – Barcelona El Prat
- Barcelona Switch, Lounge, LX1955 Barcelona – Zürich Airport
- Run like the wind, LX424 Zürich – Birmingham Airport, Homeward bound
- Avios? Oh Yes, Oh Yes, OH YEAH!
Time for another One-Time Exception. Turbojetting to Macau. I apologise for the delay in the post – lets just say that due to the previous post, my urge to write… well anything is limited at this time.
One Time Exception: Turbojetting to Macau – A Day Trip to another Ex Colony.
After relaxing the night (ok, more like engaging in the fine art of bartering on Temple Street and Kowloon), it was time for an adventure – and today’s adventure would take me by sea to Macau.
I decided to go the reasonable way to Macau – via TurboJet as I was interested in the old Macau and not the Conti Strip (that’s Asia’s Vegas)
With the hotel in Shenung Wan, it was a matter of ducking under the MTR station and following the signs for the passenger ferry over.
Naturally, I didn’t pre-book, and the ferries were rammed as the locals here heading to gamble for the weekend. As I didn’t really want to hang around the terminal for an extra hour or so, I brought a Super Class ticket on the way out for HK$311 or so.
From there is was blind rush to check-in, and then through Hong Kong Emmigration. For me, there was the normal choice of going through the normal manned counter – or trying out EChannel. I went for the no queue EChannel – and after working out how to present my document, I was through EChannel within seconds.
Which wasn’t bad as I hadn’t had a seat assignment yet for the ferry. I headed to the gate, where boarding was in full swing, and got a sticker for 4E in Super Class.
It was then up onto the gangplank and abroad.
Boarding, I scored a Hydrofoil (or to be more precise – A Boeing 929 Jetfoil) – a new experience for me (having done numerous ferries and hovercrafts in the past).
Super Class has a reasonable seat pitch – nothing uncomfortable.
The seat itself could recline and had a little flip down table.
Shortly before departure, an attendant made sure seat belts were fastened, and a safety video played. It was then off out of Hong Kong Harbour in boat mode, before applying the Hyrdofoils and kicking it into high speed to Macau. The route goes over the mouth of the Pearl River Delta (and if your mobile phone is sensitive enough, you’ll switch through Hong Kong’s Mobile networks to China Telecom and then to Macau’s telecoms networks as you travel
Pulling out of HK
Breakfast was served shortly after leaving Hong Kong
It was very much an airline meal in most respects – on a tray plonked unceremoniously in front of me. Still, the pastry was edible, and the fruit was fresh. That’s the main thing.
There was a bit of IFE – mainly a big screen in front used for advertising or announcements The one hour journey, covering 70km went along quickly with a few sights on the way
Soon enough the Cotai strip was coming up – signalling the end of the trip
And soon the Hyrdofoil descended back down to boat mode as it approached the Terminal Maritimo
Shortly after landing, Super Class passengers disembarked, followed by the masses in Economy.
After exiting, it was time to clear immigration – which was choc-a-block (and what seemed to be a lot of mainland Chinese visitors). Sadly, the EChannel I had signed up for was only good for Hong Kong, so it was a case of queuing up, and being seen to, before proceeding into Macau.
Now, for those who need a little bit of context – like Hong Kong, Macau up until 1998 was a colony. Whilst Hong Kong was under the control of the United Kingdom, Macau was under control of Portugal – hence why signs, words and a lot of things are in Portuguese (as well as Cantonese, Mandarin and the occasional splattering on English. Therefore navigation was a bit harder than Hong Kong, but I adapted after a while.
I headed out to the bus terminal, and after acting a bit confused, I did what any other person would – do – follow the crowd. The bus (Number 3) was grand total of HK$3.60 and dropped me off near the main sites of Macau.
And it was just nice to walk around.
Some photographic impressions – many more on the photoblog at
Soon enough, tiredness caught up with me – maybe because my sleep over the past few days of travel has been so disrupted or I was spending 15 minutes hunting for a 7/11 or Circle K so I could get some shrapnel for the bus. At near enough 15:30 I was back at the Terminal Maritimo, I queued up for TurboJet, and brought a ticket for the next ferry back to Hong Kong in normal class – a lot cheaper at HK168 for the 1 hour trip back.
Emmigration was reasonably quick after a passport stamp out , and duty free was laughable.
I headed to the gate pen, where the there was a short wait before I boarded another Hydrofoil back to Hong Kong.
This time, I managed to specify where I got to sit – so I was on the upper deck of the JetFoil.
Upper cabin Seating
After boarding was complete, we pushed away, boating past one of the bridges that link the Macau Peninsula to the Tapia and beyond, and then the JetFoil powered up for the 1 hour trip to Hong Kong.
Seating is a bit more constricted than it is was on Super Class, but for this normal economy class traveller, it felt spacious enough.
Being at the window, I grabbed a few shots as the journey progressed across the Pearl River Delta.
For the last half hour of the trip, my brain went into shutdown mode as I grabbed a few zzz’s, waking up in time to see that the jetfoil was entering Hong Kong Harbour.
Quickly the jetfoil docked, and after a short wait, I was heading down the bouncy gangplank. From there it was a case of follow the escalators and the crowd until immigration. This is where I used the eChannel, and after completing the process quicker this time, I got a little receipt indicating how long I was allowed to stay in Hong Kong (180 days – those British Citizen Passports do open doors…), and was free to enter the territory. Before I knew it, it was in the Shak Tai centre, and retracing my steps back to the HIX in Shenug Wan.
Within 15 minutes of docking, I was in the hotel room, relaxing from a days exploration of another land… and more stamps in the passport.
Overall: I enjoyed my day trip to Macau, seeing a different culture that is so different to that of Hong Kong. Whilst I could had got more out of it with a bit better planning (and if I loved Casinos… and I’m sorry, I’m not a great fan of them), I felt like I got a lot of out of the time spent there. Next time, I’ll do the trip the day after so not to fall asleep halfway through the trip though…