Budget guide: Day trip to Macau

Irene Maligat
Budget guide: Day trip to Macau
Explore Macau's streets, casinos, and tourist sights without breaking the bank

With proper planning and research, you can still enjoy the best of Macau, or at least keep your expenses down during a fun trip. 

As many call Macau Asia’s Las Vegas, I was intimidated traveling to this place, famous for its casinos, as I thought it would be a very costly expenditure. But after researching on the Internet, I found out that you can do a lot of free things in Macau that can significantly minimize your expenses. After consolidating all the information I researched and experiencing it first hand, I realized that you can actually pay next to nothing nothing during a day trip to Macau, if you really wanted to.

If you’re planning a day trip from Hong Kong to Macau or staying a night or two and want to cut down costs as much as you can, here are some tips that will definitely help you save money: 

How to get around?

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Use casino shuttle buses. In my experience, I rode the casino shuttle buses even if I wasn’t staying at the casino/hotels. You just need to plan your starting and destination points. Casino shuttle buses cover important transportation points like Macau Ferry Terminal, Taipa Ferry Terminal, and Macau International Airport. These points usually start as my baseline and from there I could ride on shuttle buses that are near or that directly goes to my preferred destination.

In exploring the best tourist sites that Macau offers, you need to know what shuttle buses you need to ride. Here are just some examples of rides that you can take to popular tourist destinations:

  • If you want to see Macau City area where Senado Square and St Paul’s ruins are, ride shuttle buses operated by Wynn, Lisboa, or Star World. From these casinos, walk 10-15 minutes
  • Going towards Taipa area, ride shuttle buses operated by Venetian, Galaxy, or City of Dreams. In Taipa, almost all casinos there have buses that take you around other casinos. You can go casino-hopping!
  • You can cross Taipa to Macau city using buses from Star World and Galaxy Macau as they have the same owner • From City of Dreams, you can ride a shuttle going to the Macau Tower
  • Take a Venetian or Wynn shuttle bus to the airport
  • To explore the Fisherman’s Wharf, ride a bus to the Sands Macau There are so many options you can take. There are so many casino shuttle buses you can choose from. Plan ahead and have P0 expenses for transportation.


Bottled water is given out for free at most major casinos. Go inside the casinos and you’ll see servers handing out water bottles or there are carts around the place that you can just get from. You don’t need to play games or bet any money, you can have a bottle of water freely.

When I was at the Galaxy casino, there was a station where people were just lining up and getting coffee. I did this and since it was served in a cup and not a plastic bottle that I can take freely outside the casino, I drank it while watching other people play cards. No one got mad at me and the coffee was really good!

GALAXY. The Galaxy is one of the many casinos in Macau. Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Based on research, casinos give free water, juice, coffee, (sometimes) alcoholic beverages and/or even milk to their guests. Go inside the casinos and quench your thirst with free refreshments!


KOI KEI BAKERY. Try the jerky, biscuits, and cookies at Koi Kei Bakery! Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Exploring the busy street from Senado Square to St Paul’s ruins, you’ll find so many sellers of pastries, biscuits, and meat jerky. They provide samples for their products at the front of their stores or even inside. You can freely get a piece or two of what they’re selling. Done sampling snacks in one store? Go to the next one for more free samples. Snack-hop and try samples of different kinds of pork or beef jerky, biscuits and almond cookies from Koi Kei bakeries, and many more. Wash these down with the free bottles of water you got from the casinos!

If you want something fancier, head over to the Grand Lisboa Casino, as they sometimes give out free desserts like mini cakes with milk tea.

Need to post your picture at the Venetian Hotel or Senado Square on Facebook or Instagram?

There are around 183 locations in Macau that have free WiFi covering tourist hot spots. There is free WiFi at transit points like Macau Ferry Terminal and the airport. There is WiFi at casino lobbies. There is even free WiFi on major casino shuttle buses like Venetian or City of Dreams. Check out WiFi Go for more information.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

Check out the free theme park at Fisherman’s Wharf where you can find an amphitheater, a beautiful marina, and shopping streets. You can take photos and bask in the scenic views this place has to offer.

Experiencing Macau

To experience Macau is not only to play/bet on casino games. There are so many activities you can do in Macau that don’t require you to shell out any money.

Take a long walk around Senado Square, Saint Paul’s Ruins, Fortaleza do Monte, and Camoes Garden and be amazed by the historical scenes that you will see. At one point during my walk to the garden, the roads looked like the ones from European movies. The vibe was really unique.

Enjoy and have fun while casino/hotel hopping. Check out what major hotel casino owners can offer their guests. Feel like you’re in Venice, explore the different establishments, take in those light fixtures and high ceilings, watch entertaining shows, observe people lose and win at slot machines or table games, and many more. Going into the casinos, make sure to bring your passport and a valid ID! 

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

You can also watch some free shows. Some casino hotels offer free shows whether on streets or inside their malls, there is something to entertain people of all ages. Check out Wynn Macau’s free shows of lights, sounds, and water with Tree of Prosperity and Musical Fountain show.

Photo provided by Irene Maligat

These are just some of the free things that you can do to enjoy your stay in Macau. Maximize the benefits that Macau can offer. Plan, strategize, try the “pay absolutely nothing” challenge in Macau and experience the best with P0 expenses – or at least, minimize your expenses by paying for what’s really important to you. 

What are your savings tips and tricks in Macau? Share them in the comments below. – Rappler.com

Note: This story was originally published on Irene’s blog.

Irene Maligat is a grateful traveler. One of her main goals in life is to inspire and empower a lot of people to travel gratefully. Her passions are sports, reading, motivational writing, travelling, and events planning & management. Visit her website at Inspiring Grateful Travels

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