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We plan to take the ferry from Hong Kong (Sheung Wan) to Macau (Outer Harbour) on the morning of either Saturday (23rd Aug, 2014) or Sunday (24th Aug). Will it be so crowded that one is usually not able to take the very next ferry?

(I am trying to figure if, e.g., we should buy our tickets in advance, or go to the harbour earlier than planned.)

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    I've done it and don't remember any issue but I don't have enough experience to provide an answer. – Relaxed Aug 21 '14 at 8:56
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+50

Yes, it can get crowded! Buy your tickets in advance! Or it might be an hour and a half before you get on a ferry. [Note I base this answer on our experience on one particular Sunday, but it is reasonable to suppose that the situation is similar, at least on weekends, most of the year.]

There are frequent departures (every 15 min), at least in the morning and late afternoon/evening. We thus assumed there'd be no problem. We got to the terminal at around 10am (Aug 24th, Sunday), but unfortunately the next ferry with seats was 11:30am.

One reason for this lack of seats was the scalpers who had bought a bunch of tickets, for precisely this purpose. They were openly and blatantly selling the tickets for the 10:30am ferry (for 30 HKD or about US$4 more than the original price of HK$172 for the weekend trip), right in front of the ticket counters.

Being desperate to get over to Macau earlier rather than later, we bought the tickets from these scalpers. This I suppose is how free market Hong Kong works!

  • Those scalpers are a real pain in the butt. Another semi-scam they like to pull is posing as ticket inspectors and switching your later ferry ticket (which they can sell) for one leaving right now: nice if you catch it, but you're screwed if you don't! Don't hand over your ticket until you're at the boarding "gate". – lambshaanxy Aug 25 '14 at 3:36
  • Since the scalpers may not (probably don't) sell all the tickets you can go through to the gates with a later ticket and wait in the standby line for the earlier ferries. No guarantees and you can't see the length of the line before you get through there but I've done this before successfully. – SpaceDog Aug 25 '14 at 8:10
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    Blame the ferry company for not using dynamic pricing in the first place. Scalpers are merely correcting for the inefficient pricing strategy. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Dec 26 '18 at 2:23

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