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Airfare, Hotel and Exchange Rates

Macau's casinos use the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) as their primary currency. As of July 2007, $100 USD converts to $782 HKD (currency converter).

A quick check of mid-week hotel pricing on various casino resort websites revealed the following rates for their standard rooms:

Wynn Macau : 1588 HKD = $233
Venetian : 1088 HKD = $139
Crown Macau : 2480 HKD = $317
Star World : 1288 HKD = $164

Hotel rates balloon by approximately 100% on the weekends. They also advertise "best rate" and "rack rate" as purchase options. "Rack rate" is basically the MSRP, while best rate is, uh, cheaper. You have the choice to pay MSRP or the cheaper rate if you so choose. I imagine its a Chinese cultural thing to want to pay more for something, but thats just a guess. I'm going to take the cheapskate route.

Sands Macau does not have a reservation system on their website (go figure). Venetian's $139 rate is part of an "introductory" offer they're making for the first few months after the grand opening on August 28th, 2007... its surprisingly low. Conversely, Crown Macau in Taipa seems a bit steep comparatively, they just opened a month or two ago.

I also did a quick check of Orbitz for airfare rates. I prefer using Orbitz for research because they tell you all the fees up front instead of hiding them until you are just about done with the transaction. While Macau does have an international airport, their runway is too short to handle massive jet liners. Flying into Hong Kong is the recommended route. Getting from Hong Kong to Macau is another matter altogether.

I'm not picky about flights, ideally I don't want 4 layovers, but i'd prefer zero. I'll be leaving from LAX (Los Angeles) on or around September 12 and returning on or around September 20, 2007. This is the best of what Orbitz has available:

China Airlines (1 stop) : $723 round trip ($804 total)
Philippine Airlines (2 stops) : $822 round trip ($903 total)
All Nippon Airlines (1 stop) : $704 ($991 total)
Cathay Pacific (0 stops) : $813 ($999 total)
Korean Air (1 stop): $919 ($1005 total)

I never realized how different airlines add different fees to their flights. All Nippon Airlines tacks on nearly $300 in taxes and fees... this is Ticketmaster kinda shit.


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