There are so many vibrant and interesting places to visit in Macau but the only part of the former Portuguese colony that remains undeveloped, Coloane Macau is a haven from the bright lights of the Cotai Strip and the crowds of the Macau Peninsula. For an escape away from the city, put a visit to Coloane on your Macau itinerary.
Here are 10 things to do in Coloane Macau that will give any visit to Macau an added dimension and a first-hand account of what a day out in Coloane will bring.
- 10 things to do in Coloane
- Exploring Coloane Firsthand
10 things to do in Coloane
1- Swim at Hac Sa beach
Sun, sea and sand: While Macau is known around the world as a gaming mecca, Hac Sa Beach is a good spot for a few hours of relaxation.
The beach is frequently deserted, even in summer, and there is also a public swimming pool nearby that is open all summer for those who don’t like salt water.
There are also barbecue pits and a few restaurants and shops selling snacks and souvenirs.
2- Hike Coloane’s trails
Take a hike: Coloane is the best place to take a stroll among greenery, and while Macau’s largest “mountain,” Alto de Coloane, is not exactly a challenge at just 170m, it is enough to get your blood pumping.
There are different trails which vary in length and difficulty including some that are suitable for hikers with children.
History buffs can explore Seac Min Pun Ancient Path between Hac Sa Beach and Coloane Village.
Over 50 years ago, the path between the beach and village used to be a trade route before the roads for paved.
3- Discover Coloane Cultural Village
Perfect for a few hours of cultural immersion, the beautifully decorated front gate ushers you towards the village’s gem at the centre, Tin Hau Temple. Check this list for festivals at the temple.
Not far away, there’s a 20m high statue of the goddess A-Ma. According to a legend, this statue inspired the name of the enclave: A-Ma Gau, or “Bay of A-Ma.”
A local legend tells of the story of a beautiful young woman, A-Ma, who commanded the elements to allow a junk that was caught in a storm to reach land safely. She has been worshipped ever since.
4- Eat Portuguese egg tarts
Lord Stow’s Bakery in Coloane is the best place to try Macanese egg tarts.
No trip to Macau is complete without a visit to the spiritual home of what has become the culinary symbol of Macau – the Macanese egg tart.
While the tart is a relatively recent addition to the territory’s culinary canon, Lord Stow’s in Coloane is a must visit, but be prepared to queue
5- Visit Seac Pai Van Park
A very modestly sized park not far from the Cotai Strip, Seac Pai Van Park is home to, among other things, The Sagres.
The small plane was flown from Portugal to Macau in the 1980s in honour of noted Portuguese aviators Brito Pais and Sarmento Beires.
The stars of the park, however, are the inhabitants of the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion, Kai Kai and Xin Xin.
The two giant pandas were a gift from President Xi Jinping during his visit to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Macau’s return to Chinese rule.
6- Play a round of golf
Around Hac Sa Beach is the Macau Golf and Country Club.
Access is limited to club members and guests at the Grand Coloane Resort.
Read this post for tips on where to play golf in Macau.
7- Dine at a Portuguese restaurant
The selection of restaurants in Coloane may be small, but there is plenty of quality to go around.
Miramar and Fernando’s offer authentic Portuguese and Macanese food and are perhaps better suited to dinner, while the al fresco restaurants in the village square are perfect for lunch.
Locals and tourists love Nga Tim which offers good Macanese food. In winter tins of hot coals are put under tables to keep diners toasty
8- Stroll on Cheoc Van beach
Yes, tiny Macau has not one but two beaches.
Cleaner and more picturesque than Hac Sa Beach, Cheoc Van is a great place to take a stroll or even a siesta on the sand.
Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy the sunset from the terrace at La Gondola Italian restaurant.
The pizza and clams are excellent and the sangria slides down easily.
Nearby Pousada de Coloane is also a great place to stay and the Pousada de Coloane restaurant is a lovely spot for an alfresco meal.
9- Explore Coloane Village
One of Coloane’s attractions is the picturesque Coloane Village square.
The stunning Chapel of St Francis Xavier is the backdrop for hundreds of selfies every day while the modest monument at the opposite end of Eduardo Marques Square commemorates a victory over pirates who pillaged Coloane for decades.
In 1910, the pirates captured a group of local children and held them for ransom but the residents fought back and after days of intense battle, the children were freed.
10- Go on a bike ride
Much like hiking, Coloane island is not going to present a challenge for seasoned cyclists, but for a few hours of leisurely pedalling, it is great.
Hire your steed from Island Bicycle and check out the northern area of Coloane village where stilted houses and dried-fish shops line the seashore.
Exploring Coloane Firsthand
I was in Hong Kong and Macau on a three-week business trip, so when two American friends living in Tokyo said they wanted to meet me for a girl’s getaway, I immediately thought of Coloane.
After all, the constant whirl of being in big cities meant we were all in serious need of some downtime, and Colôane, mostly rural and largely undeveloped, would allow us to relax by pools, hang out at beaches, dine al fresco, explore tiny Colôane Village and maybe go on a hike or play golf.
Yet if the urge to stroll Macau’s historic downtown or hit the casinos overtook us, we’d be ridiculously close enough to do those, too.
Colôane was once an island, home to Chinese fishermen and harvesters of sea salt.
Even after Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and established a trading port on the small peninsula of Macau, Colôane remained off the radar, making it attractive to Chinese pirates hiding out in the island’s rugged interior and preying on rich cargo ships.
The final straw came in 1910, when Colôane bandits kidnapped 18 children and demanded ransom, causing the Portuguese to rescue the children and eventually eradicate piracy.
Colôane remained isolated until a causeway was built in 1969 linking it to the nearby island of Taipa, followed by a bridge erected in 1974 between Taipa and the Macau mainland.
Today, Colôane and Taipa are fused into one large island due to the massive land reclamation of an area now called Cotai (a combination of the two islands’ names) and are connected to downtown Macau via three bridges.
Although the development of Cotai with its resorts, casinos and shopping malls is encroaching ever closer, Colôane remains Macau’s countryside, the place locals go to get away from it all.
Measuring about 8 sqkm of Macau’s total 30 sqkm, yet with fewer than 5,000 of Macau’s some 640,000 residents, Colôane is mostly wooded hills, laced with hiking trails and winding roads and dotted with small villages and low-key lodgings.
The most popular destination is quaint Colôane Village on the island’s southwest end, so close to China across a narrow channel that it seems like you could reach out and touch it.
Like most of Macau, the village is a blend of Portuguese and Chinese architecture and traditions, with businesses selling salted fish, stilted homes extending over the channel, narrow cobbled lanes and colonial-era architecture.
The focus of village life is Eduardo Marques Square, dominated by the pretty Chapel of St. Francis Xavier, built in 1928 in classic baroque Portuguese style.
At the other end of the square, paved with a stone mosaic and shaded on its edges by banyan trees, is a memorial commemorating those who fought in the 1910 raid against the pirates and a promenade that runs along the channel.
Lord Stow’s Bakery
But it’s the open-air restaurants, cloistered along arcades flanking the square, that draw me to Colôane Village year after year.
I love the camaraderie of being surrounded by extended families and watching children play in the square as I munch on salt-and-pepper prawns, barbecued chicken in a fresh coconut or one of the many other Cantonese, Macanese and Portuguese dishes served at Nga Tim Cafe.
And what would a visit to Colôane Village be without stopping by Lord Stow’s Bakery for its famous Portuguese egg tarts?
Colôane’s other big draw is the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion, nestled against a hill in Seac Pai Van Park and built to simulate the panda’s natural environment.
The park also contains an information centre relating to all things panda, a small zoo and playground, as well as hiking trails leading into the interior (pick up trail maps at the park).
Macau’s nature trail
In fact, Colôane is Macau’s best place for a nature hike, with about a dozen well-marked trails, including the Long Chao Kok Coastal Trail, which departs from Hac Sa and takes about 45 minutes to walk, providing vistas of both mountains and the sea.
Hac Sa is also where you’ll find Macau’s most famous beach, noted for its black sand, lifeguards in summer, tennis courts and public swimming pool.
But my main reason for coming to Hac Sa Beach is to eat—of course!—at Fernando’s, serving Portuguese fare and one of several beach shacks beside the beach.
Cheoc Van Beach, also with lifeguards, swimming pool and tennis courts, is popular with families.
Best resorts in Coloane
As for lodging, the Grand Coloane Resort (formerly a Westin) has long been my favourite escape due to its beautifully landscaped grounds, indoor and outdoor pools, adjoining golf course and rooms with expansive terraces overlooking the sea.
Hac Sa Beach is within walking distance, as is Miramar, a well-known, laid-back family restaurant.
I’m also like the modest Pousada de Colôane, located on a hill above Cheoc Van Beach and also with a swimming pool and rooms with balconies facing the sea.
Open since 1977, it reminds me of places my family stayed when I was young, which for fast-changing Macau, is almost a miracle.