Macau
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Macau sightseeing, trips, Coloane

Coloane Island

Macau's "clean, green and pristine" island

Go directly to...

  1. Coloane Village
  2. Alto de Coloane, A-ma Cultural Village and the Giant Panda Pavilion
  3. The beaches

Macau's southernmost island is the territory's greenest and most spacious piece of land.  Occupying an area of slightly more than 8 km², the island consists mostly of large forested hills and sandy beaches that make a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle of the peninsula.  The 171-metre high Alto de Coloane, Macau's highest point, is located at the island's southwestern side.

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A bit of background about Coloane Island and its history...

To the north, Coloane is connected to Taipa by a 2.2 km. land-fill bridge,  however, land reclamation has physically connected the two islands and a new town called Cotai (abbreviations of Coloane and Taipa) has been built between Taipa and Coloane. Cotai is home to the casino and tourism district of Cotai Strip.

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 To the west, a narrow strait separates the island of Coloane and the city of Zhuhai, in mainland China.  On the western side, Coloane faces the South China sea, but the runway of the Macau international airport actually forms a barrier between the island and the open sea.  However, Coloane's south side is opened to the sea and that is where the island's sandy beaches can be found.

 

Coloane was not a part of Portuguese Macau right from the beginning. Salt production started to take place on the island during the Southern Song Dynasty, circa 1000 ad, and it was only in 1864 when the Portuguese occupied it. 

               

The island's sea caves and forested hills made it a perfect hideaway for pirates, who operated until the early 20th century, attacking the well-stocked cargo ships that made their way to the port of Macau.

 

The construction of the bridges, during the last quarter of the 20th century, have resulted in some development and population increase but, nevertheless, Coloane is still very green and quiet in comparison to peninsular Macau (or even to Taipa).

 

Coloane's old Cantonese names were Gau Ou Saan ("Nine-inlet Mountain"), Yim Zou Waan ("Salt-stove Bay"), and Gwo Lou Waan ("Passing-road Ring").  The Portuguese name "Coloane" is probably a mispronunciation of the Cantonese name Gwo Lou Waan .

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Coloane Village 

The best starting point for a sightseeing tour of Coloane Village is, probably, the bus stop at the Coloane Village Square (also known as Largo Presidente A.R. Eanes). From here, you can take a stroll around the small village and enjoy the sleepy, laid-back atmosphere and the beautiful architecture, featured in the old houses, the churches and the temples.  People round here still live in a somewhat traditional way and it is quite nice to hang about the pedestrian-only alleys, peeping into old shops that look as if they belong to another era.

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The famous Lord Stow's Bakery, on the village square, serves some of Macau's best Portuguese egg-tarts, as well as some other freshly baked pastries. (They also have a popular café, just behind the corner - facing the waterfront, where you can indulge on some luscious salads and sandwiches, as well as coffee and fresh egg-tarts).

 

The bus stop on Coloane Village Square is serviced by the following routes: 15, 21A, 25, 26 and 26A (Take a look at our Macau Bus Guide to see how you can get there from every point across Macau)

 

From the village square, you can proceed with Rua dos Negociantes (or Avenida de Cinco de Outubro - along the waterfront) to Largo da Eduardo Marques, just a short walk away.  Facing the beautiful waterfront esplanade and mainland China, the lovely cobblestone paved square has a nice monument and a lotus pond at its center, commemorating the 1910 victory that had put an end to the pirates reign in Coloane. The popular Café Nga Tim, on the square, is famous for its splendid seafood.

 

At the back of the square is the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier.  Well noticed for its baroque styled beige façade, this 1928 chapel is home to some of Christian Asia's most sacred relics, including the bones of Christian Japanese martyrs who were killed during the 1637 Shimabara rebellion, when Persecution of Christians took place in Japan.

 

From the chapel, proceed along Rua do Caetano, turn left to Travessa do Pagode (where you will be able to visit a small temple, dedicated to goddess Tin Hau), right to Rua do Estaleiro and left, to Travessa do Republica. A short walk will bring you to Tin Hau old temple, on Avenida da República.  Built in 1677, this is the oldest temple on the islands. It is dedicated to the Chinese goddess Tin Hau (Queen of Heaven and protector of fishermen and sailors), but other deities are worshipped here too.

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Keep walking southwards, along Rua do Estaleiro, until you reach Tam Kung TempleThis beautiful red bricks Chinese temple, guarded by two stone lions, is dedicated to Tam Kung, the Taoist god of seafarers.  It is not a particularly big temple but it contains some precious items worth seeing, like a replica of a dragon boat, made of whale-bone.

 

From here you can walk northwards along the lovely waterfront esplanade, back to Coloane village square and onwards, to the village's northern side.  At the end of the road, you will reach the old ferry pier and another small temple, dedicated to the goddess Tin Hau (the third Tin Hau temple in Coloane village).  Here, at the northernmost part of the village, you can also see some traditional houses, built on stilts over the water, as well as some junk-building yards.

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Around Alto de Coloane

Around Coloane's highest hill, Alto de Coloane, there are some interesting places worth visiting, like the Museum of Nature and Agriculture, the Seac Pai Van Park, the Arboretum and, of course, the island's most sensational attractiona:

A-Ma cultural village and the Statue of A-Ma, at the top of the hill, and the recently opened Macau Giant Panda Pavilion.

 

Your best starting point is, probably, at the bus stop near the Esso Petrol Station and the Chinese styled gate, from where The road climbs all the way to the hill top.

 

Free shuttles run from this spot up to A-Ma cultural village every thirty minutes, so if you don't feel like sweating all the way up (or if you don't have all the time in the world...), this is the easier option.

 

You can get here on foot from Coloane Village Square (around 15-20 minutes walk, along Estrada do Campo / Estrada de Seac Pai Van) or with any of the following bus routes: 15, 21, 21A, 25, 26 and 26A (Take a look at our Macau Bus Guide to see how you can get there from every point across Macau).

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The newly developed A-Ma cultural village, just below the peak, is the main attraction around here .  Built by The goddess A-Ma foundation of Macau, this impressive complex is a beautiful replica of a Qing dynasty palace compound, dedicated to Macau's most beloved deity, A-Ma.  The popular goddess, also known as Matsu or Tin Hau, is worshiped by hundreds of millions of devotees around the world, mostly in southeast China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

 

A wide flight of stone stairs, adorned with beautiful carvings of fortunate images, leads to the magnificent entrance.  Inside the compound, the large courtyard is surrounded by towers (The bell tower and The drum tower) and statues, and at the back is the lavishly ornamented temple.  The investment that had been put into this project is quite immense, both in terms of money and workmanship and you will probably end up wondering around for a long time, appreciating the fine details.

 

The place is open daily, 8 am - 6 pm

You can visit their website (it is only in Chinese but there are some nice pictures).

 

The massive statue of A-Ma stands at the top of the hill, just above the complex.   The stone statue rises to a height of exactly 19.99 meters, symbolizing the year on which China regained sovereignty over Macau.  There are also some magnificent panoramic views from here. 

 

The Museum of Nature and Agriculture and the Seac Pai Van Park, where the recently opened Macau Giant Panda Pavilion can be found, are just a few minutes walk from the Esso petrol station and the Chinese-styled façade (when coming down from the hill, turn right to the main road - Estrada de Seac Pai Van, and walk along it for a couple of minutes. You will see the Museum and the park on your right).

 

Tip: The Macau Giant Panda Pavilion (click on the link for details) seems to be one of the city's most popular attractions and since it can only accommodate a limited number of visitors at each given time, it mighbe a good idea to secure a ticket first, then go up to visit A-Ma Cultural Village, and visit the pavilion afterwards...

 

Coloane's Museum of Nature and Agriculture is located within the beautiful Seac Pai Van Park.  As its name denotes, the small museum is dedicated to the territory's fauna and flora, as well as to the agrarian history of Macau, and the exhibits include some old tools and equipment among other things. The museum also focuses on the use of plants in traditional Chinese medicines and while it might not be as impressive as some of Macau's larger museums, it definitely worth a short visit if you have the time.

Open daily (except Monday), 10 am - 6 pm,  entrance is free

 

Surrounding the museum, the Seac Pai Van Park is Macau's only sizeable botanical garden. The lovely park has some "themed sections" worth visiting: the Medicinal Plant Garden mainly holds traditional Chinese medicines collected from the wild and grown in trial grounds. The Garden has 137 species, which are divided into 17 categories based on the medicinal function of the plant.  The Garden of Exotic Plants has dozens of interesting exotic plants, including some insect-eaters.   

 

From the park, you can climb to the top of Alto de Coloane.  The hill is surrounded by walking trails and, if you have the time and the powers, you can enjoy a lovely walk in the forest (Trail maps are available at the information booth near the entrance to Seac Pai Van Park).  Otherwise, you can walk along Estrada do Alto de Coloane (starting from the Esso Petrol Station and the Chinese Gate) all the way to the peak and visit the interesting spots along the way: The Arboretum, halfway to the top, is a gene bank for tree species in Macau. It covers an area of 6,500 m2 and has more than 100 tree species (including some exotic species), belonging to 40 families.  Outside the Arboretum (next to the parking area), there is a pond for people to enjoy fishing.  This is also the main access to the Coloane Hiking Trail. 

The beaches

Macau's two sandy beaches, Hac Sa and Cheoc Van, are stretching along Coloane island's southern coasts.

 

The smaller among the two, Cheoc Van beach, is nestled in a lovely cove surrounded with lush, forest-covered rocky hills, not far from Coloane Village.

 

It is far smaller than Hac Sa and has less facilities but, at the same time, it is more picturesque than its 'bigger brother' and more tranquil.

 

Facilities include a very good swimming pool (in case you don't want to swim in the sea), some restaurants (including a good, traditional Portuguese-style restaurant at the adjacent Pousada de Coloane hotel) and a yacht-club from which you can hire boats.

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You can get to Cheoc Van beach by foot, from Coloane Village Square (20-30 minutes, along Estrada de Cheoc Van) or by any of those bus-routes: 15, 21A, 25, 26A (Take a look at our Macau Bus Guide for exact instructions)

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Hac Sa is Macau's largest and most popular beach.  Named after its black sands (Hac Sa means 'black sand' in Cantonese), it offers a whole range of facilities to its visitors and while it usually gets very busy on weekends and holidays, it is four kilometers long so you don't necessarily have to be crammed with the masses...

 

Hac Sa's choice of amenities include everything from hire of jet-ski and other water activities, on the beach itself, to swimming pool, mini-golf, tennis and what not at the Hac Sa Sports and Recreation Ground.  The beach is no short of eating places too... From the world known Fernando's Restaurant (considered as one of the best Portuguese restaurants outside Portugal), to smaller eateries, beach bars and DIY barbecue facilities.

 

The Hac Sa water activities centre, at the Hac Sa reservoir, is another nice place where you can spend some time, especially if you are here with the whole family.  There are pedal boats for hire and a nice walking trail around the reservoir.          

The center is located at the Hac Sa reservoir, just west of the coast (on the other side of Estrada de Hac Sa and not far from the Westin resort).

 

For those you of you who are fond of golf, the Macau Golf and Country Club is located on the hill behind the Westin resort, north of Hac Sa beach. The club consists of an excellent 18 halls course, surrounded by a particularly beautiful setting, and a range of facilities, like restaurants, bar, swimming pool and the likes... To learn more about the club, visit their website.

 

To get to Hac Sa beach, use any of the following bus-routes: 15, 21A, 25, 26A (Go to our Macau Bus-Routes Guide for the exact details)

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