Painted in pastel yellow and white, with its distinctive baroque style, the chapel of St. Francis Xavier is one of the standout sights to see in the charming Coloane Village. Built in 1928, when Macau was a colony of Portugal, it was named after the missionary who brought Christianity to the East. The chapel used to contain some of the most sacred relics of Christian Asia before they were moved to the city’s Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt behind the Ruins of St. Paul’s. The chapel is located directly behind a monument commemorating a victory over pirates in 1910.
A-Ma Cultural Village is a 7,000-square-metre complex that honours the legend of A-Ma, the Goddess of Seafarers, from whom Macau is said to derive its name. Located en route to Alto de Coloane (the highest point in Macau) the cultural complex comprises a large ornate temple (Tin Hau temple) and a stone statue of the goddess A-Ma, which is the tallest one in the world. If you don’t fancy hiking up the hill, you can always catch the bus. Free shuttle buses from the nearby Panda Park run up and down the hill every 30 minutes.
Tiny Macau can get overcrowded at times. However, you can easily escape the hustle and bustle by paying a visit to Grand Coloane Resort. As the island’s main hotel, it’s a little oasis – refreshingly peaceful, with beautiful grounds, several charming outdoor seating areas, an inviting outdoor swimming pool and stunning views to boot. Every room at the hotel has a private balcony (generously sized) that offers views overlooking the South China Sea or the neighbouring Hac Sa Beach (black sand beach). You could quite easily while away the hours on the balcony enjoying breakfast, sunbathing, lunch, dinner.
Grand Coloane Resort, 1918 Estr. de Hac Sa, Macau, +853 2887 1111
Another popular attraction that draws visitors to Coloane is the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion located in Seac Pai Van Park (the largest natural green area in Macau). The 3,000-square-metre facility is home to two giant pandas, their newborn twins, and even a couple of red pandas. Don’t miss the chance to catch a glimpse of these beautiful but rare bears.
If you’ve got a head for heights and are interested in snapping some great photos, you may consider hiking to Alto de Coloane – Macau’s highest point. Follow the 8 km (5 mi) Coloane Hiking Trail, which takes hikers to the summit (171 m/560 ft above sea level) where you can enjoy panoramic views looking out to the South China Sea.
It might come as a surprise, but the casino capital of the world has beaches. Indeed, on the south side of Coloane Island is Hac Sa Beach. A great place to come for a stroll, escape the crowds, and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze. The name ‘Hac Sa’ is a translation from the Chinese words, 黑沙, which literally mean black sand. The beach is a kilometre long and was once famous for its black sand. It’s now more beige in colour since the local government added yellow sand to prevent erosion. The water is relatively clean and suitable for swimming (the dark sand makes it look dirtier than it really is).
Coloane Island is the most laid-back area of Macau and with several great local restaurants dotted along the shoreline, it makes an ideal place to come for a leisurely lunch. Among the best is Restaurante Fernando – a rustic, relaxed Portuguese restaurant serving hearty, flavorsome food. The restaurant is locally renowned for cooking up classic Portuguese dishes such as bacalhau, suckling pig and several seafood options. They offer some excellent Portuguese wines too that are surprisingly affordable – all in all a great option for beachside wining and dining.
Restaurante Fernando, Praia de Hac Sa, No 9, Coloane, Macau, +853 2888 2264
Seac Pai Van Park is Macau’s largest natural green area and is a popular spot for family outings. Here you will find children’s playgrounds, picnic areas, flowerbeds, a small zoo with several species of monkeys, and a large walk-in aviary with peacocks, pheasants, and other colorful species. In addition, Seac Pai Van Park is the starting point for walks along two of Coloane’s more scenic trails: the Seac Pai Van Nature Walk and the Seac Pai Van River Ecological Trail. Entry to the park is free.
Coloane Village is home to the original Lord Stow’s Bakery – creator of the city’s own edible icon: the Macau egg tart. More than 25 years after selling their first tart, the bakery produces more than 13,000 a day and is more popular than ever. It’s one of the key attractions that draws tourists to venture from the casino strip to the picturesque village of Coloane. Next door to the bakers is Lord Stow’s Café, and they have opened several other outlets selling the tasty tarts across the city.
1 Rua do Tassara, Coloane Town Square, Macau, +853 2888 2534
Macau is home to 13 hiking trails and nature paths, most of which are located in Coloane surrounded by the island’s lush greenery and South China Sea. In addition to the most popular one mentioned above, the Coloane Hiking Trail, which takes hikers to the summit of Alto de Coloane, there are several other walking and family trails, offering a chance to break away and see a whole other side of the city.