Coloane is the southernmost island that makes up part of Macau and is joined to Taipa by the Cotai Strip. Compared to the rest of Macau Coloane is very underdeveloped and many travelers choose to come here to get away from the busier and tackier areas around the casinos. Much of Coloane is as it once was and you will find Portuguese style architecture as well as several swimmable beaches.
Coloane Village is the main village on the island and is a great place to explore on foot. Much of it is still in the colonial style and has narrow lanes lined with houses painted in pastel colors as well as some little boutique shops. The main street, Avenida de Cinco de Outubro has views that stretch over to Mainland China and it is a perfect place to wander around for a few hours. Highlights to look out for are cute little local buildings such as the Chapel of St Francis as well as the Tam Kong Temple. If you keep walking along from the main town square you will come to the village pier and the colorful Sam Seng Temple.
Seac Pai Van Park
To truly enjoy nature in Coloane head out to Seac Pai Van Park which sprawls over 20 hectares and is a great place to come if you fancy an afternoon walk and want to learn more about the local flora and fauna of Macau. Particularly interesting is the medicinal herb garden and there is also a small zoo and a pretty little lake. Also located within the grounds of the park is the Museum of Nature and Agriculture.
Cheoc Van Beach
Cheoc Van Beach is by far the better choice if you want to go to the beach in Coloane. Although it is smaller than neighboring Hac Sa beach, it is definitely nicer if you want to go swimming. Hac Sa Beach literally means ‘Black Sand’ and the sand is colored by mineral deposits which make it look dirty and unappealing. It is also littered with rubbish and there are limited swimming opportunities. By contrast Cheoc Van Beach has lovely golden sand and is perfect if you want to sunbathe in the warmer months and you can swim here as well. Coloane used to be the place that pirates would store their treasure, so you can also walk along the beach and explore the little coves that attracted the pirates here in days gone by.
Coloane has a number of hiking trails all over the island that vary according to length and difficulty so there is something for you no matter what your fitness or enthusiasm level. One of the great joys on Coloane is the fact that you can rent a bike here and cycle around the area. This would be impossible in other parts of Macau as the centre of the island is crossed with trails of various lengths and difficulty. Just be careful if you go during the summer months as it can get pretty hot. The trails are also unpaved so be very careful if you plan to go during the rainy season as they can get very muddy and slippery.
Lord Stow’s Bakery
Macanese cuisine is not particularly well known but one of its signature dishes is the egg custard tart. Modeled on Portuguese Pasteis de Nata, these tarts are made with puff pastry and filled with egg custard and baked until set. They originate from Portugal but were actually brought to Macau by an Englishman, Andrew Stow, who loved Portuguese egg tarts so much that he decided to bake them himself. The bakery here is still very much in working order so make sure to go there to try some of these classic tarts if you happen to be in Coloane.
Many visitors don’t come to Macau for its nature and solitude, and as such many miss Coloane off their itinerary all together, but if you have some time here and want to get away from the glitz and glamour of the Macau Peninsula then this is a great choice. Coloane has all the old world charm that Macau would have had in days gone by and it also allows you a chance to get outdoors and experience some of Macau’s plant and wildlife, also a rarity in a place where most people only ever see the inside of a casino.