Coloane is the largest, most bucolic, and least developed part of Macau. It offers a well-maintained network of mountain trails, golf, excellent restaurants, swimming beaches, and a full service resort.
As Macau's largest land mass, Coloane offers a side of the enclave that many visitors are not aware of. There is a stylish resort, 2 swimming beaches, 2 pubic swimming pools, a golf course, and an excellent network of well maintained hiking trails.
Most important, there are NO CASINOS!!!
Most visitors to Macau spend only a few hours - either tempting Lady Luck at the casinos or trekking through the historic neighborhoods of the Old City.
They purchase a few cookies or dried meats, have a picture of themselves taken in front the the Ruins of St. Paul's, have dinner at a Portuguese restaurant, and catch the next bus back to China - or the next jetfoil back to Hong Kong.
Better to spend the night. Better yet to spend 2 nights and take full advantage of everything that Macau has to offer.
This is the first in a 4 part series of suggested itineraries for a 3 day, 2 night stay spanning roughly 44 hours.
I conceived of these as long weekends (leaving work early on Friday and returning home on Sunday).
However, if you want to escape the maddening crowds, a mid-week get-away would be even better!
And if you can't leave work early on day one, just skip the afternoon's activities and head straight to "evening".
What to Do on Day One
Check into the Grand Coloane Resort, freshen up, and enjoy the facilities. The hotel has a lovely swimming pool and a well-equipped gym.
There is a spa, but if you want a treatment, make sure to reserve a day in advance. There are mountain bikes for rent if you'd like to take a spin through the 'hood.
Check into the Pousada de Coloane, a boutique hotel with 27 rooms overlooking Cheoc-Van Beach. The hotel has a lovely open-air swimming pool. A beach, a public swimming pool, and an excellent Italian restaurant are within walking distance of the hotel. Or why not go for a walk?
Head to Fernando's, one of Macau's oldest and most popular Portuguese eateries, which is situated at the other end of Hac Sa Beach.
Start with sangria on the terrace. Move indoors and indulge yourself with the grilled meats, poultry, and seafood. The clams and squid are highly recommended.
This place is mentioned in all of the guidebooks. More important is the word of mouth among Hong Kong expatriates. But it is one place that really DOES live up to all the hype. But I'm talking food, not service ...
Have dinner at Miramar. It is within walking distance of the Grand Coloane Resort. There are lots of families. The ambiance is VERY Portuguese.
It's a bit pricey, and very few tourists seem to have heard of the place. Some people would call that a plus!
What to Do on Day Two
Enjoy a leisurely buffet breakfast at the Panorama Cafe if you stay at the Grand Coloane Resort (it is included in MOST packages; make sure when you book). If you stay at the Pousada de Coloane, have breakfast at the hotel. It's included in the price of the room.
Walk or take a taxi to Hac Sa Reservoir. Continue along the Coloane Trail to the Tam Sing Temple and the Statue of the Goddess of Mercy.
The Grand Coloane Resort offers scheduled guided walks 3 days a weeks, which are free to hotel guests.
Non-guests are charged 200 MOP. Make sure to sign up in advance. Walks can also be arranged at other times if there is sufficient demand.
Get a map and trek on your own or rent bicycles and explore the wilds of Coloane on your own.
Another option is to take a bus or a taxi to the foot of the hill and catch the free shuttle bus to the temple and trek your way down. The shuttle departs every 30 minutes from the stone gateway next to the side entrance of Seac Pai Van Park.
After freshening up, enjoy a mouth-watering dim sum lunch at the Grand Coloane's Kwun Hoi Heen Chinese Restaurant.
Catch a bus or a taxi (or hoof it if you've got the stamina, the weather isn't too hot, and the dogs don't intimidate you) to Coloane Village and have lunch at Lord Stow's Cafe (a Macanese icon).
Please note: this place has been written up in all the guide books, it is very small, and there is often a line. Why not be adventurous, stroll about the village, and try a place a bit more off the beaten track?
If you are staying at the Grand Coloane, spend the afternoon at the hotel's lovely swimming pool, work out at the fitness centre, have a spa treatment, and/or or play a round of golf at the Macau Golf and Country Club, which adjoins the hotel.
Please note: hotel guests have access to the course, but must pay a fee to use the facilities. Non-guests can get day passes to use the hotel's swimming pool and other facilities but not the golf course.
If you want to rub shoulders with the locals (or if you are not staying at the Grand Coloane), spend the afternoon at one of Coloane's two beaches.
Hac Sa Beach is within walking distance of the hotel - or, if it's too hot (or the dogs frighten you) take a bus or a taxi.
If you opt for Seac Van Beach, you'll have to catch a taxi, unless you are staying at the Pousada de Coloane, in which case it is just a few steps from the hotel.
If the muddy waters put you off (rest assured, they might be beige, but they are not polluted), both beaches have excellent and very well maintained public swimming pools.
Head to nearby Chec Van Beach, where a mouth-watering Italian dinner awaits at La Gondola, which serves great salads, seafood, pizza, and pasta.
Catch a taxi to Coloane Village and have dinner at one of the open-air restaurants that line the square along the waterfront in front of the Chapel of Saint Francis Xavier.
What to Do on Day Three
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel (whichever one you choose) and enjoy the facilities until lunch.
Ask for a late check out if you are not in a hurry. If you're lucky, your room might not have been booked. But there are no guarantees. Worst case scenario: you leave your stuff with the concierge.
The hamburgers at the Panorama Cafe at the Grand Coloane Resort are HIGHLY recommended. Why not have one by the swimming pool. Salads are also on offer.
Have lunch at the Grand Coloane's Kwun Hoi Heen Chinese Restaurant, the Miramar, Fernando's, or one of the eateries that dot Coloane Village.
All good things must end. If you have time, stop off at the Seac Pai Van Park on your way to the jetfoil and say "Hi!" to the giant panda, which occupies a giant pavilion.
Please note: check the schedule ahead of time. Admission to the pavilion is only 10 MOP (free for children and senior citizens), but visitation is limited to certain time slots.
Why not call in sick and spend another day?
Grand Coloane Resort, l918 Estrada de Hac Sa, Coloane, Macau. Telephone: (853) 2887-1111. Hotel Website: Grand Coloane Resort
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