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Macao: 5 Interesting Coloane Sites

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Macao may be small, but even so, there is plenty to explore. Whether you’re here for the heritage sites, the casinos, or the food, there’s no shortage of recommendations. If the bright lights and crowds start to get to you, it’s only a 15-minute bus ride away to Coloane where time seems to have stood still and the bustling city is like a distant memory. Originally a salt producing region, Coloane was uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and was a pirate base until 1910.

This island is home to rich Portuguese history, interesting coastal landscapes, green hiking spaces, and known as the birthplace of Lord Stow’s Portuguese Egg Tart. Here are some spots to check out:

1. Long Chao Kok Coastal Trail

Located at the far end of Coloane, the Long Chao Kok Coastal Trail is a 1.2km-long walking trail that hugs the rocky coastline with incredible views of unique coastal rock formations and the ocean beyond. Mostly flat, the uneven trail traverses the natural terrain of the orange-hued rock formation, and hikers can appreciate its coastal ecology (look out for crustaceans) and geology along the way. Starting from Rua de Hac-Sá Long Chao Kok (accessible by bus), it ends at Chuk Wan villas near Cheoc Van Beach. The exposed trail can get very windy and wet with seaspray or strong waves at times.

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2. Coloane Village & Pier

Away from the pastel-coloured colonial buildings of the main square, head north towards Rua dos Navegantes and you’ll come across rows of houses made of corrugated metal and covered in magical paper talismans, mostly built right over the beach on stilts. These brightly-coloured homes were once landing spots for houseboats and the stilted base of the homes offered shelter for fishermen. These days, the fishermen’s homes have been turned into shops selling dried salted fish.

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At the end of road is the yellow Coloane pier where you can see the stilted houses from another perspective. From here, a short slope along the coast leads to the Customs building and then to a cavernous old shack on stilts. This is what remains of a boatyard, complete with dangling chains hanging from eroded wooden beams, and is one of the last surviving reminders of Coloane’s past as one of the hubs for boat building on the Pearl River Delta.

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3. Ka Ho Leper Village

One of 6 leper villages established in Macao since the 16th century, Ka Ho was opened in 1930 when it became home to about 100 lepers who were an isolated self-contained community situated at the edge of a cliff. It also became a Vietnamese refugee site from the 70s before being totally abandoned in the 90s. Today, the site – with its 6 brightly-coloured colonial dwelling sites – sits in various stages of ruin and attracts plenty of urbex photographers for its ethereal atmosphere. The only functioning building is the Our Lady of Sorrows Church which is still in service today. The Macao government has announced plans to restore Ka Ho – along with 5 other leprosariums – into cultural attractions.

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4. Coloane Trail

At over 8km long, the Coloane Trail – located in the middle of Coloane Island – is the first established trail in Macao, and remains its longest. At about 100m above sea level, the trail encircles almost the entire island, taking hikers to the top of Coloane Hill for great view of the coastline and beyond. The trail connects to other shorter trails, like the 2.6km-long Circuito de Barragem de Hac-Sá which loops around the Hac-Sá Reservoir, where paddle boats and bbq pits can be found.

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5. Hon Kee Coffee

Not far from the pier along Estrada de Lai Chi Vun is a small local coffee shop – more like a tin shack – called Hon Kee Coffee. As its name suggests, it’s known for its coffee; in particular, its ‘hand-whipped’ coffee. Using instant coffee as their base, they whisk it at high speed, resulting in a thick coffee with a very dense and creamy foam on the surface. It’s also a good place to grab some cheap lunch, with a small selection of toasts and instant noodles, cooked over a coal-fired stove.

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