Travelling from the glitz and glamour of Macau’s Cotai Strip to the tranquil Coloane is like going through a time warp. The former has all the 21st century “high-tech-ness” in it, with all the bright lights and fancy buildings, while the latter looks like it was stuck in the middle of the Portuguese colonial period. These two places though, despite being a century apart, are only 10 minutes away from each other by bus – a time warp just like I said.
Coloane used to be Macau’s most outlying, isolated island, until the reclamation of the Cotai Strip brought the islands of Coloane and Taipa together (hence the name Cotai). This effectively ended Coloane’s isolation, as Taipa is linked to the Macau Peninsula by several long bridges. Coloane can now be reached conveniently from the peninsula through bus routes, and if you don’t mind paying, you can even grab a cab straight to there. Travelling to Coloane Village, the heart of the (former) island of Coloane, now ranks high in the list of “must do’s” in Macau. Though not exactly crowded with tourists (while we were there), the place definitely didn’t have a shortage of people snapping photo’s here in there.
Coloane village is perhaps best known as the site of the original bakery of the famous egg tart maker, Lord Stow’s. That bakery is still up and running today, and even though one can find Lord Stow’s egg tarts in many places throughout Macau, many enthusiastic travellers (including yours trully) still take the time to buy from the original shop in this out-of-the-way village.
Egg tarts aside though, Coloane is a charming little village. Here you could hardly see any traces of modern, flashy Macau, and the place presents a good opportunity to catch a glimpse of what life in Macau once was.
A short ride away from the village is Parque de Seac Pai Van (Seac Pai Van Park). It is Macau’s local mini-zoo. The place really doesn’t have much in terms of animal variety, but it’s got a couple of famous residents…two giant pandas. Being away from their cool natural habitat in central China, the two pandas are kept in a purpose-built pavilion that provides climate control. Entry is cheap and the place was far from crowded while we were there. Unfortunately, both pandas were asleep too. Too bad for us.
* Coloane Village can be reached through the “Vila de Coloane-1” or -2 bus stop. Take bus 15, 21A, 25, 26, 26A, 50 or N3 (look for these routes in your originating bus stop). Bus fare is MOP 5.00 from any point in the Macau Peninsula, MOP4.20 if coming from Taipa, and MOP 2.80 if coming from other stops within Coloane.
* Seac Pai Van Park can be reached through the “Parque de Seac Pai Van” bus stop coming the Macau Peninsula or Taipa, or the “Rotunda Da Concordia” stop if coming from other places in Coloane (eg. Coloane Village). Take bus 15, 21A, 25, 26, 26A, 50 or N3 (look for these routes in your originating bus stop). Bus fare is MOP 5.00 from any point in the Macau Peninsula, MOP4.20 if coming from Taipa, and MOP 2.80 if coming from other stops within Coloane.
* For more info on Macau Bus Routes, visit the Macau Public Bus Information website: http://www.dsat.gov.mo/bus/en/bus_stop_search.aspx
*We were in Macau last December 2012. All photos taken with Panasonic Lumix LX5.
For part 3 of this trip, click here.