Beyond Macau : the sleepy fishermen village of Coloane

Ponte Cais de Coloane

Coloane used to be a separate island south of Taipa, but with the casino craze, the government has reclaimed land on the sea.
Cotai was born between Taipa and Coloane and is now home to social housing and the lavish compound of the Venetian casino, Crown Plaza, Conrad and Sheraton hotels.

In the past, Macau Peninsula concentrated the commercial activity and the foreign trade, the island of Coloane was left deserted by the Portuguese and had become a safe haven for pirates. The church of Saint Francis Xavier reminds us of Portuguese influence in Coloane.

I decided to go to Coloane during the week-end with the idea to escape the Sunday crowds of the historical center. After a quick stop stop at the Venetian, a nice facade which hides the baccarat tables of the casino, I jumped on a bus and when I arrived in Coloane, I discovered a sleepy fishermen village.


There are two popular restaurants that serve western food, near the round-about or you can go for seafood in the arcade of the church Saint Francis Xavier square.

The church was closed for renovation when I visited Coloane, and I walked in the quiet streets and discover four Chinese temples. Here is a short guide.

Tam Kung Temple 譚公廟

The Tam Kung Temple is located at the southern tip of Coloane, by the water. It was built during the first year of the reign of Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing, in 1862.
The legend goes that Tam Kung, or Lord Tam (Tan in Mandarin) was born in Chaozhou (潮州) in eastern Guangdong province (now famous for its ceramic factories). Well-versed in astronomy, he could forecast the weather and was revered by local farmers and fishermen.
He became a god or an immortal at the age of twenty and is worshiped in eastern Guangdong (specially Huizhou and Chaozhou) as well as Hong Kong where is has temple dedicated to him in Shau Kei Wan

Tam Kung Temple, Coloane, Macau

Tin Hou Temple 天后古廟

The temple of Tin Hou is the largest of Coloane and is built on small hill. The goddess Tin Hou (天后), literally the “Empress of Heaven” is an avatar of Ma Zu 媽祖 to whom the A-Ma temple in Macau, the city’s oldest place of worship, is dedicated. She protects seafarers and fishermen.
Built in 1763 during the 28th year of Qianlong of the Qing, the Tin Hou temple is Coloane’s oldest.
It is located in hill, not far from the Tam Kung Temple heading north.

Macau Temples

Macau Temples

Sam SengTemple 三古廟

Coloane’s smallest temple. Built in 1865 during the sixth year of the reign of Tongzhi of the Qing (1865). The temple is consecrated to three deities, hence the name of “sam seng”, literally, the “three holy”. The three gods worshiped here are the goddess of Golden Flower, Guan Yin or Kun Lam in Macanese and the three-eyed Huaguang Grand Master, one of the fourth guardian of Taoist law.

Sam Seng Temple, Coloane, Macau

Kun Lam Temple 觀音古廟

Built int the 5th year of the emperor Jiaqing (嘉庆) of the Qing dynasty, in 1800, the Kun Lam temple is one Coloane’s oldest.
Barely noticeable, it is located in the heart of the village, on “Traversa do Caetano”. The entrance of the temple is right next to a bright red house.

Kun Lam Temple, Coloane, Macau