This post has been written in collaboration with Wego and the Macao Government Tourism Organization who wanted me to showcase my favourite parts of Macao from my three independent visits
So you heard that Macao is the center for gambling and are wondering if there is anything else to do there? I got you covered in the many articles I have about a city I very much enjoy visiting.
You can read my complete travel guide for the best things to do in Macao or drool over my Food of Macao post. But if you want to do something completely unique then the beach is definitely an under the radar attraction in Macao. In this article, I will tell you everything there is to know about the beaches in Macao.
Where to find the Beach in Macao
First things first. Macao is made of two parts, the mainland area of Old Macao and the island which is in turn made of Taipa in the north, the casino strip of Cotai in the middle and the village-like quiet part of Coloane in the south.
The main Old Macao area does not have any beaches as it is mostly a port or an industrial area and has skyscrapers and old buildings all the way to the water. Here you will find all the heritage that makes Macao so unique and fascinating. You can stroll the old streets or visit the many temples engulfed in the smoke and smell of incense.
You can still see and enjoy the ocean in Old Macao but from a promenade point of view or by wandering around the port area, always buzzing with the traffic of fishermen and merchandise. If you remember, I stayed at the Sofitel in Macao and had a sea view from my room. Most of the casino hotels in Old Macao are also by the sea and have stunning views too.
On Macao’s island, as expected, is where you can find the beaches, in particular, in the southern parish of Coloane, which is the most relaxed and greener part of Macao. Here, you will be surprised to find not only beaches but also hiking trails and nature. Take a look at the map below and you will see how close the two beaches in Macao are and how near they are from Coloane village.
Coloane is best reached by cab from the rest of Macao. There are buses too but they will take much longer. As soon as you approach, you will feel like you stepped in a different country. Away from the busy parts of Taipa, Cotai and Old Macao, it is a green lung of hills and a village-like feel.
There are only two beaches in Macao and they are near each other in Coloane, Cheoc Van Beach and the well-known black beach of Hac Sa.
Cheoc Van Beach in Macao
Cheoc Van Beach, meaning Bamboo Bay in Chinese, is a picturesque golden sand beach located on a small bay which comes with tree shade and a lifeguard on duty. The half moon shape and the trees give this beach a cozy feel.
The beach has public toilets and changing rooms and there are also BBQ pits you can use. Some parts of it are very narrow from erosion, but there are scenic boulders for pretty pictures. At one end of the beach you will find a pousada and on the other the public pool.
If you want to enjoy the nice setting and be close to the sea but dread the sand getting stuck on your body everywhere (like me!) the Cheoc Van Swimming Pool is a good alternative. It is public and has been open in the summer months since 1985 for a fee. The pool is located right above the beach and sandwiched between the mountains. It has plastic chairs, sun loungers and umbrellas.
If you get hungry, there are a few stalls available or you can enjoy authentic wood-fired pizzas from La Gondola which has a pleasant outdoor terrace. Make it a weekend getaway by staying at the friendly Pousada de Coloane Beach Hotel.
The beach here can be reached on foot from Coloane Village where you can find the original and first egg tart store, Lord Stow’s. While the egg tarts are delicious no matter where you buy them, enjoying them at the village where they started is extra nice, especially since Coloane Village offers a glimpse into Macao’s tranquil village life, something you won’t find anywhere else.
Hac Sa Beach in Macao
This is the longest of the two beaches measuring 1km and so even in the summer months you don’t feel crowded.
The name comes from the Chinese words for black sand and as expected, the sand is blackish. And I say that because you should not go expecting pitch black. The dark colour comes from the minerals in the water but is not as dark as other volcanic beaches in other parts of the world like Hawaii which are entirely dark, the colour of lava. The sand used to be darker before but because of erosion and the action of the many typhoons that hit Macao, the Government was forced to top it up with more sand in a golden color so the result is a mixture of golden and black sand.
The beach is well established and popular with locals and families so there are plenty of activities, especially in the summer months. In the winter everything is muted as the area goes back to the locals and has a quiet seaside town feel.
You will find lots of stalls and restaurants along the short promenade on one end and water sports to get the whole family busy. There are also BBQ pits with stone benches and tables.
The most well known restaurant in the area is Fernando’s which gives a reason to come visit even if you don’t plan to spend time on the beach. The other option is Miramar, half way along the beach, which has a quaint outdoor area. They both serve Portuguese food with some Macanese touches.
If you want to make a day out of it and explore the surroundings beyond the water and the sand, other outdoorsy activities in the vicinity include the tougher 8km hiking trail, the reservoir walk, or the fitness walk which has various fitness stations along the way.
Another great way to complement a visit to Hac Sa Beach is the Hac Sa Reservoir Country Park. In the park, you will be able to rent pedal boats and BBQ pits. For children, there is also a Happy Farm where they can learn how to grow vegetables. If you want to stay the night there is a campsite too.
If you are looking for a beach getaway in Macao you can have just that by staying at the Grand Coloane Resort which is right at one end of Hac Sa Beach. This is also the only beach resort in Macao and the only way to have instant beach views. Or you can also come here for lunch before or after some beach activity, their dining options are great and open to non-guests.