Hiking in Macao: A Refreshing Escape From Glitzy Casinos and Malls

Hiking in Macao: A Refreshing Escape From Glitzy Casinos and Malls

Who knew that Macao was great for hiking too? Escape into nature with the many hiking trails around Macao that are just waiting to be explored!

Mention Macao and one would immediately think of all its glitz and glamour, the constant razzle dazzle of bright lights flashing from billboards and signs of casinos scattered across the city. However, most people remain unaware that Macao is a treasure haven littered with hiking trails, where one can discover the hidden gems of this quaint little region at your own pace.

From hiking trails that bring you around to get the best views, to heritage trails that give you a grand tour as you trace back the history surrounding the area, these trails surely promise both the young and old a good time out in the fresh air. Surround yourself with lush greenery and picturesque views as you treat yourself to a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city’s casinos and malls!

Are you ready? Then lace up those hiking boots and let’s get going!

TAIPA

1. Small Taipa 2000 Circuit

Image credit: Macao City Guide

Starting Point: Estrada de Sete Tanques

Hiking tip: With equally stunning views and other fitness facilities for visitors to use, pick this route over the Taipa Grand Trail if you have lesser time and looking for a shorter hike but don’t want to miss out on that workout.

The Small Taipa 2000 Circuit got its name from the new millennium as its opening coincided with the arrival of the year 2000. To access this trail that is located on Small Taipa Hill, you will see Pou Tai Monastery at its foothill. Simply walk along Estrada de Sete Tanques until you see a staircase that will lead you to the entrance!

Hike through the narrow pathways and thick vegetation as you fully immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. You will definitely enjoy the sound of chirping birds as an accompaniment on your hike too! For gorgeous panoramic views of the surroundings, be sure to go up the stone stairways that will lead you to Northern Peak Pavilion. Here, you will be greeted with feast for the eyes as you marvel at the spectacular seascapes of Macao and the neighbouring Cotai city.

If you’re feeling up to it, have a go at the fitness facilities around the trail! There are also play areas and other amusement gardens or playgrounds for the little ones to romp around in.

2. Grand Taipa Hiking Trail

Image credit: Nature de Macao

Starting Point: Rampa do Observatório of Grand Taipa Hill

Hiking tip: Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy while you are on your hike! This trail goes past many gardens like the Jardin de Cameleiras, which are perfect spots for you to lay out your picnic mat and enjoy a delicious lunch with a view!

When in Macao, one will definitely make a visit to Taipa Island. After all, Macao’s famous attractions like The Venetian, the Parisian Macao, Macao Tower, as well as Taipa Houses Museum are located around this vicinity. Yet, many people don’t realise that one of Taipa’s best kept secrets is its scenic hiking trails, which promise breathtaking views of the island!

The trail is about 4,000m and is located at the top of Grand Taipa Hill, which just so happens to be the highest point of Taipa island! Access the main trail by taking the Estrada Padre Estevão Eusébio beside Lakeside Garden. Then walk a short distance and you’ll see the footpath that will take you to Grand Taipa Natural Park, where gorgeous panoramic sceneries await!

Look out for interesting sights like the “Coffin Rock” that is partially hidden amongst vegetation. Don’t worry if you can’t spot it at first though! Just look out for the signages around, which remind hikers not to miss out on this peculiar feature! Choose from a variety of side trails as well such as the Nature Education Walk, which features a beautiful landscape of trees and greenery, or the Ecological Walk which has a little pond that is used today as a native fish conservation zone!

Image credit: Nature de Macao

After a long walk, take a break by having a picnic at the gardens while admiring the beautiful, colourful blooms! In the Jardin de Cameleiras, there are over 18 different species of cameleiras or camellia flowers along with other different kinds of aquatic plants for visitors to admire. It’s most definitely the perfect place to take a break, breathe in the fresh air and sweet fragrance from the flowers! How’s that for a little respite away from the maddening crowds?

MACAO

3. Guia Hill Fitness Walk

Image credits: Mo707

Starting Point:  Rampa do Reservatório

Hiking tip: Don’t miss out on exploring Guia Hill and Guia fortress when you’re done trekking up Guia Hill! There is also a chapel and museum dedicated to soldiers who defended Macao that is worth dropping by.

Guia Hill is one of the untouched gems that you will find in Macao. People often flock to Macao, captivated by its glamorous and dazzling allure that more often than not, historical gems like these are left to sit alone and undiscovered. Make sure you take time to visit Guia Hill via the Guia Hill Fitness Walk! This 1,200m trail leads hikers through over 20 fitness training stations that help you work out on different physical exercise skills such as climbing, jumping and stretching!

You can also take some time to wander around the many underground passages that are found along the Fitness Walk, which are all part of a network of anti-air raid shelters that were built way back in the 1930s. They lead to various exits of the fortress, encampments and barracks, and are accompanied with informative placards as well! Other exhibits include power generators, oil tanks and ammunition depots too.

Image credit: J. Patrick Fischer

Apart from the colonial military fort, the Guia Fortress complex also comprises of a chapel and lighthouse that dates back to the 17th century, when Macao was a colony of the Portuguese empire. Did you know that this area is part of the Historic Centre of Macao, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? The Historic Centre of Macao is a collection of different locations around Macao that are testament to the city’s cultural heritage of Chinese and Portuguese roots, chosen because they were witnesses to one of the earliest encounters between the East and West! Have a rest at the quiet little café here and savour the cool breeze before making your way back down the hill!

4. Trail at Mong Há Hill

Image credit: doraemon.tvb

Starting Point: Take Avenida do Coronel Mesquita and then walk up Rampa do Forte de Mong Há

Hiking tip: This trail has multiple staircases to go downhill, some hikers may find themselves lost as they could end up in areas with dense vegetation and pathways might not be as clearly marked. As some sloping areas may be steep as well, do watch your step, or climb back up and find an alternative exit!

This hiking trail meanders up Mong Há hill to Mong Há Hill Municipal Park, which is a popular spot amongst locals for early morning exercise. The slopes on this trail are slightly steep so take your time to make your way up to the peak of the slope where you will see the fountain square. The fort at the top also promises an amazing view, find a shady spot where you can sit and watch the world go by!

There is also a fitness circuit on this walking trail, so visitors can run a few laps. After which, curious hikers can also go on to explore the other facilities surrounding the Circuit, such as the Eco-Centre and Greenhouse, which are facilities dedicated to environmental efforts, such as nature conservation and eco-education.

These facilities have cool features to check out too! For instance, the Eco-Centre has a library, reading rooms, a mini-theatre and even a experimental farm and greenhouse filled with a variety of local and imported plant species for visitors to amp up their botanical knowledge! How awesome is that?

COLOANE

5. Long Chao Kok Coastal Trail

Image credit: Nature de Macao

Starting Point: Rua de Hac-Sá Long Chao Kok

Hiking tip: Although there are railings that separate the trail from the coastal cliffs below, take care not to lean over the railings too much as they are not made very high and can be dangerous! Parents and guardians should watch out for their children and make sure that they don’t climb over!

Although Coloane Island is one of the lesser visited areas in Macao, it is rich in history and culture as one will find an abundance of attractions such as the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier, Tian Hou Temple and A-Ma Cultural Village. To turn it up a notch, why not take a walk along one of the many walking trails across Coloane? For starters, the Long Chao Kok Coastal Trail is a great trail to take. Boasting a wonderful view of the sea, visitors can also embrace the delightful sea breeze as they stroll along this 1,200m linear trail.

Watch geography lessons come alive before your very eyes as you look out for other distinct coastal features, such as the massive rock formations and interesting coastal terrain. This trail makes a good excursion route for those who enjoy nature and languid walks by the beach!

6. Coloane Trail

Starting Point: Midway of Estrada do Altinho de Ká Hó, next to the Arboretum

Hiking tip: The Coloane Hiking Trail spans 8,100m altogether, so be sure to pack enough bottled water for this long hike, even if you’re only covering a partial distance! Packing extra bottles are important as there aren’t any vending machines around along the trail.

For those who are seeking a great adventure around Coloane, then this is the trail for you! The Coloane Trail is the longest walking trail in Macao, stretching for 8,100m and circling around the hills of Coloane. These hills cross over other trails as well, so you can actually mix and match, customizing your own hiking route. With a variety of entrances and exits along the main trail, you can actually join, leave and re-join the hiking path at various locations such as Hác-Sá beach, Coloane Village and A-Ma Cultural Village. You could basically tour the majority of the whole island on foot!

Lose yourself in the mesmerizing views as you get to see views of Mainland Macao and Cotai Strip, as well as the hilly, forested areas surrounding this quiet little island. For an unforgettable experience, try stargazing at the Stargaze Terrace of Cheoc Van, which is located in the area between Cheoc Van Bay and Hác-Sá Bay. Visitors will be able to marvel in awe at the riot of stars strewn across the night sky. Other interesting features to pursue on this trail also include a steep and long stone stairs which leads to the highest hill of Macao – Alto de Coloane, as well as a famous rock feature which perches precariously at the edge of a cliff, known as “Lonesome Rock.”

7. Hác-Sá Reservoir Family Walk

Starting Point: Hác-Sá Reservoir

Hiking tip: Some of the dirt paths are not clearly marked out here and can be quite narrow at some junctions, so do keep an alert eye out while trekking and watch your step!

At 2650m long, this trail is one of the easier hiking trails around Coloane, hence being marked out as a “family walk.” The terrain is relatively flat, which makes it easy to hike and the paths are flanked with glorious greenery and a variety of flora and fauna that would make every nature lover’s heart skip a beat. This trail is certainly a good one for parents to teach their children about the wonders of nature, as there are so many species of flowers and plants just waiting to be pointed out and admired. If everyone feels up to the challenge, some parts of this trail also cross over to a fitness track so you can gear up for some exercise too!

As you go along this trail, you will see the calm waters of the reservoir. A few turns later will lead hikers to a lovely open space with lush foliage and charming wooden benches where you can sit down, take a breather and admire the breathtaking scenery. In addition, the dirt paths add on to the charm of the adventure experience too! As you finally reach the peak, savour your achievement and reward yourself with the sublime beauty of the sea and sky meeting in the distant horizon, stretching endlessly out as far as your eyes can see. Listen to the sounds of nature while watching the frothy waves lap lazily on the shores of Hác-Sá Bay. Truly a magnificent sight to behold, we say!

8. Seac Min Pun Ancient Path

Image credit: Nature de Macao

Starting Point: Entrance of Hác-Sá Village

Hiking tip: Aside from being the perfect vantage point for viewing glorious landscapes, don’t forget to bring a pair of binoculars and go bird watching at one of the numerous pavilions perched on the lofty steps of the hills!

Situated in the valleys of Coloane lies this hiking trail which winds through east and west of the island. Seac Min Pun Ancient Path is actually one of the oldest and most historic trails of Coloane itself! In the olden days, it was a tedious route used by the locals as a means of getting from one point to another to exchange goods. Today, hikers are able to troop through the terrain almost effortlessly as the ground is most certainly flatter, with clearer pathways.

Image credits: Nature de Macao

This path is unique because it is dotted with a number of cute little hut shaped lookout points like “Little Butterfly Valley” and “Sunset Mountains.” Take a break than at one of these resting points where you will be granted amazing views, and also if you’re lucky, get to see some rare species of plants and birds! There are also interesting rock features with intriguing names like “Stretching Wall” and “Lying Whale” that are scattered throughout the trail too! How cool is that? Taking your time to admire these quirky little features will surely make your trek an unforgettable experience!

To conclude your hike with a bang, why not head to Seac Pai Van Park, where the Macao Giant Panda Pavilion lies. Catch a glimpse of the two adorable pandas as they chew on bamboo shoots or laze around, and you’ll find yourself melting at this immensely loveable sight. The park is also the starting point for two more trails, the Seac Pai Van Nature Walk and the the Seac Pai Van River Ecological Trail should you want to explore the area even more!

So there you go! Plenty to pick and choose according to what you’d like to see and experience on your hike! After spending days in the casinos and malls, we are sure that nothing can be better than giving your eyes a break from the bright lights and feasting on these perfect views instead! A workout while on holiday? Check! Talk about the perfect vacation!


Brought to you by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).

About Author

Beatrice Tan
Beatrice Tan

Beatrice absolutely loves stargazing and often fantasises about going into space one day. However, since she won’t be an astronaut anytime soon, her heart is set on being a globetrotter instead. She is always craving for a new adventure, and believes that travel nourishes the soul. You can most likely find her traipsing around the museum, or in a quiet café with her nose buried in a book, and a soy latte in hand.

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