The A-Ma Cultural Village comprises a large temple complex (Tin Hau temple) and statue to A-Ma which both stand together on a hill top in Coloane.
The statue in white stone of the goddess A-Ma (the goddess of seafarers, and from where Macau gets its name) is the tallest one in the world, and can be seen for miles around from its prominent position 170m up on the hill top. It is just a short walk further up a fairly steep road from the main temple complex. The temple and statue attract devotees and tourists alike. The main complex covers 7000 m2 and stands in peaceful isolation at the top of the hill, nestled peacefully among the trees and trails that surround it. The approach to the temple is up a series of small stepped terraces, decorated with auspicious carved reliefs (including the roaring tiger, double lion, five cranes and double phoenix) leading up to the main gate pavilion.
Inside the complex is a large, open courtyard with a raised platform in the centre. Just in front of the platform is a small pond, with a statue of a turtle in the centre which carries a small bowl on it’s back.
The floor of the pond is littered with coins which visitors have tried (unsuccessfully) to throw into the bowl (I’ve tried, and failed, on a couple of occasions now).
At the rear of the complex is the main hall, comprising the alters and 3 statues. It’s fabulous inside here – with a beautifully carved wooden ceiling (no photos allowed though). But feel free to walk around and take a look.
It’s usually pretty quiet up here (due in no small part to the fact its not that easy to get to). However, it does get busier (unsurprisingly) at Chinese New Year. There’s a lot of activity, burning of incense and the main hall gets packed with people making their devotions.
There are also charms and items for sale (made/assembled by volunteers at the Temple). If you do at this time of year – pick up one of the golden wind charms for a few patacas (these are molded gold plastic hand held placards, with images of the buddha and adorned with small plastic fans that spin in the wind). I think it’s something to do with blowing away evil and making a fresh clean start for the year.
If you follow the road up past the temple – it will lead up to the A-Ma statue on the top of the hill. Notice to the side of the temple there is a small stepped stone platform that’s interesting to take a look at.
The Coloane Trail
The hill which the complex stands on is also great for walking/running, being covered in interlinking wooded footpaths, the main one being the Coloane Trail – a circular route which loops around the side of the hill, with branched paths leading off in all directions – to Hac Sa Beach, Coloane Village, the Panda Pavilion, etc.
The public bus will take you to the stop which is shared by the Panda Pavilion (Parque De Seac Pai Van). From there free shuttle buses are available which run up and down the hill every 30 minutes (from the bus stop – looking towards the hill, on the right you will see a car park area next to the large Chinese gate) – the small white shuttle buses run from here. Buses: 15, 21A, 25, 26, 26A, 50, N3 It’s also possible to walk up to the temple (some devotees do this). You can either walk up the road (be careful as there are no footpaths, but traffic is usually light and slow and there is enough space for pedestrians and cars). Be warned though – it is very steep (I’ve walked/run this route on several occasions) – so you need a certain amount of fitness not to make it a thoroughly miserable experience). If you are pretty fit though – it’s a great way to get to the temple. An even more interesting route would be to follow the woodland paths up there. You can either start the path from the Panda Park, or start on the road and then branch off to the trails when they cross the road further up (there are map boards all over the trails so it’s pretty easy not to get lost).