Macau is a place where you can purchase almost anything, and have a wonderful time doing it. Luxury items are cheaper here than in other cities in the region. Jewellery (particularly 24-carat gold), cameras, porcelain, electronic items, mobile phones, watches, cashmere sweaters and silk clothing are available at very reasonable prices.
It is also a great treasure trove for Chinese antiques and collectibles. You can find here ancient coins, 19th century stocks and shares, stamps and other printed material (Rua das Estalagens and Rua da Tercena); boxes of tea (Rua Cinco de Outubro) and coffee from around the world (Estrada do Cemiterio and Avenida do Coronel Mesquita); traditional shops where tea is displayed in wooden drawers and glass goblets; and countless old Chinese Pharmacies packed with traditional medicines (Rua de S.Paulo and Rua de Pedro Nolasco da Silva). These are just a few examples to illustrate how adventurous and fascinating shopping in Macau can be. Now it's up to you to explore.
Where to Buy
Flea Markets and Night Market
The most popular flea market in Macau is near St Paul's but a little off the beaten tourist path. Follow Rua de São Paulo to Rua das Estalagens and turn down the hill to the next narrow street. Go past the shops selling antiques, the tailor shops, and other small shops until the road reaches a fork.
Another flea market operates around Hong Kung Temple, located at the heart of the old Chinese Bazaar, between Rua Cinco de Outubro and Rua Guimarães.
To get the feel of a real hometown market, go to the square beside the Cinema Alegria (Joy Cinema) on Estrada do Repouso on a weekend evening, where a night market is organised by the local neighbourhood association.
The Best Neighborhoods to Shop:around the Senado Square and the Red Market
Senado Square is the location of one of the newest municipal markets. On Avenida Almeida Ribeiro and the narrow streets leading off the main square you'll find a wealth of inexpensively priced goods of all kinds.
Clothing is the biggest item here, and you'll find vendors specializing in locally manufactured baby clothes, undergarments, shoes, and accessories, as well as jeans, sweaters, T-shirts and sportswear in all sizes and styles.
Nearby, the Sun Star City, on Rua de Pedro Nolasco, and Sportstar, a two-storeyed arcade of specialty shops on Rua da Palha, offer a wide variety of clothing, watches, and stylish accessories like sunglasses, handbags, shoes and novelty items.
On the other side of Avenida Almeida Ribeiro is a shopping area for the more adventurous. Follow Rua do Dr. Soares uphill behind the Civic & Municipal Affairs Bureau building until you reach Rua da Felicidade. Turn right and continue down past the restored 19th century shophouses in Felicidade, once a thriving red-light district. This is a fascinating place to browse among shops selling jewellery, curios, dried beef and even live snakes.
The Red Market is located on the corner of Avenida Almirante Lacerda and Avenida Horta e Costa.The market bustles with business as vendors sell food of every conceevable kind.
Avenida Horta e Costa is a long shopping street that begins at the Red Market and extends as far as the Flora Gardens beneath Guia Hill. The avenue has several up-market shops specializing in, among other things, clothing and shoes, electronic items and cameras. But the best bargains are found in the streets surrounding the avenue. The historic "Three Lamps" (Rotunda Carlos da Maia) and surrounding narrow streets are full of tiny shops selling many kinds of goods at bargain prices.
Islands' Weekly Fair
The Islands' Weekly Fair takes place every Sunday in a picturesque area of Taipa Island, between Bombeiros Square and Camões Square in the heart of the old village.
There are many booths selling traditional crafts and souvenirs, food and beverages, brand items and trifles, clothes, toys and other products. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., while the Fair takes place, there are cultural and recreational events at Maia de Magalhães Square.
There are convenient car parks in the surrounding area, and for those using public transportation, the following buses are available: 11, 22, 28A, 30, 33 and 34, from Macau, and 15 from Coloane.
Museum Shops for Only-in-Macau Items
If you are looking for souvenirs that could only come from Macau, the museum shops are a good place to look. The Grand Prix Museum has some wonderful books, videotapes and other items connected to Macau's most important sporting event, and the world's foremost Formula 3 competition.
Other Museum shops, like the one at the Macau Museum, have a variety of souvenirs, many of them charmingly handcrafted and unique to Macau. The Maritime Museum offers fascinating books, and imaginative gifts like model kits for the unique "lorchas" that plied the waters around Macau in earlier times, and other beautifully designed souvenirs with a nautical touch.
Cultural Club is housed in an authentic old pawnshop (an valuable historic & cultural heritage) on San Ma Lo in the centre of Macau. It consists of five parts, the first and second parts are the "Pastry Gallery"and "Arts Plaza" with the souvenirs, postcards, fine arts, clothes and accessories. The third part namely "Jin Yong Library" where the famous Jin Yong specialized novels are housed. Inside the library, the fourth part namely "Water-Teahouse"provides a comfortable resting place for visitors and tourists to take a rest. The fifth part is the "Cultural Exhibition hall". Painting, fine arts, Chinese folk arts exhibitions are held regularly.
What to Buy
Clothing - discount stores
Macau has more than a few hundred functioning garment factories, and most of these produce clothing for markets in Europe, the US and Australia. Overruns and seconds are to be found in shops and market stalls, at prices a tiny fraction of what they are in the world's leading boutiques. The range of clothing is enormous, however the most readily available are jeans, children's wear and sports clothes.
You can also find dressy jackets with Mandarin collars and frog fastenings in a wide variety of interesting and attractive fabrics at the markets around São Domingos near Senado Square, and in the Three Lamps district (Rotunda de Carlos da Maia) near the Red Market.
Furniture and Antiques - authentic or reproductions
There are many excellent shops selling authentic antiques and fine reproductions all over Macau, and in Coloane village, but the most convenient area is bounded by Rua de São Paulo, Rua das Estalagens, and Rua Stº António, all in the neighbourhood of St Paul's at the foot of Monte Fort.
Portuguese Wines - excellence at reasonable prices
The delights of Portuguese wine could fill a book, but for a brief introduction, visit the Wine Museum in the Tourism Activities Center before setting out to buy them. All supermarkets, and even the smaller grocery stores in Macau display many different kinds of Portuguese wine at prices ranging from about MOP$30 for an ordinary table wine to several hundred for a fine aged Port.
Art - galleries and shops
Macau has many resident artists and their work can often be admired at local galleries. Temporary exhibitions open to the public are held at the Civic & Municipal Affairs Bureau, Casa Garden, the ground floor of the Ritz Building, on Senado Square, and the Tourism Activities Centre.
Works shown at these exhibitions are usually for sale. Traditional Chinese paintings can be found at Chinese arts and crafts stores, and the one on Avenida Almeida Ribeiro near the Senado Square has a wide selection of these to choose from. For older works of art, browse through the selections offered at several shops on Rua de Stº António.
Gold is available in many grades in Macau, and is imported dutyfree, so can be an exceptional bargain. Silver, pearls, precious and and semi-precious stones are also dutyfree and available in abundance. In fact, the selection is limited only by the amount you want to pay.
There are many reputable jewellery shops near the Lisboa Hotel, on Avenida Almeida Ribeiro, and on Avenida Horta e Costa. It is always a good idea to shop around and compare prices before making a high-priced purchase. Ask for a warranty card for jewellery and gold items and be sure to keep your receipts.
Traditional Chinese Delicacies
There are very few neighbourhoods in Macau where you won't find numerous shops selling dried meat and seafood, herbs and other traditional Chinese foodstuffs and medicines.
Dried sharks' fin, mushrooms, shrimp, abalone and scallops can be found in the most popular shopping areas, like Avenida Almeida Ribeiro and Avenida Horta e Costa. The streets around Rua da Felicidade have more than their share of shops selling dried meat, and the best ones are easy to find; just follow the delicious aroma.
Cakes and Cookies
Taipa Island is famous for its traditional cookies, and in the old village there are shops that have been baking and selling the same fragrant sweet morsels for generations. In Macau you may find pastry shops at the Av. Infante D. Henrique, Av. D. João IV , Travessa de S. Domingos, and along Rua de S. Paulo, near St. Paul's. Many other delectable confections found in local shops make good presents with the "taste of Macau" for visitors to take home with them. A famous Portuguese specialty in Macau is pastéis de nata, little egg tarts, which are sold at good cafes and bakeries in the city and Coloane. They are best when eaten warm from the oven.
Duty Free and High-end-of-the-market Goods
The New Yaohan department store on Avenida da Amizade has up-market boutiques selling high quality clothing and accessories with internationally recognized labels.
Another set of luxury goods shops can be found near Fisherman's Wharf and along Avenida Almeida Ribeiro. Hotel arcades, such as the ones in the Lisboa, the Sintra, the Mandarin Oriental and the Wynn Macau are also good places to shop for high-end-of-the-market goods. In addition to brand name fashions, you'll find duty-free perfumes and cosmetics, high quality children's wear, and bargain-priced electronics.
There are duty free shops at the ferry terminal, Macau International Airport, and on the mainland side of the Barrier Gate.
Cameras and Electronic Goods
Many reputable shops and all department stores offer the latest in electronic equipment and cameras. There are two camera shops that are especially popular among visitors; one is on Avenida Almeida Ribeiro near the Senado Square and the other on Avenida Horta e Costa near "Three Lamps". Prices are comparatively low for the wide selection of high quality items in these shops. Larger shops are recommended for reliability in case of after-sale service, and it is advisable to ask for a warranty card along with your receipt. Beware of brand names you do not recognize on items in the smaller shops; they may be impossible to repair if problems occur later on.
Handicrafts - traditional arts at bargain prices
There are several shops that carry handcrafted goods from China and other parts of Asia in Macau, and perhaps the best of these is located on Avenida Almeida Ribeiro near the Senado Square.
A tiny shop selling hand crafted traditional tea utensils, clothing, and musical instruments can be found on Rua de Hong Chau in Taipa Island – it is worth a visit if only for its picturesque architecture and stone-lined rustic fountain. To discover more about the traditional Chinese tea culture, Macau Tea Culture House inside Lou Lim Ieoc is recommanded.