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Macau Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in Macau

Macau is a popular shopping destination due to its free port status: there is no sales tax. Common buys include jewellery (particularly gold), Chinese antiques, porcelain, pottery, electronic gadgets, cameras, watches and beading work. For foodie treats, try dried seafood, abalone (which is something of an acquired taste), pastries or Portuguese wine – in particular vinho verde, literally ‘green wine’ and drunk while it’s very young. Chinese herbs and medicines are also widely available, although it’s important to be aware of what you are buying – some traditional remedies are made from endangered animals, and quite apart from any moral objections, it may be illegal to import them into another country.

There’s plenty of variety when it comes to places to shop. Several glitzy luxury goods malls have sprung up around several of the new casino resorts, including Wynn Macau and The Venetian. A rather more down-to-earth shopping experience can be had at the Red Market on the corner of Avenida Horta e Costa and Avenida Almirante Lacerda. It’s a three-storey building selling mostly food but also some clothing. There’s also a street market running from the Red Market through the Three Lamps District (also known as Sam Jan Dang). The stalls sell mostly clothes and fabrics. The best-known gold shops are along Avenida do Infante D Henrique, Avenida Horta e Costa and Avenida Almeida Ribeiro. For porcelain, try Rua de São Paulo.

Macau also has some good street markets. There’s a daily flea market in the lanes around Rua das Estalagens, near the ruins of St Paul's Church, as well as one every Sunday in Taipa Village between Bombeiros Square and Camões Square. These can be good for handicrafts, clothes and souvenirs, but always bargain over prices. There is an Artisan's Fair every Saturday evening in Santo Agostinho Square.

Shopping Note

Bargaining is expected. For antiques, gold and jewellery, use officially-recommended shops; always ask for a warranty and receipt.

Shopping hours

Generally daily 1000-1900, though some of the new luxury brand malls are open until 2100. Some shops may close on the first day of every month.

Nightlife in Macau

For many visitors, gambling is the big attraction in Macau. Casinos are open 24 hours, providing baccarat, blackjack, roulette and Chinese games like fantan and dai-siu (big and small) in surroundings ranging from slightly seedy to spectacular. Most nightlife is centred on the main hotels and casino resorts, many of which have nightclubs with cabaret, Portuguese folk dancing, dance bands and discos. Nightclub music often has Asian touches, with international pop sung in Cantonese, Mandarin, Thai and Japanese.

Outside of this, a lively bar strip has developed along Avenida Dr. Sun Yat-sen, near the Kun Iam Statue, with many bars offering live Filipino cover bands each night. Alternatively there are great views from Sky21 (www.sky21macau.com), the bar on the 21st floor of the AIA Tower which also has a restaurant, dance floor and alfresco deck. There are also some popular bars on Taipa island, opposite the Macau Jockey Club. For nightclubs, which typically get going around midnight, try the Outer Harbour or Fisherman’s Wharf.

For international films, try the Cineteatro de Macau on Rua de Santa Clara. The Macau Cultural Centre shows art house and classic movies during a series of film festivals, which take place between September and December.