Shopping in Macau, like the city itself, has changed completely over the past decade and while the city can offer little against the might of sister SAR Hong Kong’s shopping, the arrival of dozens of Las Vegas name hotels has also seen the opening of hundreds of luxury stores and boutiques, including the only Asian outposts of several major brands.
Macau has also been an attractive place to pick up gold at decent prices. Usually picked up and placed in the bank, the actual price will depend on the investment climate around the world but the competitive nature of the dealing here means prices are usually a decent cut cheaper than in Europe or the US.
New Yaohan Department Store
This concrete monstrosity spreads over nine stories and the tinted glass frontage gives it the retro look of a department store in 1980s Detroit. It’s not hugely better indoors with a dingy lack of natural life and window dressing dummies that look like they should have retired years ago.
Several concessions have been refitted since the department store was bought by the city’s casino consortium and what you will find is an impressive line-up of luxury brand names, including Burberry, Coach, Hugo Boss, Chanel, and much more. You’ll find New Yaohan on South Bay Commercial Road.
Grand Canal Shoppes
Macau’s biggest mall and home to the swankiest shops, the Grand Canal Shoppes, has become somewhat of a destination for shoppers from China and all over Asia. Set on the third floor of the Venetian Macau casino – the biggest casino in the world – the shops are lined up along the casino's fantastical Venetian inspired canals. With the canals plied by crooning gondola captains and the whole place decked out in faux Renaissance design, this is a shopping experience worth the experience even if you can’t afford the shopping.
The shop line-up reads like the address book of Beverley Hills and you’ll need a deep wallet for most of the purchases. The 330 shops contained inside include the likes of Pull and Bear, Zara, Vivienne Westwood, and Louis Vuitton. In the 30+ outlets in the food court, you’ll find more Asia one-offs, such as Fatburger, and if you’re staying out on the Cotai Strip, it’s a good place to pick up a cheap meal.
Red Market Macau
Less glitz and glamor than the swanky addresses above, the Red Market is a bustling wet market crammed with fruit and veg stalls, sellers with stacks of live chickens, and butchers slicing into hunks of meat. As a tourist, it’s unlikely you’ll be in the market for a bag of rump steak, but the Red Market is all about character and an opportunity to soak up the relentless bargaining, barging, and bartering that takes place. The distinctive red brick building dates from 1936 and is a fine example of Macau’s Portuguese heritage.
We only include this because someone is almost certainly sure to shove a leaflet into your hand singing the praises of Fisherman’s Wharf as soon as you step off the ferry. Don’t believe it. There are two dozen underwhelming shops, some overpriced rides, and very little else.