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A duty-free port, Macau has long been famous for its jewelry stores, especially those offering gold jewelry along Avenida Horta e Costa, Avenida do Infante D. Henrique, and Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro. Many Chinese consider buying gold as an investment. Market prices per tael (1.2 oz.) of gold are set daily. When buying gold or jewelry, always request a certificate of guarantee.

After gold, Portuguese wines are another good bargain, as are Chinese antiques and leather garments. In recent years, a number of fashionable clothing boutiques have opened in the center of town, similar to what you'd find in Hong Kong. More colorful are the clothing stalls near Largo do Senado square (circling the building that houses the MGTO), many of which sell overruns and seconds from regional garment factories, as well as Chinese jackets much cheaper than at markets in Hong Kong. Another colorful local shopping experience is the Red Market, on the corner of Avenida Almirante Lacerda and Avenida Horta e Costa, built in 1936 in Art Deco style and housing a lively food market daily from 7:30am to 7:30pm. A street market extends from the Red Market to Rotunda de Carlos Maia, a district popularly dubbed the Three Lamps District and a fun place to browse for cheap clothing. To reach the Red Market, take bus no. 3, 5, 8, 9, 17, 25, 26A, 32, or 33 to Mercado Vermelho.

The Taipa Flea Market is held Sundays from 11am to 8pm in Taipa Village, with booths selling traditional crafts, souvenirs, clothing, toys, and food. In Colôane Village, check out Asian Artefacts, 9 Rua dos Negociantes (tel. 853/2888 1210), which sells restored antique furniture from north China, including trunks, chests, tables, chairs, and more, as well as handicrafts from Thailand, India, and other Asian countries. It's open daily from 10am to 6:30pm and can arrange shipping.

Macau, which didn't have one department store when I first visited in the 1980s, let alone boutiques or malls, is on the verge of a shopping explosion, with most new developments tied to its gaming industry. These glitzy new shopping malls are filled with international designer names, making Macau a mecca for mainland Chinese who can window-shop in Beijing or Shanghai but purchase the same goods in Macau at cheaper prices. The first large-scale addition to Macau's shopping and entertainment scene was Fisherman's Wharf (tel. 853/2899 3300; www.fishermanswharf.com.mo), just a few minutes' walk from the ferry terminal. In Cotai, the Shoppes at Four Seasons (tel. 853/8117 7992; www.shoppesatfourseasons.com) is a luxury mall connected to the Four Seasons Hotel with more than 160 designer brands, including Chanel, Dior, Prada, and Ferragamo, but it's the nearby Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel's Grand Canal Shoppes (tel. 853/2882 8888; www.venetianmacao.com) that boasts Macau's most ambitious mall to date, with a million square feet of retail space housing 350 designer shops, designed around a Venetian theme complete with canals and gondoliers. It's just the start of many more retail complexes planned for Cotai.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.