Singapore, among many other things, is also famous for being a shopper’s paradise. It would be interesting to note that the tiny city packs in more malls per square mile than any other country in the world, which means you have ample opportunity to splurge on a single day during your trip here. And if indoor shopping with big brands and flagship stores is not your cup of tea, don’t worry. Some of the best places to shop in Singapore come in the form of open street markets and ethnic neighbourhoods. Looking for a detailed insight? Here’s the Singapore shopping guide that will take you to the country’s best shopping arcades and popular malls, besides advising you on things to buy and best souvenirs to pick.
Surrounded by over 5000 establishment that include mega shopping malls, swanky restaurants, and high-end art galleries on both the ends, Orchard Road in Singapore doesn’t need any introduction. Named after the abundant fruit orchards, pepper farms and nutmeg plantations that once dotted the place in the early 19th century, the road is now, an undisputed shopping hub of Singapore that attracts both, locals and tourists alike. The ever-bustling arena, has to its offering, a plethora of choices ranging from younger and newer shopping arcades like ‘ION Orchard’, ‘Somerset 313’ and ‘Orchard Central’ to longstanding favourites such as ‘Tangs’, ‘Paragon’, ‘Wisma Atria’ and ‘Ngee Ann City’.
Plush interiors of these upscale shopping malls are a delight for all those on a swanky budget, and leaves them spoilt for choices with their great mix of luxury designer labels and mid-range fashion brands. While one can easily find here some of the hottest names from the global fashion catwalk, including Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada, those looking for daily and upscale fashion staples have convenient access to brands like H&M, Mango, Zara and Topshop. Well, that is not all! As much as Orchard is a paradise for shoppers, it is also an attractive destination for foodies. The most luxuriant shopping district in the island country is home to not only a myriad of opulent cafes, bars and celebrity restaurants, but also innumerable alfresco eateries and quick bite joints that provide for that much needed break after an extravagant retail therapy experience.
Right amidst the plush and luxuriant settings of the Orchard Road, ‘Lucky Plaza’ appears like a gem of the beautiful island nation. Reminding you of an old Singaporean shopping scene, the five storied building today attracts innumerable pocket-savvy travellers and shopping aficionados looking for some great discounts and deals. Needless to say, the quaint market has been recognized as one of the top places for budget shopping in Singapore and is best known for its range of good quality products, all sold at affordable prices.
From small souvenirs and knick-knacks to reasonably priced branded electronics, apparels, sunglasses and watches, you are sure to find almost everything here. And yes, they have some good perfumes too. Watch out for the small beauty shops across the mall, which are stocked with some of the most expensive fragrances in the world, all retailed out in sample sizes. For something ‘uniquely Singapore’, ask for the orchid-infused perfumes, which are a signature of the country and make for the most memorable gift for your loved ones.
As part of the glorious skyline of Singapore, sits the iconic symbol and visually stunning ‘Marina Bay Sands Complex’. Right in the heart of the complex is ‘The Shoppes’, one of the country’s largest shopping malls, known for its high end luxury boutiques, international fashion brands and exclusive emerging labels. The plush interiors host some of the world’s priciest tags, including names like Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Saint Laurent, Miu Miu and Bottega Veneta. The Shoppes is also famed for its state-of-the-art architecture that features a futuristic design with massive glass windows, vast open patios and a central water canal running through its length. After a long hectic day of shopping, a gondola ride on this canal is a must and indeed a therapeutic and fun-filled experience. If you are someone who fancies good food, the mall is lined with a range of Michelin-Starred restaurants, enter one and savour a culinary indulgence specially curated by the country’s top celebrity chefs. Got some extra dollars to splurge? Take a trip to the in-house casino where a lovely evening awaits you with an amazing array of table games, slot machines and complimentary drink services.
Divided into four zones with more than 600 shops, ‘Suntec City Complex’ finds its name on the list of premium and elite shopping destinations of Singapore. One of the best shopping complexes in the island country, it boasts a mega shopping mall, a movie theatre, gaming arcades and plenty of flagship stores, featuring high street names to luxury designer labels. If you don’t plan to go up the Orchard Road or the Marina Bay Sands, Suntec is probably your best bet to witness a classy and upscale Singaporean shopping scene. The place also has a good mix of restaurants, from usual cafes and eating joints like McDonalds, Burger King and KFC to high-end restaurants serving a range of South East Asian cuisine. A perfect place to relax is the fountain terrace. Visit it in the evening and you will be treated to a spell-binding spectacle of the iconic ‘Fountain of Wealth’, which is all lit up with laser performances and live songs.
Snuggled in the heart of the ethnic Chinese neighbourhood of Singapore, the ‘Chinatown Street Market’ is in fact a pedestrianized mall that extends from the famous Pagoda Street all the way up to the Smith Street, encompassing Terengganu and Sago Streets in between. Lined with hundreds of colourful stalls selling everything from clothes and pottery to a range of household items, no wonder the place is a shopaholic’s delight. Looking for some of the most exotic and best things to buy during your trip here? Look out for the traditional Chinese trinkets, red paper cut-out lanterns, beautiful silk robes, handmade fans adorned with gorgeous calligraphic illustrations and impressive lacquerware, which also count amongst the best souvenirs to buy from Singapore.
For the most wallet-friendly deal, haggle with a smile and you are sure to be responded in the most cordial fashion. Well, no Shopping in Chinatown is complete without indulging in its rich gastronomic experience; a number of food stalls and hawker centres array across the Smith Street that treat you with an intoxicating aroma of their range of palatable choices. Some of the most recommended eats here include the ever-popular Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa, Bak kut Teh and the Crispy Fried Duck among various other local Singaporean specialities.
Splendid Hindu temples, bustling markets and delectable Indian cuisine, ‘Little India’ not only sits as one of the top tourist destinations but also as one of the best places to shop in Singapore. The vibrant and colourful neighbourhood is always abuzz with the activity of fortune tellers, henna designers, custom-made tailor artists and small shophouses selling everything ranging from glitzy gold jewellery, traditional temple ware and ethnic silk sarees, to an overwhelming variety of Indian groceries and spices. Perhaps the most striking feature of this gorgeous little district, is the never ending array of street vendors selling a melange of fresh flowers and jasmine garlands, a sweet fragrance of which constantly wafts in the air.
If you are someone looking for a true shopping extravaganza in this ever vibrant Indian neighbourhood, head to the ‘Little India Arcade’. Located on the corner of Serangoon Road, the complex with its bold orange façade attracts uncountable shoppers looking to splurge on a range of traditional Indian clothing, glass bangles, wooden handicrafts and colourful folk artwork. The popular ‘Moghul Sweet Shop’ is another attraction here, which is best known for its mouth-watering delicacies. Once there, you should try their spicy samosas, juicy jalebis and lip-smacking ras malai, and you are sure to be instantly transported to a food heaven.
Walking down the streets of Little India, as you reach the Syed Alwi Road, you will find yourselves surrounded with huge buildings of the famous ‘Mustafa Shopping Centre’ scattered across different corners. Considered to be a one stop shopping destination for budget travellers and almost all local Singaporeans for their daily needs, this is the place where you will find everything a wide variety of products, from clothes, electronics, utensils, footwear, homeware and jewellery, to fruits, vegetables, spices, meat and poultry. Mustafa is also probably the most ideal place to look out for best souvenirs from Singapore.
From can openers and refrigerator magnets to keychains and miniature Merlions, the list of things to buy from here is simply endless. The shopping mecca is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and if you don’t find a particular item at Mustafa, you will probably not find it anywhere else. The shopping complex also has a rooftop restaurant with the name of ‘Kebabs n Curries’ that serves delightful Asian cuisine. There is also a small café on the ground floor serving a mix of Western and Asian delights, from burgers and fries to biryani and parathas. If you are looking for foreign exchange in Singapore at best exchange rates, we guarantee, no one can give a better deal than the Mustafa Centre. It is one of the best places for foreign exchange in Singapore.
The hidden gem in the heart of Kampong Glam, the Malay neighbourhood in Singapore, ‘Haji Lane’ is yet another of the most popular places for shopping in Singapore. Offering exotic products from personalized t-shirts, quirky footwear, tribal jewellery and handcrafted leather bags, to eccentric homeware and furniture that is kind of impossible to find in conventional shopping malls, this whimsical lane makes sure you have some unique and unusual memorabilia to take home. A favourite place to grab an exceptional Singapore souvenir is ‘Eighty Two Tales’.
All those interested in exclusive and trendy clothing would also love a trip to Singapore’s pioneer in eco-fashion, the ‘Zhai Eco Collection’. Best known for its fashion wear made from home-grown bamboo-fibre, the place will instantly get you hooked to its wide array of offerings ranging from dresses, skirts, pants and tops to socks and other elegant women wear. Nevertheless, even if you don’t intend on buying anything, take a visit to this original Indie district of the country, which is peppered with chic boutiques, quaint cafes and quirky pop-up stores that provide for an unusual food extravaganza. The peculiar graffiti wall art that runs all the way up and down the famous Singapore street also surprises and delights tourists. With everything from vibrantly coloured Aztec designs to distinguishable portraits, you could spend an hour or two gazing at the fabulous artwork on display.
The quintessential Peranakan precinct, ‘Joo Chiat’ is a beloved little jewel of Eastern Singapore. Dotted with traditional two-storey terrace and shophouses alongside the chic yoga studios, hip cafes and quaint coffee shops, the place sees a massive footfall of locals and tourists alike. At every turn, you will be smitten by an example of interesting architecture and historical appeal that boasts an old-world charm.
Those looking for a retail therapy must not miss out on ‘Rumah Bebe’, the 25 years old treasure house of antiques, beautiful beaded slippers and embroidered pouches, a heirloom of Nonya craft and culture. Head to ‘Cat Socrates’ if you are keen on getting some vintage memorabilia or themed products. The whimsical destination also specialises in Singaporean literature and interesting stationary. As one of the country’s best foodie destinations, visitors travelling here are sure to be enthralled by a proliferation of eateries. Once here, don’t leave before trying the traditional Nonya delicacies, from the famous Katong Laksa to Kueh Chan, you have endless choices to choose from.
Well, one of the best things to buy from Singapore is definitely electronics. And if that is what you are looking for during your vacation in the country, ‘Sim Lim Square’ is just the perfect place for you to visit. The six-storey space is a walking distance from the Bugis and Little India MRT, and considered a one-stop destination for all your IT and electronic needs – from televisions, SLR cameras and camcorders to mobiles, tablets and laptops. While there are aplenty of authorized dealers selling globally recognized brands, it is still recommended to do your homework and check the price of the items back home to avoid being taken for a ride. Last but not the least, be prepared to haggle for the best price.
The dubbed ‘Bohemian Enclave’ of Singapore, Holland Village is where east meets the west, where European culture comes to life in a peculiar Singaporean way. The tall residential buildings in this colonial district intertwine amazingly well with the vivacity of the old open streets lined with al-fresco restaurants, hip cafes and popular lifestyle outlets. The funky and quirky boutiques here sell everything from Made-in-Asia wearables and small trinkets to artsy handicrafts and home furnishings. Looking for some unique and classy oriental inspired gifting ideas? Head to ‘Lim’s’, a hub of stylish modern furniture, accessories and home décor. From table lamps, wall hangings and photo frames to ethnic scroll paintings and silk cushion covers, you are sure to find something for yourself from their impressive collection. ‘Lorong Mambong’ is another popular boutique shop where you’ll find exclusive pottery and household items crafted from wicker and cane among other beautiful souvenirs.
Located right next to the malls of Bugis MRT Station, the ‘Bugis Street Market’ probably is one of the largest, cheapest and best destinations for shopping in the whole of Singapore. Lively alleyways of this famous shopping district are crammed with over 800 shops that sell everything from fashion jewellery, shoes, bags and cosmetics to a whole range of souvenirs and accessories. While you can buy small trinkets like fridge magnets, keychains and stationary starting at just S$1, don’t be surprised to lay your hands on a pair of trendy sunglasses only for S$10. The Bugis Street clothes need a special mention. Though not branded, you would be able to get some real good quality stuff like jeans and t-shirt just under S$20. Not to forget, bargaining is ‘THE MANTRA’ here; if you have liked an item, do haggle for it hard and you are sure to crack a deal for much cheaper than the originally quoted price. Well, not just shopping, Bugis Street is also popular for its gastronomical delights. A large number of food stals set up across the street offer a range of different cuisines, from Thai, Vietnamese and local Singaporean to Chinese and Indian.
The unrivalled fun capital of Singapore, the world popular ‘Sentosa Island’ is also one of the best places to go for a retail therapy experience. Embark on a shopping spree here visiting the country’s largest shopping mall, ‘VivoCity’. Sitting as a gateway to Sentosa, the mall consists of every kind of outlet you can think of, from retail and lifestyle stores to rooftop amphitheatre, kids’ playground, 15-screen cinema and a large number of restaurants.
The best way to get here is by MRT, where you disembark on the Harbourfront MRT Station, enjoy shopping and head to the Sentosa Island via the skytrain monorail that runs at regular intervals from Level 3, Lobby L of the shopping centre. While Sentosa is better known as a fun city with attractions like Universal Studio, Resorts World Sentosa and SEA Aquarium, the place is still great for getting your hands on souvenirs and memorabilia as a remembrance of your holidays in Singapore. Some of the best gifts you must purchase are, the Universal Studios themed merchandize and the Merlion embossed coins and toys. If you have kids, they would surely love some sweet treats from ‘Candylicious’ and the ‘Hershey’s Chocolate World’.
For most, ‘Clarke Quay’ is a nightlife hub of Singapore dotted with impressive waterfront restaurants and exciting collection of pubs & bars. But, only few know, the place offers its own share of shopping fun too. The colourful avenues of this charming riverside area bustle with several out-of-the-box fashion outlets, boutique stores and independent arts & crafts shops. A number of malls like ‘Clarke Quay Central’, ‘Great World City’ and ‘Riverside Point’ in the vicinity also keep the travellers busy with their lifestyle stores, fashion merchandize and entertainment zones. Keen to satiate that street shopper within you? Saunter through the quay’s quaint shophouses and pushcarts selling unique pottery, artistic woodcrafts and tacky jewellery.
The ‘IMM Mall’ in Jurong East is one of the largest outlet shopping centres in Singapore. A must-visit place for every shopaholic, it is dotted with over 90 factory outlets that present a wide range of premium fashion brands and popular designer labels. Some of the most sought after international names here are Charles & Keith, Pedro, Furla, Coach, DKNY, Kate Spade and Michael Kors. Other than the outlet stores, IMM also has on its offering, a great number of furniture shops. One must look out for Commune, Star Living, Grohe and Simon Gallery that provide for a wide selection of home décor and furnishing stuff. What’s more? The place is always teeming with great discounts and deals, no wonder, it’s a shopping hotspot not only for local Singaporeans but also for international tourists, who also have to their disposal, special tourist privileges and redemption policies.
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