Shopping in Singapore - From High Street to Local Boutiques

Singapore is the hub of finance and global commerce, has a thriving economy, and a good quality of life. But there's more to Singapore than meets the eye. Being a former colonial state, the now sovereign state has a rich history. It is home to people of multiple cultures and witnesses a flock of tourists, who come here to explore its food, temples, or green spaces. One thing Singapore is known for is its capitalism. One can find here high fashion brands as well as equally talented local independent designers. It has a host of vibrant markets where you might end up finding some hidden gems.

While the shopping scene in Singapore might not match the edge of Hong Kong or Bangkok, it is no retail slump. Singapore's iconic malls come in all shapes and sizes. Those looking for high-street chains and decadent couture, head to these places for shopping in Singapore:

1. Orchard Road

Orchard Road, Shopping in Singapore
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Now home to high street brands, nightspots and a range of restaurants and bars, Orchard Street was once a road that opened up to a vast expanse of fruit, nutmeg and pepper plantations. It is a 2.2 km stretch in the city centre of Singapore and attracts a majority of the tourist population. It is easily accessible by train or bus. This 150-year-old street is now a hub for shopping in Singapore, marked by shopping malls, designer showrooms, art galleries and global retailers like Zara, Abercrombie and Fitch, Forever 21, etc. A must visit is TANGS departmental store, the oldest one in Singapore and credited for popularising Orchard Road by opening their store here in the 1950s.
Address - 437 Orchard Road, Singapore
Timings - 9:30 AM to 10:30 PM

2. Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands, Shopping in Singapore
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Marina Bay Sands is another tourist attraction where one can find high-end brands. It is home to one of the biggest luxury malls called The Shoppes. Here you can find big designers like Tom Ford, Burberry and jewellery shops and beauty outlets. If you are looking to splurge, this is the place for you. Even if you're not keen on shopping in Singapore, this place is a visual treat due to its unique architecture. It houses the first floating Louis Vuitton store.
Address - 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore
Timings - 10:30 AM to 11:00 PM

3. Little India

Little India, Shopping in Singapore
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Little India is a street in Singapore lined with shops selling antiques, spices, jewellery, traditional clothing, sari fabric, etc. You can spend hours here, going through the vibrant lanes surrounded by various tourists. Little India houses the shopping nirvana Mustafa Centre where one can find electronics, groceries, gold jewellery, ethnic jewellery, etc at comparatively less expensive prices. One of the main attractions is the gold jewellery and the local souvenirs. The place is packed every day, especially on Sunday and if you look hard enough, you might end up finding some hidden gems.
You can also find a wide array of saris at Tekka Centre.
Timings - 24 hours, every day
Address- 145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207704

4. Chinatown

Chinatown, Shopping in Singapore
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Chinatown is a very popular and one of the best destinations for shopping in Singapore. It is a street where you will find lanes and lanes lined with shops selling clothes, souvenirs, spices, all at throwaway prices. Chinatown has a rich history and today one can find here almost everything. Some shops that are unique to this place include Tea Chapter, a teahouse where you can sit, learn about the art of tea making and actually sip on some freshly brewed tea. If it's to your liking, you can purchase some and grab tea sets as souvenirs. In 1989, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited this place. Other places are Ming Fang Antique House where you can come across some unique antiques and Ann Siang Road which is popular for its boutiques.
Timings - 11:00 AM to 10:30 PM

5. VivoCity Mall

Budget Shopping in Singapore VivoCity Mall
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The VivoCity Mall is named Singapore's largest shopping mall because of the plethora of experiences where one can shop, eat and also catch the latest movies in the country's largest multiplex. A seven-storeyed wonderland for shoppers, this mall houses some of the world's top mid-range brands and the broadest range of stores and experiences one can have in one stop. And after a tiring day of shopping, have a relaxing meal at the cafes in the mall that overlook the harbour.
Location: 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore
Timings: 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM

6. Bugis Street

Bugis Street, Shopping in Singapore
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As the name suggests, Bugis street is a lane in Singapore which is visited by many for its shops selling eccentric clothing items. It is one of the biggest streets for shopping in Singapore and also the cheapest. Here you will come across thrift shops and Korean centric stores where you can find some timeless fashion pieces. There are around 800 shops under one roof where selling everything from postcards to a pair of jeans, all at a bargain. It is easy to spot as it is popular among locals.
Address - 4 Bugis Street, Singapore
Timings - 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM

7. Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru, Shopping in Singapore
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Tiong Bahru is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Singapore and houses some of the most trendy indie stores. This area isn't commercialized and has some interesting independent stores. Stores that are worth checking out are BooksActually for books by non-mainstream authors, Strangelets for some offbeat jewellery, stationery and gift items and Curated Records, a vinyl store selling everything from classics to the latest hits. It is perfect if the hipster in you wants to gofor shopping in Singapore!
Address - Tiong Bahru Road, Singapore
Timings - 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM

8. Haji Lane

Haji Lane, Shopping in Singapore
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Haji lane is a vibrant marketplace that attracts a flock of tourists looking to do shopping in Singapore. Haji lane is known for its range of boutiques selling vintage clothes, local designs, jewellery and vintage cameras. It is one of the narrowest streets in Singapore where you can find some quirky clothes and the latest trends. The shops in this lane are bright coloured and picturesque.
A few boutiques that you shouldn't miss out on are, Fabulous Fads which sells British inspired clothing, Dulcet Fig which is a vintage store selling hand-picked items from the 60s and 70s and Tangers which is sells Korean clothes and accessories.
Address- Haji Lane, Singapore
Timings - 12 PM to 8 PM

9. Durian Culture

Durian Culture, Shopping in Singapore
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When in Singapore, you cannot miss out on trying this 'king of fruits'. One of the chief imports of Singapore, Durian has a high demand despite its distinct odour and taste. In Singapore, this fruit is not allowed in many public spaces, including the Subway. Durian Culture is a marketplace which has been in business for 40 years. Here, you can find a wide variety of fresh durians and eat it on the spot. Be sure to put on some gloves before diving into the fruit as it helps keep the smell from lingering on your fingers.
Address - 77 Sims Avenue, Singapore 387419
Timings - Open 24 hours

10. Kampong Glam

Kampong Glam, Shopping in Singapore
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Kampong Glam is an area comprising of many of the famous lanes like Haji Lane, Arab Street, North Bridge Road, Kandahar Street. It is home to carpet shops, boutiques, and absolutely beautiful shophouses which have been recently restored. Kampung means 'village' in the local language Malay. This is a Muslim neighbourhood and is particularly famous for Persian rugs. You can find carpet shops in Arab Street selling handwoven rugs. You can also head over to Bussorah street for kebaya dresses, souvenirs and handmade perfumes.
Address - Kampong Glam, Singapore
Timings - 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM

11. Holland Village

Holland Village, Shopping in Singapore
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Holland Village is the place that sells all things Asian. Here, you can find souvenirs, carpets, clothing items, art, second-hand books and many more things which are all made in Asia. This is Singapore's Bohemian enclave and usually attracts a young crowd. It is especially a great place for handicrafts and art. It has a laid-back vibe, which is the charm of this place. The places where you can shop from are Holland Road Shopping Centre, Holland V Shopping Mall, and the four main streets. Lim's Arts and Living is a great store for buying some souvenirs and gifts.
Address - Holland Avenue, Lorong Mambong, Singapore
Timings - 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM

Pro-Tips for Shopping in Singapore

  • Some stores in the bigger malls offer a discount of 10 to 15 per cent for the bigger spends, so it's always worth asking

  • While shopping at the local markets, it's good to know the price of the items, then browse and compare

  • Prices at most of the places are usually fixed, except at local markets. If looking to bargain, do so good-humouredly

  • Returns are generally not accepted

  • The returning visitors often a 7% GST refund on the purchases under these conditions:
    1. A minimum spend of $100 at the same shop in one day for no more than 3 purchases
    2. Have a copy of eTRS ticket (Electronic Tourist Refund Scheme) issues by the shop of purchase
    3. Scan the eTRS ticket at self-help kiosks at the airport or cruise terminal to know if inspection of goods is required. In such cases, present the items with the original receipt and the boarding pass at Custom Inspection Counter
There are many places where one can go shopping in Singapore. If your one of the reasons for visiting Singapore is shopping, May to July is an ideal time as this when the Great Singapore sale takes place. Otherwise, except for high-end brands, many of the places mentioned above usually sell items at inexpensive prices. So, the next time you plan a trip to Singapore, do not forget to pack an extra bag.

This post was published by Akshita Rawat

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