Best places to shop in Singapore
Put on your most comfortable shoes and have your wallet at the ready: shopping is serious business in Singapore.
- June 2018
They don’t call it Asia’s shopping capital for nothing. From small souvenirs to serious luxury goods, Singapore is custom-made for shopaholics. Even if you only want to browse, the dedication to shopping as a pastime for everyone means a fascinating variety of retail adventures, so that just looking is just as much fun as splashing the cash… almost. Read on for our top Singapore shopping picks.
You can’t miss Orchard Road. This 2.2 km mall-packed boulevard will boggle your mind with more than 20 shopping centres to choose from, so to make it easy for you we’ll give you the go-to suggestion: ION Orchard, which dominates the end of the strip with its glittery futuristic architecture. It’s a label palace with over 300 stores from mid-range to luxury, including COS, Topshop, Sephora, Gucci and Burberry.
Although there are plenty of cheap-chic stores the vibe is swanky, with flagship and concept stores and VIP clientele. Food options live up to the glitz, with ‘Singapore’s sexiest restaurant’, the Salt Grill & Sky Bar (owned by Sydney star chef Luke Mangan) on the top floor. If you’re just browsing the luxe life you can pop down to the basement food court to find plenty of cheap and cheerful options.
Bugis Street Market
If you’re limiting yourself to just one shopping experience in Singapore (almost unthinkable), you should probably make it Bugis Street Market. With over 800 stalls under one giant canvas roof, it’s the largest street market in town – huge, popular and heaving, and perhaps the cheapest place to buy souvenirs, clothes, electronic and cosmetics. You won’t find cutting edge fashion, but you’re sure to find something you like, and with t-shirts at around SGD $5 and jeans at around SGD $10, even if you don’t like it that much it’s too much of a bargain to pass up.
There are loads of food options from Japanese octopus balls to Taiwanese hot dogs, and bars that stay open long into the night. It’s a fun and friendly shopping adventure that's sure to last much longer than you planned.
Chinatown Street Market
If the days just aren’t long enough to fit in all the shopping you need to do, never fear: the Chinatown Street Market is open every night. Stretching across Pagoda, Trengganu and Sago streets, it’s a bustling jumble of stalls selling Chinese bits and bobs from traditional to tacky – silk robes, lacquerware, handmade fans, waving cats. It’s a great place to do your souvenir shopping, but remember to haggle (with a smile).
As much as the fun of souvenir shopping, this is a place to come for food. Dine on a succession of snacks from the street food carts selling fresh dim sum, crispy duck, and a huge range of cheap and tasty Chinese delicacies. Or zero in on the hawker centre on Smith Street for the best range of dishes from China, Singapore and across Asia.
The International Merchandising Mall is Singapore’s biggest outlet mall and the place to come if you have your heart set on the deal of a lifetime on a big-name brand. There are over 90 outlet stores here, from sneaker giants Asics, Adidas, Puma and New Balance, to fashion from Calvin Klein, agnes B, and Kate Spade, offering up to 80 per cent off the retail price, year round. Check the website before you go to make sure your must-have brand is represented, and expect to be shopping for last season’s gear – but at prices this low, who’s counting?
Head way out west to Jurong to find this whopping eight-story, 5.6-hectare warehouse mall that stocks everything from kitchen appliances to designer furniture to camping gear to bulk-buy Pocky sticks. You’ll get spacious aisles and cheap prices and plenty of room for the kids to run around, plus loads of choice in the food court. Check out HIP Box for quirky gifts and Style Box for fast fashion and accessories.
Not into the mall scene? Hunt down Singapore’s hipster neighbourhood, filled with independent boutiques and indie fashion, at Haji Lane in the Arab Quarter at Kampong Glam. Boutiques come and go, but expect to find vintage, locally made and unique clothes for men and women, quirky homewares and endless Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. When you’re done with shopping, jazz cafés, craft beer and cocktail bars and burger joints complete the perfect hipster vibe.
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
OK, so not many of us can afford to actually shop at The Shoppes. But it’s an unmissable Singapore spectacle all the same. This is the highest of high end: Armani, Dior, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Chanel. Even if these brands are a little outside your budget, it’s still worth coming for the spectacular architecture: giant walls of glass, vast atriums and a central canal, on which you can take a leisurely ride on a faux-antique sampan boat. There’s also a casino, plenty of celebrity-chef restaurants and a rooftop with views of the breath-taking Marina Bay skyline.