offers great shopping for everyone. The Great Singapore
Sale from May to June, offers bargains
of up to 70% off, is almost a national obsession that attracts shoppers
from throughout the region.
Orchard Road is the main retail area and there are shopping malls on
both sides, from Lucky
Plaza at the lower end of the market to high-end shopping
at Palais Renaissance, the Hilton Shopping
Gallery and Paragon.
With its towers rising above the rest, Ngee Ann City
is the largest shopping mall of all, with more than 100 speciality
stores and its flagship Japanese superstore, Takashimaya.
The top floors of the Heeren Centre have market
stalls selling fun and novelty items. The same centre is also home
to HMV, the largest music store in the city.
Centrepoint, in the middle of Orchard
Road, is home to Robinsons, Singapore’s
oldest department store. Orchard Road does not have the monopoly
on great shopping. There are more than 120 malls and arcades in
Bugis Junction, once a transvestite
locale, has had its shop-houses renovated and integrated into an
air-conditioned complex known as PARCO and there
is a street market selling cheaper items and souvenirs. Raffles
City, at City Hall, is another popular place, with exclusive
boutiques at Raffles Hotel just across the road.
(Outram) is a colourful area of streets and alleys with a wealth
of artefacts, clothes, jewellery, food and medicines for sale behind
traditional Chinese shop-house fronts. Smith Street
and Trengganu Street are good
for cheap clothes and souvenirs. Gold, priced according to weight,
is sold in the stores crowding the People’s Park Complex,
while hawkers offer the foul-smelling durian fruit or grilled pork
to passers-by. Nearby is Yue Hwa Chinese Products, a five story
department store selling all things Chinese, while Chinatown
Point houses the Singapore Handicraft Centre.
The Majestic Theatre, a disused
venue for Cantonese Opera on Eu Tong Sen Street,
was converted into a shopping mall and managed to preserve its famous
While the major department stores and chains have fixed prices,
bargaining is de rigeur in other places and it is always good to
compare prices before buying. The Singapore Gold Circle
seal at stores is an assurance of quality and reliability has the
official thumbs up. Arab Street (Bugis) is lined
with shops offering high-quality cottons, silks, velvets and batiks.
Little India, on and around Serangoon
Road, is another area of sumptuous textiles, as well as
spices, jewellery, handicrafts and cheap Indian CDs. At the far
end of Serangoon Road is the Mustafa Centre, an
emporium selling electrical goods at fixed
prices. It offers some of the best deals in town, visitors
should check that there is a full warranty. Its popularity means
it is packed on the weekends.
Singaporeans shop at Sim Lim Square (Bugis) for
discount electronic goods; four levels stacked
with cameras, computer equipment, pirated CDs, hi-fi and video equipment.
Tourists should check for a valid warranty. Funan The IT
Mall (City Hall) is a shopping area with dozens of computer
shops on each floor at competitive prices. Across is the Adelphi
and the place to spend thousands on top-of-the-range audio equipment,
and nearby Peninsula Plaza is a favourite for camera
Some of the homes of wealthy Singaporeans are adorned with art and
antiques from all over Asia, much of which can be purchased in Singapore.
The warehouses on Dempsey Road sell Chinese and
oriental antiques, original and reproduction furniture, while the
cool Tanglin Shopping Centre (Orchard Road) has
some of Asia’s finest statues, carpets, textiles and antique
furniture. For contemporary Asian art, Art2, at
The Substation, Armenian Street, offers works by established as
well as up-and-coming local artists.
The flea markets offer a different shopping experience
and bargains and novelty items can be found by browsing through
a lot of junk. One of the best is at Clarke Quay,
3 River Valley Road, open every Sunday from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. The
flea market outside Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road,
is for fashion and opens the 1st and the 3rd Saturday of every month
from 5.00 pm to 11.00 pm. Thieves Market around Sungei
Road is open weekends from 11.00 am to 6.00, with a collection
of 2nd-hand novelty items and handicrafts.
Most stores open daily from about
10.00 am to 9.00 pm or 10.00 pm, although some boutiques
close earlier. All prices include a 4%
(GST) Goods and Services Tax, which is refundable
Airport’s Global Refund Centre on individual purchases
over S$300, or on S$300 made up of several items with a minimum
value of S$100.
Shoppers need to look for the Tax-Free Shopping logo,
complete the Global Refund Shopping cheque and
show it with their goods. Money is refunded either by cash, Changi
Airport Shopping Vouchers (where 10% will be added) or
direct transfer to a credit card or bankers cheque.