Orchard Road is every serious shopper's first port of call. The most popular shopping district in Singapore, it is the haven of every luxury brand you can think of. Orchard Central, Ngee Ann City and The Paragon are but a few examples of high-end shopping malls along this area. Opulent and grandiose in their architecture, Orchard Road's malls house the best finds of various luxury items such as, but not limited to, Coach, Louis Vuitton and Prada.
A shopping district as large as Orchard is hardly confined to only luxury goods though - young adults will want to check out Tangs Plaza, Far East Plaza, and the four basements of Ion Orchard, which cater to a wide group of demographics and tastes. The departmental stores in Orchard are almost synonymous with the malls they occupy and carry an incredible range of products spanning multiple floors. While not as popular as before, Robinson's (Centrepoint), Isetan (Wisma Atria) and Takashimaya (Ngee Ann City) are still favorites for the older generation of Singaporeans.
Also, on the pedestrian street, look out for vendors selling ice-cream in biscuits and colored bread - a mainstay of Orchard Road, they offer a cheap and sweet break from shopping.
Aerial view of Orchard
Bugis is the place to go if you are looking for cheap bargains. The main mall in the area, Bugis Junction, has a wide of range of fashion apparel and accessories for low prices situated right next to the city area. A highlight of the mall are the air-conditioned streets with Peranakan (Straits Chinese) -styled shophouses (seen below) with many street stalls selling souvenirs, snacks, and other goods.
Just opposite Bugis Junction is Bugis Street, a bustling maze of alleys frequented by Singapore's youth. Here you can find trendy clothes and souvenirs at very cheap prices, but prepare to sweat it out amongst the crowds. For those willing to venture further, head to the ethnic districts of Kampong Glam, a traditionally Muslim quarter of the city. Here'll you find a gem in Haji Lane, where local independent fashion boutiques and quirky little shops offer a unique shopping experience. It has in recent years emerged as a prominent location for both second-hand clothing and trendy street fashion, featuring the works of both local designers and imported wares from Japan and the States.
Bugis Junction at Christmas
Bugis is just a short walk away from the colonial district and city area. Just outside City Hall MRT is the Raffles City Shopping Centre, which is linked via the Citylink Mall to Suntec City, Marina Square, and the Esplanade Mall. If you're looking for something different, the Esplanade is an ideal destination to shop for tasteful gifts and crafts.
The Shoppes @ Marina Bay Sands is an upscale mall at the iconic Marina Bay Sands complex, where shoppers can delve into an eclectic mix of cutting-edge, emerging labels and international luxury brands, as well as innovative entertainment options including Sampan rides along the canal flowing through the mall and an indoor skating rink.
Finally, another popular shopping destination in Singapore is the mega mall VivoCity. Not only can you feast your eyes on a great view of the southern waterfront, but there is an incredible number of boutiques, international fashion retailers, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment all packed within one complex. Vivocity is also very family-friendly, with a big playground in the centre of the complex and kid pools on the rooftop to play in. While you're there, don't forget to take a quick break at the open-air rooftop yourself or dine al fresco at the waterfront boardwalk below.
Escalators abound at Vivocity
If you already have something in mind, be it the pair of shoes you've been eyeing since last month, or the Audemars Piguet watch you want to get for your boyfriend, or even that new iPad for your parents - then check out our guides for recommended places for shopping by category.
If you are looking for other products other than shoes, clothing and accessories:
Shopping for fragrances and cosmetics
If you are looking for a higher-end shopping experience for fragrances and makeup, visit a departmental store with a whole floor dedicated to cosmetics such as Isetan (Various outlets at Orchard), OG at People's Park (Og Bldg, 100 Upper Cross Street, 050360 nearest MRT is Chinatown) and Ngee Ann City (391B Orchard Road nearest MRT station is Orchard). The DFS Galleria (25 Scotts Road) is also a very popular spot for tourists to purchase perfumes and scents.
If you are looking for more exotic and economically priced scents, do drop by Kampong Glam.
Shopping for electrical appliances
The Funan DigitaLife Mall (109 High Street, nearest MRT station is City Hall) has everything you will need- it is Asia's leading IT mall and contains the biggest selection of high-quality gadgets. Also don't miss Best Denki, with 9 retailers around Singapore, the flagship store being at Ngee Ann City.
If you're willing to duke it out for a bargain, however, you may want to venture to Sim Lim Square, notorious for its confusing array of electronic shops which may be of questionable legitimacy. Seasoned consumers, however, will enjoy the considerable variety of goods on offer and have fun searching and bargaining for the best price. Tip: avoid the shops in the first and second floors, as they are likely to overcharge tourists.
Shopping for souvenirs
The best souvenir shops would be those in key attractions such as Resorts World Sentosa and Chinatown. Apart from finding many Singapore-themed postcards, stamps, utensils and T-shirts, you will be able to see the best door gifts such as wallets, watches and luggage tugs. For those looking for something less touristy, the Singapore Handicraft Centre in Chinatown is an ideal destination for authentic and delicately made products.
During the Great Singapore Sale, you would want to stay in a comfortable hotel located near the shopping district to minimize travel time. The hotels near the town area are generally luxurious, ranging from four to five stars in rating, the most prestigious being the Shangri-La Hotel (22 Orange Grove Road, 258350 , nearest MRT station Orchard) and the Fullerton Hotel (1 Fullerton Square, 049178 nearest MRT Raffles Place). A number of top hotels are also offering promotions in conjunction with the GSS.
If you're on a budget, hostels in the city have also become stylish but affordable options to stay in, and are also great places to meet fellow travellers.
You can view our comprehensive Great Singapore Sale guide here!