Flying across the world can be tiring, so why not rejuvenate with a bit of retail therapy? A quick stopover in Singapore will sort your shopaholic urges much better than an in-flight catalogue.
As one of Southeast Asia’s top fashion capitals, Singapore has more malls per square mile than any other country. That said, a few days is all you really need to scratch the surface of the island nation’s shopping scene: especially when you have our tips on the best places to splash your holiday money.
Discover a shopper’s paradise on Orchard Road
Orchard Road is Singapore’s most famous shopping street. It’s home to glamorous malls like Paragon, as well as small boutiques, flagship stores and the iconic department store TANGS with its pagoda-inspired building. The street is just over a mile long, so you could easily spend a whole day nipping in and out of shops.
This year the stylish ION Orchard mall is celebrating its tenth birthday. A real Orchard Road staple, it has a good mix of high street brands like Topshop, Zara and Uniqlo as well as more high-end labels like Armani, Louis Vuitton and Prada. When you’re finished shopping, head up to ION Sky on the 56th floor to enjoy sweeping views across the city to enjoy sweeping views across the city.
You’ll discover some of the best local fashion under one roof at Design Orchard. The ground floor showcases the work of more than 60 Singapore designers, with everything from scented candles to high-fashion swimwear and cute knick-knacks for your home.
Go window shopping at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Part of the sprawling Marina Bay Sands complex, this exceptionally posh mall is a must-visit for window shoppers and fashion lovers. It’s just across the road from the iconic Marina Bay Sands building – the three skyscrapers connected by a boat-shaped structure on the rooftop, an instantly recognisable feature of the Singapore skyline.
There are 270 shops to visit covering a variety of retail experiences, from unique souvenir shops to the best of local and foreign designer labels. Fans of haute couture will find plenty to drool over, especially as the mall is home to one of the world’s largest Louis Vuitton boutique – it’s second in size only to the brand’s Champs-Élysées store in Paris.
The Shoppes is also family-friendly, offering more than a dozen kids’ clothing brands and six comfortable family rooms where you can relax with your little ones and attend to their needs.
Once you’ve finished shopping, you can take a gondola ride along the indoor canal or cool off at the indoor ice rink. Otherwise you can head to the food court, where you’ll find restaurants run by celebrity chefs – Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen and Wolfgang Puck’s Cut are just a few of the options.
Find off-the-beaten-path bargains
After exploring the luxury stores of Orchard Road and Marina Bay, head into Singapore’s neighbourhoods for a more local experience.
In the heart of what was once Singapore’s red light district, Bugis Street Market is a hive of shopping activity. There are more than 800 stalls and shops to explore, all selling a range of weird and wonderful goodies. Bargain-hunting Singaporeans and tourists rub shoulders as they browse the racks which spill out onto the streets, selling everything from clothes and cosmetics to electronics and stationery.
Haji Lane is the place to go for boutique shopping. It’s in the hipster hotspot Kampong Glam neighbourhood – you’ll want to snap some photos in front of the colourful, art-adorned walls. Pick up some custom flip-flops at Ficklestore – you can pick your own base, strap colour and embellishments. At Hygge you’ll find cute lifestyle pieces and artwork, while the Drunken Balloon is the place to go for retro board games.
If your jetlag gives you the urge to go shopping at 2am, no worries. Little India’s bustling Mustafa Centre is open round-the-clock. Although it’s actually two department stores joined together, it has the vibe of an outdoor market. It’s a really eclectic place – you can expect to find eye-popping costume jewellery and hand-made handbags among racks of fast fashion, household appliances and fresh fruit.
Make one last shopping stop at Jewel Changi Airport
Even airport shopping in Singapore is an exciting experience, thanks to the ten storey-tall Jewel Changi Airport lifestyle complex. It’s located before security, but has baggage storage and early check-in facilities so you don’t have to drag your case around the 280 shops.
Quite a few brands have chosen the mall for their flagship stores – Jewel is home to Nike‘s largest shop in Southeast Asia, and the only permanent Pokémon Centre outside of Japan. There are also some excellent local shops too, like Supermama. The design store sells sophisticated ceramics inspired by Singapore.
Once you’ve spent the last of your Singapore dollars, head to the heart of the mall. This is where you’ll find the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, the 40 metre tall HSBC rain vortex, surrounded by the lush walking trails of the four-storey Shiseido Forest Valley and Canopy Park.