Singapore is a melting pot of many cultures. I decided to visit Singapore for its cultural diversity, amazing architecture, affordability and plethora of options for shopping that cater to every budget.
You just cannot go to Singapore and not shop! Here are some of the things that I noticed, tried and picked up while shopping there. Also, I’d tell you about the best places to shop in Singapore.
Merlion Statues and Products
My trip to Singapore (and yours) wouldn’t be complete without shopping for Merlion, the official mascot of Singapore. It is a mythical creature having the head of a lion and body of a fish. Singapore’s original name was ‘Singapura’ which means ‘city of the lions’.
The fish part of the merlion represents the history of Singapore as a fishing village. It has also been widely used as a logo of the Singapore Tourism Board.
A huge variety of these statues in various sizes is available all over Singapore in small and big shops. Out of keychains, fridge magnets, coasters, statues, chocolates etc, I chose to buy a few miniature Merlions.
These cost around $2 to $20.
I am among those people who have a very strong sense of smell and connect with past memories best with smell. A perfume that I used mostly while on a trip, reminds me of that place every time I use it now. Orchid is also the national flower of Singapore.
If you are also one of those people who love flowery fragrances or who loves to boast of an amazing perfume collection, get some here.
These may cost you anywhere between $28 to $168 depending upon the quantity and can be bought from Isetan and Singapore Visitor Center at Orchard Road.
Postcards & Post Boxes
I have a strong penchant for old school stuff. I love postcards, letters, postage stamps and post boxes. Emails, text messages can never compete with the personal touch that handwritten postcards have.
Buy some picturesque ones and post those to your own address at home or to your friends all around the world.
You can get these at Peninsula Plaza, in museums and stationery shops around touristy places. I love to send and receive postcards and make it a point to send these often to the people who share this feeling.
Bengawan Solo Products
Discover the traditional flavour at Bengawan Solo Shop which was founded by an Indonesian lady.
She started working from her home kitchen and soon her homemade specialties became very popular. Cakes, rolls and cookies in traditional Indonasian flavours is a local favourite here. Pandan Chiffon Cake, Kueh Lapis, Banana cake, Walnut cake, Tiger Roll, Pandan Cheese Roll, Kueh Koya, Ondeh-Ondeh.
Think it and they have it all here. Famous as the national cake of Singapore, Pandan Cake is a favourite of young and old alike.
Don’t forget to try it.
The price for most of the products range between $2 and $80.
Due to the love for Orchid flowers, one gets to see it in many various forms all around. There are candles, jewelry, decorative pieces.
If you are obsessed with flowers, make it a point to visit Gardens Shop (stores located at Nassim Gate, National Orchid Garden and Tanglin Gate).
Colorful silk scarves with flowery prints, Coaster sets, mugs, handheld fans, bookmarks, keyrings, umbrellas, notebooks, Orchid Tea collection, Orchid cookies, there are a lot of things to look around and shop. Another thing that deserves to be mentioned here is Orchid jewelry.
These products catch the fancy of women travelling to Singapore. The dainty and exquisite designs in necklaces, rings, earrings etc are very popular among the tourists.
Ever heard of jam made using coconut and eggs?
You’ll find it here in Singapore. Most of the locals in Singapore start their day with Kaya Jam toast. It is also used as a topping for desserts.
This is widely and easily available in the markets.
Price of a jar can be anywhere around $3 to $8.
Laksa Paste is used in preparing soups and curries. It is made up of lemongrass, dried chillies, spices, laksa leaves, shrimp paste etc. This can be bought at any departmental store, supermarket or Changi Airport Souvenir shops.
This would cost around $3 to $8.
Famous as the national drink of Singapore, Singapore Sling is a gin based cocktail that was invented by a bartender working in Raffles Hotel Singapore in the early 1900s.
Commonly, the ingredients used for its preparation are gin, cherry brandy, Benedictine, lemon juice and pineapple juice.
It is believed it was created as a drink that looked appealing to women.
You can try it at Long Bar in Raffles Hotel and at Jamie’s Italian.
This would set you back by $30 approx.
In order to take this Singaporean drink home with you, you can buy it at Raffles Hotel souvenir shop and Changi Airport souvenir shops.
Books by the local authors
Books provide an insight into a place’s culture.
Books always top my souvenirs’ list. I never miss a chance to visit some local bookstore and find something that would help me learn more about the place.
It can be a famous classic, travel guide, book by a famous local writer or a cookbook with local recipes and pictures. Bookstores like Littered with Books and Books Actually have a great collection of books by local authors.
You own scent at SIFR aromatics
I would love to have a customised fragrance created for me exclusively. You can try this at SIFR Aromatics in Arab Street, Singapore. You need to book a personalised session for it first and also join in for Premium Perfume Workshops.
Custom Made Cheongsam for you
Wouldn’t it be awesome to flaunt some classic fashion dressed in your tailor-made Cheongsam?
Head towards Golden Scissors Cheongsam in People’s Park Complex. You can choose a fabric and print as per your liking and get the dress made for you within a week.
Charles & Keith
Homegrown brand Charles & Keith offers a wider range of products here than its outlets at places out of Singapore.
This brand has gained a lot of popularity among the locals and tourists for its great quality ‘affordable luxury’ products like bags, shoes and accessories. I’m always looking for places like this whenever I visit a new place.
When you can buy good quality at affordable prices, why look any further?
Best/Popular places for budget shopping in Singapore
Singapore is a paradise for shoppers.
You need not be filthy rich to shop here. Also you need not compromise on quality all the time to get things that fit your budget.
What you need is some good inside information about the best places to shop. Here are some of the best places in Singapore for some retail therapy.
One of the best places in Singapore for budget shopping. With hundreds of shops offering fashion clothing, accessories, shoes, bags, watches etc, this is the place to head to if you are looking for shopping but tight on budget.
Some shops have fixed prices but on many others you can try your luck at bargaining.
Here you will also find Korean products and beauty services like nail art and tattoo art. Explore at least a few shops before buying something as there is no dearth of quantity and variety here. One thing to keep in mind is that this place gets very crowded.
I like to shop at places that have some open spaces and it’s easier to move around. So, I didn’t spend much time here.
Chinatown Street Market
Now this is the right place for people who get a sense of achievement in buying things at throwaway prices.
Also a good place to put your bargaining skills to use.
Consider it a place where you can get almost everything at one place.
Here I could see clothes, accessories, cosmetics, tea, herbal stuff, calligraphy paintings, decorative items, handicrafts, bags, scarves, shoes, mobile accessories, chocolates and all that you can probably think of.
I loved exploring the quirky, unique stuff that this place offers.
If you are anything like me you’d love the experience of shopping in Haji Lane.
It’s not just about the shops or the stuff that you can buy here but the whole experience of this place.
Beautiful murals, boutiques, hip cafes and cool restaurants are what make this place popular among tourists. Eating and shopping both can be enjoyed equally at this aesthetically pleasing marketplace.
Choose this place to shop if you don’t like exploring crowded streets and want to have something good to eat in between your shopping spree. What I loved about this place is that at some shops here you can find pre-loved stuff at great prices. Just the right place for people who are inclined towards zero waste. Many people buy in bulk quantities as that means better prices!
This marketplace would make you experience a little India within Singapore. Colours, hustle-bustle, fragrance of spices and curries would capture your senses.
A mall here, Mustafa Centre, is open 24 hours so there is no issue about timing. Any time is a good time for shopping! It is a good place to buy all the knick-knacks like fridge magnets, chocolates, key chains, tea boxes etc.
For a person who feels cheated if unable to strike a bargain, this is the place to go. With hundreds of small shops, there are plenty of things that can be bought here. Exercise all the bargaining skills that you possess. If you are hunting for perfumes, clothing, accessories, cosmetics, phone accessories etc., this is the place you need to visit.
This place is a famous tourist attraction being an upscale shopping area of Singapore. This place is a shopper’s paradise with a huge number of high-end fashion stores. ION Orchard shopping mall boasts of high end brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Bottega Veneta. Don’t worry, there are more affordable options also like Topshop, Zara and H&M. Hermes flagship store is at Scotts Square. For the sports enthusiasts, you can find all your sports gear here in Pedder on Scotts in Scotts Square. Design Orchard is the perfect place if you are looking for souvenirs, apparels and accessories locally made in Singapore. Tanglin Mall seems like a perfect choice if travelling with family and kids. They have everything that one can expect from a good mall- everything under one roof. Stores offering beautiful homewares for a dream house and amazing stuff for kids and mothers.
IMM is Singapore’s largest outlet mall that houses over 90 brands like Adidas, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Reebok, Club21, Charles & Keith. A great deal is guaranteed here as some or other discount/sale is going on all around the year on these brands. Head to this mall if you love high street labels and don’t mind spending one month’s salary in one go!
Other things to buy in Singapore
Apparels, bags, shoes, phone accessories, decorative items, beauty products etc., are the things that most of the travelers buy during their visit to Singapore as they are affordable and huge variety is available. I wanted to look for stuff beyond these obvious ones. Things that I found interesting and worth having a look at are- Vintage items, eco-friendly products, and local beauty and skincare products in Singapore. These may not always be cheap, but considering the value they add, I found them worth my money and time.
A very interesting thing about shopping in Singapore is the easy availability of vintage items.
I love to have a look at such things that had been in a rage in the past. Usually the fashion from the older times comes around and why to shy away from experimenting different looks?
‘Exit’ and ‘Empire’ at Orchard Plaza, ‘Grammah’ at Haji Lane, ‘Loop Garms’ on Veerasamy Road are some of the places that deserve a visit for their unique vintage collection of clothing like t-shirts, tops, jackets, denims, sports jackets, skirts etc.
The Fashion Pulpit, Deja Vu Vintage and Dustbunny Vintage are the places where one can find high street and designer stuff like dresses, gowns and accessories.
Local Beauty and Skincare Products
Keeping it all minimalistic and simple, a local brand ‘Sigi Skin’ has only three products under their brand. Their products are loaded with superfood ingredients that help in keeping skin supple and youthful.
Another brand that I found quite interesting is ‘Sen Natural’. Their lipsticks are considered edible. Well, not actually edible but they are free of any harmful ingredients so in case you do so by any chance, there’s nothing to worry about. Now this is a product that I would love to try!
‘Want Skincare’ is an ethical brand that champions sustainability. The products are handmade using botanical oils and minerals.
Eco friendly shopping in Singapore
For people who believe in eco friendly, sustainable fashion and want to support the local artisans, go for the brands like Matter, August Society, Ong Shunmugam. These brands are connected with their artisans, origin, and promote traditional techniques with a modern outlook.
‘August Society’ turns recyclable material into apparel through a sustainable production process.
‘Eco.Le’ is a small store that advocates zero waste and plastic free lifestyle. I loved their personal care products. The best thing about buying such stuff is that you can shop as much as you want without guilt.
I also came to know about an interesting place called ‘The Social Space’, located at Kreta Ayer Road. It is a socially conscious store that features a tea bar and cafe, and a nail salon. It also offers refillery of personal care and household products.
‘Amado Gudek’ creates sustainable jewelry using eco-friendly bioresin and eco-materials. Every piece created here is handmade which makes them all unique.
So, for your next trip to Singapore, skip the usual stuff you can find anywhere. Fill your luggage bags with souvenirs that really appeal to you and would remind of the amazing time you spent here.