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Shopping

Shopping (1B)

Perhaps next to eating, shopping is one of the Singaporeans’ biggest passions. If you also love to shop, you’ve come to the right place. 

Singapore has always had a reputation as a shopping paradise where you can find absolutely everything: high technology, electronics, designer clothes, antiques, spices, furniture ... There is something for everyone. 

Singapore is lacking in products that are typically Singaporean, but given the multiculturalism of this society, it is understandable. On the other hand, you can purchase traditional Chinese, Indian or Malay products, as well as products from other Asian countries. 

The height of the shopping frenzy takes place during the Great Singapore Sale from May to early June, with discounts of up to 70%, This sale has become almost a national obsession and attracts buyers from all over. 

The Singapore’s main shopping street is, without a doubt, Orchard Road. On this large tree-lined avenue you will find the most important shops and shopping malls as well as the most exclusive hotels. It is not a coincidence that it is close to the Istana, a palace built in 1869 for the British governor, now the residence of the President of Singapore. 

The street name comes from an orchid plantation located here until the early twentieth century. Today it is the best place to find everything from designer labels at the Hilton Shopping Gallery to second-hand clothes and objects of all kinds at Annex, on the Heeren Shopping Centre’s top floor. 

Ngee Ann City is the largest shopping mall and it includes more than 1,000 specialty stores as well as a Japanese supermarket, the Takashimaya. In Tanglin Shopping Centre you can see some of Asia’s most beautiful statues, carpets and antique furniture. In the Centrepoint, in the middle of Orchard Road, you will find Robinsons, Singapore’s oldest and most prized department store. 

You could spend an entire day going into this avenue’s local and international department stores, peering into its smaller shops, relaxing in one of its spas, eating, talking and just having fun in one of its many restaurants, cafes and entertainment centres. It is always lively, especially Saturday night when Orchard Road takes on a different kind of vitality, as the stores close at 11 pm. If you prefer a little peace and quiet, you can always take a break in one of the avenue’s many open air spaces. 

To continue shopping, walk through Chinatown, a network of streets where colourful traditional shops abound and where you can find a variety of items, from antiques, jewellry, food and household goods to traditional Chinese medicines. It is the perfect place to buy gifts, especially between Smith Street and Trengannu Street. Not far away is Chinatown Point, home to the Singapore Handicraft Centre where you can purchase some very interesting pieces. 

Be sure to visit Bugis Junction, once a place of narrow streets frequented by Singapore’s transvestite community, it is now a glass covered, air conditioned street known as Parco. It has modern buildings, stores, and some huge Japanese department stores.  Do not miss the night market at Bugis Village, in front of the Parco, which retains the charm of its past.  You’ll feel as though you stepped into another era. Nearby you will find the exclusive Raffles Hotel shops.  

Now travel to the centre of the Hindu community. Little India has all kinds of little treasures in store for you from sumptuous fabrics, spices and jewellry to furniture, handicrafts and religious carvings.  Mustafa Centre is a three-storey emporium open 24 hours a day, mainly for electrical appliances. If you are interested in high tech be sure visit  Sim Lim Square in Bugis, a four-storey shopping centre where you can find the latest digital cameras, phones, computers, stereos and other it products. 

And if you love to browse in markets, we suggest you go to Clarke Quay, at 3 River Valley Road. Open every Sunday from 10 to 6 it is one of the best. For a  market that specializes in fashion try the one located on the edge of the Tanglin Mall, at 163 Tanglin Road. It is open the first and third Saturday of every month, from 5pm to 11pm. Even though the name might put you off, don’t miss the Thieves Market, located on Sungei Road, open on weekends from 11 to 6. Here you will find an interesting collection of second hand gift items and crafts. 

As you can see, shopping in Singapore is a unique experience, whether entering one of its spectacular shopping centres or browsing at a flea market or a humble shop house. Do not miss any of these experiences. 

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