It's no secret that Singapore is a shopping mecca; one shopping mall after another is linked by an MRT (underground) system meaning you could spend an entire visit there without venturing outside!
But many visitors to Singapore will sell themselves and this wonderful little country short by just visiting the long busy Orchard Road populated by Chain Stores, Department Stores and brands found all over the world. Our best tip is to grab your MRT travel card, hop on and off the stations and explore.
I recently went on a sourcing trip for Temples and Markets and was pleasantly surprised to see how many local designers are creating locally made homewares, jewellery and accessories. So venture off the beaten Orchard Road track and find the unique Singapore.
First stop Haji Lane, in the Little Arab district (nearest MRT is Bugis), is a colourful and quaint oasis in the city. Rows of historical shop houses decorated in bright colours have been over taken by local artisans selling stylish and well priced fashion. Also quirky homewares, casual jewellery and vibrant leather bags and wallets are in abundance here. The prices are of course so much lower than a similar branded product in Orchard Road.
The Haji Lane shops are intertwined with cafes, bars, massage and nail spas. There will usually be a busker adding to the buzzing ambience of the area. On the day I visited I was lucky enough to watch a young Singaporean playing Coldplay on his guitar, his sign saying he was saving for his University education. He was superb.
Top picks from Haji Lane to check out:
As you're in the Bugis area head down to Bugis Junction - explore the many independent boutiques unique to Singapore, while away the hours in BHG Department Store (oh the shoes and bags!!) and if you have a Soccer loving kid as I do - head up to Premier Football - and have their name embossed on a shirt in the 15 minutes it takes you to have coffee next door at MiamMiam French Cafe.
When you've moved on from Bugis and Haji Lane you'll want to stop by Wheelock Place - a stone's throw from Orchard Road and a favourite for locals. The eclectic Threadbare & Squirrel features heavenly designer wear across a wide price range as well as superb original Designer Accessories and Jewellery. Absolutely loved Naiise too - lots of eclectic finds from around the world. Couldn't resist buying this t-shirt simply because it was so random!
Now you will have to venture down to Orchard Road at some point if only to see the long street with mall after mall next to each other. Try not to miss the top floors of Orchard Central, this mall often overlooked as its on a corner at the far end (practically opposite the Holiday Inn) - check out the little local designer pop up shops here with exceptional Designer clothing but not at typical Designer prices. Absolute favourite is The Reckless Shop - the colours, the soft cool fabrics and the styles are like nothing we've seen elsewhere.
Finally, a shopping trip to Singapore is not complete without a visit to Vivo City, Singapore's largest retail and lifestyle complex. Yes there's the chains there but also many independents. The food centre here is exceptional when you're ready for a break. This is right next door to the Monorail stop which takes you over to Sentosa (don't miss Universal Studios if you're with the kids!).
Top Store picks:-
Remember the Singapore shops are open until 9 or 10pm so pace yourself - take water, have many food centre stops, wear comfy thongs and fill up that credit card. You'll be buying products that you'll never find outside of Singapore and you'll hear plenty of people asking "Where did you get that?" when you get home!!! Enjoy...
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