There are several main shopping streets in Singapore, each representing different ethnic groups and different shopping selections.
Arab Street and Kampong Glam
Arab Street and Kampong Glam will transport you Muslim bazaars that probably haven’t changed in thousands of years except that you now can purchase, next to baskets of seasonal fruits, batik sarongs and hand-stitched slippers, some of the most up-to-date electronic gadgets and cameras.
Orchard Road is, by far, the most famous shopping district in Singapore. Orchard Road offers something for every budget from designer labels to middle priced goods and services to budget finds that will delight any treasure hunter. Orchard Road boasts such popular places as Tangs, Robinsons, Marks & Spencer, Ngee Ann City, Centrepoint, Wisma Atria and Plaza Singapura, just to name a few.
Bugis Street is full of bargains, bangles and bazaars. Protected by sheltered walkways and air-conditioned shopping areas, Bugis Street maintains the feel of an open air market without all the inconveniences. Mixed in with boutiques, product hawkers and food carts, you will find modern department stores offering all the comforts you would expect in the 21st century as you browse fashions, home furnishings, health and beauty supplies and services. Bugis Street offers the best of both old and new worlds.
Dempsey Road was once the site of British Army barracks but it has been transformed into an antique shopper’s paradise. Slightly hectic and marvelously well-stocked with treasures from Asia and around the world, the true antique shopper will take days to see all there is to see on Dempsey Road. There are Kashmir carpets, teak furniture, lawn ornaments and a million little trinkets you can’t find anywhere else.
Serangoon Road’s Little India
Serangoon Road’s Little India is exactly that, a delightful, colorful, delicious smelling and tasting slice of India. Kashmir silk flutters in the cardamom-scented breeze along side silks, muslin, flower garlands and peacock feathers. You can find an exotic array of brassware, posters of Hindu gods and Indian movie stars, cooking utensils and food galore.
Smith Street’s Chinatown
Smith Street’s Chinatown is everything you would expect from Chinatown in Singapore: exotic, chaotic, and colorful and worth every minute you can spare. The shops and carts carry all the traditional touristy stuff, T-shirts, postcards, kites, slippers, but you will also find, if you take the time, some of China’s great treasures and traditional handcrafted items for sale. Tea sets, chopsticks, paper lanterns all make great gifts and the food available in Chinatown is no less than some of the best to be found in Singapore.
You can easily lose yourself in any of these shopping areas. Any visit to Singapore requires that you at least TRY to see them all. If that isn’t possible, then a return trip is definitely in order
Photo Credit: Choo Yut Shing