No matter how many times you visit Singapore; there are some things you simply cannot help to buy for yourself or your loved ones. The shopping experience in Singapore is paralleled only by the Champs Elysees of Paris, France and 5th Avenue, in Manhattan. To be very honest, your trip to Singapore is incomplete if you don’t shop from incomparable Singaporean markets. In a state with so much to offer, there are a few items you must have in your bags while going back home.
Must-Buys Shopping Ideas in Singapore
Singapore is no doubt a shopping capital of Asia and shopping being one of the reason that many tourists visit Singapore. There are many famous shopping malls in Singapore that feature known brands and labels. Below is our recommended list of top 10 must-buys in Singapore which should be in your list of things to buy in Singapore.
Perfumes apart from globally renowned brands, are produced by local Singaporean manufacturers as well. These perfumes are nothing less than international scents, however; they are extremely low in price and very adorable in smell.
Jamal Kazura Aromatics produces big bottles of perfumes. These are sold after testing at a rate of $6 only. The perfumes sold by this store are made from natural oils sourced from the Middle East, so the quality and longevity of the scents are guaranteed.
If you’re looking for well-known perfume brands that you can get at affordable prices, Mustafa Centre is still the best bet. This shopping center that is open round-the-clock has a good selection of perfumes that you can buy at lower prices compared to department stores.
Another good place to shop for quality perfumes is City Cosmetics and Fragrances, located in City Plaza. They also have an impressive collection of international scents, and you can get them at very reasonable prices.
9. Singapore Specific Garments
Singapore specific garments, especially T-shirts and sporting goods, are readily available at very affordable rate. Singapore Specific garments are produced by local manufacturers so they are never expensive at all. These garments are theme-specific including ‘Little Facts about Singapore’ and ‘Singapore Famous Things’ etc.
A good brand for Singapore-specific garments is Temasek Clothings. These shirts have a quirky mix of funny and punny statement prints that are uniquely Singapore. You can find these shirts in stores located in major malls in Orchard Gateway and Suntec City.
If you want a more satirical Singapore-specific shirt, then you should definitely check out the brand called “A Good Citizen” The shirts sold in this store are really very artistic, depicting cartoons that give a quirky glimpse into Singapore daily life. Check out the brand’s main office at Pearl’s Hill Terrace to get to know more of their artistic process.
Buying in Singapore-specific garments bulk? It’s highly recommended that you go to Chinatown. The shirts there are really cheap, and you can even bargain. The variety in designs is also good, so you can choose from different statement shirts.
8. Food in Singapore
Food in Singapore is always incomparable with all other global fervor’s. Singaporean foods are packed in specific health-friendly solutions so that you may take them back home for your loved ones. Spices, biscuits, sauces, and even the cooking utensils and serving dishes are all must-buys when visiting Singapore.
Perhaps the most iconic food in Singapore is the chili crab. This seafood dish is packed with sweet, savory and spicy flavors that locals and tourists alike enjoy. The best chili crab in Singapore is said to be found at the Long Beach Seafood Restaurant , the Jumbo Seafood Restaurant at Boat Quay, and the Red House Seafood Restaurant at East Coast.
Related Article: Best Chilli Crab in Singapore
Your Singapore experience will also not be complete without trying the famous hawker stalls. These food court-style places are very popular because they serve a variety of good food at very cheap prices. At hawker stalls, you can get famous dishes in Singapore like chicken rice, satay, laksa and fried kway teow, without hurting your pocket.
One of the most popular hawker centers in Singapore is Hawker Chan, located at 78 Smith Street. This hawker center rose to popularity mainly because Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, described to be the cheapest meal you can get that has earned the famed Michelin Star.
Other great hawker centers include the Chinatown Complex Food Center, the Old Airport Road Food Center, Holland Village Market and the Maxwell Road Hawker Center.
7. Decoration Items and Curios
Singapore has a vibrant art scene, so it’s not surprising that decoration items are also popular must-buys from Singapore. Decoration items and curios such as statues, wall decorations, and chocolates are always popular for those who want to take home a piece of Singapore with them.
Of course, perhaps the most in-demand statue and decorative piece from Singapore is the mythical creature called Merlion, which has become a symbol of this country. You can buy all sorts of decoration items depicting the Merlion—key chains, statues, display plates and a lot more—almost everywhere, including popular tourist destinations like Sentosa. However, if you want a bargain, Chinatown offers the cheapest prices, but the quality of the products is still superb.
If you have some money to spare, you can go for customized decoration items. Stone Carving, a shop located along Harper Road, specializes in customized stone gifts, stone statues and other stone decorations. The shop’s work with religious stone statues is especially impeccable.
Other curious you can buy from Singapore include paper kites and parasols, calligraphy, wooden boxes, and posters. There’s a shop aptly called The Attic along Scotts Road that specializes on these. You can fill your luggage faster than you realize once you start shopping in Singapore.
6. Watches and Jewellery
Watches and jewellery must be part of Singapore’s Top 10 with more choices than anyone could make in five lifetimes. Masterfully handcrafted timepieces, world famous watch manufacturers and affordable standard watches can be found in every shopping district of Singapore.
Many visitors find that Singapore’s national inventory of jewelry is simply mind-boggling. Inexpensive bangles to million-dollar crown jewels are all available for a price. You could practically say that the streets of Singapore are lined with gold, as every shop has jewelry and watches for sale.
A known haven for affordable watches is shop called Prestige located at the Bras Basah Complex. Here, the storekeeper will even help you choose which watch suits you the most, and which one falls within your budget.
Another place where you can find budget-friendly watches is at The Bencoolen, located near Sim Lim Square. Many shops here sell low to mid-range watches, so this option is perfect for tourists who are travelling on a shoestring.
As for jewelry, Mustafa Centre is still the go-to place for all sorts of gold accessories, from necklace to earrings, bangles, pendants and chains. This place is open 24 hours, so you can shop any time you want. You can definitely get good prices for gold jewelry here and other Singapore stores, because the government removed all sales taxes and also gives generous tax refunds.
5. Handbags and Luggage
Handbags are luggage are another popular purchase in Singapore. Designer labels, hand-stitched and everything in between are available. It is very likely that, by the time you are ready to leave Singapore, you will need another bag or another piece of luggage to carry your newly purchased bags.
Handbags are widely available in all the shopping malls in Singapore. You will find all the tops brands on the Orchard Road, ION Orchard Mall, Ngee Ann City Shopping Mall, Paragon Shopping Mall, Somerset 313, VivoCity Shopping Mall, Suctec City Shopping Mall are some of places to look for handbags.
Looking for cheap suitcases? You should head to Mustafa Mall, a round-the-clock mega-shopping complex located along Syed Alwi Road in Little India. This place has everything under the sun, including affordable luggage which you can bring especially if you’re headed to rugged places like Africa or South America, where bringing branded bags is not advisable.
If you want to find more popular luggage brands in Singapore, visit Takashiyama Department Store located along Orchard Road. This store, which originally came from Japan, has a well-curated selection of well-known luggage brands like Delsey, Zero Halliburton and Victorinox.
Another good place to find handbags and luggage in Singapore is The Planet Traveller, which has branches in ION Orchard, Marina Square, Paragon and even Changi Airport. Aside from travellers’ bags, this store also has famous brands of backpacks like The North Face, Tatonka and Eagle Creek.
Willing to splurge for premium luggage? Find Rinowa suitcases at Marina Bay Sands or at the Mandarin Gallery. This brand is well-known for its grooved aluminum cases, which are definitely sturdy and have timeless appeal. What’s also good about this brand is the fact that it has 24-hour repair services in top hotels around the world, so you can have your luggage fixed any time in case it gets damaged unexpectedly during a trip.
4. Chinese Drugs and Herbal Medicines
Chinese herbal medicines are widely available in Chinese clinics of Singapore. You will find hundreds of Chinese health shops in Singapore. These drugs are prepared with specific solutions used in China for health care and treatment of wounds and offer astounding healing capabilities.
One of the most popular stores for Chinese drugs in Singapore is Eu Yan Sang. It has more than 30 stores spread across strategic locations all over the country, including the Changi Airport and near MRT Stations.
In Eu Yan Sang, you can buy all sorts of Chinese drugs for literally every part of the body that may need treatment. This chain of Chinese drug stores has everything—from herbal plasters to herbal tea to herbal soup. These products can help treat different conditions like poor eyesight, back pain, kidney trouble, and so much more.
Another popular store for Chinese drugs and herbal medicines in Singapore is Zheng Zhong Ping. This retail chain, which now has 40 outlets across Singapore, specializes in Chinese health food products, particularly its popular bottled bird’s nest, which is guaranteed to be all-natural and definitely help improve your health.
If you want the more traditional Chinese medicine, go to the Wan Ngian Choon Medical Hall in Clementi, a western district in Singapore. The Chinese herbal medicines here are stored in traditional wooden drawers and metal tins, so you can be sure that they are natural and effective.
3. Gold Plated Orchids
Orchid is a Singapore national flower and Gold plated orchids are real orchids plated in real 24 karat gold. These orchids symbolize Singapore’s richness in terms of economy and nature. Orchid is the national flower of Singapore and gold-plated orchids is considered as a souvenir from people of Singapore.
The most popular store selling gold plated orchids is RISIS. This store has been selling this precious merchandise since 1976, so you can be sure that it is selling real orchid blooms carefully plated in the finest 24-karat gold.
For those who want to wear these shiny and fancy things, you can choose from a wide variety of beautiful necklaces and earrings sold by RISIS, featuring gold-plated orchids. The store has different designs and colors you can choose from, so there’s something for everyone. The store also sells brooches for those who want to accessorize their clothes.
You can also display gold-plated orchids in your own home. BIRI also manufactures gold-plated orchids in stylish frames. There are also elegant plaques designed with these orchids. Another option is to have the gold-plated orchids in pots which you can showcase on top of your living room table or the bed-side table in your bedroom.
There are also a wide variety of orchid species to choose from, such as cattleya, mokara and vanda. Whatever the species of the orchids you choose, the quality and beauty of these products are guaranteed.
2. Electronics Items
Electronics items are always the first suggestion whenever you ask someone for must-buys in Singapore. Some tourists even buy large LCD TVs and desktop computers from Singapore. Peninsula Plaza is always ideal to buy electronics. This skyscraper, located along North Bridge Roads, has 30 floors with different electronics shops where you can buy all your gadget needs.
However, there isn’t a store in Singapore that doesn’t offer analog and digital cameras, photography accessories and photo processing services. Other recommended places to buy electronics, especially cameras, are Sim Lim Square and Funan DigitaLife Mall. At Sim Lim Square, you can find computers and computer parts, as well as cellphones and other accessories. Funan DigitaLife Mall also used to be a go-to place for gadget needs, but it was recently closed for renovation, and will open again in 2019.
There are also other infamous stores like Harvey Norman and Challenger. Harvey Norman offers a wide variety of computers from desktops to tablets. Challenger also carries the latest gadget brands with affordable prices. Watch out for sales and promotions to get discounts and make the most out of your money.
Needless to say, all technology gadgets, gamer equipment and audio-visual peripheral equipment in demand are spread everywhere in Singapore.
Related Article: Places to Buy Digital Camera & Accessories in Singapore
1. Asian Antiques and Artifacts
Asian antiques and artifacts will probably be first on your list on your visit to any country in Asia. Fortunately, they are in abundance in Singapore. With imports coming in from all around the globe and having a rich and ancient history of its own, Singapore offers treasures at every turn. Your best finds will be available at Tanglin Shopping Centre, Chinatown and Holland Village.
If you’re looking for bigger pieces, particularly Asian antique furniture, then you should definitely head to Dempsey Hill and Bukit Timah neighborhoods. Here, you can find attractive and sturdy items like Chinese cabinets, lamps and dining sets that are perfect for your home, if you want to give it some native Asian feel.
China Collection, a store located along Malcolm Road, is also a good source of Asian antiques and artifacts. Go here if you want Chinese tables, cabinets and other display items. The store has a wide selection of different items with a variety of colors and made from different materials.
Another excellent shop for Asian household items is Just Anthony, which can be found along Upper Paya Lebar Road. The choices of furniture and house displays are all elegant and stylish. This store’s ceramic lamps and jars are particularly chic, and come in different colors.
Lee’s Antiques, meanwhile, has fabulous Asian antiques and artifacts sourced from northern Thailand. This shop, located on Pasir Panjang Road, also has unique and affordable writing tables, chairs and even authentic Mongolian cabinets.
For more must-buys and shopping ideas, you can head to the Singapore’s biggest outlet shopping center, IMM Outlet Mall is the home of more than 80 international brand outlet stores with monstrous discounts of up to 80 for every penny lasting through the year. The IMM Outlet Mall is a worthy place to make your branded shopping perfect at substantially reduced prices. IMM is located nearby Jurong East MRT station in Jurong East.
If you are Universal Studios fan then the good news is that Universal Studios store now opens in Singapore. Singapore carries a lot of global brands which are available in all the top shopping malls. The waiver of GST also give luxury to the tourist to shop more. Here is our comprehensive guide about how to waive your GST on shopping when exiting from Singapore.