Shopping: is Singapore expensive?


Let’s say you are in Singapore and feel like going on a shopping spree. But you were told that Singapore was expensive. Well here is news for you! Singapore might not be as expensive as you think, it simply boils down to knowing the right places…

1. Garments and accessories

Of course the first place which comes to your mind is Orchard Road, the perfect place for luxury and branded items (if you haven’t been there yet, check out ION, Tangs, Ngee Ann City or the recently opened Abercrombie and Fitch store).

However, you can also find less expensive clothes in globalised brands outlets, like Uniqlo or Zara for instance. Most of these brands are in shopping malls like 313@Somerset or Vivo City near Harbour Front. If on the contrary you are willing to try unique garments, you should go for designer clothes and jewelry from Haji Lane!

Finally, if you would rather not spend too much, check out Charles and Keith outlets for shoes : they are usually comfortable, trendy and cheap. Another option for tighter budgets could be Far East Plaza’s basement, Bugis Street, Chinatown or Little India where garments and accessories are usually coming from China. Do not expect excellent quality though…

2. IT products

Singapore might not be as cheap as other Southeast Asian countries when it comes to IT, but there are still many places where you can make a bargain.

You could start with Orchard Road, the most obvious place to go first. However if prices seem to high or if you find the selection too restricted, go to Funan Shopping Mall or Sim Lim Square. Both malls are famous in Singapore for the choice they provide regarding IT products (I bought a 500GB hard drive a year ago in Sim Lim Square and it really does the job!). Also, Holland Village is a safe bet for cheap and reliable devices (try Parisilk for example).

3. Fine art and decorative objects

If you are looking for fine art or decorative objects to bring back to your home country, you can try Chinatown, Kampong Glam or Little India. They are safe bets and not too expensive compared to what you could find on Orchard Road. You might also find fine art items from Cambodia in the Holland Village Shopping Mall, and typically Peranakan objects in shophouses along East Coast Road.

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For other types of items, here is what I would recommend:
– Books : Kinokuniya in Ngee Ann City for their large choice of literature,
– Fun accessories : Bugis Street for cheap and shiny party add-ons,
– CDs and DVDs : HMV, or Mustafa Center in Little India,
– Fine jewelry : Chinatown, definitely.
– Sports equipment : Queensway Shopping Center of course!

Also, do not forget that the best way to make a bargain while shopping in Singapore is to wait for the GREAT SINGAPORE SALE, which takes place every year in June and July. Discounts are really worth it !!

Little India


Among Singapore’s must do areas, Little India is absolutely worth visiting. To me, Little India is the perfect place if you want to have a taste and feel of India! Here are my favourite things to do around colourful Serangoon Road.

1. Have dinner at Khansama restaurant, at the junction between Serangoon Road and Norris road. The food is excellent, the staff very friendly and prices are affordable. If you cannot really eat spicy food they can tune it down for you. And if you do not live in Singapore and are used to Indian best sellers only (like Butter Chicken or Tandoori) you will be amazed by the length of the menu… Go on, try new dishes!!

2. Wander inside Mustafa department store and hunt for bargains. Mustafa centre sells books, CDs, DVDs, electronic goods, footwear, clothing, food, house appliances… basically everything. And this is precisely what makes it fun, you can find anything there!! It’s clearly a low budget department store, so I wouldn’t recommend to go there if you are looking for high-end quality objects. However, you should go there at least once to feel the atmosphere.

3. Experience the Indian crowd on a Sunday night… if you are looking for a real foretaste of India, Sunday night is the best option. Crowds are out, shops’ products are on display in the streets, fragrances invade the streets, women wear colourful sarees…

                         

4. Visit Hindu temples and learn more about Hindu deities! Check out Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman or Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India. But there are many other hindu temples in Singapore of course.

5. Take a stroll around the area when Deepavali lights are out. What a treat!! Deepavali (or Diwali) is the Indian festival of lights. It is a public holiday in Singapore which takes place at the end of October.

6. Enjoy an Indian breakfast! Dosai, chapatis, dahl… served altogether with masala chai, and there you go, a typical Indian breakfast right in the heart of Singapore!!

Of course when strolling around Little India you have to be ready to step into the Indian atmosphere for a while 🙂 But then again, Singapore is diverse and has a lot to offer, so you might as well go for it and live different types of experiences!!

And you, what are your favourite places in Little India?

An Asian melting pot?


I have often been asked whether Singapore is only inhabited by Chinese people… which shows how unfortunately little is known about the origins of Singaporeans.

There are three major communities living together on the island : Chinese (approximately 75%), Malays (14%) and Indians (9%). As you know, each community more or less has its own district, as a legacy from the British colonial governement in the 1820s – Chinatown, Arab Street and Little India. And added to these 3 major races, Singapore is also home to Eurasians (people of both European and Asian descent), as well as other mixed-cultured individuals (like Peranakans for instance, descendants of both Chinese and Malay cultures).

Peranakan Kebayas. They best represent the blending of Chinese and Malay cultures

To me, the cohabitation of different races is one of the key assets that Singapore has, both politically and culturally speaking. As you might have seen, it is a key theme adressed in political messages from the government (to strengthen the feeling of unity in one nation) and which allows Singapore to stand strongly as one. As for culture, what better proof of a sucessful melting pot than Singapore’s culinary delicacies ?

If you are interested in this subject, I would recommend to visit the Peranakan Museum as well as the National Museum of Singapore to get a better insight in Singapore’s multiculturalism.