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Kapok at National Design Centre

15 reasons why Singapore is a shopping paradise

Featuring the best shops in town, everything from the eclectic to the best bargains

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Let the purse strings come loose at our favourite local shopping institutions, independent boutiques and bargain stores. This is how we shop ‘til we drop.

Funan
Photograph: Funan

1. Burn your energy at Funan

Shopping Shopping centres City Hall

What is it? After three years of redevelopment, the mall formerly known as Funan DigitaLife Mall is starting a new chapter. It is now home to a variety of more than 190 brands clustered around the themes of tech, craft, play, fit, chic and taste.

Why go? Keeping it modern, industrial-chic is the aesthetic of the mall with many vibrant corners and spaces within the mall like the Tree of Life, the Kinetic Wall, a seven-storey green wall and even an urban farm operated by Edible Garden City on the rooftop.

Don't miss: Flex your climbing skills at the largest indoor climbing facility in the middle of Funan.

ION Orchard
Photograph: Supplied

2. Shop till you drop at ION Orchard

Shopping Shopping centres Orchard

What is it? It claims to be the ‘centre of gravity’ in the Singapore retail scene – and with jaw-dropping frontage, cutting-edge design, and more than 300 stores, it makes a good case.

Why go? There’s ION Sky, a double-storey observation deck on the top two floors, an art gallery that boasts 4000-square-foot of art space, as well as restaurants and shops that houses designer brands such as Cartier, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, and Prada.

Don't miss: Get a bird’s eye view of the city from ION Sky in Orchard Road. Soak in the sight of the whole shopping belt punctuated by pockets of green.

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design orchard
Photograph: JTC

3. Discover local brands at Design Orchard

Shopping Lifestyle Orchard

What is it? Loud, proud and local, the newly-opened Design Orchard features a fresh selection of Singaporean designers and makers.

Why go? Over 60 brands calling the two-and-a-half-storey space home. Shop activewear from Kydra, home accessories from Onlewo, quirky knick-knacks from Pew Pew Patches, swimwear from Pinksalt, skincare from Pera and more.

Don’t miss: Take a break at its rooftop garden which offers a birds-eye view of Orchard Road amongst lush greens.

The Social Space
Photograph: Facebook/The Social Space

4. Purchase sustainable items from The Social Space

Shopping Grocery stores Chinatown

What is it? The Social Space is a one-stop destination for sustainable lifestyle products. You can even grab a bite and get your nails done while you’re at it.

Why go? All items sold at The Social Space are fair trade and sustainably sourced, and the shop itself employs the disadvantaged in the community.

Don’t miss: The Refillery is decked out with at least ten dispensers filled with eco-friendly dishwashing and laundry liquids as well as shampoos and soaps.

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Bynd Artisan
Photograph: Bynd Artisan

5. Accessorise with leather at Bynd Artisan

Shopping Art, craft and hobbies Bukit Timah

What is it? This atelier offers luxurious paper and leather accessories in the form of notebooks, card-holders, greeting cards and the like, and provides services for customisation.

Why go? Against the tides of time and digitalisation, Bynd Artisan continues its 70-year legacy of painstakingly hand-designed and crafted products. They make for a classy gift if you want to impress a friend or colleague.

Don’t miss: Bynd Artisan’s designer collaboration series features works from the likes of Ministry of Design and Olivia Lee.

Choice Cuts Goods + Coffee
Photograph: Choice Cuts Goods + Coffee

6. Pick up a new vinyl at Choice Cuts Goods + Coffee

Shopping Music and entertainment Marine Parade

What is it? A laidback record store in Joo Chiat.

Why go? Besides offering stacks of records for music aficionados to browse through, the laidback store also invites customers to enjoy a cuppa specialty joe and craft beers while copping merch and accessories from your favourite artists, bands and cult streetwear brands.

Don’t miss: Go crate-digging and you might even find a rare release. While it's suspended, for now, it's also known to host impromptu vinyl sessions and free introductory workshops to vinyl DJ-ing.

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sifr aromatics
Photograph: Supplied

7. Create a unique scent at SIFR Aromatics

Shopping Gifts and souvenirs Rochor

What is it? If you’re looking for the latest designer fragrance, you won’t find it at SIFR Aromatics. What you will find are gorgeous, uniquely shaped bottles that house a myriad of scents, all lovingly handmade by owner Johari Kazura.

Why go? Far from your ordinary, run-of-the-mill perfumery, the shop offers a unique, customised approach where a range of ingredients are presented and used to get the right scent.

Don't miss: With a wide range of original perfume ‘recipes’ collected over the years, Kazura now has perfumes he’s perfected for people to buy off the shelf. He’s branched out into creating his own moisturisers and aromatherapy mixes too.

Dover Street Market Singapore
Photograph: Dover Street Market Singapore

8. Achieve the hypebeast aesthetic at Dover Street Market

Shopping Tanglin

What is it? An art gallery-styled multi-label store and the fourth Dover Street Market outlet in the world after London, Tokyo and New York.

Why go? For all the hypebeasts – and hypebaes – out there, Dover Street Market stocks a wide array of fashion statements from cult streetwear and designer brands like of Comme des Garçons, Moncler, Simone Rocha and Balenciaga.

Don’t miss: Get your cameras ready and snap some cool pictures for the ‘gram. Housed in a converted army barracks with high ceilings, black cage-like grills as racks and a colourful ‘cashier’ hut, the space is as much a shopping paradise as it is a gallery dedicated to the art of fashion.

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Naiise, PLQ
Photograph: Naiise

9. Pick up local goodies at Naiise

Shopping Geylang

What is it? A homegrown lifestyle store carrying Singapore-designed products and cult international brands across six locations islandwide.

Why go? Not a niche shop at all, Naiise offers all types of merchandise, ranging from local books, pretty planners and locally-flavoured snacks, to household items like lighting and cushions, as well as lifestyle products like candles by local brands Hush Candle and A Dose Of Something Good.

Don’t miss: Watch its space – you’ll either find a limited edition merch or a darn good deal.

Hear Records
Photograph: Hear Records

10. Crate digging at Hear Records

Shopping Music and entertainment Rochor

What is it? A music lifestyle and record store in Singapore labeled as one of the ‘world’s best record shops’ by UK vinyl lifestyle website The Vinyl Factory.

Why go? Enter into Hear Records and be awed by the wall lined with a vast, specially curated selection of records handpicked specifically by the owner Nick Tan. Expand your collection and dig through crates upon crates of 10,000 used vinyl and 5,000 new ones with weekly additions to keep things fresh.

Don’t miss: Here’s a tip: sign up for Tan’s monthly newsletter for special updates on the crates he hauls back from Japan, the UK, and the US.

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The Moon Bookstore
Photograph: The Moon

11. Get stuck in a book at The Moon

Shopping Bookshops Chinatown

What is it? A bookstore, event and café space – all in one.

Why go: The Moon is a whimsical space that brings you into the library of your favourite chronicles with a wide variety of genres from modern literature to illustrated cooking books and thought-provoking non-fiction reads for you to browse through.

Don’t miss: With its warm lighting, wood furniture and comfy plush cushions sprawled across the reading room on the third floor, The Moon is the newest and coolest spot for an afternoon read with a cup of coffee in hand.

the fashion pulpit
Photograph: The Fashion Pulpit

12. Shop for a cause at The Fashion Pulpit

Shopping Vintage shops Raffles Place

What is it? Championing the sustainable movement in Singapore, The Fashion Pulpit is a physical store where you can swap preloved clothes and accessories, and even buy them.

Why go? Their collection is vast – you can find both high street and designer pieces in the mix and prices are kept affordable.

Don’t miss: Sign up to be a 'swapper' and enjoy benefits like racking up those swap points for an incredible item and joining in on the fun events.  

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Pedder on Scotts
Photograph: Pedder on Scotts

13. Step out in style at Peddar on Scotts

Shopping Orchard

What is it? A floor-wide multi-label store carrying over 100 international brands at Orchard’s luxury shopping destination, Scotts Square.

Why go? Occupying the entire second floor, Peddar on Scotts is a fashionista’s haven. Shop till you drop with its premium mix of fashion, footwear, handbags and accessories for men, women and kids. Snap up limited edition collections by luxury and contemporary designers such as Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang, Gianvito Rossi and many more.

Don’t miss: Product releases and previews are often first launched here, so keep an eye on their socials for the latest updates.

thow kwang pottery
Photograph: Thow Kwang Pottery

14. Bring home a piece of history from Thow Kwang Pottery

Things to do Raffles Place

What is it? Formed by a group of Singaporean clay artists, this rustic hideaway is replete with local flavor and history.

Why go? Be sure to visit this cultural gem and feed the 'Dragon' – an elongated kiln that 'eats' and 'breaths' fire - before rumored urban redevelopment projects reclaim this humble pottery abode.

Don't miss: If you have time, sit in for a session and craft your own piece.

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Hock Siong & Co
Photograph: Hock Siong & Co

15. Sort out home decor at Hock Siong

Shopping Toa Payoh

What is it? Don’t expect a furniture boutique. This cosy, industrial store is home to antiques and second-hand furniture – great for injecting a little eclecticism into your home.

Why go? This sprawling Tai Seng store is neatly (and tightly) packed with a wide range of styles from vintage rosewood to mid-century and the occasional upcycled item – these are sourced from hotels, show flats, defunct furniture shops and the like. Prices range from $15 for a lamp to $3,000 for a plaster statue of Stamford Raffles.

Don’t miss: Spend a good few hours sniffing out the hidden gems here. Put your bargaining skills to the test. If you succeed, you might even score your loot at a much cheaper price.

IMM
Photograph: CapitaLand

16. Go outlet shopping at IMM

Shopping Shopping centres Jurong East

What is it? Singapore’s largest outlet shopping mall located in Jurong East.

Why go? Everyone loves shopping, especially more so when everything is perpetually forever on sale. With over 90 brands such as Adidas, Club 21, Charles and Keith, and Coach selling off their past season’s collections at a fraction of the price, head on a shopping spree this weekend and get the best bang for your buck.

Don’t miss: Prices are slashed up to 80 percent off all year round and based on a first-come-first-serve basis where products are no longer replenished once they’re all sold. A word of advice: snag that piece you’ve got your eye on immediately because it won’t be there the next time you visit the store.

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Mustafa Centre
Photograph: Morven

17. Snap up a good deal at Mustafa Centre

Shopping Shopping centres Kallang

What is it: Despite being known as Little India’s seven-storey shopping mall that's open ‘round the clock, it has reduced its opening hours from 9.30am to 11.30pm daily during Phase 2.

Why go? It has a chock-full of offerings – from groceries to electronics and apparel to quirky paraphernalia at affordable prices – that are bound to delight all intrepid bargain hunters looking for a good deal.

Don’t miss: Skip the weekend crowds and head down during weekday afternoons for a breezy shop. Also, a word of warning: your bags will be cable tied upon entering, so carry a small crossbody bag or a tote to avoid getting your phone and wallet stuck in the bag.

Tekka Market and Food Centre
Photograph: Supplied

18. Grocery shop at Tekka Market

Things to do Markets and fairs Rochor

What is it? Home to one of the best wet markets in town with a greater offering of halal-slaughtered meats than most, the pasar’s adjoining food centre has become a hawker institution offering great grub from a range of cuisines. 

Why go? Great things are always said about the biryani at Tekka Centre, and tangled in vicious rivalry are the plates offered by Yakader (#01-259) and Allauddin (#01-229).

Don't miss: Set an alarm and get up early to do some grocery shopping at Tekka Market. It has great butcheries and a vegetable stall that plays salsa music.

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Golden Mile Complex
Photograph: Supplied

19. Explore Golden Mile Complex

Shopping Shopping centres Raffles Place

What is it? The Brutalist structure is home to many great Thai restaurants, a supermarket with Thai, Vietnamese and Indonesian products and occult stores.

Why go? The 16-storey building was hailed an architectural and cultural marvel once. Over the years, and a lot of paint coats later, its future is still uncertain.

Don’t miss: The best time to explore Golden Mile Complex is at night when the place is bustling with activity. Take the chance to check out this monolith, and then get a plate of pad thai after.

20. Get spiritual at Fu Lu Shou Complex

Things to do Rochor

What is it? A centre in Bugis full of other spiritual readers and healers.

Why go? Here's where you can get an aura reading, go crystal shopping and even purchase a ‘white magic’ amulet to guide you to love and success.

Don't miss: Kang Li Mineral Kingdom has been providing their services for geomancy, feng shui, crystal healing and aura reading. Remember to book for a session online as it can get pretty busy and packed, plus consultations can take over an hour.   

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