Singapors shopping strips

Singapore’s mania for shopping almost rivals its obsession with food, and barely a year goes by without a vast new retail monolith flinging open its doors. Prices may be higher than in Malaysia and Thailand, but Singapore beats its neighbours for sheer convenience and familiarity. Electronics and computers are no longer the steal they once were, but they can be cheaper provided you do your homework and shop around. Clothes are cheaper than in most Western countries, and you can pick up reasonably priced Asian antiques provided you know what you’re doing.

This 2.2km shopping boulevard inspires awe and horror in equal measure. Packed with more than 20 shopping centres, from label palace ION Orchard to the high street staples of 313@Somerset, the sheer scale of this retail onslaught is overwhelming. As if there weren’t enough malls already, another giant – Orchard Gateway – opened in 2014. You have two options on Orchard Road: dive in, or run screaming.

 

Haji Lane

Blink and you’d walk right past this narrow alley in Kampong Glam without a second thought, but Haji Lane is a place of pilgrimage for Singapore’s hipsters. Boutiques here open and close faster than local fashion bloggers can keep up with, but you can be sure to find a great range of cool womens and menswear, accessories and homewares during any visit – along with a handful of cute cafes and bars. One of the more popular stores that has stood the test of time is quirky womenswear boutique Dulcetfig.

 

Tiong Bahru

Singapore’s hottest new shopping enclave rivals Haji Lane for its selection of hip fashion and lifestyle boutiques such as Nana & Bird and BooksActually. Reward your efforts with a leisurely brunch at Tiong Bahru Bakery, PS Cafe Petit (pscafe.com/pscafe-petit-at-tiong-bahru) or 40 Hands Coffee (40handscoffee.com).

 

Little India

A world apart from the gleaming malls of Orchard Road, Little India’s ramshackle streets are a treasure trove of art, antiques, textiles, food and music, while the infamous 24-hour Mustafa Centre department store is an experience in itself. Keen bargainers can score cut-price electronics here, while computer enthusiasts will do well at Sim Lim Square. Heading down towards Kampong Glam, you’ll find handicrafts, textiles and boutiques and, sandwiched between the two areas, the thoroughly un-Singaporean ‘thieves’ market’. A short walk away is the old neighbourhood of Bugis, which, while strictly located neither in Little India or Kampong Glam, has something of the atmosphere of both.