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Shopping in Singapore

For a significant number of visitors, the shopping malls are Singapore's main attraction – especially during the Great Singapore Sale ( from the beginning of June to mid-August. During this time shops often take 70% off their prices, and grabbing a bargain is almost a national obsession.

Key areas

The shiny malls of Orchard Road are only part of the story. Almost every neighbourhood on the island has its own shopping complexes. Harbourfront (where cruise ships dock and also the gateway to Sentosa) is home to the largest shopping mall in Singapore, while the Marina Bay area (Marina Bay Sands, Suntec City, Marina Square) is also chock-full of retail shops. Ethic neighbourhoods (Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India) also have a wealth of artefacts, jewellery, clothes and food.


The street markets at Chinatown and Bugis sell trinkets. There is a regular flea market in China Square Central (18 Cross Road) on every Sunday afternoon, though there are often more popping up in various neighbourhoods from time to time, particularly before Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Shopping centres

Despite almost every neighbourhood has its own shopping complexes, Orchard Road is still considered the prime retail district. At the top of Orchard Road, the Tanglin Shopping Centre sells fine carpets and antiques. Further along, Forum, Shaw Centre, Wheelock Place, ION Orchard, Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City, Paragon, The Heeren, Orchard Central and Centrepoint are just a few names that you can indulge in retail therapy. And if the malls along Orchard Road aren't enough, the swanky Marina Bay Sands is home to international luxury brands while VivoCity, located in HarbourFront, is the largest shopping mall in Singapore.

Opening hours

Most shops in Singapore are open daily from 1000-2100/2200, although boutiques close earlier.


Shops in Chinatown, Bugis and along Orchard Road sell souvenirs from Buddha statues to Merlion (the mythical half-fish half-lion creature) keychains. Tiger Balm ointment and gold-plated orchid also make good gifts, while food items such as kaya (coconut jam) and bak kwa (barbequed pork) are always popular.

Tax information

All prices in Singapore include a 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST). You can claim this back on purchases of at least S$100 from participating shops and you must present your passport and get a special receipt from the shops. Using the eTRS system, purchases are linked to a specific credit or debit card, and then a refund can be claimed from an automatic kiosk at the airport departure hall or international cruise terminal.

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Featured Hotels


Lodge 41

From 4-bed to 12-bed to a room and some rooms are exclusive to females only, this basic but clean hostel is popular with young adults looking for a cosy place to stay.

Naumi Liora

Housed in a row of beautifully restored 1920s shophouses, Naumi Liora is a 79-room boutique hotel in the heart of Chinatown.

Ibis Novena

There are three Ibis hotels in Singapore and all of them are of good standard. The three outlets are in Bencoolen (within walking distance to Bugis MRT station), Novena (with a free shuttle service to Novena MRT station) and MacPherson (with a free shuttle service to Orchard Road). The rooms are clean and modern.

The Pod @ Beach Road

There are quite a few capsule hotels in Singapore catering to those seeking an authentic and fuss-free experience. Located in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood, The Pod @ Beach Road offers a basic sleeping pod for a reasonable fee. Bathroom and toilet facilities are shared.

Raffles Hotel Singapore (closed for restoration)

A national monument, named after Singapore's founding father, Thomas Stamford Raffles, Raffles Hotel Singapore is a high point on the sightseeing trail. This hotel is currently closed for restoration with a plan to reopen in the second half of 2018.

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

This high-rise luxury hotel in Singapore has some of the best rooms on the island. The top-floor Ritz-Carlton Club has a lounge with 360° views and cocktail bar. Location wise, it is within walking distance to the Singapore Flyer and Marina Square Shopping Centre.