Shopping in Singapore does not end after you have browsed through rows of racks at Orchard Road, Bugis, Marina Bay and the Southern Waterfront. Of course not. There is more and these shopping areas are well worth the visit.
The Great Singapore Sale is in full swing from now until 26 July 2015 (Sunday), so be sure to hit up these hidden gems!
First Stop: Kampong Glam
Let’s start off with a good blend of tourism and shopping with Kampong Glam – once known as “little Arabia”. Located at the centre of the locality, you can visit the Sultan Mosque – one of the oldest mosques in Singapore. From there, you can stroll around rows of shops that hold on to a 20th century shopping flair. Shopping here is like a throwback to times when shopping was simpler. Shop owners themselves man the store, giving delightful insights on the history and quality of their merchandise.
The goods sold in Kampong Glam’s shops include a wide range of Arabic merchandise such as carpets, brassware, rattan, perfume oils, and pastries. The enthralling fusion of modern and vintage products have garnered a wide range of consumers from tourists to locals who enjoy stylish garments and accessories.
Go forth to 95 Arab Street and you can locate Toko Aljunied, a sartorial boutique that specialises in traditional Malay dresses (kebaya), batik draperies, Arab perfumes and Peranakan clothing. This shop is owned by one of the most distinguished Arab families in Singapore. You can try on heaps of fabrics to get a feel of traditional Malay dresses with generations of proven skill of preserving cultural attires. Walk along the same street and you’ll also find one of the best silk collections from Alta Moda and Collezione – some are even imported from Korea and Italy.
If you’re looking for oil-based perfumes, Jamal Kasura is the place to be. Jamal Kazura Aromatics at 21 Bussorah Street specialises in the art of blending and marketing oil-based fragrances. As the Islamic tradition strictly disallows alcohol in fragrances, they have revolutionised the invention of oil-based perfumes. You can create your own signature scent for $30 to $80. Making its mark as one of the best and most enduring shops in Kampong Glam, Jamal Kazura has been in business since 1933, helmed by generations of Indonesian familial merchants.
One of the most captivating products in this district are the Persian carpets. Carpet storefronts enchant you with their design and beauty that are enough to persuade you purchase their products. Head on down to 49 Arab Street and 91 Kandahar Street and you’ll find Sarvan’s Carpets and Amir & Sons respectively. Both shops sell authentic Persian carpets that would add flair to your homes.
If you’re the type who loves non-mainstream and locally-known great finds, head over to Haji Lane and Bali Lane. They conceal independent fashion shops such as Soon Lee, Threadbare & Squirrel and Wicked Laundry – shops that sell local trendy brands. Sup Clothing and Headline Store are best for streetwear and punk clothes. Music enthusiasts are not left behind as Straits Records found in Bali Lane is known for a wide range of albums from indie bands to vinyl records.
Where to alight: Bugis (EW12/DT14) or Nicoll Highway (CC5)
Second Stop: Little India
We’re not done yet. If you’re interested in an authentic taste of Indian culture, then Little India is where you should head to, where the streets are lined with fresh scents of jasmine, colourful mix of floral arrangements, Bollywood posters, Bhangra music, and jewellery.
Check out Tekka Centre that is situated just outside the Little India MRT Station (NE7/DT12). This shopping centre immerses you in Indian culture and embraces your senses. The busy wet market catering offers a wide variety of vegetables, fishes, spices and flowers. Go further down and you will see dozens of stalls lining up and offering merchandise such as brass oil lamps and pots, and jasmine garlands.
Move over to the historical Serangoon Road and you’ll find the Little India Arcade. The shops here are famous for authentic Indian treats. Indulge in endless choices of silk saris, fabrics, jewelleries, silverware, collectibles, and souvenirs.
Branching out of Serangoon Road, you can explore Campbell Lane, Dunlop Street, and Hindon Road. Here, you’ll discover shops that sells Ayurvedic massage oils, gold, incense and garments of varying designs and qualities.
One’s shopping journey would not be complete without dropping by the famous Mustafa Centre. This 24-hour retail centre is popular among both locals and tourists. Located at the corner of Serangoon and Syed Alwi Road, this has to be one of the most crowded malls in the region. Be it daytime or late at night, you can ensure great finds from electronics, cosmetics, fresh and packed food, household merchandise, apparels and much more, all at reasonable prices.
Where to alight: Little India (NE7/DT12)
Third Stop: Chinatown
Located at the heart of the busy business centre, Chinatown is one of Singapore’s prime historical areas. Having restored its pre-war street shops and stalls, Chinese products are selling like hotcakes here. You can find a variety of products ranging from tea leaves, silk, Oriental crafts and antiques, gold and jade accessories, and even traditional Chinese medicinal herbs.
We start by stepping inside Yue Hwa Department Store. This store houses a selection of authentic Chinese products such as tea, medicinal herbs, food, antiques, handcrafts, and cheongsams (traditional fitted Chinese dress). This location in Eu Tong Sen Street and Upper Cross Street used to be known as the “Raffles Hotel of Chinatown”.
People’s Park Complex is the place to check out for cheap food finds. This establishment is just next to Yue Hwa Department Store and also caters to textiles, cosmetics and apparels at cheap prices. Just across Smith Street you can find Chinatown Complex, famous for fresh food, fashion and souvenir items.
If you want to relive the traditional Chinese atmosphere, you can walk around the Chinatown Street Market that is situated along Pagoda, Trengganu and Sago Streets. You can explore and find traditional dragon candles, street opera masks, and traditional clothing. More importantly, you can find Chinese calligraphy and miniature lion dance capes.
For food fanatics, head towards New Bridge Road and find Bee Cheng Hiang and Lim Chee Guan. Don’t miss out on their specialty of sweet and savoury barbequed meat known as “bak kwa”.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and remedies can also be found at Eu Yan Sang and Thye San Medical Hall. Just walk towards South Bridge Road and you’ll find them. Eu Yan Sang, has become a giant TCM empire that is known for incorporating traditional medicine with modern technology. Walk along the same street and you’ll find Cheong Jewellery that supplies valued and distinctive creations. If you reckon on making a good antique bargain, head onto Ming Fang Antique house. They produce and sell Chinese pieces of Buddha heads, jade pendants and brass dragons. They even have a collection of statues of Mao Zedong.
Where to alight: Chinatown (NE4/DT19)
If you have time to spare, here are some more malls located at the city fringe and outskirts that you can visit:
- Bedok Point
- Causeway Point
- Changi City Point
- China Square Central
- City Square Mall
- Compass Point
- Fernvale Point
- Jubilee Square
- Punggol Plaza
- Robertson Walk
- Square 2
- The Clementi Mall
- The Furniture Mall
- The Verge Shopping Mall
- United Square Shopping Mall
- Valley Point
- Velocity@Novena Square
- West Mall
- YewTee Point
MasterCard® is the official card of the Great Singapore Sale 2015. So if you have a MasterCard®, take it out of its dark, lonely hiding place and swipe it ‘till you drop to receive exclusive privileges.