Shopping in Singapore

Shopping is a favoured  pastime in this Asian island city which is  a major financial and trading hub.

Ever since Britain’s Sir Stamford Raffles sailed up the Singapore River back in 1819, the centre of the city has been a focus of commerce and trading. Take a relaxing boat trip to Clarke Quay to take in historical colonial sites, restored shop houses and other buildings that showcase Singapore’s past. Every June, the river is the place to see the Dragon International Boat Festival in Marina Bay, a spectacular colourful display of brightly decorated boats.

Here are some of the major shopping areas  and a selection of shops and nightlife destinations.


*Clarke Quay

Clarke Quay was saved from destruction and many of the old shop houses have been refurbished, now selling curios, antiques and designer labels. The weekly Sunday market has over 100 stalls, with goods ranging from handmade jewellery, woodcarvings and other collectables. Nearby Boat Quay which has lots of alfresco restaurants in the beautifully restored Chinese shop houses. Check out the infamous Harry’s bar, once frequented by rogue trader Nick Leeson, who brought down Barings bank (the film Rogue Trader based on his life was also shot in Singapore).

It’s a short walk to Chinatown from Boat Quay to see more of the distinctive shop house architecture. Nowhere in Singapore is the contrast between old and new more striking, with skyscrapers towering over the traditional shop fronts.

Tea is China’s national drink and even for the most hardened shopper there’s nothing more refreshing than a cup of tea. Tea Chapter, a 2nd floor teahouse features small booths and a variety of teas ranging from simple green, black and herbal brews to gourmet strains. The shop sells 100 year old teas and expensive tea sets. Queen Elizabeth visited there in 1989.

Tea Chapter
11A Neil Street, Chinatown
Tel 223 1175


*Little India & the Arab Quarter

Little India is the last neighbourhood to retain its original character, selling traditional crafts, textiles dry goods, and vendors selling fabrics, spices and condiments.

For a real smell of the east, visits the Jamal Kazura Aromatics Store, near the intersection of Arab Street and Beach Road. Proprietor Mohammed Kazura ahs been making fragrances for over 40 years in the same shop founded by his father in 1930. Here you can buy ready made fragrances or owner Mohammed will create a signature perfume uniquely for you from his impressive collection of ingredients.


*Night Life:

Imperial Herbal Restaurant

For a chance to have a break from the heat of the day and for a health check into the bargain, visit the Imperial Herbal Restaurant. The Chinese believe that food and health are inextricably linked and the in-house physician, Dr Li will recommend specific dishes for improved health. As well as the gorgeous dishes available, there are also the more unsavoury: crispy black ants on shredded potato reported to clear the mind.

Imperial Herbal Restaurant
Metropole hotel
3rd floor, 41 Seah Street


The Martini Bar

The Martini Bar has a a choice of over 30 Martini’s – it’s a classy and dressy joint, best enjoyed shaken, not stirred..

The Grand Hyatt
10-12 Scotts Road


Zouk Bar

The world famous Zouk bar is an exclusive industrial style club located in an old warehouse on Jiak Kim. Full of big name foreign DJ’s, including Fat Boy Slim make this the in-place to go in Singapore.




Blackjack is Singapore’s answer to London’s Browns Focus. Hot new street wear labels for the fashion insider include Maharishi, Katayone Adeli and Orfi. Not exactly haute couture, but these outfits will turn heads.

9 Scotts Road
Tel: 00 65 734 2163


Shanghai Tang

Orchard Road is Singapore’s number one shopping area. It used to be a sleepy two mile stretch of dirt road but today it hosts some of the world’s largest and most exclusive department stores like Ngee Ann City, housing designer boutiques for Tiffany, Gucci, Cartier and Louis Vuitton.

If this leaves you inspired to create your own fashion designs, head to Shanghai Tang, one of Singapore top fashion houses which has its own bespoke tailor. Perfect for your own unique oriental outfit.



Raffles Hotel

What better place to see and be seen than Raffles Hotel complex. Named after the founder of Singapore, the complex is a mix of old colonial buildings and the legendary long bar, where the Singapore Sling was invented. Famous guests have included Charlie Chaplin, Queen Elizabeth II, John Lennon, Elizabeth Taylor as well as Conrad, Maugham and Kipling who all had rooms specifically dedicated to them.

HOTEL 1929
50 Keong Saik Road Singapore 089154
t: 65 6347 1929
f: 65 6327 1929



Singapore Explorer: Trolley and Riverboat trips

Singapore Explorer takes pride in being the pioneer of Singapore’s only Tram-tour the Singapore Trolley; an unlimited city sightseeing tour that covers Orchard and Raffles City shopping belts, Colonial and Chinatown, Suntec City, Marina Bay, Merlion Park, Shenton Way, Lau Pa Sat and World Trade Centre / Cable Car Tower linking to Sentosa.


Singapore Tourism Board

Official site of the Singapore Tourism Board.