Two-day Itinerary for Shopping & Retail
Day One – Shopaholics' paradise: Orchard Road & Marina Bay Sands
Take a walk down Singapore's famous shopping street (Dine/Shop/Explore)
The 2.2km Orchard Road is lined with more than 30 shopping malls and should be the first stop on any shopping itinerary. Most malls open at 10am, so travellers have enough time for a light bite at their hotels, or they can go to Wild Honey for all-day breakfast. Then, they can head down Singapore's most iconic shopping belt. From luxury fashion brands – many with Southeast Asian flagship stores here – to international high-street brands and department stores such as Robinsons, as well as local designers and labels, there is something for everyone.
Shoppers looking for local designers and brands can visit TANGS department store and – around the corner on Scotts Road – Scotts Square. TANGS is home to local fashion labels such as In Good Company and Aijek, while at Scotts Square, beauty junkies can check out Skin Inc, an award-winning homegrown beauty brand that is well-loved for its custom-blended serums.
For fine jewellery and watches, visitors can go to ION Orchard, which also has a dedicated Jewellery Street that includes the glamorous diamond boutique of homegrown brand Lee Hwa Jewellery. They can also visit luxury emporium Malmaison by The Hour Glass at Knightsbridge and Sara Taseer Fine Jewellery at the Hilton Hotel Shopping Gallery.
Lunch at the food court (Dine)
For a lunch break, visitors can head to Food Republic, a local chain of food courts with four branches on Orchard Road alone. Everyone in a group will find something to munch on, be it local dishes such as rojak (sweet and savoury Asian salad), roti prata (Indian flatbread), fried prawn noodles and nasi lemak (fragrant coconut rice) or snacks, fresh fruit, desserts and all manner of refreshing drinks.
Shopping on the Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut stretches (Shop)
After lunch, shoppers can continue down Orchard, or they can hop on the MRT for one or two stops for direct access to malls at Somerset Station and Dhoby Ghaut Station respectively. At 313@Somerset mall, they will find high-street brands like Charles & Keith, a Singaporean shoe and accessories label that recently gained international attention when Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams was spotted carrying the brand's handbag. The nearby Orchard Central is home to Southeast Asia's UNIQLO flagship store, as well as We The People, the world's first Kickstarter-centric product store. For those looking for quirky local souvenirs, head to the Naiise flagship at The Cathay – it stocks everything from books, magazines and stationery to home décor, fashion and food products, many by local designers and businesses.
Shop your own art (Experience/Dine/Shop)
Instead of buying art for their walls, visitors can create their own to bring home at Arteastiq. Essentially an art-jamming studio plus cosy tea café, Arteastiq is perfect for shoppers who want a little respite for tired feet, a spot of afternoon tea, and a blank canvas to get the creative juices flowing. Afterwards, they can continue shopping at Mandarin Gallery, which houses local names such as womenswear label Beyond The Vines and Excluniqueeee, which features made-in-Singapore products of design, fashion, arts, crafts, music, cosmetics, food and more for the whole family.
Luxury shopping at Marina Bay Sands (Shop/Experience)
Since The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) stay open relatively late (Sun–Thu, 10.30am–11pm; Fri & Sat, 10.30am–11.30pm), it's the ideal place to go for some evening retail therapy. The city's largest luxury shopping mall, The Shoppes at MBS has more than 200 stores and boutiques, including high fashion labels such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, as well as Southeast Asia's largest collection of luxury watch and jewellery brands under one roof.
Dinner with a view (Dine/Experience)
Cap the evening with a lavish meal at a celebrity chef restaurant such as Spago by Wolfgang Puck and enjoy the breathtaking views of Marina Bay and the city skyline. Afterwards, visitors can watch a show or performance at the MasterCard Theatres – which have hosted popular events such as award-winning Broadway musicals Wicked and The Lion King.
Day Two – Out of the malls and off the beaten track
Breakfast at Holland Village (Dine)
For visitors looking to experience a slice of local life, they can head to Holland Village, a lifestyle enclave that's a 10- to 15-minute drive from the city centre and also easily accessible by MRT. They can have a local breakfast at the food stalls of Holland Village Food Centre (try fried savoury carrot cake – made of rice flour and white radish – and the strong local coffee, kopi), or head to Crystal Jade Kitchen for Cantonese favourites like congee (rice porridge) and dim sum (bite-sized portions of food served in steamer baskets or small plates).
Explore a local neighbourhood (Shop/Experience)
Besides numerous beauty and wellness outlets, Holland Village is home to Holland Road Shopping Centre, where visitors can buy jewellery, ethnic clothing, beachwear, batik (traditional Indonesian fabric) clothes and accessories, and children's toys and clothes. Shoppers can stop by Lim's Arts and Living for stylish Asian homeware and chic accessories. Singapore hipsters rejoiced when international lifestyle and magazine brand Monocle set up its namesake shop and café at Chip Bee Gardens, across the road from Holland Road Shopping Centre, while stationery lovers can visit Bynd Artisan, a homegrown bookbinding business. It has expanded to selling handcrafted notebooks, luggage tags, cardholders and other customisable stationery, and visitors can opt to sign up for a leather-working, bookbinding or even calligraphy workshop for a personalised souvenir.
Hunt for indie and ethnic buys (Explore/Shop)
Shoppers can head to Bras Basah Complex to hit a number of independent retailers and visit the Kampong Glam ethnic district. Bras Basah Complex is home to secondhand bookshops and indie shop Cat Socrates, which offers an eclectic collection of homeware, stationery, vintage memorabilia and music by local and international artists. On Victoria Street, visitors can stop at the National Design Centre – home of local design collective KEEPERS, which was started by Singaporean jewellery designer Carolyn Kan. Further down, travellers will arrive at Arab Street and Haji Lane between North Bridge Road and Beach Road, the heart of Kampong Glam. Here, they will find a plethora of shops and boutiques selling everything from traditional textiles and cultural souvenirs to vintage fashion and collectibles, locally designed accessories and edgy independent womenswear and menswear labels.
Lunch in Kampong Glam (Dine)
Shoppers will not go hungry with many cafés and restaurants representing a wide range of cuisines in and around Kampong Glam, which they can duck into for lunch or tea break in between visiting boutiques. For lunch, try Middle Eastern cuisine at Beirut Grill (72 Bussorah Street); classic Asian and North Indian dishes at The Singapura Club; gourmet burgers at shophouse burger joint BERGS; or any number of hipster cafés such as & Why – which is halal – and La Marelle Café & Boutique, which also has a small selection of whimsical bags, cards and kids' toys and books for sale.
Visit a hipster hood (Dine/Shop/Experience)
A short drive away is the up-and-coming hipster neighbourhood of Jalan Besar, on the fringe of Little India. In the late afternoon, perk up with a latte at cafés such as Chye Seng Huat Hardware or The Bravery. Visitors can stop by Tyrwhitt General Company, a boutique located above Chye Seng Huat Hardware that sells an array of design and décor items and accessories by local designers, crafters and makers. The company behind the shop, The General Co, also hosts private workshops on everything from metal and woodworking to printmaking and shoemaking.
Immerse in Little India (Shop/Explore/Dine)
Shoppers can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of Little India Arcade and Tekka Centre, where they can purchase traditional Indian clothing and saris, gold jewellery and colourful bangles, sweets, incense, handicrafts and souvenirs. Duck into any number of restaurants along Race Course Road and Serangoon Road for North and South Indian cuisine, such as Banana Leaf Apolo. For those in need of late-night retail therapy, Mustafa Centre – popular for its wide range of products at affordable prices – is open 24 hours.
Supper for late-night shoppers (Dine)
Kebabs & Curries on the top level of Mustafa Centre is open till 1am daily, while Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant in Jalan Besar is open through the night from 6pm to 6am (closed on Tuesdays). Over on Serangoon Road, Indian restaurant Khansama Tandoori (khansama.net) is open till 11.30pm daily.