Shopping in Singapore is practically a national pastime, and one of my favourite ways to spend particularly hot weekends. Thanks to the scorching tropical sun, our little island is dotted with air-conditioned shops and malls for every personality type – whether you’re a fashionista, eco-warrior, hipster or bookworm. And with the right itinerary, shopping can give you a glimpse of true Singapore as well. Here are my recommendations if you have 24 hours to spare in Singapore.
#1 Start your morning at PasarBella for artisan produce
One of my new Sunday morning rituals is shopping at PasarBella. ‘Pasar’ is derived from the Chinese word for market, and ‘Bella’ is Italian for beautiful. And, as you can imagine, the chic open-concept market is packed with niche items and artisan produce.
Look out for shops such as The Great Beer Experiment, offering 150 craft beer and cider labels; as well as The Cheese Ark, with 40-50 tantalising cheeses. Other interesting finds include the ‘Cloud 9′ Pie inspired by Momofuku’s ‘Crack Pie’, Belgium candy in rainbow colours and favours, authentic Russian-style cakes based on secret recipes from Baku and Moscow, and gorgeous handmade macarons fashioned after characters such as the cookie monster.
#2 Swing by Marina Bay Sands for designer wear and celebrity chef restaurants
If you’ve been to Orchard Road umpteen times, Marina Bay Sands is another great place to escape the afternoon head and stock up on big name labels. Here, you’ll find spanking new Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Chopard and Van Cleef & Arpel stores. Looking for a bit more edge? You’ll also find Alexander McQueen or Maison Martin Margiela here.
In between shopping you can lunch on celebrity chef offerings at the various restaurants located throughout. There is CUT by Wolfgang Puck, which offers some of the best steaks in town, Waku Ghin is just the place to get your fix of sea urchin and other Japanese delicacies, and Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay offers fuss-free and delectable British-European fare.
#3 Spend the afternoon exploring Tiong Bahru for quirky finds
One of Singapore’s favourite hipster haunts, this heritage estate is a treasure trove of books, art, vinyls, cafes and bars. Art lovers may visit White Canvas Gallery for its Southeast Asian artwork, Degios Art offers curios for the home, and Grey Projects hosts experimental and avant garde art exhibitions.
Music or book enthusiasts will love Curated Records’ stash of indie records, as well as BooksActually’s well-edited titles, vintage wares and charming laidback vibe. If you have a couple of hours to spare, you could even sign up for a yoga class at Yoga Movement and stretch out those tensed muscles at their Monster Hot class, before ending your afternoon with a detoxifying tea at a nearby cafe.
#4 Scour Haji Lane for unique fashion items
While you won’t get couture items here, it’s an excellent place for unusual finds, vintage treasures and local design. So make it a mandatory pit-stop if you love pairing high fashion with high street.
#5 Explore Mustafa for everything and nothing
This iconic mall in the middle of Little India is nothing like any of the other malls you will find in Singapore. For one, Mustafa never sleeps – even at 2am, you’ll find a decent crowd at this 24-hour mall. It’s also jam-packed with bric-a-brac along narrow alleys of organised chaos.
From jewellery to electronics, and Indian sweets, you’ll find everything conceivable here, and at bargain prices. Bear in mind that this is not, by any stretch of imagination, a luxurious retail experience. It will, however, provide the intrepid traveller with a unique shopping experience like no other.
If you’ve visited Singapore have you found your favourtie shopping haunt? I’d love for you to share it with me- either here or on Twitter. Looking for more recommendations? Be sure to speak to your Capella Singapore Personal Assistant for more insider tips and recommendations for what to do around Singapore.