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Shopping for Expats in Singapore

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: June 2014

Singapore offers a wide range of goods to local residents and tourists with many agreeing that prices are even cheaper than those in shopping havens such as Hong Kong. Like most cities prices tend to be more expensive in the heart of Singapore but there are plenty of deals to be found. Shopping in duty free shops at the airport is a great way to get a bargain.

Singapore is a small country in terms of the size; with an area of only 710 km2 it is even smaller than Hong Kong, which is 1100km2. It is not difficult to shop around the city-state in just a few days.

The most famous shopping street is Orchard Road, here you can find many well-known big brands. There are many luxury shopping malls and centres on this street. Orchard Central is the tallest vertical mall in Singapore. It is well known for its use of glass throughout the building creating a bright and relaxing atmosphere. The front on the building features an installation of digital art membrane by local artist Matthew Ngui. It also houses over $9million worth of public art installations. With its many shops, 24/7 roof garden and Singapore’s first Mediterranean-style marketplace it is definitely worth a visit. For more information, you can check its website here: https://www.orchardcentral.com.sg/.

ION Orchard is  a fairly new shopping centre on Orchard Road. It accommodates many international luxury goods within eight levels of shopping space. It has an impressive feature called ION Sky where tourists can take in the views from the 55th and 56th floors, over 218 meters into the clouds. The ION Sky also includes the Salt Grill & Sky Bar, which is one of Chef Luke Mangan’s, renowned Australian chef, latest restaurants. For further information visit the ION Orchard website: https://www.ionorchard.com/.   

Ngee Ann City is the oldest luxury shopping mall in Singapore. It has over 100 designer stores, restaurants, bars, bookshops and a gym. You can find more from its website here: https://www.ngeeanncity.com.sg/.

There are many other shopping malls in Singapore such as; VivoCity, Plaza Singapura and Paragon. However, apart from those shopping malls, there are some special featured markets or shopping streets in Singapore. One  popular shopping street is Bugis street, where you can find over 600 shops covering three levels. It website is here: https://www.bugis-street.com/.

Singapore’s China Town, located off of New Bridge Road, is full of cafés, temples, street hawkers and boutique hotels. Here you can see the smooth integration of modern life and old Chinese culture.

It is also recommended  to visit Little India, where you can find plenty of Indian goods. There is a large shopping mall, the Mustafa Centre, which is famous for its variety goods and excellent prices.

For more information about shopping in Singapore: www.yoursingapore.com.

Online shopping

Online shopping is not very popular in Singapore but there are some local online shopping websites, such as www.efairshop.com.   

You can buy what you want online from all over the world from websites such as Amazon and ebay. You will need to be aware that this is a form of importation and can therefore trigger custom duties and VAT (which is called GST in Singapore). Some items are not allowed to enter Singapore so before making any purchases, it would be wise to check what is prohibited via the government website: https://www.customs.gov.sg/leftnav/trav/controlled+and+prohibited+goods.htm .    

Shopping hours  

Typical business hours are between 10 am and 10pm. Many large shops open seven days a week and superstores may open 24/7. However, some small shops may close at 17:30 pm. 



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