The covered Bugis Street Market is popular with visitors for cheap clothes, souvenirs and local snacks. Eight in ten Singapore residents own cell phones and local telecom companies issue up to 40,000 new numbers every month.
Singapore – Been There

Singapore: a shopper's paradise

Photo by Jonathan Siegel

Singapore – Been There Singapore: a shopper's paradise

Singapore has been called “the new haven for the super-rich”, and there is plenty of evidence of this on Orchard Road, where you can barely move for malls dispensing designer heels and “lifestyle goods.”

Ben Lerwill
Ben Lerwill Travel Writer

In the slick, airy shopping complex at the foot of Marina Bay Sands, I wander past Gucci and Philippe Patek boutiques, pausing occasionally so I can recoil in shock at the price tags. Singapore has one of the highest GDPs on the planet. Somewhat reassuringly, however, at the swish ION Orchard mega-mall I find the busiest shop by far is the everything-for-S$2 store in the basement, where locals and ex-pats are filling up baskets with dinner trays, doilies and cheap dog collars.

Singapore and shopping have long been packaged together as a tourism draw by the travel industry, but if you are after character rather than catwalk labels then the most absorbing retail outlets are found well away from the big malls. World Savage on Bussorah Street is one such, a wild-eyed emporium of vintage goods that opens “at random times, but invariably after 4pm”. Or the hidden-away Books Actually on Yong Siak Street, with its slow-slow ethos and wooden cabinets full of Pez dispensers and old poetry volumes.

Or, kookier still, the clothing store Hide and Seek. Why the name? “We shift location every couple of years, so that customers have to seek us out,” Jun, the creatively-hairstyled male assistant tells me, while trying to pique my interest in a new range of sneakers. “We’re for people who are bored of the malls.”

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Orchard Road was lined with spice and fruit orchards until the mid-1800s but now blooms with high-end shops, shopping malls and department stores. The 2.2-kilometer, one-way street is the heart of Singapore's retail and entertainment district. Photo by Edwin A. Franken

Edwin A. Franken

Edwin A. Franken

Nikon D800

Aperture
ƒ/9
Exposure
1/60
ISO
1600
Focal
28 mm

Orchard Road was lined with spice and fruit orchards until the mid-1800s but now blooms with high-end shops, shopping malls and department stores. The 2.2-kilometer, one-way street is the heart of Singapore's retail and entertainment district.

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