Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Oct 2008
25-34 year old female
i need to be on the move constantlly. Slovakia born, but also Malaysia bred and fed on sunshine, football and travelling. London has been my home on and off for the past 13 years. I love South-East Asia. I consider Malaysia home. Singapore has been my stopover home destination for years, always seductive with all it has to offer. Myanmar was a revelation, Thailand is always a pleasure to visit and Laos is my next dream destination, followed by Vietnam and Cambodia. Indonesia will have to wait for some time yet. I love history, botany, languages and pottering around museums and galleries on rainy days.
Points of Interest & Landmarks
While this destination is pretty obvious, you can't escape the lure of this leafy yet busy stretch of a thoroughfare that is heaven for some, nightmare for others. Sprawling and buzzing, it is home to some of the glitziest shopping malls Singapore has to offer. There are upmarket places like ION, Paragon or Tangs (homegrown department store dating back to the 1930s) to explore, giants like Ngee Ann City to get lost in, and shopping malls like the Far East Plaza, particularly popular with bargain hunters and 2nd hand bookshop enthusiasts. Then there are the newest additions like 313@Somerset or the super high-tech Orchard Central, which offers additional quirks like super speedy escalators, rooftop garden, gallery and even a climbing wall.
Little India is one of the most heaving neighbourhoods in Singapore, and one that adds a bit of a different colour to the island state. Of all the shopping centres in Singapore, none is open 24-7 like the Mustafa Centre, the grand old dame of non-stop shopping located in the middle of Little India. The beauty of this place is that you can get almost anything here around the clock: clothes, shoes, cosmetics, gold, sportswear and equipment, artificial flowers, home appliances, perfumes, DVDs and music, electronics – the list goes on. It is almost always buzzing and whilst here, you can also take a well-deserved shopping break at one of the many Indian or boutique eateries. Plus, don't forget to visit the 'wet market' Tekka centre with its very popular hawker centre downstairs (think fresh coconuts, thosai breakfast, local cakes, noodle soups, etc.) and clothes and accessories shops upstairs, where you can buy some colourful Indian clothing and jewellery or embellishments.
You cannot get more glam than here, at Singapore's showboat Marina Bay Sands, the imposing building and centre that's been written about time and time again since it first opened in 2010. Home to the famous Skypark, a casino, flashy eateries run by world-renowned chefs and the ArtScience Museum, shopping may not be all that's on your agenda here. The Shoppes have been designed with serious feng shui in mind – just ponder the centrepiece 'Rain Oculus' for a while. You can also take a sampan (traditional boat) down the indoor river and browse hundreds of designer and highstreet shops on its banks.
This neighbourhood is full of all things Peranakan – the unique south-east Asian fusion of several different cultures, mainly Chinese and Malay. You'll know you're in the right place when you see all the ornate and colourful houses. Locals come here for the Katong laksa, a special version of the popular local soup, where all you need is a spoon and a big appetite. You can find Peranakan souvenirs in Rumah Bebe, a shop that also sells freshly made Nyonya (a Peranakan lady) cakes and snacks. Also look out for beautiful fabrics, brooches, hand-embellished slippers ('kasut manik') and other souvenirs.
While this little multicultural enclave of history is worth a visit any time of the day, for shopping it is best to arrive before 6 pm, when you'll find colourful shops filled with fabrics, gems, perfumes and traditional clothes like the nyonya kebaya (a beautifully embroidered blazer/blouse). You can also browse quirky souvenirs from the many new boutique shops that dot this area, and for a particularly special memento, head to Sifr Aromatics, a 3rd generation perfumier on Arab St.
Another gem from the myriad of shopping centres in Singapore, Vivo City offers something a little bit different. Located on the harbour front and facing 'Sentosa Island – Asia's playground', the complex is an amalgam of international and home-grown brands, and features a lovely terrace complete with a paddling pool for kids and adults alike – a cool-down in during hot weather. The centre is also home to one of the loveliest food courts around – Republic Food-court, built in the style of old China.
Just a short ride on the MRT brings you to one of Singapore's oldest housing estates, which in the 1930s was referred to as the Den of Beauties, because all the rich men kept their mistresses here. An incredible collection of Art Deco style public housing awaits you, complete with its village-like atmosphere. Shoppers can enjoy browsing the perfectly sized Tiong Bahru market to a backdrop of birdsong. Fresh poultry, seafood, vegetables and fruit are all featured here, but you can also pick up local spices and spice pastes or grab some lunch upstairs from the sprawling food court, which features local delicacies like mee (noodles), herbal soups, local pastries and rejuvenating fresh fruit juices. However, the real draw of Tiong Bahru is the number of boutiques and cafes that have sprung up recently, including Books Actually, which sells a wealth of both foreign and homegrown fiction books and their own stationary, to boot, or Nana and Bird, a little boutique sourcing labels from all around the world.
Not your usual shopping destination, perhaps, but Changi Airport is a very pleasant experience, and it's worth arriving here with a few extra hours before your flight. There is a wealth of shops for last-minute bargains, from orchids and Tiger Balm products to jewellery, clothes and electronics – all duty free. Plus you can relax in one of the gardens, keep your kids entertained at one of the many play or Xbox corners dotting the airport, or check out the Science Centre outpost.