Shopping is second only to eating as a national pastime, which means that Singapore has an abundance of shopping malls, and low taxes and tariffs on imports coupled with huge volume mean that prices are usually very competitive. While you won't find any bazaars with dirt-cheap local handicrafts (in fact, virtually everything sold in Singapore is made elsewhere), goods are generally of reasonably good quality and shopkeepers are generally quite honest due to strong consumer protection laws. Most stores are open 7 days a week from 10AM-10PM, although smaller operations (particularly those outside shopping malls) close earlier — 7PM is common — and perhaps on Sundays as well. Mustafa in Little India is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Keep an eye out for the Great Singapore Sale , usually held in June-July, when shopping centres pull out all stops to attract punters. Many stores along the shopping belt of Orchard Road and Scotts Road now offer late night shopping on the last Friday of every month with over 250 retailers staying open till midnight.
Antiques: The second floor of the Tanglin Shopping Centre on Orchard and the shops on South Bridge Rd in Chinatown are good options if looking for the real thing (or high-quality reproductions).
Books: Borders at Wheelock Place and Kinokuniya at Ngee Ann City, both on Orchard, and Page One at Vivocity are amongst the largest bookstores in Singapore. Many second-hand bookstores are located in Far East Plaza and Bras Basah Complex, where you may attempt to bargain if you are buying a lot. For university textbooks, the bookshops at the National University of Singapore has the best prices on the island, up to 80% off compared to prices in the West.
Cameras: Peninsula Plaza near City Hall has Singapore's best selection of camera shops. However, there are no great bargains to be had, and many camera stores in Singapore (particularly those in Lucky Plaza and Sim Lim Square) have a reputation for fleecing unwary tourists. The best way is to know what you are looking for and then when you arrive, drop by the shops at the airport's transit area and take a look at the price and check with them whether they have any promotions. Then go to the downtown shops and compare prices/ packages to see which shop will give you value for money.
Clothes, high-street: Ion, Ngee Ann City (Takashimaya) and Paragon on Orchard have the heaviest concentration of branded boutiques.
Clothes, tailored: Virtually all hotels have a tailor shop attached, and touting tailors are a bit of a nuisance in Chinatown. As elsewhere, you'll get what you pay for and will get poor quality if you don't have the time for multiple fittings or the skill to check what you're getting. Prices vary widely: a local shop using cheap fabrics can do a shirt for $40, while Singapore's best-known tailor, CYC the Custom Shop at the Raffles Hotel, will charge at least $120.
Clothes, youth: Most of Bugis is dedicated to the young, hip and cost-conscious. Some spots of Orchard, notably Far East Plaza and the top floor of the Heeren, also target the same market but prices are generally higher. The basements of both Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City also have loads of options for the young.
Computers: Sim Lim Square (near Little India) is great for the hardcore geek who really knows what he's after, but lesser mortals run a risk of getting ripped off and are better off shopping at Funan IT Mall. Challenger  is a local chain that provides a great one-stop option for computer and other electronic (but mostly computer) products, with eight locations across the island, the largest and most central being on the 6th floor of Funan. If you plan on buying a lot, the $30 membership card may pay off.
Consumer electronics: Very competitively priced in Singapore. Funan IT Mall (Riverside#Buy|Riverside), Sim Lim Square and Mustafa (Little India) are good choices. Avoid the tourist-oriented shops on Orchard Road, particularly the notorious Lucky Plaza, or risk getting ripped off. Australian retailer Harvey Norman also has many stores scattered throughout Singapore. Check out the massive Harvey Norman Mega Superstore at Millenia Walk. For any purchases, remember that Singapore uses 230V voltage with a British-style three-pin plug.
Electronic components: For do-it-yourself people and engineers, a wide variety of electronic components and associated tools can be found at Sim Lim Tower (opposite Sim Lim Square), near Little India. You can find most common electronic components (such as breadboards, transistors, various IC's, etc.) and bargain for larger quantities as well.
Ethnic knick-knacks: Chinatown has Singapore's heaviest concentration of glow-in-the-dark Merlion soap dispensers and ethnic gewgaws, mostly but not entirely Chinese and nearly all imported from somewhere else. For Malay and Indian stuff, the best places to shop are Geylang Serai and Little India respectively.
Fabrics: Arab Street and Little India have a good selection of imported and local fabrics like batik.
Fakes: Unlike most South-East Asian countries, pirated goods are not openly on sale and importing them to the city-state carries heavy fines. Fake goods are nevertheless not difficult to find in Little India, Bugis, or even in the underpasses of Orchard Road.
Food: Local supermarkets Cold Storage and NTUC Fairprice are ubiquitous, but for specialties, Jason's Marketplace in the basement of Raffles City and Tanglin Market Place at Tanglin Mall (both on Orchard) are some of Singapore's best-stocked gourmet supermarkets, with a vast array of imported products. Takashimaya's basement (Orchard) has lots of small quirky shops and makes for a more interesting browse. For a more Singaporean (and much cheaper) shopping experience, seek out any neighborhood wet market, like Little India's Tekka Market.
Games: Video and PC games are widely available in Singapore, and prices are usually cheaper than in the West. Games sold for the local market are generally in English, and though some games imported from Hong Kong or Taiwan would be in Chinese. Do note, however, that Singapore's official region code is NTSC-J (together with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong etc.), which means that games sold may not be compatible with consoles in mainland China, North America, Europe or Australia.
Hi-fi stereos: The Adelphi (Riverside) has Singapore's best selection of audiophile shops.
Marine sports: Many of the shophouses opposite The Concourse on Beach Rd in Bugis sell fishing and scuba diving gear.
Mobile phones: Very competitively priced in Singapore due to high consumer volume, available throughout the country both used and new. Phones are never SIM locked, so they can be used anywhere, and many shops will allow you to "trade in" an older phone to offset the cost of a new one.
Music: The HMV at Somerset 313 (Orchard) is Singapore's largest music store, with a second, smaller outlet in the CityLink mall linking Raffles City and Suntec City Mall. Gramophone, however, provides much better prices on CDs and has an interesting selection. Numerous branches are scattered across the CBD and Orchard Road. One of the better Gramophone locations is at Ngee Ann City in B2.
Pretty in pink: Peranakan tea set with dragon-phoenix motif
Peranakan goods: The Peranakan, or Malay-Chinese, may be fading but their colorful clothing and artwork, especially the distinctive pastel-colored ceramics, are still widely available. Antiques are expensive, but modern replicas are quite affordable. The largest selection and best prices can be found in Katong on the East Coast.
Sports goods: Queensway Shopping Centre, off Alexandra Rd and rather off the beaten track (take a cab), seems to consist of nothing but sports goods shops. You can also find foreigner-sized sporty clothing and shoes here. Do bargain! Expect to get 40-50% off the price from the shops in Orchard for the same items. Velocity in Novena is also devoted to sports goods, but is rather more upmarket. Martial arts equipment is surprisingly hard to find, although most of the clothing shops around Pagoda Street in Chinatown sell basic silk taiji/wushu uniforms. Note that if you plan to buy weapons such as swords, you have to apply for a permit from the local police (around $10) to get your weaponry out of the country.
Tea: Chinatown's Yue Hwa (2nd floor) is unbeatable for both price and variety, but Time for Tea in Lucky Plaza (Orchard) is also a good option. English tea is also widely available around Orchard Road, most notably at Marks and Spencer in Centrepoint.
Watches: High-end watches are very competitively priced. Ngee Ann City (Orchard) has dedicated stores from the likes of Piaget and Cartier, while Millenia Walk (Marina Bay) features the Cortina Watch Espace retailing 30 brands from Audemars Piguet to Patek Philippe, as well as several other standalone shops.
For purchases of over $100 per day per participating shop, you may be able to get a refund of your 7% GST at Changi Airport or Seletar Airport, but the process is a bit of a bureaucratic hassle. See Singapore Customs for the full scoop.
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