Singapore is a shoppers dream, but what to bring back for friends and family at home? We hone in on the 12 best souvenir spots in Singapore to help you out!
It’s hard to beat the jungle of malls this vibrant city has to offer our inner shopaholic, but aside from the designer labels and fabulous local ware, there’s no getting away from buying souvenirs for friends and family back home. Where do you go and what to get? Don’t worry – we just happen to know the best places to pick up the cutest knick-knacks and keepsakes to take home something uniquely Singaporean!
Authentic Chinese souvenirs on a budget: Chinatown
A famous heritage district smack-dab in the heart of Singapore, Chinatown is a must-go for Chinese and Singaporean decorative ornaments, handicrafts and cheap souvenirs, such as aromatic candles, herbs, sarongs and kebayas, bamboo flutes and more! The bustling market of this sprawling ethnic quarter is speckled with lots of ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ and ‘3 for $10’ shops, plus many shopkeepers are happy to give you a bargain on pricier art and decorative pieces. This is the place to get beautiful porcelain Chinese figures, scripts in Chinese calligraphy, silk scarves and lanterns – at prices you will love!
Best bargain haunt on Orchard Road: Lucky Plaza
Located on the iconic Orchard Road, Lucky Plaza is one of Singapore’s oldest shopping centres and is rumoured to be the best place for bargaining. Come here for cheap fashion and perfume, mobile accessories, chocolates, cosmetics, Singapore trinkets and a cove of Filipino products. Our fave? Singapore fridge magnets, costume jewellery and silk scarves!
Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Road, Singapore 238863
For budget Malay souvenirs: Joo Chiat Complex
Standing at just over 25,000 square metres, the gigantic Joo Chiat Complex in East Coast is a popular shopping hub if you’re looking for traditional Malay costumes, carpets and jewellery. Here’s a unique souvenir idea: pick up an authentic Baju Kurung (for women) or a Baju Melayus (for men)! Peranakan souvenirs are also available here, including the famous Kebaya costumes, hijabs, scarves, brooches, pins, handcrafted items and traditional herbs. The wider Joo Chiat area itself is also worth checking out!
Joo Chiat Complex, 1 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 420001
For all things Thai: Golden Mile Complex
Hot on the heels of ‘Little Manila’ that is Lucky Plaza, the Golden Mile Complex is popularly known as ‘Little Thailand.’ All souvenirs here come with the authentic ‘Made in Thailand’ stamp. So, if you’re looking for Thai costumes, simple yet stylish street wear, jewellery and other cute trinkets, check this place out!
Golden Mile Complex, 5001 Beach Road, Singapore 199588
Largest street shopping venue: Bugis Street
Located just opposite of Bugis Junction, the chaotic Bugis Street is Singapore’s largest and most exciting street shopping spot, boasting over 800 shops! Prices are extremely low and bargaining is expected at most stores so don’t settle for the prices advertised, mama! Come here for cheap fashion souvenirs such as Singapore T-shirts, handbags, shoes, belts, watches, jewellery, accessories and other small mementos.
Bugis Street, 3 New Bugis Street, Singapore 188868
Super budget souvenirs: Peninsula Plaza
If you’re looking to buy bulk on a budget, head to Peninsula Plaza, an old shopping centre located in the City Hall area for smaller and cheaper souvenirs. Bargaining is expected, so don’t be shy! Bonus: pick up some Burmese souvenirs here!
Peninsula Plaza, 111 North Bridge Road, 179098
Captivate with the national flower: RISIS
For a truly special souvenir, consider bringing back Singapore’s national flower, the orchid – a flower of great meaning and symbolism. Since 1976, RISIS has been capturing the beauty of natural orchids with its collection of real orchid blooms carefully plated in the finest 24K gold and palladium, signifying love, luxury, beauty and strength. These can be worn as jewellery or gifted as decorative household items like frames, pen holders and plaques. Just gorgeous!
RISIS, various locations across Singapore, www.risis.com
For the foodies: NTUC Fairprice, Geylang, Serangoon Road, Little India, Kampong Glam, Chinatown
What better Singapore memories to take home than exotic spices, traditional sauces, dried foods, Chilli Crab paste, charcoal-grilled love letters, kaya, sambal, crackers, Singapore Sling, XO sauce, and so much more! Head to any NTUC FairPrice or most local supermarkets and get to shopping, mama! For the best Chinese, Malay and Indian fusion offerings, head to Geylang Serai and Serangoon Road, as well as mega-marts found in Little India, Kampong Glam and Chinatown. Unfortunately, we can’t help you pack a local favourite: the ice-cream sandwich!
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
You can’t get more unique and unforgettable than a traditional Singapore souvenir that promotes wellness, prevents disease and cultivates serenity. Yes, we’re talking traditional Chinese medicine! Head to the famous medicine shops – including Jai Tai Tong Medicine Shop, Chop On Sen Foh, ZTP Ginseng Birdnest and Sin Chong Meheco – for specially-packed remedies in beautiful jars or string-tied paper packets.
Looking for authentic souvenirs such as sarongs, posters of modern and ancient Singapore, hanging artworks, vases, pottery and other exquisitely handcrafted trinkets? Then head over to these four museum stores for some pieces – Singapore Art Museum, The Museum Shop, Red Dot Design Museum and National Museum of Singapore. For Peranakan (a fusion of Chinese, Malaysian and European art forms), antiques, batik sarongs, tea sets, brooches and porcelain, your best bets lie in wait at Dempsey Hill, National Orchid Garden and the Peranakan Museum. Here, you can also pick up famous handmade beaded slippers, Kasut Manek, decorated with tiny, faceted glass beads to make for a different kind of souvenir.
Handcrafted and traditional items always make for thoughtful gifts. Luckily, Singapore boasts a wide range of handicrafts, ranging from pewter and bamboo to porcelain, calligraphy scrolls, carpets, silks and paper kites. Famous handicraft stores in town include Lims Arts & Crafts, Oriental Handicraft, Asia Handicraft Store, Good Friends Pottery Arts and Mei Handicraft. If you prefer to do all your handicraft shopping under one roof, the Singapore Handicraft Centre at Chinatown Point is the ideal place for traditional and contemporary woodcarvings, Peranakan pottery and unique trinkets.
Still don’t know what to buy? Head to Mustafa!
If you can’t find something you’re looking for, Mustafa Shopping Centre will sort it out for you with a sprawling retail space open 24-7 and offering all kinds of stuff! Personally, we think it’s best to go after midnight or in the wee morning hours so you can shop leisurely without having to fight the crowds! Whether you’re looking for Merlion chocolates, perfumes, Chinese medicated oil, tacky fridge magnets, costume jewellery, collectible coins, DVDs or the latest iPhone, this is the one-stop shop you need. The saying goes that no one has ever managed to come back empty handed from Mustafa! Prices are fixed, but extremely reasonable, so happy shopping, mama!
Mustafa Shopping Centre, 145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207704