If you are a shopaholic then Singapore is definitely for you! There are just so many shops to see and so many things to buy and plenty of time to do so as the shops do not close until 10.00 p.m. on weekdays and 11.00 p.m. on Saturdays!
Orchard Road is the most famous shopping area with local and international stores and boutiques and huge shopping malls at either end! There is a lovely atmosphere as you wander around, provided by street musicians. If you are looking for luxury products, head for Marina Way as it has a selection of top-end shops.
For color, fun, and bargains, explore China Town which is packed with clothes, souvenirs, and spices at incredibly low prices. Little India is a similar area, especially for Indian clothing including colorful saris, flower garlands, trinkets, and spices, again at incredible prices – happy shopping!
1. Buy some Kaya jam for breakfast
A thick layer of kaya jam on toast is the traditional way to start the day in Singapore. Kaya jam is made with coconut and pandan leaves and tastes good. Kaya jam can also be used as a topping for cakes and milk puddings and you will find boxes of kaya truffles on sale too. Jars of kaya jam are available in a variety of sizes and make an authentic gift to take home.
2. Select some different teas
The TWG tea company started back in 1837 and today has nine stores in various parts of Singapore including the air terminals. Tea is very popular in Singapore and tea salons can be found everywhere. TWG produces a variety of teas including fruit and herbal teas and they have such lovely names as ‘Weekends in Singapore’, ‘Midnight Hour Tea’ and ‘Tea Party Tea’. The tea is beautifully presented in hand-sewn cotton and silk tea bags which are packed in pretty keepsake boxes.
Other souvenirs if you are a fan of tea include pretty teacups and teapots and tea flavored biscuits.
3. Choose some attractive orchid jewelry
The purple orchid is the national flower of Singapore and can be found in a lovely range of jewelry where tiny real flowers have been preserved in a glass molding that has been made into a ring, bracelet or pendant.
4. Or some gorgeous orchid perfume
A variety of different orchids are used to make a selection of orchid perfumes for men, women and unisex. The perfumes are distinctive and are packaged in elegant glass bottles and their fragrance will remind you of your happy time in Singapore.
You may well come across a perfume maker in their small workshop and their perfumes are very special as they will create one just for you by blending several essential oils with different health properties that you would find beneficial.
5. Select some colorful Peranakan batik materials
These colorful materials are in patterns that are instantly recognizable and are known the world over as they were famously used by Singapore Airways. The material can be bought in lengths for attractive dresses, skirts, shirts, and bags.
Batik is widely available in Singapore but if you are keen to buy top quality fabric, such shops as The Silk Studio and Basharanhi House of Batik are the places to go.
If you love the Peranakan designs, as well as the batik materials, look out for the beautiful porcelain. In the 19th century, porcelain was one of Singapore’s most important exports and has a distinctly Chinese character. Each piece is intricately painted which takes the craftsmen many hours to complete so a piece of porcelain is not cheap, but you may be able to bargain a better price with the seller.
6. Ease your aches and pains with some Tiger Balm
Instantly recognizable in its brightly colored octagonal jar, Tiger Balm makes a great souvenir and practical gift for family and friends. Tiger Balm was first made in 1870 and since its creation, it has become a popular ointment for relieving external aches and pains. Tiger Balm has several ingredients including camphor, menthol, and petroleum jelly and is said to soothe away aches and pains in joints and muscles, headaches and sore noses caused by colds. Many people say that a smear of Tiger Balm on an insect bite is very soothing.
7. Enjoy a drink of Tiger Beer!
Tiger Beer is a much loved local product that has won more than 40 international awards and is sold in many countries worldwide. In Singapore, it is widely available and is a fun gift to take home – but make sure you wrap it in a plastic bag and place it in the center of your suitcase.
8. Get nostalgic with a Singapore Sling!
This iconic cocktail was first created by a barman working in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel in the 1930s. He created the cocktail using gin, cherry brandy, orange and lime juice and the frothy top to the cocktail is made from Sarawak pineapple. Singapore Sling became a popular cocktail the world over and where better to enjoy one than in the Long Bar where you can buy a ready-mixed bottle of this famous cocktail or a kit for making it yourself! Singapore Sling kits are widely available in food stores as well as the original recipe; there are now several others to try too!
9. Snack on some Bak Kwa
This is Singapore’s favorite snack and is a fun and very authentic gift to take home! Bak Kwa is made from barbecued pork that has been well marinated in a delicious sauce so is very juicy to eat. A variation has been created by the Bee Cheng Hiang company that has added cheese to the recipe – with great success. Bak Kwa is widely available and the cheese version can be bought in the numerous Bee Cheng Hiang stores. Bak Kwa is traditionally given as a gift during the Chinese New Year.
The enterprising local Cacao 7 company has gone one step further and has recently introduced chocolates containing pieces of Bak Kwa.
10. Admire the exquisite Risis orchids
If you are looking for a truly special and uniquely Singaporean souvenir, a gorgeous Risis orchid is perfect. These very special orchids were designed in the 1960s by a local chemist who was experimenting with ways to preserve fresh orchid flowers for his fiancée. The most perfect blossoms are chosen and these are preserved with gossamer-thin layers of copper, nickel and finally, 24-carat gold – and the result is breathtakingly beautiful. Risis orchids can be bought as brooches and pendants or as an ornament. Specialist stores selling these orchids will package them safely for your journey home.
Updated: October 4, 2019