We’d like to start by stating that it is near impossible to write a concise guide to shopping in Singapore. Spend just five minutes along bustling Orchard Street and you’ll know what we mean. Concise…this? Sorry, but one couldn’t zipfile a shopping trip to Singapore even if one wanted to. Yet there is something remarkably easy about indulging in some serious retail therapy here. All you need to do is polish that card, put on some comfy sneakers and walk out the front door of your hotel. There, now just start shopping!
Bringing home suitcases full of designer gear, gorgeous accessories and the latest i-whatever is easy enough, yet finding a few truly unique Singapore souvenirs may actually be harder than you can imagine.
For years, the local retail market was flooded with cheap souvenirs; from handbags painted with orchids and I-♥-Mud-Crab key rings and fridge magnets, to every other type of tacky dust-collectors you could think of. So people just came here to spend big on imported gear, taking advantage of the duty-free emporiums and the utterly invigorating shopping options. If you wanted something particularly Asian, then you’d find the same selection of sarongs and cheap knock-offs you get in most Chinatowns across the world, only at twice the price.
It just didn’t make any sense! Until recently that is…
A brand new wave of retailers and designers (finally) saw a gap in the market for quality, locally made and completely Singaporean goods, which represent and promote the local culture. Look out for the following great finds when next visiting Singapore and you could bring home a real piece of the Singapore pie.
A gorgeous leaf-printed coffee set by Sia Huat
Pop into this fantastic store and you’re likely to see only local restaurant and cafe’ owners meandering about. The shop’s brilliant collections of stunning china, including divine tea and coffee sets, are found in some of the most famous restaurants of Singapore, and make for a brilliantly unique souvenir. Grab a set of wonderful leaf-printed kopitiam cups & saucers and you’ll have a delightful and useful holiday memento.
A stunning piece by RISIS
While there’s no denying that the orchid is the symbol of Singapore, seeing it plastered on every item in souvenir stores tends to lessen its appeal. Drop into one of the many elegant stores in Singapore who carry the RISIS range, however, and you will see just how perfectly this symbol can be immortalized in gold. The orchid ribbon necklace retails for USD130 and is a truly timeless piece of jewellery. The RISIS collection also boasts some (rather gawdy) golden statues for the more flamboyant shopper, and a whole range of lovely gold-tipped chopstick sets and some stunning gold-plated orchids in designer frames. From flashy to subtle, there’s something here for everyone’s tastes and budgets.
Arty goodies from the Singapore Art Museum
Now no need to get your knickers in a knot….we’re not about to talk you into spending thousands on a piece of Singaporean artwork, even though that would make for a pretty nifty souvenir! Instead, we’ll just urge you to head to the SAM store and take a peek at the fantastic souvenir gifts by the MADE FOR SAM range. All items are locally made by up and coming artists, and all are inspired by the city’s history and eclectic culture, in one way or another. The gorgeous collections, which cover the gamut from pencil cases to mooncake-shaped paperweights, terracotta figurines, tote bags, travel pouches and (yes in this case!) T-shirts, are all quirky, fun and completely non-touristy. Our favourite item here would have to be the set of four traditional games; find room for one in your bag, google the games when you get home and instead of boring your family silly with slide-shows when you get home, invite them over for a night of Singapore game-playing instead.
A little taste of Singapore at home by Prima Taste
If you’ve never been to Singapore before, then best you read our delicious guide to Singapore and then realize that the best holiday experiences here are not always the longest lasting. After just a few days in this delectable city, you may want to start stocking up on delicious Prima Sauce Packets so you can whip up wicked hainan chicken rice and laksa for your loved one back home. The cheapest and most space-saving souvenirs in Singapore can be found in most local supermarkets and come with easy to follow cooking instructions.
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