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Kuala Lumpur

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Shopping Arcade

An arcade over rows of shophouses awaits visitors.

Photograph by Gnarfgnarf


Shopping Because...


Shopping madness, shopping fever, shopping as a national pastime, shopping as a sport, shopping as a delusion... all hold true in Singapore. Everywhere you look... a store, a stall, a hawker beckons. Great deals, liquidation sales, closing sales, opening sales... Of all the Gnarfgnarf cities, Singapore shopping is the iceberg. If you are shopping phobic, we wager that you will go absolutely insane in Singapore. If you are shopping maniac, there is no need for you to heed our suggestions, as you will likely trek through all of Singapore's malls, shopping centres and markets.


Shopping Malls


ION Orchard


Go for: Imposing newest trendy mall on the block

ION is new, bold and overwhelming, and therefore attracts crowds of shoppers. Visitors will like or dislike the steely media façade that changes colour according to public mood. Perfumed and music pleasing stores will ensure that you will not leave empty handed. The food court offers an exquisite selection of the finest Asian cuisines in a laid back and constantly buzzing atmosphere. From donuts to extravagant luxury, ION stretches the boundaries of shopping sanity. For a breather, the top floor observation deck offers a delightful view of the throngs of shoppers on Orchard Road. Spelunkers will appreciate the opportunity to crawl all the way to Ngee Ann City, another mammoth mall on Orchard, through a continuous maze of underground shops.


Mustafa Centre


Go for: 24 hour hodgepodge shopping

Who knows when you may need a replacement television set or some dishwashing liquid? Three o'clock in the morning? Head to Mustafa, there is no need to wait for tomorrow as the centre closes only under force majeure or extreme duress. Started in the early 1970s as a single store in Little India, Mustafa has faithfully stayed the course of budget shopping, making it particularly attractive in these hard hit financial times. Mustafa is a bargain basement where conscientious shoppers find cheap perfumes and clunky consumer electronics through a continuous hustle and bustle. Don't let their website fool you, most of the hyperlinks won't work, as sellers are too busy pushing their inventory of 150,000 strong items into your hands.


Sim Lim Square


Go for: Electronics and gadgets

From antennas to video cameras, professional audiovisual equipment to tablets... Sim Lim Square has been dubbed the electronics hub of Singapore. Its notoriety relies on a jumble of individual retailers focusing on high stock rotation and low profit margins. They have got the real goods, but tech savvy shoppers usually know what they are bargaining for and how much it costs. An upmarket competitor is Funan Digitalife Mall, with a more standard and streamlined layout that mainstream shoppers will prefer.





Arab Street

Go for: Textiles and fabrics

Kampong Glam is filled with interesting and picturesque stores lining Arab, Muscat, Bussorah, Baghdad and Kandahar Streets. Most of them sell beautiful fabric and are owned by enterprising Indians who will help you mix and match. Buy "ethnic" materials at reasonable prices and have them transformed into whatever you want. Even better, have them transformed into an Indian Sari (very elegant Indian traditional outfit for ladies) or a Malay Kebaya (traditional Malay costume for ladies, again very elegant, but it helps if you are slim built). Arab Street is a great place for souvenirs too. Get your little rattan baskets and racks for a good price, while taking pictures of the Sultan Mosque. Local decorative items are on sale here. Enjoy the dense cultural atmosphere. For those who are hungry, the far end of Arab street is the place for good prawn noodles. Located next to a busy road, you may want to bring your own napkins. Lots of atmosphere, a little dust but ultra delicious prawn noodles that must be sampled if you are in the vicinity.



Go for: Medicinal herbs and love potions

Take the bus, MRT or a cab to Chinatown. This area is home to many shopping malls and wet markets… and great food too. It is noisy and crowded, and has a very unique atmosphere. Shops sell ginseng and Chinese medicinal herbs. Ask for remedies and love potions. See if the old herbalists promise you heightened libido and prosperity! A traditional Chinese costume might do the trick. Pick up made in China merlion statues, one dollar dragon candles and sweet mooncakes. Look out for little Chinese pastry shops that sell good egg-tarts and Soon Kueh (vegetarian style dumplings served with chili, absolutely delicious!). Chinatown has much to offer. You can do your shopping here if Orchard Road proves to be too snobbish for your liking.


Little India

Go for: All India imports

Need a Punjabi suit because you have been invited to a wedding celebration? Sandals, bags and other accessories? Some fresh vegetables and spices from the wet market? Clunky heavy jewelry for a homemade Bollywood video? Ayurvedic massage oil? Custom made aromatics? Spend a day and night here while feasting on curry at street side little eateries off Serangoon Road. And if it is not enough, head to Mustafa Centre for an additional 24 hours of shopping.

Bring Home

Asian Handicraft


Merlion Key Chain

"Fine City" T-shirt


ION Orchard

Mustafa Centre

Sim Lim Square


Arab Street


Little India

Economy of Singapore

Singapore's economic prowess mixes capitalism and state control. The state not only provides the conditions and institutional set up for ease of doing business, but also owns significant parts of the economy. The island's entrepot trade model relies on one of the busiest ports in the world to purchase goods and refine them for higher value added exports...>>