The largest Kinokuniya store outside of Japan, the Singapore location of this famous bookseller has an awesome inventory of books and periodicals-English, Japanese, French and German-and is a veritable rabbit warren of bookshelves. Shoppers have been known to need help finding the exit. Special in-house events in addition to the usual book signing sessions are held regularly. Wine-tasting, anyone? There is also a good in-house cafe where you can stop for a snack. The store also provides a website, Bookweb, which allows you to check if a title is in stock and reserve it before heading down to browse the shelves in-person.
Dubbed as the 'Champs-Élysées of Singapore', Orchard Road is a wonderland for shopping. A close-knit nexus of shopping malls, boutiques and stores, this brimming shopping boulevard stretches 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) long, and is said to have the largest concentration of shopping malls worldwide. Originally a nutmeg and pepper plantation, Orchard Road today is lined with ritzy malls, fashionable eateries, salons and luxury hotels from end to end. The more notable shopping centers include Ngee Ann City, Tangs Department Store, Wisma Atria, The Heeren and Centrepoint, these juxtapose with some entities of the bygone era like the Peranakan shophouses near Emerald Hill, built at the turn of the 20th Century. Peppered along the course of the road is a tapestry of scintillating establishments including art galleries, restaurants and bars which shine out in pleasant contrast with the brilliant retail establishments which frame its luxurious tenor. A canvas of unhindered luminescence and droves of excited shoppers come night, Orchard Road is a seamless amalgam of cutting-edge shopping facilities and a treasure trove of entertainment.
Although largely scarred by redevelopment, Chinatown today still contains pockets of genuinely old shophouses where age-old trades like clog-making and calligraphy continue to be practiced. Paper effigies of cars, houses and other material objects are still being made for the deceased; these are then burnt, in the belief that they will raise the standard of living of the deceased in the next world. The many tea houses are a wonderland for the tea connoisseurs, as they do not just enable one to taste the authenticity of Chinese tea, but also promises an insightful escape into the the traditional art of tea-brewing. A stirring nexus of pleasant sights and aromas, Chinatown, at once, strikes as a bright scarlet canvas which is a soulful amalgam of history, culture and ancient architecture. Sheltering a treasure trove of religious places of worship including the Thian Hock Keng temple and Sri Marriaman Temple, Chinatown is embellished with various winding thoroughfares adorned with vibrant, historic establishments which have captured the imaginations of many. This teeming quarter also hosts a hive of hawkers, markets and restaurants serving up delectable, traditional cuisine. Its buildings awash in an amalgam of traditional, Victorian and Baroque architectural styles, Chinatown is especially enlivened with a million lights and fiery hues of red and golden during the Chinese New Year.
Awash with scents and sights reminiscent of the subcontinent, this is a microcosm of India where every imaginable Indian product can be found: trinkets, sarees, spices, sweetmeats, nose studs, flower garlands and anything else that an Indian household needs. Traces of Hinduism are found everywhere, from the elaborate temples to wall calendars with pictures of Hindu deities. On Sundays, Indian locals and foreign workers flock to the streets of Little India to eat, chat, shop and worship. Hard though it is to walk through the crowds, this is a unique spectacle you should not miss.
Covering an area of 83,850 square meters (902,553 square feet), Suntec City Mall is one of the largest malls in Singapore and has a large fountain to accentuate its grandeur. Three floors cater to the needs of locals and tourists alike, with upmarket boutiques from international brands, and a broad array of shops selling home furnishings, lingerie, leisure products, souvenirs and casual wear. French supermarket Carrefour takes up 13,000 square metres (139,930 square feet), offering economical consumer goods, from fashion and food to pharmaceuticals and car accessories. In addition, there are some 70 restaurants, pubs, fast food outlets and food courts to whet your appetite.
The Paragon Shopping centre features designer names like Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Escada, Lanvin, Fendi and Prada and some local boutiques like M)phosis and GG5. More fashion can be found at Marks & Spencer on the third level. Local department store Metro Paragon takes up three whole floors. Occupying the top level are some shops specializing in Chinese art and antiques. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located on the ground floor, with dining services in the basement area with food ranging from Indian and Thai to international cuisine.
This is yet another sports shop that draws a sizeable clientele, particularly sports enthusiasts who are into racket games. This is where you can bring your old rackets for restringing, or get a new one from established brands like Wilson and Dunlop. There is also a wide range of sports shoes to choose from, all at very affordable prices. To complete the look, be sure to check out the range of t-shirts, shorts, tracksuits and other sports apparel sold.
Citigems at Tampines Mall, is the younger, trendier offshoot of Lee Hwa Jewellery, and is aimed at the younger, more fashionable crowd. Prices are highly affordable, given the quality and craftsmanship of the pieces. Designs are strictly in white gold-some pieces are set with diamonds, others with semi-precious stones. In keeping with its trendy image, the store also has toe rings, from simple bands to intricate ones set with semi-precious stones. There is also a very small and select range-only one piece of each design is brought in-of exclusive silver pieces from Germany, mostly chunky rings in matte silver.
If you cannot make it to Bali or any of the Indonesian islands but are still intent on picking up something authentically Indonesian, you will do well to come straight here. Join the mix of tourists, locals and expatriates poking around the store's range of batik shirts and sarongs, drawstring pouches and bags, cushion covers, woodcarvings, shadow puppets, hand-carved book stands, wall hangings and elaborately carved trinket boxes. Not all the items are from Indonesia though, so look out for trinket boxes from the Middle East and the store's collection of silver accessories and pens.
Established in 1994, this store boasts an extensive range of climbing and camping equipment. Merchandise sold here include compasses, ropes, safety gadgets, tents, backpacks and waterproof shoes from popular brands like Black Diamond, Salomon and Cerro Torre. One of the value-added services offered is the construction of permanent and temporary climbing walls. The company is also actively involved in organizing outdoor activities such as rock climbing, flying fox and short hikes.
A wide range of sports shoes and soccer boots, representing mainly popular brands like Nike, Reebok and Adidas, dominate the shop space here. There are basketballs, footballs and rugby balls too, along with a decent range of sports apparel like shorts, jerseys, tracksuits and T-shirts, amongst others. Alternatively, if you are the creative sort, why not get yourself a T-shirt with your very own design via the store's T-shirt printing service?
There is a glorious selection of cakes and pastries at Bengawan Solo to suit any occasion, all made from natural ingredients. Whether you are celebrating a friend's birthday, anniversary or wedding, you can easily find the perfect choice here. Choose from usual favorites like black forest kaya-pandan cake or kueh salat (glutinous rice slapped with a layer of kaya). If you are having trouble deciding, just remember that you will never go wrong with the house specialties: pineapple tarts and kueh lapis (thousand layer cake). Alternatively, you can purchase gift vouchers from the confectionery. Bengawan Solo also caters to special events and parties. Check website for more details.