How to Shop Like a Local in Singapore

Touted as one of the world’s premier shopping destinations, Singapore’s shiny shopping malls, and luxury boutiques are what draw in an elegant crowd from around the world looking to quench their shopaholic urge. What often goes unexplored is the local market and shopping streets where those who know how to get a real bargain flock to. To shop like a local you need to know the right local shops and possess the right haggling skills to get a great deal on anything while you are out local shopping in Singapore. Here are our tips on where and how to shop like a local in Singapore!

Must read: Souvenirs you will only get in Singapore

Little India 

Open 24 hours a day Little India is where you find everything you need within a budget and at a bargain. It’s popular for electronics, groceries, gold and jewelry, sporting equipment, money changers, and most other things that are essential for everyone. The shopping streets are crowded throughout the day, and you’ll find a surprising number still out on the streets at 2 am. The Mustafa Centre is the go-to place for things that you might not even find elsewhere in town. Sure, it’s a crowded shopping complex, but this is where you’ll find it all. Other places you can go to local shopping include Sim Lim Square, Tekka Food Centre, and City Square Mall.

There are lots of busses you can take to little India, including routes 23, 48, 56, 57, 64, 65, 66, 131, 139, 1N, 3N, 5N, 6N, and more. Getting off at Opp Veerasamy Rd station is the best way to get to the heart of the district. 

Try out the Wet Markets

Here’s where you find fresh food, and there are different wet markets all over the city. The wet market at Chinatown Complex is one of the largest local markets with over 400 stalls selling everything from live animals to traditional medicine. The closest bus stand to the market is Chinatown Station Exit C on Eu Tong Sen Street. You can take buses 2, 2A, 12, 12e, and 33 to get here. For the best of the Malay dishes and ingredients, visit the Geylang Serai Wet Market at the heart of the city’s Malay community.

The market is more of a celebration of the Malay ways and a rich experience of the city’s heritage. It’s popular for regional spices, fruits and vegetables, and restaurants serving a range of Malay cuisines. The market is only about a minute’s walk from the B82049 bus stop, and a number of buses go there, including 2, 7, 13, 21, 24, 26, 28, 30, 51, 67, 154, 155 and NR7. Like with all wet markets, your bargaining skills need to be sharp to get the best deals.

Souvenirs and Snacks

While you’re in Chinatown, drop by Pagoda Street to find a number of stores selling antiques, arts and crafts, vintage items, trinkets, and more. Make sure you are not overpaying for anything you bought at an antique store, as it was most probably made in a warehouse nearby! Little India is also host to dozens of stores selling traditional Indian Jewelry, clothing, and arts that you may like. 

When you’re downtown, be sure to drop by the Haji Lane for a food and shopping experience. One of the hottest spots in the city for tourists and locals alike, you will find many quirky coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and souvenir stores of all kinds. So whether you like shopping in off-beats streets, or you are in the small business Saturday mood, every district in Singapore has a shopping street to be explored. 

The Heartlands

There are a number of these shopping destinations across the city. While they aren’t as cool as the fancy malls, the Heartlands offer a unique shopping experience, and there’s nothing you won’t find in these places. It’s home to food markets, hawker stalls, local coffee shops, and a range of stores selling everything from groceries to local and exotic sweets. Some of the Heartland locations include Jurong East, Katong, Toa Payoh, and more.

How to Bargain

Haggling comes naturally to the store owners and rest assured that everybody there is a pro. Their prices are often set high in anticipation of visitors who bargain; therefore, it’s more of a game than a battle of will. A good price to start is half of what’s being quoted, and the two of you negotiate until you meet at a point where both are happy. If you aren’t happy with the final price, do not get frustrated and politely leave to try out another place. Stores that are often further inside or away from the main streets tend to have lesser-priced goods where you’ll have more luck with bargaining. 

Whether you’re visiting the local market or a major destination in the city, traveling by bus is the ideal way to get the best views on your visit to Singapore. redBus can be your travel partner in finding and booking bus services that are most comfortable for you. Connecting you with all the major operators in the city, finding your way around has never been easier.