Apparently in Singapore there are two favourite activities: eating (I’ll come back to that one later) and shopping! I didn’t have much money to spend so didn’t expect to do much in the way of shopping, but with a rainy day to kill and the current excellent exchange rate things turned out a little differently.
First I headed to the current mecca for shopping tourists in Singapore – Orchard Road. If you’re even vaguely into shopping and have a rainy morning to deal with, as I did, this is a pretty good place to be. The Orchard MRT station is right under the ION Orchard shopping mall, and most of the malls in the area are connected by tunnels or walkways – meaning you pretty much don’t have to leave the air-conditioning. Most of the shops that I saw were regular international and high street brands, but as we don’t have a lot of them in Perth and the exchange rate made them reasonably inexpensive I managed to pick up a few nice pieces.
The weather cleared up in the afternoon, so I headed out of Orchard and for another shopping area I’d heard about – Haji Lane. Haji Lane is in the Arab area of Singapore, and honestly looks a little disappointing from the street, especially in the early afternoon when shops have just opened and there are few people around. It looks like a little laneway with Singapore’s usual colourful facades, but not so much the home of Singapore’s independent designers and quirky goods.
But then I started going into shops and realised what a find this place really is. I liked Orchard Road alright, and always have a good time at markets… but this sort of place is where I really feel at home. The shop assistants were kind and helpful, and the clothes and accessories are colourful, good quality and actually reasonably cheap. I had to keep reminding myself (and failing) that I wasn’t supposed to buy any more cute dresses or bags or trinkets. I only made it half way down the lane before I had to leave to meet my mum, and never had a chance to go back before I left. If I ever go back to Singapore again, this will most definitely be a stop.
If you want to check out Haji Lane, make sure to go when the shops are open from 1pm to around 10pm – with the night being the busiest time. Don’t forget to go to upstairs shops – it’s definitely worth your while. I didn’t get time to explore the rest of Arab Street, but apparently there’s good food and shisha bars to relax with after a hard day of shopping. I’ll definitely be skipping Orchard next time and returning here instead.
Here’s my haul in the end – not a huge amount, but I really shouldn’t have been shopping in the first place!
- striped and spotted sweaters from Mango in ION Orchard
- navy pants from Uniqlo in ION Orchard
- brown Peter Pan collared dress from Fabulous Fads on Haji Lane
- red pleated dress from local designer Wicked Laundry on Haji Lane
- adorable convertible satchel/backpack from a shop on Haji Lane that I’ve forgotten the name of!