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Home to 15 cinema screens, a rooftop amphitheatre and a water area spanning the size of four Olympic-sized swimming pools, VivoCity is more like a lifestyle centre than a shopping mall.
It’s the largest of its kind in Singapore, with over 300 stores spanning from Chanel to Gap. Unsurprisingly, this multi award-winning shopper’s nirvana on the HarbourFront has been hailed as Singapore’s best shopping centre, ever since it opened in 2006. It has even hosted the national New Year countdown.
Like this? Then don’t miss Orchard Road, where you’ll find everything from top labels to cut-price tags.
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Escape the malls and explore the Instagram-worthy Haji Lane, a creative’s dream. Amid the pastel-hued shophouses and the bellowed greetings of the store owners you’ll find everything from kitsch coffeehouses to cool threads. Nestled in the Arab Quarter, Kampong Glam, Haji is Singapore’s narrowest street and one of its most culturally rich. In the Sixties it provided lodgings for poor Malays and pilgrims en route to Mecca – hence the name. Today, it’s decked out with vintage stores and indie boutiques.
Where to go in this bohemian enclave? For food and drink, head to La Marelle, I Am… or Bergs for gourmet burgers. Shop Wonderland has a chic edit of products while Dulcetfig is good for quirky womenswear.
As its name suggests, it’s the centre for Singapore’s Indian community and it’s perhaps Singapore’s most charismatic area. Little India is an onslaught of colourful shophouses and saris, pungent aromas of incense and spice and upbeat Hindi music. Among its ramshackle streets is a treasure trove of Islamic stores, eateries, bars and boutiques. You’ll find the 19th-century Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple dedicated to Kali, the goddess of power, among several beautifully intricate temples in the area. At the heart of Little India the rainbow- hued house of Tan Teng Niah. Tekka, Singapore’s largest indoor wet market, sells a variety of exotic foodstu s while the Little India Arcade is good for bric-a- brac. Try Lagnaa for an authentic barefoot dining experience.
This is the cool kids’ stomping ground. Among Tiong Bahru’s low-rise, art deco shophouses visitors will discover a Western vibe with cool brunch spots, arthouse galleries and indie boutiques.
Grey Projects is the hip ’hood’s favourite art gallery-cum-library. Strangelets is a go-to for homeware while Nana & Bird stocks Southeast Asian labels. Curated Records is a must for music lovers, as is Books Actually for bibliophiles.
Hungry? Head to Tiong Bahru Bakery, which crafts Singapore’s nest French patisserie – try the kouign-amann. For traditional fare, the sprawling wet market sells local dishes such as shui kueh (rice cakes and preserved radish). Forty Hands is pioneering Singapore’s third-wave coffee movement while Coq & Balls is a coffee shop and a bar that opens out on to the street.
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