Best Shopping in Singapore for Cruising Travelers

Shopaholics arriving into Singapore on a cruise ship are in luck, as both the Marina Bay Cruise Centre and the Harbourfront Cruise Centre have plenty of shopping choices on their doorsteps.


The Harbourfront Cruise Centre is located right next door to one of the biggest shopping malls in Singapore – Vivocity. High-street shops abound, and there’s also a sunglasses hut, two supermarkets and two chemists, while department store TANGS plays host to a wide range of international and local fashion and lifestyle brands, including cruise-wear favorite Island Shop.


Across town, close to the Marina Bay Cruise Centre is luxury shopping mall Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Here the focus is on high-end luxury brands, and you will also find high-end, tropical cruise-wear store British India, Singapore’s very own shoe brand Charles & Keith, Sun Paradise for all your swimwear needs, and a Spectacle Hut Boutique.


To get out and about beyond the malls, jump in a cab to Chinatown, just a 10 minute drive from either cruise terminal and head to the street stalls of Pagoda Street, the best place in town to hunt for souvenirs.


Visitors to Singapore are entitled to claim back their Goods & Service Tax (GST, currently 7%) when they leave the country. Look for the blue “Tax Free Shopping” or “Premier Tax Free” stickers for participating stores, spend a minimum of $100.00 and ask for a tax refund form when you make your purchase. Claims can be made at the cruise terminal prior to departure. 


Guardian Health & Beauty, Singapore is Singapore's largest health & beauty chain. A subsidiary of Cold Storage Pte Ltd, wherever you see a Cold Storage, you will often find a Guardian Health & Beauty close by. Guardian Health & Beauty is your one-stop-shop for all your health needs such as vitamins and supplements, painkillers, first aid supplies and insect repellent, and also for beauty products such as hair products, tootphaste, deodorant, shaving supplies and some cosmetic ranges. Although somewhat limited compared to equivalent stores in other parts of the world, most of the large brands such as L'Oreal, Olay, Nivea etc are all stocked here.

Spectacle Hut Boutique
Photo courtesy of Flickr/a rancid amoeba

Spectacle Hut is Singapore's largest optical retail chain, with more than 40 outlets across the island and beyond in Malaysia and China. The outlet at Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands stocks a wide range of both spectacles and sunglasses, from luxury brands such as Armani Exchange, Bottega Veneta, Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, Dior, Fred, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Prada and Vivienne Westwood. As the only optometrists-run optical chain in the city, it is also a good bet for contact lenses. This branch is based in the basement of Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, one of the best malls in Singapore for luxury brands and goods.

Sun Paradise boasts an extensive range of swimwear and accessories for serious water lovers. For more serious swimmers, the main label stocked at Sun Paradise is Arena, specialising in racing and training swimwear for athletes and sports lovers. If you are more of a lie-by-the-pool swimmer, then the other main brand stocked at Sun Paradise, Sunseeker, will suit you more. This Australian brand features a stylish and fashionable range of beach-inspired bikinis and one-piece swimsuits suitable for posing by the pool. Besides swimwear, Sun Paradise also stocks a variety of swimming accessories such as goggles, kick-boards, swimming caps and snorkeling accessories for both adults and children.

Island Shop

Fashion brand Island Shop began as an in-house fashion label within TANGS department store in the 80s, and has grown to become a respected independent label throughout Southeast Asia. Drawing its inspiration from vacations on exotic getaways, its collections are perfect for tropical wear. Its clothes for both men and women use natural materials and blend them with unmistakable ethnic prints, and bright modern colors. As well as comfortable yet fashionable easy-to-wear cruise wear, Island Shop also stocks a wide range of complementary accessories, including shoes, bags, jewellery and scarves.

Singapore's homegrown ladies shoe and accessories label Charles & Keith has won the hearts of many a fashion-forward visitor to Singapore due to their on-trend, yet affordable collections. With 389 stores across Singapore, Southeast Asia and beyond, you're never too far from a Charles & Keith store here, but the outlet at Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands stands out by the only one to exclusively stock their higher-end collection, Charles & Keith Signature Label. Spoil yourself with their range of fabulous heels and flats, as well as a range of sunglasses, belts, jewellery and scarves.

British India is a clothing and home furnishing brand, designed especially for tropical living. Inspired by the grand romance of the Colonial era, the British India collections are designed for comfort in the tropics, using natural fabrics. There are over 40 outlets across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, with the Marina Bay Sands branch finding its home within one of the best shopping malls in Singapore. Expect loose-fitting trousers, shirts, skirts in linens and cottons, for both men and women. Home furnishings and furniture are also Asian-inspired and come in rich colours and fabrics.

The Funan DigitaLife Mall is the place to head to for all your IT and electronic shopping needs. The mall is conveniently located for tourists in the City Hall area, close to Raffles City shopping mall and Boat/Clarke Quay. The mall's seven levels are crammed with technology shops selling everything from cameras to laptops, from MP3 players to printers. Be sure to shop around - there will be several stores selling the same product, and it is always worth asking if there are any special deals on at the time. Free wi-fi is available throughout the mall so you can test out your latest purchase before you leave the store. A Downtown Cash Refund counter within the mall provides instant tax refunds for tourists.

Pagoda Street Market in Chinatown is the place in Singapore to head to for souvenirs. The street stalls here are brimming with ideas for gifts and keepsakes, from silk cushion covers, Chinese calligraphy, Feng Shui items, and silk clothing. Behind the street stalls, you'll find shops with attractive ranges of antique furniture, lacquer ware, Chinese tea and Traditional Chinese Medicine. The lacquer ware items in particular make attractive gifts for loved ones back home – choose from beautiful bowls, place mats, candle holders and vases in a variety of stunning colors. Chinese fans, elaborate chopstick sets and Mahjong sets all make interesting gifts too.


One of Singapore's largest shopping malls, VivoCity is a one-stop retail and entertainment destination. High-street shops abound, from Ted Baker to Zara, from La Senza to Timberland. A large Toys R Us and several children's clothing stores will keep those with young families happy. In amongst the retail space, this lively mall also boasts two supermarkets, a multi-screen Golden Village cinema, a gym and several child-friendly amenities, such as play gyms. A choice of bars and restaurants includes open-air dining along the promenade with views over to Sentosa, and a large hawker centre style food court. VivoCity also forms a gateway to Sentosa, with the Sentosa boardwalk linking with the island across the water, and a monorail station upstairs.

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands is an enormous luxury shopping mall boasting 800,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Head here for high-end luxury brands such as Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Herm?s and Miu Miu as well as high street favourites such as Guess, Miss Sixty and Banana Republic. One corridor leading from the casino presents a huge range of luxury jewellery and watch brands, clearly hoping to attract high rollers with their lucky winnings. If all that shopping builds up an appetite, then check out restaurants from the world's leading celebrity chefs such as Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck and Mario Batali.


Meet Marianne Rogerson

Marianne is a freelance travel writer, who has lived in Singapore for six years. She is the author of a travel guidebook to Singapore and has written about Singapore for a range of...  More About Marianne