Alongside eating, shopping in Singapore is considered the national pastime. Ranging from hi-tech wares to designer wear, there is something for everyone. Browsing around local markets and shophouses in the ethnic enclaves to the glitzy portals of Orchard Road, the experiences are wide, varied and intriguing. For most visitors, Orchard Road is a must-visit on the itinerary. Packed with modern malls and hotels, this stretch is transformed into a dazzling display of lights and festive embellishments at Christmas time when all buildings join in the annual festive light-up.
Fabulous knick knacks and other memorable finds are also found in Chinatown, Arab Street, Little India and the suburban areas like Holland Village, Katong and Tampines. Unlike most Western countries, shopping hours usually start from late morning to 21:30 or 22:00 at night and these can extend to as late as midnight during festive season. The mid-year Great Singapore Sale is a much looked-forward to time when prices come down heftily in all precincts. Even during non-sale times, visitors will do well to bargain, particularly in electronic stores at Lucky Plaza, Sim Lim Square or Far East Plaza. A general rule of thumb for haggling is to begin about 25% -30% below that being offered. Do make it a point to compare prices at various shops. For convenience, most stores accept credit and charge cards.