Souvenir Shopping, Singapore (Self Guided)

It would be a pity to leave Singapore without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Singapore, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.
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Souvenir Shopping Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping
Guide Location: Singapore » Singapore (See other walking tours in Singapore)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 km
Author: Daniel
Ya Kun Kaya Toast - China Street

1) Ya Kun Kaya Toast - China Street

What to buy here: Ya Kun Kaya.

In the early 1900s, half-boiled eggs, toast and a cup of coffee or tea were a favourite for breakfast among coolies, merchants and even businessmen in Singapore. To this date, this breakfast set is still the popular among the old and young alike. But what exactly is the Ya Kun Kaya? Simply put, it is an egg and coconut jam to die for! Made out of high qualitative ingredients, comprising coconut milk, sugar, eggs and fragrant pandan, this jam is the best way to start your day in the best Singaporean style. One of the most popular stores that specialize in this set is Ya Kun Kaya Toast Coffeestall. For, one can get a 290 grams bottle of Ya Kun's popular kaya for breakfast every morning, or a twin pack of 80 grams per bottle of kaya, which costs about S$5.

Ya Kun's kaya can be found in any of the Ya Kun Kaya Toast Coffeestalls in major shopping centres all around Singapore.

Ya Kun Kaya Toast - China Street

18 China Street, Singapore 049560+65 6438 3638 ‎
Chinatown Heritage Centre

2) Chinatown Heritage Centre

What to buy here: Merlion Statuette.

The Merlion is the official mascot of Singapore, representing Singapore's origin as a fishing village in the past and Singapore's original name, Singapura. Merlions are thought to be mythical creatures with the body of a fish and the head of a lion. In itself, it is the very representation of Singapore, and one cannot say they've been to Singapore unless they've seen the Merlion statue currently located in Merlion Park II. The Merlion is a symbol of Singapore's hospitality and cultural heritage and a must-buy gift while visiting the city.

A wide variety of Merlion statuettes in various forms can be found in the small shops along Chinatown, which cost around $5 to S$20 dollars, depending on the size. One of the bigger shops would be in the Chinatown Heritage Centre (Opening hours: 9am to 8pm daily), which is near Chinatown MRT station (opposite Hong Lim Complex).
Singapore Handicraft Centre

3) Singapore Handicraft Centre

What to buy here: Traditional Musical Instruments.

In olden days, musical instruments were used primarily for the entertainment of royalty or important guests. Today, they can serve as unique and melodious, sweet-sounding gifts for music lovers and collectors alike. Instruments such as the pipa or liuqin are of portable size and are hence easy to carry around. Trying to promote its traditional values and music, Singapore has its own Pipa society which is non-governmental organization trying to promote the popularity of playing pipa among childern and youths. Purchasing one of these fine instruments, with a history of more than 2000 years is a great investment and a unique gift to be passed from a generation to another.

Chinese traditional musical instruments can be found at the Singapore Handicraft Centre (133 New Bridge Road), which is open from Mon to Sat, from 8am to 7pm. +65 6536 2846 ‎
RISIS gift galleries

4) RISIS gift galleries

What to buy here: Risis Orchid.

The orchid because a uniquely Singaporean gift in the 1960s, when a Singaporean chemist came upon the idea of preserving beautiful orchids as a gift for his fiancée. After a series of experiments, the RISIS orchid was born – a fresh orchid preserved in a coat of copper, nickel and finally, pure 24 carat gold. The RISIS orchid is a gift that perfectly captures Singapore's natural beauty and her rich Asian heritage. It comes in various forms, such as the Den Li Min Eng Orchid Pen Holder, costing S$90, or the Aerdv Vieng Ping Orchid Brooch, costing S$56, and many others.

RISIS orchids can be found at the RISIS gift galleries in Suntec City Mall, open daily from 11am to 9pm (3 Temasek Boulevard).
Arab Street

5) Arab Street

What to buy here: Batik Textiles.

Many of the traditional dresses across the ethnic cultures in Singapore, such as the Peranakan, Indian and Malay cultures, are made from batik-textiles. Actually Indonesian Batik which is also widely used and found in Singapore was designated by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. These unique textiles are typically both colorful and full of interesting patterns. Not only are the designs many, but they are extremely comfortable to wear as well. Their prices can range from S$8 for table clothes all the way till S$1000 for high quality pieces, depending on what type you wish to purchase.

Batik-textiles can be found in the many shops that line Arab Street, which is near Bugis MRT station. Some of these shops include Silk Studio, Warna Fabrics, Basharahil House of Batik, and many more (Opening hours: 10am to 6pm, from Mon to Sat). In short, you'll be spoilt for choice there.
Jamal Kazura Aromatics

6) Jamal Kazura Aromatics

Traditional & Custom Made Perfumes.

Fragrances and perfumes are unique to each culture in Singapore, and some cultures even believe that natural oils have medicinal or healing properties. In fact, different perfumes are specially made for different occasions. Mixing perfume oils is a fine art that has been preserved by each respective culture over the many years. The Egyptians were the first to use perfume followed by the ancient Chinese, who proudly continue the art of mixing different aromatic oils for the delight of Singapore's visitors. These special fragrances are relatively easy to find in Singapore, for fairly cheap prices, depending on the type of fragrance chosen.

Jamal Kazura Aromatics (Opening hours: Mon to Sat, 9am to 7pm) specializes in perfume oils, and stocks perfumes under its own brand, JR Fragrances. They can be found in Kampong Glam, Mustafa Centre, Joo Chiat Complex as well as 728 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198696+65 6293 2350 ‎
Mustafa Shopping Centre

7) Mustafa Shopping Centre

What to buy here: Local Snacks / Pastes.

If there's one thing that Singapore is famous worldwide for, it would definitely be its food. Every ethnic culture in Singapore boasts its own variety of snacks and pastes, and given the many races in Singapore, it is no surprise that one would be spoilt for choice here. Popular snacks such as the Chinese kueh, Malay chempedak and goreng pisang, and Indian jalebi and kesari are a few of the favourites among locals and foreigners alike. Recommended are however two all-time favorites of all Singaporeans: Roasted Chestnuts and Watermelon Seeds. While the first go perfectly with the local beer, the second are for pretty refined tastes. Available in all different flavors, ranging from licorice to soy sauce, the watermelon seeds make a healthy and nutritious snack. The best part is that they can easily be purchased for less than a dollar each almost anywhere in Singapore.

The largest variety of each race's array of snacks and pastes can be found in their various hometowns. For Chinese snacks, Chinatown would be the place to go. For Malay snacks, it would definitely be Kampong Glam. Indian snacks can be found in abundance at Little India. Want a place were you can find them all together? Try hitting the supermarkets. Mustafa Shopping Centre, located at 145 Syed Alwi Road.

Walking Tours in Singapore, Singapore

Create Your Own Walk in Singapore

Create Your Own Walk in Singapore

Creating your own self-guided walk in Singapore is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

For centuries, the island city-state of Singapore has been a melting pot of Asian cultures: Chinese, Indian, Malay and Arab, prompting men and women from various parts of the continent to come and make it their home. Legacy of that fusion lives on today in the harmony of a multicultural society, making Singapore a one of a kind tourist destination which offers visitors a truly unforgettable...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km
Singapore: Colonial District Cultural Walking Tour

Singapore: Colonial District Cultural Walking Tour

Singapore's culture is a combination of Chinese, Hindu, Arab and other cultures. People living in Singapore are immigrants from different parts of the world. This self-guided tour will lead you through the Colonial District also known as the Civic District, where you can see how these different cultures were integrated to make up this city-state's culture.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Singapore Museums Walking Tour

Singapore Museums Walking Tour

Singapore's crazy population mix means that there are museums dedicated to the culture of each community that makes up the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nature of this island state. This self-guided tour will take you through museums that display the Asian way of life, art and religion.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km
Singapore: Chinatown Walking Tour

Singapore: Chinatown Walking Tour

The Chinese make up a majority of the population in Singapore. Chinatown is, therefore, a district full of valuable historical and architectural monuments. There are Chinese, Hindu and Moslem places of worship in this locality. There are also many wonderful shop-houses that sell exotic items to be found nowhere else. This self-guided tour will take you through the most popular places in...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Singapore: Colonial District National Monuments Walking Tour

Singapore: Colonial District National Monuments Walking Tour

The Colonial District was founded by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles on the east bank of the Singapore River. There are monuments that are recognized all over the world as symbols of Singapore and they evoke the city-state's rich historical past. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most famous national monuments of the Colonial District:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
Romantic Singapore Walking Tour

Romantic Singapore Walking Tour

Singapore is both romantic and exotic. With its multicultural population it offers great cuisine. Due to its location, its seascape and cityscape are unique and make Singapore an absolutely romantic place. Enjoy romantic and intimate moments by visiting the places mentioned in this self-guided tour:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

12 Singapore Foods You Should Not Miss

12 Singapore Foods You Should Not Miss

Food is a national passion for Singaporeans. Locals think and talk about food incessantly, often thinking nothing of travelling for miles across the island and queuing for hours just to taste one of their favourite dishes. Singaporeans abroad will bemoan being parted from their favourite foods,...
Traveler's Guide to Singapore: 15 Souvenirs to Bring Home

Traveler's Guide to Singapore: 15 Souvenirs to Bring Home

Known as one of the Four Asian Tigers (or Dragons), Singapore is a thriving metropolis and one of the most fascinating tourist destinations in Asia. Home to multi-ethnic community, the city carefully preserves and proudly exhibits its colorful identity, manifested - among other forms - in the...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Singapore for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Singapore has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Singapore's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the iVenture Card, Singapore City Pass, or Singapore (Attractions) Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple Singapore's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Singapore hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, Grand Park City Hall, Swissotel The Stamford.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Singapore, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Singapore typically costs somewhere between US$15 and US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Singapore from the open top of a bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs).

- No trip to Singapore is complete without a visit to the local Chinatown renowned for its rich culinary secrets craving to be unwrapped. Embark on a 3.5-hour walk through Singapore’s Chinatown for a generous dollop of delectable authentic Singaporean treats and insight into this melting pot of culinary and cultural traditions.

- Come to appreciate Singapore in its nighttime ambiance complete with a sumptuous Asian-inspired dinner on a 4-hour experience including a visit to the bustling night market at Bugis Street, iconic Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, and many other interesting places along the way.

- Dive into the past of Singapore on a historical tour to find out how the city came to be evolving from a small fishing village to a great seaport, find out what prompted the Brits to colonize it, marvel at the city's magnificent colonial architecture, enjoy a delightful three-tier Afternoon Tea, and more.

- Get yourself up close with Kampong Glam, one of Singapore's charming neighborhoods, once the seat of the Malay royalty; see how it was before the British took over and what's become of it since.

- Pedal your way around Singapore on a 4-hour bike tour to appreciate the city's most spectacular sights stopping at some of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning interesting facts about the attractions along the way from a knowledgeable group leader.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Singapore, why not use it to get some out-of-town experiences like a round-island tour, or perhaps visit the Sentosa Island, Kuala Lumpur, or Batam. For as little as circa US$70 to US$190 per person you will get a chance to discover Singapore’s history, visit a fun-filled island to observe nature at its best, get an interesting insight into life and history outside Singapore’s city center, admire spectacular pieces of architecture and gardens, venture north into Malaysia’s high-octane capital, take a sightseeing-cum-shopping day trip (ideal for those traveling on a budget), and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Singapore, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, private vehicle, or a high-speed boat (whenever applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.