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Discover Cosmopolitan Singapore, Australia's Northern Gateway

Mar 7, 2008
Singapore is a great place to visit, either as a destination or as a stopover on your journey to Australia. Many Australians stop in Singapore on their way to Europe and an increasing number of travelers from America and Europe take a break in this exotic city, before continuing on to Australia. The Lion City is a shoppers and gourmets paradise. Here are some suggestions to help you.


Singapore is a shoppers' mecca but the prices aren't always cheap. Quality shops, once focused on Orchard Road, are now spread throughout the city. Many shopping malls are conveniently situated close to large hotels, particularly at the eastern end of the city. These include Raffles City, Marina Square and Suntec City. There is also an excellent, well priced shopping area near Bugis Street. Most of these shops sell clothing, perfume, kitchenware and personal goods.

For more specific items such as computer software, cameras and mobile phones, try Funan Digital Life Mall in Bridge Rd, a few minutes' walk from City hall MRT underground station. In this multi storey shopping mall, depending on your bargaining skills, you may negotiate up to 40% off.

Most of the main stores have fixed prices, but many have regular sales with up to 50% off. My wife was shopping for baby gear (we were first time grandparents in January!) and she purchased some great clothing at ridiculously cheap prices from a John Little store in the Marina Square Mall.

For a variety of goods, including clothing, where you can bargain, try Chinatown. The prices in the street stalls are very cheap and my wife purchased a silk dressing gown for just $20S. I'm sure if she'd bargained harder, it would have cost her $15! Chinatown is also a great place for massages, particularly foot massages. I had a 45 minute foot massage for just $17S. Ah what bliss after 2 hours of shopping. A similar massage at our hotel would have cost 3 times as much!

If your purchases total over $100s, insist on a GST receipt. This 7% surcharge you can claim at Changi Airport, before you leave the country. If you ask for a voucher instead of cash, you get more than 7% and this can go towards the purchase of duty free.

One final word on shopping. Be aware that prices marked on some items, particularly at food outlets, are not the prices you will pay. To this may be added the GST and possibly a service charge. That cheap snack may not be so cheap after all. So be warned!


Singapore abounds with places to eat and the most popular eating times are between sunset and 10pm, when the city comes "alive"

Here are two suggestions:


For casual eating and sharing your dining experience with the Singaporeans, street stalls are the way to go. They are cheap and convenient and a very popular spot is Lau Pa Sat, just a short distance from Raffles Place MRT station.
This can be very confusing to first time visitors, as this underground station is nowhere near the Raffles Hotel or Raffles City shopping complex. Lau Pa Sat is only a $4 taxi fare from most hotels.

We tried the local specialty, satay sticks and shared a plateful for just $8. Washed down with a glass of Tiger beer, it made a filling meal. Further down Cross St is Chinatown, also a popular area for eating. This area is crammed with food and clothing stalls, as is Bugis St, just outside the Bugis MRT station.


We stumbled on an area called Boat Quay in our first night in Singapore. Here you have a choice of over a dozen restaurants lining the Singapore River. They will be competing for your business, so you can bargain. We negotiated free beer and wine before we were shown to our table. These restaurants provide a wide range of quality food at a fair price. I tried the local specialty, roast duck and loved it!

The combination of tasty food, a warm Singapore night and watching the passing parade of river traffic made this a memorable experience. As with Lau Pa Sat, this area is within walking distance of Raffles Place underground station.
About the Author
Experience the wonders of Australia-now! Travel writer Graeme Lanham reveals the magic experiences and "must see" destinations you will discover in his new book Travel Tips Australia.
Visit: http://www.traveltipsaustralia.com
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