Everybody loves a good bargain when they’re travelling, or a nice souvenir to take home to help bring back all those holiday memories. At this time of year you might also be looking for some Christmas presents to take home to the loved ones. So here’s a quick one-stop shopping strategy for Singapore souvenirs – where to find a good bargain and what to avoid.
The best place to head for souvenirs is Chinatown. The street markets and shops here are brimming with ideas for gifts, with quite a few bargains thrown in. Try not to be put off by the abundance of ‘Singapore is a FINE city’ t-shirts, the Merlion paper weights, or the tacky Chinese dragon puppets, if you dig a little deeper, there are some great deals to be had.
One of the most popular items with visitors to Singapore seems to be silk cushion covers – there are loads of designs to choose from, and they are usually available for 3 or 4 covers for $10.00. You can sometimes find table runners and bed linen to match (I’ll leave it to you to decide if you really need the matching tissue box and wine bottle covers!)
Silk clothing – dressing gowns, Chinese pyjamas and ethnic clothing are often popular too. The majority of what you see on the stalls is fairly cheap, synthetic material and won’t last long. But they can make fun gifts – and if you hunt around you can find some tailors and higher-class shops selling a higher quality product if you want.
Behind the street stalls, you’ll find a few shops with attractive ranges of antique furniture and lacquer ware. 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 colours. Chinese fans, elaborate chopstick sets and Mahjong sets all make interesting gifts too.
Feng Shui plays a large part in Singaporean life (you just have to look at the $1 dollar coin to see auspicious octagonal shape of the BaGua, designed to bring prosperity to all Singaporeans.) Keep a look out for three-legged frogs, laughing Buddhas, statues of Fu, Lu, Shou (the Gods of Wealth, Affluence and Longevity) and Chinese coins wrapped in red ribbons – all of these make great keepsakes of your time in Asia.
And finally, another item that also seems to go down well with the folks back home is Chinese Tea. Choose from White, Green or Oolong teas in its various forms, often available in attractive packaging to make for nice gifts. You might also be tempted by the cute little teapots that line the walls of the tea shops.