Fast car lights on Orchard Road, Singapore

Orchard Road

We tend to think that Singapore is a little overrated as a shopping destination — with the exception of Orchard Road.

For us, the attraction is the sheer variety. Come here to find big-name Western brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel rubbing shoulders with tiny tailors’ shops where you can get measured up for a suit and pick it up the same day. The area’s first department store, Tangs, was established in 1934: its jade-green pagoda roof and red columns inspired by Beijing’s Forbidden City. Today, it jostles with the likes of spaceship-like ION Orchard and the rippling, futuristic waves of the Plaza Singapura.

Not all the stores along Orchard Road are so exciting — but sometimes the more unremarkable on the outside, the weirder and more wonderful on the inside. Explore nondescript shopping centers and you’ll find crazy window displays, outlandish storefronts, and no end of surprising products, whether you’re after a rare Scotch whiskey, jade jewelry, tea-scented candles or salted egg fish skin snacks.

Then, when you’ve shopped until you’re about to drop, head outside into the throng and find an “ice cream uncle”: one of the many hawkers selling sweet, iced treats to shoppers from portable carts. Grab a dollop of ice cream wrapped in a slice of bread (a Singaporean childhood staple), and get ready for the next round.