Little India used to be the enclave of Singapore's Indian community during early colonial times, when ethnic quarters were built under the British policy of ethnic segregation (according to the Raffles Plan of Singapore).
It stretches to the Northwest of Arab Street and Bugis, from Rochor Canal Road in the south to Lavender Street in the north.
Serangoon Road is Little India's main thoroughfare and most of the shops can be found along it, as well as on the neighboring side streets.
Little India boasts an enormous variety of shopping options... From colorful sari boutiques, spice shops, emporiums and dazzling goldsmith shops, to modern shopping malls and inexpensive electronics and computer shops.
You really should try to take your time when visiting Little India, as there is so much to see and do around this colorful area, even long after the sun goes down.
♦ Sim Lim Square is Singapore's mecca of electronics, computers and photo gears. It's not exactly an integral part of Little India, but it's just across the street, on the corner of Bencoolen St. and Rochor Canal Rd. (few minutes walk from MRT-Bugis, as well as from MRT-Little India), so we felt it will be right to "annex" it to this chapter of the website... This enormous glass-clad building is home to a beehive of tiny shops, selling every possible gadget at very competitive prices, so you really need to gear yourself with plenty of patience before coming here (The thumb-rule is that the further you get from the entrance, the better prices you are likely to get...).
But, and there is a big "but" here, the Sim Lim has a relatively high concentration of crooks and charlatans... The tips for the savvy buyer, given at the beginning of this chapter, can't be more relevant than they are here... In order to keep a pace with the competition, Sim Lim traders would sometimes use tricks that are not ought to be used... You must know exactly what you are looking for and check the price in other discount shops (like Mustafa Centre or Naranjan Electronics) before you come here, just so you'll have a basic price guide-line.
The information desk near the entrance might be able to give you viable information about errant retailers.
♦ Sim Lim Tower, just across the street, on the other side of the canal (10 Jalan Besar) is also packed with shops selling electronics, and although it is not as known as Sim Lim Square, it is well worth visiting...
An important tip from 'Metropolasia-Man':
STARetailers is a voluntary programme, recently launched by Sim Lim Square Traders' Association. Under the programme, the participants (who are allowed to display the STARetailers logo at their store) guarantee full refund for any product that was purchased from their shop at above its Recommended Retail Price (RRP). Participants also promise to provide proper after-sale service and so on...
On the other side of Rochor Canal, between Sim Lim Square and MRT-Little India, there are a few shopping complexes, worth mentioning:
- The Verge (better known by its previous name - Tekka Mall), near the corner of Sungei Road and Serangoon Road, is Little India's first and only modern shopping mall. It actually has two buildings: The main building (which, ironically enough, is much smaller than the second building...) is where you can find a variety of thrift shops, including Jewelers and boutiques. The second building (now named Chill @ The Verge) is where you can find a huge outlet of the discount Sheng Siong Hypermarket.
- Just around the corner, on the corner of Serangoon Road and Campbell Lane (opposite the corner of Serangoon and Buffalo Rd., for those of you who come from MRT-Little India), Little India Arcade is housed in a cluster of restored shophouses that were turned into a bustling, colorful and authentic Indian-style shopping complex. The shops here sell everything Indian... From bangles, cheap jewels and other trinkets to saris, spices, incenses and Indian sweets... Alongside the exotic shops, there are some excellent (and inexpensive) eating houses, selling various Indian delicacies.
A small tip from 'Metropolasia-Man':
Singapore is packed with exciting attractions and if you plan to visit some of them, purchasing the See Singapore Attraction Pass might save you quite some money, especially if you are here with the whole familly...
- Opposite Little India Arcade, on the other side of Serangoon (along Buffalo Road), the light green building complex of Tekka Centre houses a wet market, a food centre and some shops. The huge wet market, on the centre's ground floor, specializes mainly in fresh seafood and vegetables. The hawker centre, on the same level, has a good selection of vegetarian food stalls serving different Indian cuisines, as well as vegetarian Malay and Chinese delicacies, and the shops are selling a wide range of stuff, from Indian fashion and inexpensive casual clothes to Taoist and Buddhist paraphernalia and from tailor shops to henna salons. The Centre is just next to MRT-Little India (for those of you who do not come from Sim Lim Square).
A small note from 'Metropolasia-Man':
Tekka Centre was closed for renovations BUT has now reopened
♦ Serangoon Road and its offshoots are packed with traditional Indian shops selling all sorts of treasures... Great variety of textiles and fabrics, silk saris, soft furnishings and bedspreads, brassware, silverware and brick-a-brack, cheap Jewellery and trinkets, colorful bangles, incenses and spices, Henna and Indian cosmetics... and gold, gold, gold... Buffalo Rd., Dunlop St. and Cuff Rd. are particularly recommended but the other small streets around are also very good.
♦ Mustafa Centre, near the corner of Seranagoon and Syed Alwi Rd., is Singapore's legendary 24 hours super shop. The massive department store sells an enormous range of goods at some of the lowest fixed prices in Singapore. It actually comprises two main sections: Mustafa Centre itself is located on 145 Syed Alwi Rd. while the neighboring Serangoon Plaza is just behind the corner, on 320 Serangoon Rd. (they are linked to each other).
The immense variety includes household items, fashion, footwear, books and magazines, CDs and DVDs, electronics and photo gears, watches and jewellery... You name it.
Mustafa is also where you can normally get the best forex rates in Singapore.
Mustafa Centre is within a short walking distance from MRT-Farrer Park.
You may also want to read about shopping in...
Bugis and Arab Street