Singapore Country Guide

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Shopping

Shopping is second only to eating as a national pastime, which means that Singapore has an abundance of shopping malls. Low taxes and tariffs on imports coupled with huge volume mean that prices are usually very competitive. While you won't find any bazaars with dirt-cheap local handicrafts (in fact, virtually everything sold in Singapore is made elsewhere), goods are generally of reasonably good quality and shopkeepers are generally quite honest due to strong consumer protection laws.

 
 
 
 
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Suntec City Mall by Sengkang

Most shopping malls open 7 days a week from 10 am to 10 pm. Smaller operations (particularly those outside the shopping malls) close earlier, 7 pm is common and perhaps on Sundays as well. Mustafa Centre in Little India opens 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Keep an eye out for the Great Singapore Sale (usually held in June-July) when shopping centres pull out all sort of stops to attract shoppers. Many shops along Orchard Road and Scotts Road now offer late night shopping on the last Friday of every month with over 250 retailers staying open till midnight.

For purchases of over SGD100 per day per participating shop, you may be able to get a 6% refund of your 7% GST at Changi Airport or Seletar Airport. However, the process is a bit of a bureaucratic hassle and only worthwhile if you plan to do a lot of shopping in Singapore for a substantial refund. Before checking in at the airport, present the tax refund cheque together with the items purchased and your passport at the GST customs counter. Get your receipt stamped here. Then proceed with check-in and go through security. On the air side, bring the stamped cheque to the refund counter to cash it in or get the GST back on your credit card. Remember to ask for a tax refund cheque from the retailer when making a purchase.

Centrepoint shopping mall by Sengkang

Restaurants often display prices like SGD19.99++, which means that service charge (10%) and sales tax (7%) are not included and will be added to your bill. When you see NETT, it means it includes all taxes and service charges. Tipping is generally not practised in Singapore and officially frowned upon by the government, although bellhops still expect SGD2 or so per bag. Taxis will usually return your change to the last cent or rounded off if they can't be bothered to dig for change. 

 
Singapore
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Boat Quay
Chinatown
City Hall
Clarke Quay
Marina Bay
Mustafa Centre
North Bridge Road
Orchard Road
Sentosa Island
Suntec City

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