Whether you’re a bargain hunter or luxury label hound, leading travel search engine KAYAK recommends the best shopping destinations in the region
As the season of big retail sales gets underway, our daydreams are increasingly filled with summer shopping sprees. To turn those dreams into reality, the travel experts at KAYAK.sg have shared their top five must-visit cities in the region for shopaholics. From big-name designer handbags to priceless antiques and the newest gadgets, a passport and a plane ticket are the key to finding unique treasures and getting the best deals.
The Thai capital is a shopper’s paradise. Chatuchak Weekend Market hosts over 8,000 stalls selling everything from home decor and bathing suits to pet toys. More than 200,000 shoppers descend on the 35-acre market every weekend, but it is worth braving the throngs of visitors to find unique gifts and discount items. Be sure to inspect your treasures thoroughly as some vendors sell factory rejects and take any claims of “authentic” antiques with a grain of salt. It is possible to negotiate with most vendors, but be prepared to walk away if you are not happy with the price offered. Chances are, there’s another stall selling a similar item around the corner.
How to get there: We found flights to Bangkok from S$204.
Where to stay: Nightly prices for a double room at Baiyoke Sky Hotel start at S$84.
Hong Kong, China
Shopping in Hong Kong is more of a lifestyle than a hobby and most items—other than wine and cigarettes—are tax free. Go bargain hunting for trendy clothing at Jardine’s Crescent in Causeway Bay, which is known for its fashion-forward finds such as embellished blouses, home accessories and bags. Designer label hounds can head to Pacific Place for high-quality leather and name-brand clothing. For souvenirs like Chinese artwork and silk collectibles, visit the stalls at Stanley Market. Prices are clearly marked in shopping centres but there are opportunities to bargain at street stalls.
How to get there: We found flights to Hong Kong from S$230.
Where to stay: Nightly prices for a double room at Hotel Jen Hong Kong start at S$145.
The Silk Market is one of the Chinese capital’s most famous shopping spots. Don’t be fooled by the name—the market is filled with everything imaginable including clothing, souvenirs, jewellery and electronics. The sellers are accustomed to dealing with foreigners and speak a little English. The six-story market is a great place to practice one’s bargaining skills. Start by asking for ten per cent of the seller’s original price and then bargain to eventually meet the seller half-way.
How to get there: We found flights to Beijing from S$647.
Where to stay: Nightly prices for a double room at Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing start at S$142.
Ubud is a treasure trove of Balinese handicrafts, artwork and traditional garments. If you’ve got blank walls and rooms to fill, hunt for paintings, carvings and unique decorative items in Pasar Seni Ubud, or the Ubud Art Market, across from Ubud Palace. Fashionistas will also love exploring the clothing boutiques along Jalan Raya Ubud. A 40-minute drive south, the village of Guwang’s art market offers similar handicrafts and textiles but is much less crowded. While you’re there, explore the small streets around Guwang to discover artist-owned workshops and painting galleries.
How to get there: We found flights to Bali from S$269.
Where to stay: Nightly prices for a double room at Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant & Villas start at S$107.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
During the annual Mega Sale Carnival from June through August, Kuala Lumpur is a shopper’s paradise. Take advantage of plummeting prices across the city in places like The Suria KLCC shopping centre, one of KL’s most glamorous malls for up-market and international brands, located at the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers. For local treasures and quirky souvenirs, check out Pasar Seni, a market with a restored Art Deco façade dating back to 1888. Once inside, hunt for vintage cigarette tins, oil lamps and antique Nyonya tea sets at the Collectables Centre located at G43.
How to get there: We found flights to Kuala Lumpur from S$75.
Where to stay: Nightly prices for a double room at Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur start at S$101.
Top travel tip: Use Explore for travel inspiration and to find flights to multiple destinations from Singapore in a given season or month. At a glance, you can identify the best flight offers within your set budget and decide where to go.
*Images are illustrative only and may not be used, shared or made available for download. Data provided by KAYAK.sg is based on flight and hotel searches conducted on 12 April 2016 for travel from 3 to 5 June 2016. Flight prices quoted are per person and accommodation prices are based on double occupancy. Prices are quoted in Singapore dollars, may be subject to change and may no longer be available.