Top 5 Places to Shop in Geylang

Colorful Malay Costumes on Sale in Geylang

Just one of the many stalls selling unique stuff like ethnic Malay costumes “baju kurungs” can be found in Geylang of Singapore.   [photo: flickr/chooyutshing]

Unbeknownst to many, the Geylang district in Singapore is a hidden treasure trove for people who like to shop off the beaten track, and away from the large commercial shopping centers found in the likes of Orchard Road or Marina.

Mainly known for the houses of pleasure and smorgasbord of eating places offering pretty much everything under the sun, many are quick to forget about the huge Malay community that makes up Geylang Serai, or “oldie” shopping malls of decades passed.

Here are some places to add to your itinerary if you are staying at hotels in Geylang.

Geylang Serai Market

Malay Kuih Store in Geylang Serai Market

Geylang Serai Market – a 2-story complex that house a wet market on ground floor selling all sorts of fresh produce to fruits and spices. 2nd floor is a labyrinth of stalls selling tasty Malay treats such as kuihs (above image) and Nasi Padang to cheap trendy fashion.   [photo: flickr/chooyutshing]

Home to a large Malay community, Geylang Serai is a thriving and vibrant enclave nestled within the district.

When you visit it during Hari Raya or Ramadan in the month of July, not only will you be dazzled by the light display and Malay décor; the night bazaars displaying a myriad of trinkets and food items is a quintessential Singaporean experience.

Geylang Serai Market is one stop that must not be missed.

It houses a variety of shops that offers anything from batik cloth to ethnic fashion accessories to mouth-watering Malay food as well as exotic spices. You can spend an entire afternoon shopping for your next baju kurungs (ethnic Malay clothing) or that all important ingredient to perfect the curry.

Address: 1 Geylang Serai, Geylang Serai Market and Food Center, Singapore 402001
Nearest MRT train stations: Paya Lebar (CC9/EW8) and Eunos (EW7)

Joo Chiat Complex

Malay Fashion Store in Joo Chiat Complex

Just one of the many Malay fashion boutiques inside Joo Chiat Complex selling a variety of colorful and intricate ethnic Malay costumes.   [photo: flickr/chooyutshing]

Situated just opposite the Geylang Serai Market and accessible via a covered walkway on the first floor of the market will take you straight to the complex.

This is a multi-level shopping complex with different shops that sell a diverse range of items like fabrics, baju (traditional Malay costumes), shoes, carpet, curtains, homeware and many others. However, if you’re after the latest fashion or designs just off the runways of Paris or Milan, then you’re in the wrong place.

Address: 1 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 420001
Nearest MRT train stations: Paya Lebar (CC9/EW8) and Eunos (EW7)

City Plaza & Tanjong Katong Complex


City Plaza – a haven for those looking to buy really cheap fashion from many of the wholesale shops here. Some tops or dresses can be had for just $10 a piece here!   [photo: flickr/chooyutshing]

Want to know what Singapore was like before Marina Bay Sands or ION Orchard?

Then step into City Plaza or Tanjong Katong Complex and you would be transported back in time to the 70’s and 80’s. These 2 shopping centers are definitely a blast from the past, and is a nostalgic flashback to what Singapore was before the rapid urban development.

Back in the old days, City Plaza and Tanjong Katong Complex was the place to be; where all the cool kids hung out after school to gossip and catch up on the latest fashion.

Nowadays, in Tanjong Katong Complex, there’s a mix of small boutiques that sell musical instruments, jewelry, home furnishings and vintage items. There’s even a man that practices the traditional art of Malay calligraphy and is one of the few people in Singapore who is able to write calligraphy on framed mirrors.

City Plaza on the other hand is a great locale for ladies fashion; there you can bargain to your heart’s content in the numerous wholesale fashion stalls that sell anything from tops to dresses to shoes and even hand-bags.

Like any shopping mecca, if you wish to avoid the crowds, try to plan your shopping trip during the weekday.

City Plaza’s Address: 810 Geylang Road, Singapore 409286
Tanjong Katong Complex’s Address: 845 Geylang Road, Singapore 400845
Nearest MRT train station: Paya Lebar (CC9/EW8)

Geylang proper (amongst all the “Lorongs”)

Geylang at Night with Neon Lights

Geylang in Singapore comes alive when night falls. No longer the sleepy district you see in the morning. Shops and eateries of all kinds open till late into the night to cater to “working” girls and insomniacs.

Of course, we cannot talk about shopping in Geylang without mentioning Geylang and all it’s small lanes (or lorongs as the locals call it).

Its “red-light” aura,  cacophonous and exciting atmosphere will leave you feeling as if you’re not in Singapore.

Apart from buying tasty grub from the many food stalls; there are also many fruit stalls around the lanes where you can purchase any fruit that is in season and of course, why many Singaporeans go there, to eat and buy the king of fruits – the Durian!

There is also a scattering of fashion boutiques that sell extremely affordable tops, dresses and even undergarments. Forget about La Perla or Ralph Lauren, walk into any of these shops and check out their interpretation of the latest fashion trends.

Sex shops are another common sight in Geylang and these operate till the wee hours of the morning; so if you’re feeling shy and don’t wish to walk in and purchase something in broad daylight, head to Geylang at 1am to shop in peace. Items sold in Geylang may also be considerably cheaper due to the lower rental as compared to the shops in town.