One of the places we went to on our last trip to Singapore was Bugis Street. In the 1950s and up to the early 1980s, Bugis was known as the hangout of trans-women. In mid-1980s, it underwent a major redevelopment into a retail complex of shopping malls, restaurants, night spots, with regulated alley vendors. The original Bugis Street is now a coblestoned avenue in between the buildings of the Bugis Junction shopping complex. It’s very easy to go there because once you alight from the Bugis Station of Singapore’s MRT, you’ll immediately find yourself in Bugis Junction.
Bugis Street is not really a top tourist destination and that may be reflected in the accommodation rates of hotels in the area. Hotel rates in Bugis are relatively cheaper than those found in the Marina Bay area or in Orchard Road. It may not be a famous tourist spot but it’s definitely frequented by locals and the sights are quite interesting. If ever you’re in Singapore and would like to get out of the busy and somewhat impersonal feel of Orchard Road, why not find a hotel in Bugis? The MRT system in Singapore is very efficient and Bugis is just about a station or two away from most tourist destinations. It’s a pretty good choice for a neighborhood when you’re looking for a place to stay in Singapore.
In Bugis, you’ll find lots of food stalls, hawkers, and fruit stands. At the time we went there, Chinese New Year was just around the corner and rounded fruits were being sold everywhere. Chinese believe that round fruits bring good luck hence its abundance during this time.
We also found lots of Chinese New Year goodies, charms, and attractions in the area. Red was pretty much the dominant color in Bugis Street!
Bugis is also very near the top electronics shopping mecca in Singapore, Sim Lim Square. We went there to scout for iPad 2 and we saw a lot of shops that sell iPads for a very good deal. Most shops carry Samsung, HTC, Blackberry and Apple. But there’s one shop at the top-most level, if I’m not mistaken it’s at level 5/6, that only sells Apple products. Yup, from MacBooks to iPads to iPhones, all things Apple in one place, used or brand new 🙂 You can reach Sim Lim Square via the Bugis MRT station, just head to Rochor near Bencoolen and you won’t miss Sim Lim Square.
We wanted to buy iPad 2 16GB Wifi only and we found a shop that sells it for S$520. That’s a pretty good deal. If paid via credit card, the shop will charge an additional 3% to cover for bank fees. All sales, in cash or credit card, are taxed at 7% which can be refunded at the airport. The only reason we didn’t get it was because aside from the iPad unit, we’re required to get AppleCare for an additional S$118. When we totaled everything up, it seemed that we’re not getting much of a discount as compared to Manila prices. At least here in Manila, we have a 0% 12-month installment plan.
We learned later on that Johor Bahru in Malaysia, which is some 40 minutes away from Singapore, is a good place to get electronics at a much cheaper price. There were taxi cabs in the area willing to go bring you to and around Johor Bahru and you can negotiate the taxi rates with them which amount to, more or less, S$85-120 round trip. But a taxi ride isn’t the only way to go to Johor Bahru. There are buses that run from Singapore to Johor Bahru and back and bus fares are really cheap. We would have taken that route if we had more time. Oh well, next time for sure 🙂
And before I wrap up my Bugis post, let me share with you an interesting shop I spotted:
Interesting, and not so discreet 😛
Well then, hope you drop by again next time as I post more photos of my recent Singapore trip. See yahs!