There are many things to do when in Singapore such as utilising its location to take short vacations to neighbouring countries in South East Asia, a feat made easier with budget airlines. Yet, while in Singapore itself, there is no greater activity than The Great Singapore Sale (GSS) which occurs yearly in this shop-till-you-drop hub.
Every year Singapore plays host to shopaholics as it launches the GSS – a two month shopping bonanza that started on the 3rd June this year and ends on the 14th of August. With discounts of up to 90% on certain goods and services, and large ‘SALE!’ banners lining the streets, it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine that that is the national flag! There is one downside to all this shopping madness, the ability to sieve through the list of options to find something that is suitable and perfect for you – a daunting task one might say.
Here we have collated a list of very crucial apps to have on your iOS device to help you survive the GSS this year. But, before starting on this journey you need to pay homage to where it all begin — The Great Singapore Sale website.
This website, lists out all the basic attractions, events and special deals for tourists that can help you get accommodation packages, event promotion deals and more. Of these, you would want to start with the accommodation part first so as to store your shopping securely each time you go out to add more to that collection.
Accommodation in Singapore can be a pricy affair with not only business travellers, but hoards of tourists rushing in and thus finding a decent room at a cheap price might not always be the case when using the GSS website as mentioned above. To not only beat the hassle of booking through a hotel, but also to gain a culturally immersive experience and get to know the city intimately from a local perspective, the first apps you need are Airbnb and Couchsurfing. Both these apps are available for free at the Apps Store and are safe to use in a cosmopolitan city like Singapore.
Both these apps are available for the iPhone as well as the iPad, however, Airbnb has gone a step further and developed a version of their app for the Apple Watch, where it allows you to reply as well as check-out listings.
Once some semblance of accommodation has been arranged for your stay in Singapore, you would want to save time and dive head first into the shopping, but wait, don’t do that until you have first found out how to get there. For this endeavour, a host of transport apps are available for you to utilise.
When it comes to transport, the government of Singapore has not only done an excellent job at it, but this tiny island nation has had its transport solutions and ideas copied by many other countries – thats just how good public transport here is.
The rail lines are all interconnected and serve as the easiest and fastest form of transportation through the nation with bus services acting as a support. To navigate the massive rail network is a very easy task, given that all signage is in english (thanks to our colloquial masters) and there is an app that can help you move about and direct you from place to place – MyTransport Singapore.
Not only does it display an interactive MRT (train service in Singapore) map that one can use to navigate from location to location, but also helps display nearby bus stops and associated bus service routes. Though it does have other services that are more geared to the locals, it is an excellent transport app that tourists can utilise as well. The app is also available for iPad users.
Another option for travelling through the city is to use Citymapper. This app not only has a comprehensive travel guide and bus route listing, but also allows you to save the routes for later usage. This is an excellent way for you to pre-plan the trips and shopping routes.
If buses and trains are not bourgeoise enough an option for you to consider when travelling through Singapore or for the days you have excess shopping, you can always use Uber or the local option — Grab. These apps are designed to beat the taxi queues and allow you to do a booking for no fee whatsoever unlike the apps by the taxi companies in Singapore which charge you a booking fee for each cab you call. Grab also has the option of Grab Economy – a mid-priced pre-fixed pricing option in the event you are afraid of taxi drivers showing you more of the city than you care to explore.
Once you have your transport arranged, there is little that is stopping you from reaching your ultimate goal — shopping at The Great Singapore Sale! To achieve this in the most organised and systematic manner there are a host of apps that are available depending on your preferred method of shopping.
As you finally head out to your main activity, you should know that there are a plethora of applications that can help you navigate more than just Orchard Road. They bring you access to exclusives, deals and show you other malls which might be closer to your location as a way to allow you to avoid the hustle and bustle and still come out on-top.
Shopping Centres and Malls
The first of these apps that you might wish to download is SG Malls Directory. IT allows you to bring up information regarding different shopping centres in Singapore and shows you the accessibility of the mall by public transport. It also has a link tot he website and can direct you to the place using your default map application. It also highlights if the mall has a movie theatre so those who might want to catch that blockbuster flick after a day of shopping can easily plan to do so.
Another nifty app — Pocket Malls Singapore goes a step further and includes a in-mall map for some shopping centres and makes it easier to navigate within. The map is powered by Google Maps and thus you would need that app pre-installed to utilise this feature.
For those who like to compare online prices and find cheaper or better deals, there are the tripartite apps that provide this service in Singapore — Zalora, Carousell and Shopee SG. These apps connect you to the world of online retailers as well as locals who are selling products — some of which are not available at retailers.
Zalora is good in that it connects you with local and regional designers as well as giving you the ability to purchase named brands that tie-in with them. So if you are looking at taking back something unique and not found in global brands that fill the retail space in shops, this is most definitely the best way to go.
Carousell and Shopee SG on the other hand have more individuals who are retailing as opposed to brands and shops. Though this may seem sub-par, they are chock-a-bloc full of excellent deals for pre-loved and inspired fashion. Shopee SG also has a delivery option where your purchases are sent to you for free, while Carousell lets you bargain with retailers to enjoy even more discounts and saving — try bargaining at Armani or Zara and see if that works?
After shopping takes a toll on your body, it would be time to refuel yourself before embarking on round 2. Given that Singapore experiences a lot of tourists and travellers within this melting-pot society, it directly translates to the abundance of food opportunities available. To tap into this, you can try using the various apps dedicated to bringing you closer to food or vice-versa.
Food, Glorious Food!
Singapore has no defined cuisine, with the major races being Chinese, Malay and Indian, there is a variety of cuisine that can satisfy anyone’s desire. With fusion foods and combinations that are available nowhere else on earth, it is safe to say you will enjoy the local fare just as much (or more) as you enjoy your shopping. With options galore, you can have every meal outside and never have to repeat a restaurant or cuisine for the entirety of your stay.
The first app you would download for this endeavour would be SoShiok, which gives you a laundry list of eateries, their associated reviews and guides to finding the best meals in town. Created by the leading press holding company, this app not only has good reviews but connects you with local food bloggers who regularly update the reviews of locations and keep the operators on their toes. The critics will be able to give you insights on not only where to eat but also how best to enjoy your food — like eating prata should be done with hands for that authentic feel. Best of all, it has recipes so that your friends back home can enjoy the local fare as you whip it up in your kitchen!
After having decided on a cuisine, you can try using HungryGoWhere and Chope (also available for the Apple Watch) to help you find locations where you can enjoy your local meal. Both these apps not only have a tie-in with restaurants but also have a reward programme for users that offer discounts for your dining. Furthermore, they have special offers and access to deals that are happening in conjunction with events, such as the Vegetarian Week event where restaurants prepare a special one-off menu.
For a more traditional and easy to use dining out option, you can download eatigo, which gives a pre-fixed discount based on the reservation timing. These discounts vary in their offering and can go as high as 50% for certain quiet hours. (Do take not that in Singapore, the first sitting is at 7:30 pm and second sitting occurs at 9:30 pm)
The two best apps for having food delivered right to your doorstep, be it your hotel or homestay, for those lazy nights are UberEATS and Deliveroo. While UberEATS is relatively new and has yet to cover the entirety of Singapore, Deliveroo has been around long enough to have a good base of options available. Both apps are similar in nature and tie-in with the many restaurants that are available in Singapore to bring you the best food, hot and fresh, so you don’t have to step-out. Both inform you when the driver has picked up your order and allow you to watch his progress as he brings the food closer to you.
Shopping might be the main activity for your vacation, but when you are done, and there is no more space to fill your luggage, then that is the time to kick back and try out some of the more cultural activities that are abundant in Singapore.
Attractions and Self-Guided Activities
To indulge in all things Singapore, be it the museums or parks or nature reserves, Pangea Guides Singapore has them all covered. This app is an all-in-one hub for those looking to see the less crowded side of the bustling city. The app also gives you access to emergency numbers, currency conversion rates and allows you to set reminders for activities you have planned. With a simple user interface, and easy to navigate options, this app does a wonderful job for even the least tech-savvy person.
Download: Pangea Guides Singapore
Finally, when you are done with all the museums and all the shopping and it is time to head home, don’t forget to download the best departure app that gives you access to the important information at the airport.
The only pre-departure app you need to assist with your tax refunds and to guide you through the airport would be iChangi. Given that Changi International Airport covers an immense area and has 3 interlinked terminals each with their last min shopping opportunities, this app is essential in navigating through the same. So hopefully you don’t get lost buying that present you almost forgot for your wife, though we do sincerely hope, you brought her for the shopping to begin with.
Well, that about concludes the list of apps you would require when shopping in Singapore during The Great Singapore Sale period. I do hope you have a blast during your shopping trip here, be it with family or a loved one; there will always be something that Singapore has to offer.
If in your course of the stay, you come across any other apps that you believe are worthy of mention, do let us know in the comments below, if not, Happy Holidays![P.S. If someone you know is still on Android and wants to know what apps to download for their trip to Singapore, they can check out our article on Android Beat – The Best Android Apps for The Great Singapore Sale]