Shopping is a local hobby here in Singapore and the retail scene has been dominated by glitzy shopping malls along the famed Orchard Road and across the island, quirky boutiques and brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce, local markets and more. Beyond the traditional markets that rule the heartlands, where locals get their everyday food, groceries and wares – Singapore has also seen a burgeoning market scene mirroring its unique mish-mash of cultural heritage. We’re talking pop-up fleas and artisanal markets perfect for shopping independent or local designers, handmade crafts, vintage wares and organic local produce. If you can’t resist a good deal, consider adding some of these under-the-radar bazaars to your list of megamalls to visit!

For all things crafty

In recent years, Singapore has also seen a rise in young brands and designers carving a name for themselves in Singapore’s market scene with quirky, quality products. If you’re a connoisseur of intricate workmanship and are constantly on the look out for one-of-a-kind wares, or just want to support local for a cool souvenir to take home – these local markets will be a playground of unexpected finds.

1. Wheeler’s Market

Held periodically at Wheeler’s Estate, a picturesque colonial house seated in Seletar, the Wheeler’s Market is a dedicated event for local talents to showcase their artisanal collections or collectibles.

Wheeler’s Market at Wheeler’s Estate, Seletar

This is one for the fashionistas who believe in supporting local craftsman. Photo credit: Wheeler’s Estate

You’ll find chic handcrafted jewellery for the fashionistas, wooden ornaments and crafts, even personalised leather dog tags for your fluffy little friends back home! All these while enjoying live music performances and homemade munchies out in a vast, backyard-like setting. With over 20 vendors, something’s bound to catch your eye.

Every market is a little different from the one before. So keep a look out on their Facebook page for the latest updates or visit their website to find out when the next market is happening.

Address: 2 Park Lane, Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore 798386

2. So Gelam Market

A monthly affair held along Baghdad Street (just around the corner of popular shopping spot Haji Lane), So Gelam Market gives the usual artisanal flea a unique local twist. Soak in the kampung (traditional villages common in 1950s Singapore) spirit, while shopping for embroidered bucket bags, vibrant porcelain bowls and clothes printed with batik patterns (a traditional technique of wax-resist dyeing originating from Indonesia) amidst modern handicrafts.

People relaxing at So Gelam’s lawn

Grab a mat on the lawn, enjoy the sights and sounds around you and relive the 1950s’ kampung spirit at the market.

Beaded accessories on display at the market.

Spot hints of tradition in modern, stylish and functional items. Photo credit: So Gelam Market

Beaded accessories on display at the market.

Spot hints of tradition in modern, stylish and functional items. Photo credit: So Gelam Market

If you think fleas are for young, hipster millennials only, think again. With an artificial lawn sprawled out with mats and aplenty of traditional Malay snacks, you can also expect traditional games like five stones and spinning tops, song and dance performances and more from the yesteryears as you hangout with fellow friendly shoppers just like in the old Singaporean days!

The market opens every second weekend of the month, follow their Facebook page for more info.

Address: Baghdad Street, Singapore

3. Katong Square Lifestyle & Vintage Market

Attention all bargain and vintage hunters! Go back in time at the Katong Square Lifestyle & Vintage Market. Organised by The Retro Factory, the monthly market pop-ups offer everything from antiques to bespoke items and retro gifts like kitschy souvenirs, vintage jewellery and accessories.

Vintage fashion on display at the Katong Square Lifestyle & Vintage Market

Browse through endless collections of vintage clothes and accessories. Photo credit: Have Halal Will Travel

Antique finds at the Katong Square Lifestyle & Vintage Market

You can even find old-school gems like rotary telephones for a steal! Photo credit: The Retro Factory

With comparisons made to London’s Portobello Market, the rows of vinyl, rustic décor accompanied by head-bopping swing music will get you feeling right at home.

The market opens every second weekend of the month, follow their Facebook page for more info.

Address: Level 1 Katong Square, 88 East Coast Road, Singapore 423371

For the organic enthusiasts

Besides local crafts, you’ll find that Singapore also has various markets where you’ll find some of the freshest produce around. If you believe in sustainable farming, these markets will be your jam.

1. Open Farm Community Social Market

With the highest respect for food and a strong believe in sustainability, Open Farm Community is an open-concept restaurant that brings locally sourced, seasonal and innovative dishes to the table. And once every month, they invite guests of all ages to join them in their Social Market — where you’ll find fresh greens, fruits, and artisanal spreads like homemade honey and jams lining tables amidst their bountiful garden (its harvests are used in all of their dishes!). There are even yoga workshops for you to get a good stretch in the outdoors!

Vegan snacks and body products on sale at Open Farm Community Social Market

Find out more about the products on sale from the stall owners, such as vegan snacks and herb-based body products! Photo credit: Open Farm Community

Vegan snacks and body products on sale at Open Farm Community Social Market

Do remember to pack a brolly as it can get quite hot during the day! Photo credit: Open Farm Community

Remember to bring your own bag to pack your loots as part of their efforts to go green!

Visit their website to find out when the monthly market opens.

Address: 130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819

2. Farmers’ Market at Loewen Gardens

Held once a month at Loewen Gardens, this market is a place for feasting more than anything else. Freshly baked goods, organic pasta and finger food rule the place while playgrounds and trampolines entertain the kids. There are also organic facial products and handcrafted accessories or toys. Moreover, the list of vendors at each market is constantly being refreshed, so it’s always a new experience for visitors!

Homemade spreads at the Farmers’ Market at Loewen Gardens

Look out for free samples of artisanal stuffed olives, tea leaves and even sake. Photo credit: Frank Food Company

Bonus: Being just a stone’s throw away from Dempsey Hill (a popular café spot), there’s always the option of whiling the afternoon away in a quiet coffee shop after all the market excitement.

Follow their Facebook page to find out when the next market is happening.

Address: 75E Loewen Rd, Singapore 248845

3. Central Singapore Market

Some of these farmers’ markets, on the other hand, dive a little deeper beyond sustainable farming. Central Singapore Market, for one, is a roving market that hopes to build a community of inclusivity and instill a healthy lifestyle by bringing fresh, organic produce and live performances to the heartlands.

Central Singapore Market

Get the family together with fun activities like learning how to make healthy snacks or live music performances. Photo credit: Central Singapore CDC

Apart from the usual artisanal goodies from homegrown names and hands-on cooking workshops, the market also seeks to support the inclusion and celebrate the abilities of those with special needs. You can expect activities with and sometimes, simple performances by them during your time there.  

Venue varies, visit their website to find out when and where the next market is happening.

 

If you’re planning to visit the sunny island, be sure to check out the individual websites to find out if any of these markets will be happening when you’re in town. If they are, it’s definitely worth a visit. To prevent any shopping regrets, we’d recommend bringing ample cash to these markets as credit card payment may not always be available. Bring the kids or go with friends — take time to experience Singapore through a more unique kind of retail therapy at these hidden gems, and take home one-of-a-kind souvenirs!

 

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