Unlike many other travel destinations that push kitsch t-shirts or fridge magnets, this bustling and multicultural metropolis offers a wide range of unique items that will help you commemorate your Singaporean experience. Let’s just hope you have room in your suitcase.
Singapore’s original name — Singapura — translates to “lion city,” and the merlion — a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish — represents its origins as a fishing village. You’ll find this merlion figure on practically everything at souvenir shops, from key chains to coffee mugs to full-blown statues you can take back home.
Aches and pains from long flights and weeks of travel? Singapore may be the Lion City, but tiger balm is your new best friend. This popular herbal ointment now comes in gels, creams, and even sprays too. You can also use the balm to relieve headaches, colds, and itchy insect bites. It’s a Singaporean cure-all.
Bring the aromas of Singapore back home with custom-made perfumes. The alcohol-free and essential oil-based perfumes from places like Jamal Kazura are even said to have healing properties. You can also purchase a bottle of orchid-infused (the orchid is Singapore’s national flower) perfume in elegant bottles.
In the 19th century, Peranakan porcelain was one of the most important exports from China to Singapore. Each piece has an intricate floral pattern with brilliant colors.
Batik textiles and fabrics with intricate designs span Singapore’s many ethnic identities. These colorful, patterned, and exceptionally comfortable fabrics are made from silk, cotton, and linen and come in a wide range of prices for every budget. Also check out the kebaya, a traditional Indonesian costume made from Chinese silk with elaborate beading that represents a beautiful blend of Chinese and Malay culture.
Singaporeans hold their national flower in such high esteem that they found a way to preserve it. Real orchids are coated in 24-carat gold and made into necklaces, earrings, and brooches. Because they are made from actual flowers, no two pieces are exactly alike, making each one an especially unique souvenir or gift.
Edible souvenirs are the best for people who seem to already have everything, and Singaporean snacks — because of their world-renowned food scene — are sure to wow your friends and family. The salted egg fish skin chips are surprisingly delicious. Or try other popular snacks that represent the variety of cultures in the area, like Chinese kueh or Indian kesari.
This signature coconut jam made with coconut milk, eggs, sugar and pandan leaves is a delicious Singapore breakfast staple that’s perfect on toast in the morning. You’ll also find it spread on cakes and desserts at local shops. Snag a jar at any supermarket or at the airport on your way out of town.
Another great edible souvenir is bakkwa, a sort of Chinese-style barbecued pork that’s dried over charcoal and easy to transport. Its sweet and savory taste, with that touch of smoke, is a favorite amongst locals. You can even try it in chocolate candy bars if you’re feeling adventurous.
TWG Luxury Teas
Tea lovers should head to TWG Tea, which sells over 800 varieties of tea in its high-end stores. TWG’s products are Singaporean-grown, processed, and packaged in hand-sewn cotton or silk tea bags. You can also purchase other tea-infused products and gourmet tea accessories.
Singapore Sling Cocktail
For other drinkable souvenirs, take home a bottle of the country’s signature drink: the Singapore Sling. Developed in the 1930s, this gin, brandy, cherry brandy, and orange juice cocktail gets its especially notable frothy topper from Sarawak pineapples. Totally tropical and especially delicious, it will transport you right back to your days in Singapore.
An Experience You Carry With You
Above all, you’ll bring back a wealth of knowledge and experience from Singapore, as we all do when we immerse ourselves in new cultures. The country is on the cutting edge of innovation in a number of sectors, particularly when it comes to food. There is just so much to discover and learn from Singaporeans. They are the first to have served cultivated meat and are global pioneers of this technology; if you have the opportunity to sample it, you’ll surely have a newfound experience that you’ll never forget.
No matter what, remember to bring home ideas that push boundaries and create new, meaningful and exciting experiences.