For a time in the mid-20th century, Bugis was notorious as a seedy haunt for transsexuals and their sailor pals. But along came a government-driven cleanup and voila - Bugis is now a favorite shopping spot for younger locals and visitors.
Today's Bugis is crammed full with shops, restaurants, a covered and airconditioned shophouse street, and a bazaar hawking cheap goods from T-shirts to sex toys. Bugis is at its best (and most crowded) on weekends.
Via MRT, travelers can enter Bugis through either the Bugis or Lavender MRT stations.
Bugis Junction (200 Victoria Street, telephone: +65-6557 6557; website: www.bugisjunction-mall.com.sg) is a row of shophouses now enclosed in a glass bubble and relaunched as a shopping mall. The brands sold within are aimed at the teen and teen-at-heart crowd.
The Junction's biggest tenant is the Parco department store, hawking more up-market brands; you can't miss this, as it's located right in front of the dancing fountain and immediately above the basement-level Bugis MRT station. The basement houses a food court with a dazzling array of dining choices for all budgets.
Cross the street from Bugis Junction to enter Bugis Street (between North Bridge Road and Victoria St.; website: www.bugis-street.com), a street shopping venue with over 600 stalls hawking street wear, hawker food, and assorted services. The flea-market style shopping experience here provides a marked contrast - in both setting and price - from the rest of Singapore's shopping venues.
The newest arrival on the Bugis shopping scene, Iluma (201 Victoria St.) houses a serious gaggle of teen-oriented retail outlets together with a nine-screen cineplex named Film Garde. Its outer panels light up at night and provide an arresting light show for passersby.
For the more conventional shopper, OG Albert Complex (60 Albert St., phone: +65-62102222) stands across Bugis Street, and sells travel accessories, home essentials, and clothing.