When Dermott was told he was going to Singapore he was quite excited. Then he found out his assignment involved shopping lots of shopping and a bit of his excitement wore off.
Very sensibly he thought to call Catriona, Getaway's champion shopper, for some tips. She suggested packing light in a very big bag.
The little island republic just off Malaysia's coast has been a shopping destination since it became a trading post set up by the British in the early 1800s. Over the years it has become one of the most modern and sophisticated cities in the world.
Orchard Road is the city's retail and entertainment hub. It was named after the nutmeg orchards lining the streets in the 1830s. Some remain, providing shady relief from the midday heat.
The newest place drawing tourists and locals to spend their dollars is ION Orchard. The new and ultra-chic ION is touted as 'Singapore's first multisensory, experimental shopping and lifestyle mall".
Eight levels have 330 retail opportunities, eating places and lifestyle shops. Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana are all there.
A huge food hall offers endless choices, ranging from local favourites to international cuisines. There are Australian chefs plying their trade in several restaurants.
Travel 218 metres to ION Sky on levels 55 and 56 and you will be treated to 360 degree views from Orchard Road's highest point. It has an observatory and the contemporary Salt Grill restaurant has acclaimed Australian chef Luke Mangan at the helm.
If you aren't all that fussed about mall shopping, the city's motto is 'Singapore for Everyone' and there are intriguing little places popping up all over the place. One of those belongs to one of Australia's top fashion designers, Camilla Franks.
Her kaftans have been must-have items in Australia for some time, but when Oprah Winfrey wore one of her glamorous creations during her visit to Australia, sales soared worldwide.
Camilla knows Singapore very well and volunteered to show Dermott around. They visited Haji Lane in the Arab district. It has a character all of its own with shophouses running its length. There are lots of little boutiques offering a range of up and coming local talent creations and fun retro items.
Kampong Glam is a wonderful old area where textiles have been sold for more than 100 years. Alleyways have little shops full of everything from antiques to colourful batik fabrics to prayer mats. There are monuments, places of worship and beautiful old dwellings giving a taste of the lifestyle of the early days.
Funan DigitaLife Mall is Asia's leading IT mall. The one-stop haven has the latest, most innovative and widest range of everything electronic. Haggling is welcome and expected! Of course, there are restaurants there if you need to take a break while you make the right decision about what you want to buy!
Chinatown is Singapore's largest historic district. When Sir Stamford Raffles announced Singapore as a trading post in 1819, Chinese flocked there and by the end of the 1860s the community had grown to make up 65 percent of the population.
It's a fascinating maze of little streets with pre-war shop houses selling intriguing things you just don't see at home. The Singapore Handicraft Centre is worth checking out there's everything from bronze works to ornate chopsticks.
It's great to know that all restaurants and street stalls are graded A to C for cleanliness. A represents the highest so you can tuck into delicious food feeling pretty sure you won't regret it later!
Saving the best until last, the Great Singapore Sale has been a drawcard for 13 years. It's one of the country's top events and for eight weeks discounts of up to 70 percent are offered on just about everything everywhere. It's as though the term 'shop till you drop' was created for this shopping festival.
This year it's on from May 25 to July 22 which gives you plenty of time to gather some friends, make your reservations and polish the credit card.
The shopping hotspots of Singapore.
The Great Singapore Sale will run from May 25 to July 22, 2012.
Getaway Lounge Singapore Offer
Two nights for $299 in a superior room at WANGZ Hotel plus breakfast for two daily, Orchard Road shuttle service, discount dining vouchers and wine on arrival which is a saving of 65 percent.
Stay period: Feb 23, 2012 - August 31, 2012
Offer ends 4pm, February 22, 2012
For more information and to book log onto www.getawaylounge.com.au.
For further information
Singapore Tourism Board Oceania
Level 11, 47 York Street
Ph: 02 9290 2888
Fax: 02 9290 2555
The Great Singapore Sale
May 25 - July 22, 2012
Salt Grill & Sky Bar entrees start at $27 and mains from $45.
Funan Digitalife Mall
Getaway Lounge Singapore Offer
Visas: Australian passport holders do not require a visa for a stay of up to 30 days, providing a Social Visit Pass is obtained on arrival. Extensions cost S$40.
Electricity: 230V at 50Hz using three-pin square shaped plugs.
Time zone: GMT +8.
Currency: Singapore dollar.
International dialling code: +65.
It is recommended travellers see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au and www.welltogo.com.au.