Orchard Road is the shopping haven of Singapore. A 2.2-kilometer road in central Singapore, it is always throbbing with life. You will see many tourists and locals here. But in the 1830s, it was an un-named road leading to fruit, pepper, and nutmeg plantations or orchards. A major shopping destination in Singapore, you will now find many international and local department stores here – ION Orchard, Central, Ngee Ann City, Tangs, Far East Plaza, Mandarin Gallery, and more. There are many cafes, restaurants, hotels, spas, boutiques, and offices too.
The first department store that opened here was Tangs. That was in 1958. It was then called the House of Tangs. There are now more than 5000 establishments that offer lifestyle experiences to the locals and tourists. The best way to see the road is on foot.
Many believe that the name comes from Mr. Orchard, who was a gardener and plantation owner in the 19th century. His former plantation is at the corner of present-day Orchard Road and Scotts Road.
Orchard Road – Quick Facts
|Orchard Road||Singapore’s most famous street. Shopping capital. Department stores, shopping malls, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, bars, spas, hotels.|
|History||Unnamed road in the 1830s leading to plantations.|
|Attractions||Shopping, food, nightlife|
|Other Activities||Fort Canning Park, National Museum of Singapore, Istana, Art Museum, SG Flight Simulations, Climbing Wall|
- There are many cemeteries – a Chinese cemetery, a Sumatran cemetery, and a Jewish cemetery.
- There are more than 80 roadside food stalls.
- You will get the best views from ION Orchard’s 55th floor.
- The area has a massive underground road system.
Top 7 Places For Shopping At Orchard Road
There are 22 malls and 6 shopping centers. Highlights –
1. ION Orchard – The destination for luxury shopping. Glamorous complex with steel, glass, and marble. The world’s top fashion brands. Art exhibitions.
2. Orchard Central – A new lifestyle mall. Both international and local brands, plenty of food options, and the tallest indoor climbing wall in the world.
3. Ngee Ann City – A landmark on Orchard Road, you will find book stores, fashion brands, beauty parlors, footwear, jewelry, toys, and more. The Takashimaya department store is over 7 levels.
4. Tangs – Set up in 1932, this has a Chinese façade, making it distinctive. Now a modern lifestyle store with decorative items, gifts, Asian collectibles, fashion, and casual wear.
5. Far East Plaza – The place for bargain deals from designers not that famous. Spread over 6 levels, there are 800 retail outlets here. You will find mostly casual fashion, accessories, jewelry, and cameras.
6. Mandarin Gallery – Personalized tailored shopping from international designers. It is in the famous Mandarin Orchard hotel. Very compact mall but with couture brands. Three levels of elegant shopping.
7. Paragon Shopping Centre – Offers high-end luxury goods from trendy brands. Over the 6 levels, you will find sports boutiques, fashion stores, designer department stores, and many eateries.
There are restaurants, cafes and eateries all along the road. The favorites –
- Akashi Japanese Restaurant
- Annam Restaurant
- Bodega Y Tapas
- Crystal Jade
- Din Tai Fung
- Fat Lulu’s
Fort Canning Park
One of the most important historical landmarks in Singapore! Houses the shrine ruins of the last king of Singapura. There is also a cemetery. There are many walking trails too. Find the Battle Box – a complex of underground tunnels from World War II. It was called the Forbidden Hill before. Many outdoor art events are held here. Read our travel guide for Gardens By The Bay.
There are at least 2 museums worth a visit –
- The National Museum of Singapore goes back 120 years. There are 2 sections – live section and the history section.
- Singapore Art Museum with its 14 climate-controlled galleries. It has exhibits from artists from all over the region.
Emerald Hill Road
This was once the up-market residential area. It has remained like before, frozen in time. You will find colonial buildings in art deco and Chinese Baroque styles. Many of these buildings were constructed in the 1900s. There are also many good bars here.
Orchard Road Nightlife
There are many clubs, bars, and discos in Orchard Road. Highlights –
- Alley Bar
- Bar Stop
- Bedrock Bar & Grill
- Club Sonar at TAB
- Hard Rock Café
There are three MRT stations in Singapore – Orchard, Somerset, and Dhoby Ghaut. These are the most important connecting points.
Bus – SMRT, SBS Transit, Tower Transit Singapore, Go-Ahead Singapore.