If shopping is on your mind then head straight to Orchard Road of Singapore, a favourite hotspot among locals and foreigners, and one of Asia's most famous shopping streets.
One of the major shopping streets of Singapore, Orchard Road is inexorably lined with some of the most high-end brands and premium malls of the island. The street also houses the official residence of Singapore's President, the Istana. Named after the fruit orchards that the road leads to, the street is adorned with flashy shopping complexes, coffee chains, upscale hotels and restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs. Dotted with plenty of seating under shady trees and plenty of flower boxes, one can also shop at the luxury stores such as Armani or Dior. Cinema halls, departmental stores, shopping malls such as Ngee Ann City and other entertainment complexes can also be spotted there. Singapore's leading shopping street is exquisitely decorated during the Christmas with reindeers frolicking through huge palm trees and fake snow topping the Christmas tree. For cheap, delicious and filling food, head to the basement food halls lined all along the street only to come back to enjoy the nightclubs.
History of Orchard Road
The famous Orchard Road of Singapore which has become a shopping hub for tourists and Singaporeans has gone through a number of transformations. In the 1830's, Orchard Road was famous for its gambier and pepper plantations. Later, nutmeg plantations and fruit orchards filled the road and it was after these orchards the street got its name. By 1846, lots of houses and villas were mushrooming on the street which led to a downfall in the number of orchards. By the year 1846, a huge Chinese graveyard sprang up on the road, now a famous hotel. A Jewish cemetery was also built here but by the end of 1984 it was completely demolished and now an MRT station has been developed on it. The development of Orchard Road to make it a prominent shopping centre in Singapore began in the 20th century. Due to its location, it gained fame in no time and is now one of Singapore's poshest locales. It's always filled with energy and people and offers a vast variety of high-end stores, malls and shops suiting everyone's needs at one place.
Sightseeing on Orchard Road
If you are looking for an experience other than shopping, Orchard Road won't disappoint you because there is so much to do around this street of 2.2 km. All you need is the energy to go on for the day.
Fort Canning Park is a perfect escape from the bustling city of Singapore. It one of the most prominent historical park in Singapore with lush green gardens spread across the length of breadth of the park. You can spend leisure time in the park, jogging, enjoying a picnic and strolling through the flora of the park. It is also famous for Battle Box, a tunnel built during the second world war which will give you insights of the history.
It is Singapore's biggest museum exhibiting the rich history of Singapore and as well as Asia. The building of the museum is a marvellous example of a neo-classical building. It is spread over an area of 18,400 sqm and has six galleries. The different galleries showcase a different segment of history, from painting, sculptors, photographs and much more. The museum also hosts various events and shows from time to time, keep your eyes open for such events.
Timings: Singapore History Gallery is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The Goh Seng Choo Gallery and four Living Galleries are open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Cost: No entry fee except for the living galleries and occasional shows.
3. Via Ferrata Climbing Wall
If you are craving for some adventure amidst the showbiz of Singapore, then Ferrata Climbing wall could be your destination. It is located in Orchard central and offers rock climbing sessions for the beginners and avid climbers. It is the highest rock climbing wall in Singapore rising up to 30 m and is as tall as five storeys.
Located just behind the Orchard Central, it's hard to miss this high-end street. The attraction of this street is the architecture which is a blend of modern and Chinese Baroque. The Emerald Hill Road is extremely beautiful and picturesque and you can spend hours at the street. The street is brimming with the famous bars and cafes of Singapore you can also have the taste of the party and nightlife on Emerald Hill Road.
Istana means 'palace' in Malay. It is the official residence and office of the President. It is also the working place of the prime minister of Singapore hence making it an edifice of utmost importance. The building was constructed in 1869 when Britishers acquired the nutmeg fields to convert it into the governor's residence. It was converted into the President's residence when the British government was thrown out of power. The neo-palladian architecture built in the white colour is a beauty to witness. The Istana is counted amongst the national monuments of Singapore due to its historic and official importance.
The entry for the Singapore residents is free whereas foreign nationals need to get a pass of SGD 2 for the entry.
Timings: 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Orchard Road Nightlife
The shopping hub of the city is also known for its insane nightlife. Nightlife at Orchard Road is all about hopping from one bar to another because there is no dearth of the high-class bars and nightclubs. The streets are lined with bars, nightclubs and lounges that offer a sneak peek into the city's life. They are opened till late at night and some until morning for those who like to party all night. With such a variety of places to head to, there is something for everyone that keeps the visitors engaged. The two most famous places in Orchard are definitely the Emerald Hill and Orchard Towers. The elegant Emerald street is known for Peranakan houses and graceful cafes and lounges. Orchard tower on the other side is the ultimate combination of work and play, it is adorned with high-class offices and a number of bars where you can party all night you want. Here are the best nightclubs and bars on Orchard Road that are must visit for the party lovers.
1. Alley Bar
A high class with elegant interiors and an extensive variety of beers, wines, cocktails and other alcoholic drinks.
Known for: Late night parties, a variety of alcohol and dance floor. Timings: Monday - Thursday: 5:00 PM - 2:00 AM, Friday, Saturday: 5:00 PM - 3:00 AM, Sunday: 5:00 PM - 2:00 AM
2. The Mansion
Going in agreement with its name, it has an elegant mansion and living room interiors that are way too classy.
Known for: Mix of music and top label alcohol Timings: 12:00 PM - 4:00 AM
Located in Grand Hyatt Hotel, it has spacious interiors with the red brick theme.
Known for: Music, private seating booths, a variety of top label alcohol. Timings: 9:00 PM - 2:00 AM
4. Club Sonar at TAB
It has seating for both who want loud music and live sessions and those who want to enjoy alcohol in peace.
Known for: Live music performances, International artist, regional music, dance floor and alcohol. Timings: Monday - Thursday: 9:30 PM - 4:30 AM, Friday, Saturday: 9:30 PM - 5:30 AM
5. Hard Rock Cafe
Another one from the famous Hard Rock franchise where you can enjoy good music, good food and good drinks.
Known for: Live music sessions every night Timings: Sunday - Thursday: 11:30 AM - 11:00 PM, Friday, Saturday: 11:30 AM - 1:00 AM
6. Horse’s Mouth
Located inside a shopping mall, Horse’s Mouth has elegance written all over it. The theme is inspired by dark drinking dens in Japan. It is best suited for a lavish dinner with drinks.
Known for: Signature cocktails and fine dining experience. Timings: Monday - Thursday: 6:00 PM - 12:00 AM, Friday - Saturday: 6:00 PM - 1:00 AM
Orchard Road Shopping
If there is one thing that defines Orchard Road then it has to be the ultimate shopping experience. There are so many shopping centres and malls all around the place that there will be no end to your shopping. Here are few suggested places to shop at Orchard Road.
If you are looking for some luxury high-end brand, then this your stop. ION Orchard has some of the finest luxury brands under one roof. It has stores for Prada, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana among others.
Ngee Ann city
It is yet another hub for luxury brands. It is the largest shopping complex on the Orchard Road.
Orchard Central is the best mall to go shopping at Orchard Road. It has mostly fashion stores. With a variety of international stores and local brand selling vintage products and as well as fashionable ones. Orchard Central is also known for having the world's tallest indoor climbing wall. It also has a number of restaurants and entertainment section.
It’s a modern lifestyle store which features home decor, souvenirs, lifestyle accessories and so much that you would want to take home. It also has a number of fashion and beauty shops.
Far East Plaza
Far East Plaza is the student's favourite and for those who are looking for an affordable shopping experience. It caters to the local fashion brands. Accessory stores, electronics shops, jewellery and homemade bags and belts. It has 800 stores spread across 6 floors of the building.
One of the oldest buildings and also the first multi-storey shopping centre in Singapore, Plaza Singapura is home to a lot of lifestyle and fashion brands under one roof. It has several options for the dine-in and casual eateries as well.
Spread over three storey building, Mandarin Galley is a mix of luxury lifestyle brands and local showrooms. It features some of the best fashion brands in the world such as Marc Jacobs, D&G, Esprit, Emporio, Armani Galliano to name just a few. Apart from this, you will enough options of restaurants to eat inside this modern glass building.
Paragon Shopping Centre
Paragon shopping centre is one stop for all. From the luxury fashion brands to the kids’ stores and a lot of places to eat and drink. Paragon shopping centre is spread across six floors and has brands such as Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Muji, Nike, Armani Kids, Guess kids among others.
Tanglin Shopping Centre
If you are looking for some local and antique artefacts, then Tanglin shopping centre is the place to be. It has some of the finest stores to buy Asian, Persian and Afghani products. You will find a variety of jewellery shops, handicrafts stores, carpets, antique stores in this shopping haven.
Orchard Road Restaurants
Over a period of time Orchard Road has become the popular tourist spot. It has a perfect amalgamation of shopping, nightlife, entertainment, sightseeing and food. Talking about the eating joints at Orchard Road, there is very less possibility that you won’t a find a place or food of your choice. With the views of the Singapore city, the delicious meals, there are few restaurants and cafes that stand out from the crowd. Here are the best hand-picked restaurants to try at Orchard Road.
1. Crystal Jade Golden Palace
This fine-dining restaurant expertizes in Chinese, Teochew, Shanghai and Hong Kong cuisine. Known for: Different Asian cuisine with specialization in Chinese delicacies. Timings: 11:30 AM - 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM - 10:30 PM
2. Les Amis
An elegant fine dining restaurant with French cuisine and variety of wine to die for.
Known for: French delicacies and a variety of wine. Timings: 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
The four themed seating area: the verandah, the living room, stateroom and terrace where you can enjoy the buffet service for a scrumptious breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Known for: Asian cuisine and desserts. Timings: Breakfast: 6:30 AM - 10:00 AM, Lunch: 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM, 3:30 PM - 5:30PM, Dinner: 6:30PM - 9:30 PM
4. Din Tai Fung
If you want to enjoy the delicious Taiwan food coming straight from the award-winning chef, this is your place.
Known for: Taiwan cuisine, specializes in Dim sums and Jasmine tea Timings: 11:30 AM - 9:30 PM
Modern and chic interiors with food coming from all the corners of the world. Iggy’s experiments with the food to give it a modern and unique touch. It is often counted amongst Asia’s best restaurant.
Known for: European and Asian cuisine Timings: Tuesday - Saturday: Lunch: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM, Dinner: 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
6. Salt Grill and Sky Bar
Located on the 55th floor offering the bird’s eye view of the Singapore city, the Salt Grill and Sky Bar is an Australian bar and serves an extensive variety of cocktails and meat dishes.
Known for: Open terrace, seafood, steak and grilled meat. Timings: Monday - Thursday: 11:00 AM - 1:45 PM, 6:00 PM - 9:45 PM, Friday - Sunday: 11:00 AM - 1:45 PM, 2:30 PM - 4:45 PM, 6:00 PM - 9:45 PM
The nightclubs and restaurants get crowded on the weekends, make sure you have a reservation.
It's best to explore Orchard Road on foot, so make sure you have comfortable footwears on.
There are lot of shopping centres at Orchard Road, have a look and then choose where you want to shop.
By MRT: The nearest MRT stations for those arriving by the North-South line to Orchard Road are Orchard MRT, located at the beginning of Orchard Road, and Somerset MRT, located next to Orchard Central. The Dhoby Ghaut MRT, located by the Istana, can be used by those wanting to reach Orcahrd Road by the Circle Line or the North-East Line.
By Bus: There are many bus stops along the 2.2 kilometre strecth of Orchard Road. Bus numbers 7, 14, 14E, 16, 36, 65, 77, 105, 106, 111, 123, 124, 128, 132, 143, 162, 162M, 167, 171, 174, 174E, 175, 190, 502, 502A, 518, 518A, 590, 598, 700, 700A, 971E 972, 1N, 2N, 3N, 4N, 5N, 6N, NR6, NR7 run through the Orchard Road Stretch, stopping at one of the many bus stops found here.