History is rich on Orchard Road. Once home to nutmeg and pepper plantations and fruit orchards, back in the mid-1800’s, Orchard Road was populated only by plantation owners whose names now grace the local streets, names like Cuppage, Caimhill and Scotts. Disease and disaster struck time and time again, devastating these plantation orchards. In 1965, StamfordCanal helped to prevent flooding, but by then the damage was done.
In place of the plantations, pedestrian malls began to emerge and evolve until, today, the Orchard Road shopping district now rightly claims to be the epicenter of Singapore shopping, which is saying a lot. For the uninitiated tourist and the professional purchaser, Orchard Road shopping has no equal.
Today, Plaza Singapura, Wisma Atria, Lucky Plaza, Tanglin Shopping Centre, Centrepoint Shopping Centre, Far East Shopping Centre, The Paragon, Orchard Towers, The Heeren, Singapore Plaza, the Forum Shopping Mall, Tangs, Ngee Ann City, Wheelock Place, The Shopping Gallery at Hilton and Palais Renaissance and dozens more all call Orchard Road home.
Bounded by Tanglin Road, Scotts Road, Orange Grove Road, Bideford Road and Hardy Road, Orchard Road is the ultimate shopping experience in Singapore. End to end, it is about 40 minute walk but there is simply no way humanly possible to see everything Orchard Road has to offer in a day, a week, or even in a lifetime. Easily accessible by MRT from the Orchard, Somerset, Central Expressway and Dhoby Ghaut Stations, locals and tourists alike keep the streets and shops of Orchard Road busy and thriving all year long.
In addition to shopping, Orchard Road boasts magnificent structures such as the Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore, the Botanical Gardens, Goodwood Park Hotel and countless other examples of the rich cultural and architectural history of Singapore. Cultural events are occurring constantly and simultaneously on Orchard Road. Fairs and bazaars: Faincy Faire, THAT Bazaar, The Fair, The Shophouse Fair (specific fair info can be found in expat magazines such as “The Finder” or “The Expat”. Individual shopping centres and department stores all offer some kind of training classes, parades, sales, rewards programs and historical celebrations.
Prices range from the affordable to the exorbitant. Shirts can be purchased for anywhere between $5 and $500. Locally produced merchandise sits side by side with world renowned designer labels. You can shop tiny little boutiques which carry handcrafted ethnic jewellery and souvenirs, or you can travel by glass bubble from one luxurious jewellery salon to another. There is, literally, everything a person could want somewhere on Orchard Road. Their slogan should read, “We have it all”, but even that would be an understatement.
There are food courts, stands, cafes, restaurants and grocery stores at every turn and you can dine elegantly in some of the highest priced and best staffed restaurants in the world while shopping Orchard Road. Some names to keep in mind for food while shopping Orchard Road include Cold Storage and Jasons, The Gourmet Grocer.
Each shopping centre found on Orchard Road has its own claim to fame. NgeeAnnCity specializes in boutiques and designer labels. Wisma Atria is known for shoes, fashions and jewellery. Plaza Singapura offers affordable prices on home furnishings and family fashions. LuckyPlaza offers everything Filipino. Far EastPlaza offers inexpensive, trendy clothing and fashion accessories. Wheelock Place offers a wide range of unique, affordable products and more hair and beauty services than anyone could use in a lifetime. The Paragon is an upscale merchant of designer labels while The Heeren and Forum The Shopping Mall cater mostly to family and children. The Centrepoint offers large, moderately priced department stores. There is simply no way to do justice to everything offered on Orchard Road.
Hotels on Orchard Road runs the gamut in price and services. You will be hard-pressed to find a wider variety or more elegant accommodations. This is where the world famous and the world infamous go for their unlimited shopping sprees, late night clubbing and fine wining and dining.
So, what are you looking for? Need books, comics, magazines or an international newspaper? Try Bookaburra or Borders Books and Music. Need a prescription filled or some shampoo? You can get your medicine and health and beauty staples at Specialist Compounding Pharmacy. Expecting a baby? You can get your maternity clothes at Maternity Exchange and Mothers Work. Tangs and Bare Essentials are the places to go for that sexy lingerie. How about a new handbag? You will certainly have to stop at Designer’s Exchange and Quintessentials and Zara Kids will provide everything to dress your children smartly and fashionably. If you are planning a wedding, you can browse bridal gowns at Francis Cheong, Irene’s Creations and The Wedding Gift Shop. For those party supplies, you simply need to make a stop at Bakerzin.
Looking for fashion labels? There probably isn’t a single designer label that can’t be found on Orchard Road. Prada, Dunhill, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Paul Smith, Versace, Armani, Burberry, Gucci and Fendi are just a few. Too pricey for you? There are plenty of mid-range fashions available at places like Robinson’s, Tangs and Marks and Spencer.
Jewellery and watches and fashion accessories can make or break your look and there are so many places to shop for these items on Orchard Road, you may need to pace yourself. Tiffany & Co. and Cartier are your high-end providers, but there is plenty available in every possible price range.
Handy-man Centre hardware & Home Fix DIY offer the tools, materials and hardware you need to repair and improve your home. There is no shortage of electronics and technological toys on Orchard Street. Everything you can imagine is available for a price and several other things you never would have thought up. Handhelds, wireless, audio-video, gaming…you name it, and it is here.
Home furnishings are available at every stop. Furniture, bedding and linens, towels and cloth napkins, home and yard decorations, art and antiques are in all the major stores. Detail pieces can be found everywhere you look. Skybaba has a good selection and Tangs, Robinson’s and Metro are always worth a visit.
If the world were one community, Orchard Road would be everyone’s market place