Singapore
Asia's cosmopolitan city
Singapore Shopping Districts, Orchard Road

Orchard Road - Singapore's Fifth Avenue

Orchard Road to Singapore is what the Fifth Avenue is to New York and the Champs Elysees to Paris.  The long, elegant avenue, Singapore's main trade and entertainment artery, is lined with numerous shopping malls, fancy shops and glitzy hotels that have their own shopping arcades.

 

Orchard Road's hippest shopping mall offers its visitors a choice of more than 300 stylish shops, restaurants, cafés and plenty of free cultural events.

 

Nutmeg and pepper plantations, as well as fruit orchards, used to stretch on both sides of the road until the turn of the 20th century, and that is how the road got its name.  The orchards disappeared about 100 years ago but the name remained and, in the 1970s, commercial development started and those humongous, glitzy shopping malls, for which the road is internationally known, started to come up, one after the other.

 

The largest cluster of modern shopping malls can be found around MRT-Orchard, so that is, possibly, the best point to start your "shopping-safari" from: 

  • ION Orchard, Orchard Road's trendiest shopping mall seats bang on the street's most central spot – The corner of Orchard and Scotts, next to MRT-Orchard and Wisma Atria, and offers its visitors a choice of more than 300 stylish shops, restaurants, cafés and plenty of free cultural events (Click here to see what's on).

     

    Another attraction here is the ION Sky: An observation terrace on the 55th floor, from which you can enjoy beautiful cityscape views.

  • Wisma Atria shopping center, with its massive glass facade, is the first mall you are likely to enter, when coming from MRT-Orchard (there is a direct link). This stylish mall is home to almost 100 specialty shops that cater mostly for the young and trendy female fashion shoppers, as well as to sophisticated, modern working women. Generally, it attracts fashion-savvy and brand-conscious cosmopolitan shoppers. On top of these trendy fashion shops, the mall also houses one of Singapore's largest Japanese department stores, Isetan, where you can browse through an array of international designer labels, like Agnes B, Calvin Klein, Paul Smith, Emporio Armani and many others.  The flagship stores of both Nike and Gap in Singapore can also be found here.
  • Ngee Ann City, one of the largest of Orchard Road's malls, is next in line. Connected to Wisma Atria by a direct pedestrian link, the massive mall houses more than 130 specialty stores across its seven levels, specializing in a wide array of goods... From internationally-known brands like Hugo Boss, Bossini, Christian Dior, Zara and even Harley-Davidson Motorclothes, to fine jewellery and watch shops, gifts, toys and what not... The mall also boasts an excellent food court, with more than thirty outlets and, above all, the mall's anchor shop is the Japanese mega department store, Takashimaya: more than thirty thousand square meters of floor space, packed with everything you can think of, including a fantastic food court that serves some fabulous Japanese food. The mall is open daily until 9:30 pm (restaurants are opened until 11 pm)
  • Opposite Ngee Ann City, on the other side of Orchard Road, you can visit The Paragon, a posh shopping mall with some 200 specialty stores that cater mostly for the well-heeled and brand-conscious cosmopolitan shoppers. Notable shops include Gucci's flagship store, Marks & Spencer, BVLGARI, Burberry, Canali, Dunhill, Ermenegildo ZegnaJimmy Choo, Metro, Diesel, Escada, United colors of Benetton and Paragon Junior, on level five, where you can find lots of stuff for the little ones...from fashion to toys. There are also some excellent restaurants and eating houses at the mall.

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  • The Heeren Shops, next to The Paragon, on 260 Orchard Road, also houses quite a few lifestyle shops that specialize in pop culture and cutting edge fashion, mostly for the young and young-in-heart.
  • Lucky Plaza, on the other side of The Paragon (304 Orchard Rd., on the corner of Mount Elizabeth), is very popular among Singapore's foreign domestic workers and especially among the city's Filipino community. The mall houses numerous shops that sell everything, from arts and crafts to fashion accessories, jeweleries, gadgets and what not... It is considered as a good place to fetch bargains, especially electronics and computerware, and there are also some shops here that specialize in second-hand designer outfits and bags. As expected, it also boasts a good food court with some authentic eateries (please see a special tip below)

A word of cautious from 'Metropolasia-Man' :

Some electronic shops in Lucky Plaza have bad reputation for playing all sorts of dirty tricks on tourists and locals alike... for example:

 

A) "The extra charges trick" : after you've paid for the product, and before they actually give it to you, the salesman might suddenly inform you there is an additional amount you have to pay... supposedly for the "software" that comes with this product, or for God knows what... (Those of you who want to buy cellphones should be particularly cautious).

 

B) "The parallel product trick" : The salesman will give you a "good price" for the product you wanted and will then pretend it is currently out of stock... He will then suggest a "similar product" to you, that even costs slightly less... what a bargain...  Obviously, the "identical product" is inferior, compared to the one you wanted, and the price you'll pay for it will be far higher than in other shops across the city... As mentioned already, you should know what you are looking for and think about an alternative or two. If none of these can be found at a certain shop, just move on and keep looking for it...

 

Sim Lim also used to be notorious, but things have somewhat improved since they launched the STARetailers programme.

 

* Do not hesitate to speak to the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) if you think you have been taken for a ride (phone: 6463 1811)
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A delicious tip...

"Great meals in malls" is a mini guide to the best foodcourts in Orchard Road's malls...

 

  • Tangs Plaza on 310 Orchard Road, is located next to one of Singapore's busiest junctions, on the corner of Orchard and Scotts, opposite MRT-Orchard (it is connected directly to the MRT station with a walkway). The plaza houses the flagship store of Tangs: Singapore's oldest department store and an icon of the city's retail market. 15,000 square meters and five floors of retail space, loaded with an unbelievable choice of premium quality products... Cosmetics, housewares, fashion, fashion accessories, shoes, electrical appliances and what have you...

  • Moving up Scotts Road, a few steps from Tangs, you will see Far East Plaza on your right hand side (on 14 Scotts Road). This bustling mall houses an array of shops that sell everything, from fashion and accessories to jeweleries and knick knacks... It's quite a good place to look for cheap, no-brand clothes and other bargains, as well as authentic stuff... The small shops at the basement are selling hip clothing for the young and young-in-heart.
  • Opposite Far East Plaza, on the other side of Scotts Road, you will find the stylish DFS Galleria, one of Singapore's best duty free shops, where you can get the whole shebang of international luxury brands like Burberry, Cartier, Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and many others...
  • Shaw House and Centre, on the corner of Orchard and Scotts (opposite Tangs), is a complex of two connected buildings, each with its own mall. Shaw House, on the corner itself, is best known for the Lido Cineplex, one of Singapore's best cinema complexes, as well as for Singapore's largest outlet of Isetan, the famous Japanese department store. Isetan Scotts boasts five floors of quality goods, including a fully stocked supermarket at the basement where you can find all sorts of unique Japanese foods. Shaw Centre, on No.1 Scotts Rd., is home to some upmarket fashion boutiques, Jewelery and gem shops, and some furniture shops, worth visiting.

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  • Opposite Shaw House, on the other side of Orchard Rd. and right next to Orchard MRT Station and ION Orchard, there are two shopping complexes that are well worth mentioning:

     

    Distinguished for the unique conical glass structure above its entrance, Wheelock Place spans across seven floors of retail space and makes home to one of the city's largest bookshops - Borders, which occupies its entire ground floor, as well as to a particularly large outlet of Marks & Spencer. It also houses some high-quality shops that specialize in sportswear and eyewear (Connected by an underpass to Orchard MRT Station and ION Orchard / Wisma Atria).

     

    Adjacent Liat Towers houses some upmarket boutiques, specializing in international luxury brands.
  • Moving further along Orchard Rd. (away from the MRT station), Far East Shopping Centre on 545 Orchard Road is a pretty good place to look for some reasonably priced clothing (including tailor shops), as well as Chinese arts and porcelain .
  • The Hilton Shopping Gallery, one of Singapore's swankiest shopping arcades, boasts a selection of well-heeled boutiques, such as Balenciaga, Donna Karan, Dries Van Noten, Issey Miyake, Jil Sander, Marni, Missoni, Moschino and Paul Smith... (for many of which, this is their only outlet in Singapore). The Gallery is connected to the shopping arcade of the ultra prestigious Four Seasons Hotel, where you can find some more top-end international brands.
  • Next to the Hilton, on 583 Orchard Road, Forum the shopping mall features a unique mix of shops that cater to both fashion-savvy shoppers and families with small kids. The massive outlet of Toys "R" Us is one of the mall's major draws, alongside family-oriented shops like Twinkle Thinkers and Bookaburra, Kids' fashion shops and swanky designers boutiques.
  • Opposite the Hilton (and the Forum) on the other side of Orchard road, stylish and elegant Palais Renaissance houses an impressive collection of swanky fashion boutiques, with names like Prada, DKNY, Tyan, The Lingerie Shop, Vanilla Home, Passion Hair Salon, Steinway Gallery and others... It's quite popular among the city's who's who.
  • Just a step away from Palais Renaissance, on the same side of Orchard Road, Delfi Orchard is a pleasant mid-sized mall with a fairly good choice of beauty and bodycare shops, as well as some decent selection of home décor and furnishings.
  • Moving further on Orchard Road (on the side of Hilton and Forum), pass the Orchard Parade Hotel and just behind the curve, the road's name changes to Tanglin road. Tanglin Shopping Centre, next to the Orchard Parade Hotel, is one of the best places around this area to hunt for antiques, handcrafts, furnishings, home décor and authentic brick-a-bracks... Great variety of Asian arts and crafts, from Persia, India and Pakistan in the Southwest, to China, Mongolia and Japan in the Northeast.
  • Further on Tanglin Road, pass the lovely Tudor Court, a row of old Tudor-style shophouses that currently accommodate some antiques and home décor shops, and you will reach the art-décor building of Tanglin Mall, which is the last shopping complex along the Orchard Shopping Belt. The mall is very popular among expatriates who live around, as well as Singaporeans. It boasts a nice mix of shops, selling a wide variety of stuff... from soft furnishings and fashion accessories to foodstuffs and arts.

A shopping tip from 'Metropolasia-Man' :

Holland Village, Singapore's expatriate enclave, is a trendy shopping and nightlife precinct, with many popular hangouts for both locals and expats...

  

Other than a good range of pleasant alfresco-cafés, restaurants and bars, it boasts some specialty shops, where you can find unique arts and crafts, brick-a-brack and so on, as well as a small market and a food centre.

 

Although it's not exactly the best place to look for "cheap bargains", it's certainly is a refreshing experience and you might also be surprised at some of the stuff you'll find in those "specialty shops"...

 

Most of the action takes place around Lorong Mambong and its offshoots, where a bunch of beautifully restored shophouses were converted to shopping and entertainment venues.

 

To get there: Holland Village MRT Station (on Circle Line) should open before the end of 2011 and will provide direct access to the place.

 

Until that happens, you can get here by bus: SBS 7, or SMRT 77 or 106 can be boarded at the station on Somerset Road (next to Somerset MRT Station and 313@Somerset), or along Orchard Boulevard (parallel to Orchard Road – Right next to Orchard MRT Station). 

Another bunch of glittering, air-conditioned shopping malls can be found in the close vicinity of MRT-Somerset, just a few minutes walk from MRT-Orchard (towards Marina Bay). The following are considered as the best:

  • Housed within the prestigious Meritus Mandarin Hotel, on 333 Orchard Road, the Mandarin Gallery has a good selection of upmarket boutiques and shops, catering mostly for the well-off shoppers... from international luxury brands, to jewelries and arts.
  • The very popular Centrepoint is positioned right opposite MRT-Somerset and Hotel Phoenix, on the other side of the road. The giant mall has almost 200 shops of different types and classes... from the prestigious Robinsons (one of the more classy department stores in Singapore) and Marks & Spencer, to Cold Storage supermarket, international fashion boutiques like Esprit and Gap, and many other shops. Open daily, 10 am - 10pm
  • Perankan Place, next to the Centrepoint (on 180 Orchard Rd.), is a great place to chill out... This complex of beautifully restored Perankan shophouses is home to some excellent restaurants, cafés and bars where you can dine or have your cold beer "alfresco", as you watch life on Orchard Road pass by...
  • Recently opened 313@somerset boasts a variety of mostly mid-market fashion and lifestyle shops, as well as a good range of food outlets.

     

    The mall's 177 outlets are spread across 8 levels of shopping & dining and include quite a few international names, like HMV (music), Zara, Uniqlo, Forever 21, New Look and Esprit, just to name a few… There are also quite a few reputable jewellery and watch retailers here, like Lee Hwa Jewellery, Soo Kee, Tian Po, Fossil, Moments and City Chain (Located right next to Somerset MRT and across the street from Peranakan Placa).

  • On the other side of the Centrepoint (but on the same side of Orchard Rd.), you will find the impressive department store of OG, with five floors of fully stocked retail space.
  • Next in line is Orchard Plaza, on 150 Orchard Road, where you can order your custom made suits or shoes from the various tailors and shoemakers.
  • The ever popular Plaza Singapura, on 68 Orchard road (towards MRT- Dhoby Ghaut), is one of the street's oldest malls. With dozens of lifestyle shops and food outlets, the mall is particularly popular among families and young adults. Anchor tenants include Carrefour hypermarket, Marks & Spencer, Golden Village Cinema, John Little Department store, Best Denki electronics and Yamaha.

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