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Area Guide: Singapore’s Orchard Road

Orchard Road has developed into one of the world’s leading retail destinations. Sally McIlhone discovers some of the many attractions in this vibrant area

Sally McIlhone,

The most popular shopping street in Singapore has an impeccable reputation for offering the best high-end and affordable fashion brands, gathered together on one well-groomed street. Orchard Road boasts luxury malls and department stores that provide the best in international fashion and recently, longer established shops have been renovated to appeal to the modern shopper; special seasonal attractions also delight visitors, making Orchard Road a captivating destination.

Its name relates to the pepper and fruit orchards that previously dominated this part of Singapore, and it started to be transformed into a shopping area at the start of the 1900s. It was here that Singapore’s first supermarket opened in 1903, and by 1958 the first department store, owned by local company CK Tang, welcomed visitors. The original department store has been rebuilt and is part of Tang Plaza, which also houses a hotel.

Tangs regularly welcomes new brands to showcase their products. The History of Whoo, a Korean beauty company, opened its concession in August and is attracting droves of customers with its innovative products. One of the brand’s star items is its Bi Chup Ja Saeng Essence, an anti-ageing serum with a list of ingredients that includes deer antler, angelica root and wild thyme.

A men’s grooming bar opened in the spring boasting a variety of hair, shaving and facial products from brands including SK-II, Belif and Lab Series. Tangs also celebrates local labels and food, stocking designer jewellery by Carrie K and Singaporean snacks at Tangs Market.

The most recently renovated mall on the 2.2kilometre street is Orchard Gateway. The shopping centre is made up of two buildings on either side of Orchard Road, which are connected by a glass bridge. With six floors of stores, shoppers are spoiled for choice. The Little Flower at the End of the Rainbow specialises in feminine dresses in pastel shades, and VOL.TA stocks directional men’s clothing and accessories; look out for the Yellowstone backpacks and Boy London T-shirts from this hip menswear store.

The Heeren has an exciting mix of labels. Alongside items by DKNY, Gucci and Manolo Blahnik visitors will find more affordable diffusion lines including Red Valentino and See by Chloé, proof that the trend of combining high-end pieces with affordable items is going from strength to strength.

The climate in Singapore can be hot and humid even in the autumn and winter, which is why the area is now well equipped with air conditioned underground passageways connecting the shops and malls.

When taking a break from shopping, the area offers plenty in the way of eateries. One of our favourites is Les Amis, in the Shaw Centre. We recommend chef Sebastien Lepinoy’s tasting menu – expect to enjoy steamed white asparagus, grilled Japanese omi beef and a selection of the finest French cheeses. For the ultimate dining experience, book the chef’s table; located close to the kitchen, it allows diners to witness the preparation of the expertly prepared dishes. Taste Paradise, located inside ION Orchard shopping centre, focuses on modern Chinese cuisine. The braised foie gras served with blueberry reduction updates a traditional Cantonese dish for modern audiences and the dim sum is some of the best in the city.

If your visit to Singapore coincides with the festive season, Orchard Road is an even more spectacular sight to behold. Glittering fairy lights adorn Christmas trees and arches along the street and the malls and hotels compete to win the Best Dressed Building award, resulting in stunning decorations. Performers line the street, enchanting adults as well as children, and the Tanglin Mall’s winter wonderland, complete with ‘snow’. 

From shopping and culture to gourmet delights, Orchard Road provides everything for a memorable visit to Singapore. The area has blossomed into one of the world’s most captivating shopping streets and there’s no better time to visit.



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