ORCHARD ROAD, SINGAPORE
Written by Chris Andre
What to Do and Where to Stay in Orchard Road, Singapore
Orchard Road is a shopper’s haven in Singapore with countless retail counters touting the latest bags, shoes, watches and more than you can ever think of Sovereign city-state Singapore is a nation with many titles. It is recognized as one of four Asian Tigers, along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan; all of which boast exponential economic growths annually. Singapore is also recorded as the most “liveable” city in Southeast Asia. And if you want to see the tip of the iceberg of that, nowhere else is any better than the Orchard Road.
Where is Orchard Road and how to get there?
Orchard Road is right at the heart of the city and is actually a long thoroughfare lined with high-rise buildings and shopping malls. From the airport, you can go straight to Orchard Road using the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit system or subway) that would cost you for about S$2. Taxis are aplenty in Singapore but not so nice sometimes, partially due to the “Singlish” (Singapore English) dialect of most drivers. A taxi ride, though, could cost you way much more expensive, but no need to walk to your specific destination. The taxis in Singapore are not allowed to pull over randomly to pick up passengers; each road has a designated area for the taxis to stop and the passengers to queue to get into the taxies. Public buses in Singapore are amazing, thanks to the very detailed routes, which actually cover all areas of the city. However, they are often jam-packed with passengers during rush hours. By the way, renting a car is mind-bogglingly expensive in Singapore—which is also one of the most expensive cities to own a vehicle in the world.
What to find in Orchard Road?
Orchard Road is known for three things: shopping, shopping, shopping. It’s worth repeating since you can literally shop the whole day and would not have covered even half of the retail centers on that road alone. At one corner is ION Orchard, a sleek commercial center carrying high-end brands and fine-dining restaurants, sitting opposite to Lucky Plaza and Wheelock Place. All these big shopping malls are wonderfully connected through a maze of tunnels that are safe and clean—unlike the tunnels you’d find in some European capitals.
Another thing most people do when going down to Orchard Road is a hospital visit. There is Mount Elizabeth Hospital that’s usually where Indonesians, Singaporeans and Malaysians go to when consulting on internal-organ problems. Gleneagles clinics and hospital are spread throughout the Orchard Road and vicinity, and they handle health problems related to eyes, dentals, etc. Mind you, these hospitals and clinics in Singapore are not cheap, and they are often busy with incoming patients from Singapore and beyond.
Last but not least is good food. Almost 70 percent of Singapore’s population is Chinese, and good food is therefore always a relevant topic to talk about whenever, wherever. On top of the ION Orchard is Australian celebrity chef Luka Mangan’s Salt Grill, a wonderful fine-dining restaurant that offers succulent steaks and beefy meals. For premium high teas, the first and the second floors of the ION Orchard have the TWG cafes—a fine tea brand from Singapore that now has excellent cafes selling heavy and light meals. For something lighter but of premium qualities, you can enjoy nibbles of French macaron Ladurée or Chicago Garrett Popcorn in The Nge Ann City, just next door to the ION Orchard.
The Orchard Road is also not short of cheap Chinese eateries and street foods. The Lucky Plaza is one great option to discover old Chinese favorites, especially Singaporean delicacies including Nasi Hainam (Rice with Chicken Soup). But for kebab lovers, don’t miss a kebab stall in front of the Nge Ann City that is open in the evenings. The long queue is worth it!
Where to stay in Orchard Road?
Orchard Road is flocked with both opulent and budget hotels. On the top tier of hotels, both Four Seasons Singapore and Grand Hyatt Singapore (at Scotts Road) are not just exquisite hotels to stay in, but they also have a beautiful shopping arcade/mall on their own. If you love high-end brands such as Balmain and Comme des Garҫons, the one at the Four Seasons should not be missed. St. Regis Singapore is within walking distance from Orchard Road and has great Sunday brunches. Yet, since Singapore is a city that’s wonderfully connected, there would be no problem should you decide to stay a little bit far from the Orchard Road such as in the iconic Marina Bay Sands or even at the hotels in the Resorts World Sentosa. Or else, there’s a lot of apartments for rent or budget hotels along the Orchard Road.
HOW TO BOOK: