As Singapore’s glitziest shopping district, Orchard is the nickname given to the elegant 2.2-kilometre-long boulevard that runs through the heart of the city. Officially known as Orchard Road, the thoroughfare is lined with luxury boutiques, pedestrian shopping malls, high-end hotels and of course, the iconic leafy Angsana trees that shade shoppers from the Singaporean sunshine.
As far as malls go, Orchard Central steals the limelight. Its exterior features a digital membrane designed by local artist Matthew Ngui, while inside visitors will find a myriad of public art installations. In addition to designer threads, Orchard is a fantastic place to experience Singapore’s epicurean side. It’s home to a handful of gourmet supermarkets, as well as artisan bakeries, trendy coffee shops, upmarket food courts and more.
Three major MRT stations service the Orchard district, Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut. Several public bus routes stop along the designated bus lane, with major hotels and shopping centres housing taxi stands. Orchard is a nine-minute drive from downtown or 20-minutes from Changi Airport.
While today Orchard Road is the pinnacle of Singapore’s retail scene, it wasn’t always so glamorous. It’s been in place since the 1830s when the road was lined with gambier, pepper and nutmeg plantations, as well as tropical fruit groves. The first store made an appearance in the 1950s, with major brands like Esprit, Zara and Abercrombie & Fitch coveting Orchard retail space ever since.