For as long as anyone in Singapore can remember, Orchard Road has been a one-stop shopping destination for practically anything. So if you’re craving a spot of luxury shopping and quality finds, this is the first street to visit while in town.
The origins of Orchard Road’s name is contentious. It was either named after the abundant plantation orchards that previously stretched across the area, or dubbed as tribute to the aptly-named Mr Orchard: one of the orchard owners. Those fields of palm have now given way to a glitzy district lined with malls and department stores, packed with all kinds of goods. From high-fashion brands to bargain electronics, here is Culture Trip’s guide to shopping on Orchard Road.
ION Orchard is a sprawling 66,000-square metre space filled from the underground all the way high up to the top levels (where you can gain access to catch breathtaking views at the ION Sky Observatory). Expect upscale fashion labels like Louis Vuitton and Bottega Veneta to everyday staples by H&M and Topshop. On top of this, there are luxury dining spaces and food halls, making this mall not just a popular shopping spot but an all-encompassing hub to satisfy your luxury shopping needs.
Far East Plaza is located just slightly off the main road, and it is a place which has become ubiquitous with youth culture. It was, and still is, a popular spot to hang out and be seen in the latest fashion. Since 1982, Far East Plaza has been intertwined with trendy clothes and Singapore’s diverse subcultures. Get lost inside the 600-plus stores here, packed to the brim with cool threads and charming accoutrements at affordable prices. On top of it all, there are outlets that allow you to tailor suits and even tattoo parlours. Pro tip: a lot of the stores are haphazardly organised, packed from floor to ceiling – so this is a good mall to just get yourself lost in.
One of the more quirkily-designed malls in the district, Orchard Central offers visitors an artistic experience along with their shopping. Take one famous escalator, digital art adorning the exterior and a multitude of installations peppered inside, Orchard Central goes above and beyond to blend retail with visual statements. The lower levels of the mall offer many high-street fashion labels, while the higher levels bring you to a good number of restaurants and bars.
Connected to Orchard Central is another fashion forward mall, 313@Somerset. It’s become an extremely popular mall that offers an array of big name items in streetwear, sneakers, jewellery and bags. One key reason for its popularity, especially among fashion-savvy folks, is its constant sales and deals throughout the year. So if you’re thinking of scoring a bargain, this is the spot to be at. For those looking for a bite after all that shopping, this mall is also filled with a wide variety of food options, from hipster cafes to commercial fast-food restaurants.
Ask any Singaporean what their most memorable experience of Orchard Road is and they will tell you about the Christmas decorations. Every corner inside and outside the malls boast large Christmas trees, fully draped with shiny baubles dangling in every nook and cranny of their foliage. The whole stretch of Orchard Road dazzles like a, well, Christmas tree, evoking strong Christmas spirit in this tropical island – though you might miss the snow.
For bargain hunters looking for a steal, June until August is the perfect time of the year to start shopping. This is due in part to the Great Singapore Sale (GSS), which has almost every store participating and customers scurrying to fill their trolleys.