Orchard Road

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For the Leo Sayer song, see Orchard Road (song).
Orchard Road
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese
 • Pinyin Wūjíe-lù
 • Malay Jalan Kebun (or Jalan Orkid)
 • Tamil ஓர்ச்சர்ட் சாலை
New Orchard Road Flower Zone.jpg
Orchard Road is located in Singapore
Orchard Road
Orchard Road
Location of Orchard Road within Singapore
Coordinates: 1°18′18.3″N 103°49′54.87″E / 1.305083°N 103.8319083°E / 1.305083; 103.8319083Coordinates: 1°18′18.3″N 103°49′54.87″E / 1.305083°N 103.8319083°E / 1.305083; 103.8319083
Country Singapore
Orchard Road is lit up elaborately near the end of every year for the Christmas season.

Orchard Road is a 2.2 kilometre-long boulevard that is the retail and entertainment hub of Singapore. It is a huge tourist attraction, in addition to being the most popular shopping enclave in the city-state. Often, the surrounding area is known simply as Orchard,[1] partly because the MRT station that serves the vicinity is named Orchard MRT.

The Orchard Planning Area is one of 55 urban planning areas as specified by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and is a commercial district. It is part of the Central Region and Singapore's central business district, the Central Area.

Orchard Road underwent a $40 million revamp in 2009, with the addition of new street lamps, planter boxes, urban green rooms, street tiling and flower totem poles, which have since been removed.[clarification needed]

Geography[edit]

After a more than a century as a two-way thoroughfare, Orchard Road became a one-way street in 1974.[2] The ever-lively street starts at the junction with Orange Grove Road which is the location of the Orchard Hotel. It then stretches southeast across the Scotts Road/Paterson Hill junction, Orchard MRT Station, Bideford Road, Somerset MRT Station, Central Expressway, Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station, and ends at the junction with Handy Road (just before Prinsep Street), where it becomes Bras Basah Road. It has an extensive underground infrastructure, including underground pedestrian walkways between the malls running underneath the street and other streets in the vicinity. The numbers begin at Handy Road and end at Orange Grove Road.

History[edit]

Orchard Road, c. 1900
Orchard Road was named for the orchards or plantations that the road formerly led to.

Orchard Road got its name from the nutmeg, pepper and fruit orchards or the plantations that the road led to in the mid-1800s. Commercial development began in the twentieth century and took off in the 1970s.

Orchard Road was already cut in the 1830s, though the new road was not named in George Coleman's 1836 Map of Singapore. In the 1830s the Orchard Road area was the scene of gambier and pepper plantations. Later, nutmeg plantations and fruit orchards predominated, hence its name.

By 1846, the spread of houses had reached up to Tank Road. There were none on the left side and only three or four houses went past Tank Road on the right side of Orchard Road.

One major sight during this period was a Dr Jun tending his garden, which helped endorse the road's name. He had a garden and plantation at the corner of what is now Scotts Road and Orchard Road.

Towards the later part of the 1840s, graveyards began to appear along the road. By 1846, the Chinese had a large graveyard around what is now the Meritus Mandarin Hotel and Ngee Ann City, while the Sumatrans from Bencoolen had their burial ground where the current Hotel Grand Central stands. Later a Jewish cemetery was established; it was located where Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station is now and was demolished in 1984.

In the 1860s, Orchard Road had a great number of private houses and bungalows on hills looking down through the valley where the road passed through. Early in the 1890s, King Chulalongkorn, the then King of Siam, acquired "Hurricane House" in the vicinity of Orchard Road through Tan Kim Ching, the Thai Consul in Singapore. Two further pieces of adjoining property were added later and these subsequently became the site of the Royal Thai Embassy at 370 Orchard Road.

In the early 20th century, it was noted that Orchard Road "present[ed] the appearance of a well-shaded avenue to English mansion[s]," comparable in its "quiet but effective beauty to Devonshire lanes." The Chinese called the area tang leng pa sat koi or "Tanglin market street." The Tamils refer to the road as vaira kimadam or "fakir's place", and muttu than (high ground), a reference to the hilly nature of the area.

Flash floods occurred at the road's iconic junction with Scotts Road on 16 June 2010 after 100mm of rain fell from 8 am to 11 am, reportedly the worst flood at the junction since 1984. Shopping malls along Orchard Road like Lucky Plaza and Liat Towers were affected. The flood had caused some shopping mall and car park basements to be submerged. Rescuers had to pull out about 70 passengers from cars and buses, as flooding shut down Orchard Road. Some people sustained injuries.[3]

Notable past and present landmarks[edit]

The junction of Orchard Road and Scotts Road
Plaza Singapura is a major shopping centre in Orchard

The Istana is at Orchard Road's southern end. Nibong palms survive near its entrance, with a plaque that reads, "As the nibong is a mangrove palm, this site must have once been a mangrove swamp." This information leads many to believe Orchard Road was once a muddy swamp and these palms are remnants of that original habitat.

On the northern side of Orchard Road is the Botanic Gardens. Along Scotts Road is Goodwood Park Hotel, a fine example of colonial architecture and a monument. At the junction of Scotts Road and Orchard Road is TANGS, the first upmarket department store in Singapore.

About halfway down Orchard Road are Cairnhill and Emerald Hill, where the rich Chinese built their residences, now prime properties sought after by affluent professionals and expatriates. Next to Emerald Hill is Centrepoint, which houses the supermarket Cold Storage, possibly the oldest surviving business establishment in the area. Other establishments have not been so fortunate. Amber Mansions, one of the earliest apartment blocks in Singapore, built around the turn of the 20th century, was torn down in the 1980s to make way for the Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station.

Occupying the site of the former Pavilion Cinema, Specialists' Shopping Centre was one of the earliest redevelopment projects on Orchard Road. The shopping centre has since been demolished (2007) to make way for a new development, Orchard Central. Its flagship store was John Little, which has been in Singapore since the mid-19th century, when it opened its first outlet in Commercial Square (now Raffles Place).

Elsewhere just off Orchard Road on Scotts Road, Scotts Shopping Centre housed Singapore's first food court, which sat below the Ascott Singapore. It was torn down in June 2007 to make way for a new building.

Shopping[edit]

The first shop of note on Orchard Road was Tangs founded in 1934 and established on Orchard Road in the 1950s.

Orchard Road is flanked by pedestrian malls. Orchard Road contains numerous upmarket restaurants, coffee chains, cafés, nightclubs and hotels. It is the site of the official residence and office of the President of Singapore, the Istana.

Tanglin Mall is located at the junction of Tanglin Road and Grange Road. Its customer base is made up of expatriates, yuppies and professionals. Anchor tenants include Tanglin Market Place, a gourmet supermarket and bakery, and Tasty Food Court where up to 15 varieties of local cuisine can be found.

Orchard Central distinguishes itself from other malls on Orchard Road with architectural and design forms. Fronted by an exterior featuring local artist Matthew Ngui's digital art membrane, the mall offers cluster concept shopping by grouping complementary offerings for shoppers. The mall houses the world's tallest indoor Via Ferrata climbing wall, a large collection of public art installations by international artists and a 24/7-operational Roof Garden and Discovery Walk. The Roof Garden offers dining options on an open-air veranda.

313@somerset is directly linked to the Somerset MRT station and features a concentration of mid-range retail and dining outlets. Retail options are made of a mix of local and global fashion labels including Zara, Uniqlo, New Look, Esprit and a Forever 21 flagship store that spans four floors.

Visitors in Singapore (from 27 May to 24 July 2011) qualified for Great Singapore Sale tourist privileges and discounts at malls along Orchard Road. During this period, a number of malls extend their opening hours till 11pm.[4]

American fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch opened a flagship store on Orchard Road on 15 December 2011. The store was marked by controversy over an ad during its construction phase.[5]

List of shopping centres[edit]

Ngee Ann City is the largest shopping mall along Orchard Road.
  • Ngee Ann City – The mall opened in 1993 and is the largest shopping mall in the Orchard Road shopping belt. It houses branded boutiques such as Vacheron Constantin, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Burberry, Loewe and Chanel as well as Japanese department store, Takashimaya. The mall is home to Southeast Asia's second largest bookstore, Books Kinokuniya.
  • Wisma Atria – Opened in 1986, it has since undergone construction replacing its trademark blue facade with a glass facade. There is a 900 seat food court on the 4th floor which is run by the BreadTalk Group. The mall is directly connected to Orchard station. It stands on the former site of Wisma Indonesia which used to house the Indonesian embassy.
  • Plaza Singapura – Located next to the Istana, the mall opened in 1974 with a now defunct Yaohan department store. It was revamped thrice, in 1998, 2003 and 2012 with the former being a total revamp, and the latter a new mix of tenants. It currently houses a Golden Village cineplex, and many shops. A Carrefour branch used to be located here until Carrefour pulled out from Singapore.
  • Lucky Plaza – A shopping mall that somehow became the main focal point for domestic Filipino workers to meet their friends during their off days. The place is known to be very crowded on Sundays with many shops selling products from the Philippines.
  • Far East Plaza – Far East Plaza opened in 1982 with a Metro which has since closed down. Popular with students due to its cheap fashion items as well as inexpensive food, the plaza is also known for its cheap food outlets. The mall has since undergone renovation.
The Paragon is a high-end shopping mall along the Orchard Road strip.
  • Mandarin Gallery – Located inside Meritus Mandarin Singapore housing international high-end brands like Y-3, Bape and Hugo Boss.
  • Orchard Central – Singapore's first and tallest vertical mall, which replaced Specialists Shopping Centre and opened on 2 July 2009.
  • Orchard Point – Before being home to local department store, OG, the mall used to have art galleries. In 2007, John Little, a clothing store which is part of the Robinsons Group, moved in and took over.
  • Orchard Towers – A shopping mall consisting of twin blocks with small shops and night clubs as well as a reputation for promiscuous activity after-hours.
  • The Paragon – The Paragon is a high-end shopping mall selling branded items such as Gucci (whose flapship store operates here), as well as Miu Miu, Prada, Coach, and Burberry with a Metro department store and a Marks & Spencer store as well. The place has a Toys 'R' Us and a number of restaurants. It underwent expansion around 2002, taking over the land once occupied by another shopping centre, The Promenade. The Promenade was built on the former location of Fitzpatrick's supermarket.
  • Tang Plaza – Tang Plaza is where the homegrown department store, Tangs, is located.
  • The Centrepoint – The mall opened in 1983 and has Robinsons and Marks and Spencer as its anchor tenants. It underwent renovation and built a new extension in 2007.
  • The Heeren Shops – 'Heeren' means 'Gentleman' in Dutch,[6] and as such, this mall targets fashionable, young, working age shoppers. It is also popular amongst teenagers, and has a variety of niche shops. It is currently home to one of two T.G.I. Friday's on the island. The site was formerly a colonial building, and is currently largely under renovation. It will be placed by Robinsons which might be demolished to make way for Thomson MRT Line station. Heeren is undergoing renovation until mid 2013.[7]
  • Forum The Shopping Mall – Forum sells mainly branded children's clothes and accessories with a Toys "R" Us on the third floor. It also has a number of branded boutiques such as Emporio Armani and Dolce and Gabbana.
  • Shaw House and Centre – Shaw House is home to the Isetan department store, and on the fifth and sixth floors the one of the largest cinema halls in Singapore, Lido 8 Cineplex, resides. This mall is also home to a number of shops such as Fendi, Loewe and Celine.
  • Hilton Singapore – Located inside the hotel itself, the Hilton Shopping Gallery houses branded boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Bulgari, Lanvin, Donna Karan, Balenciaga and Dolce & Gabbana. It also includes Club21, a high-end Singapore based company that sell luxury items such as Mulberry, Comme des Garçons and Dries van Noten.
  • Palais Renaissance – Palais Renaissance was completed in 1993 and mainly houses upmarket branded boutiques such brand like Donna Karen and Valentino.
  • Liat Towers – International names such as Audemars Piguet, Massimo Dutti, Hermès and Zara are housed in the building. The building once housed Planet Hollywood and Singapore's first McDonald's. At one point in time it also housed the Isetan department store.
  • 313@Somerset —313@somerset is one of the first major fully integrated retail developments undertaken by Lend Lease in Asia. It is a significant milestone for the Lend Lease Group as it marks its first green field development in Asia and its first development in Singapore's premier shopping street – Orchard Road. Houses Singapore's largest Forever 21 and Zara retail store and a HMV which moved from The Heeren.There are also a food court, "Food Republic" situated on the 5th Floor of 313@Somerset.
  • Wheelock Place – Used to house the Borders bookstore, one of the largest bookstores in the country until its closure in August 2011.[8] It has a large Marks and Spencer outlet in the basement, as well as several other retailers, cafes and restaurants on other floors. It was formerly known as "Lane Crawford Place" which housed Lane Crawford until it closed during the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Christmas light-up[edit]

Each Christmas, Orchard Road is decorated with Christmas lights. The following celebrities had switched on their lights:

  • 2003 – Nanyang Girls' High School (11 November 2003 to 2 January 2004)
  • 2004 – Toshiba Corporation (11 November 2004 to 2 January 2005)
  • 2005 – Bedok View Secondary School (13 November 2005 to 4 January 2006)
  • 2006 – Vivek Ganesh (12 November 2006 to 5 January 2007)
  • 2007 – Angeline Wong, Kimberlee Lim (11 November 2007 to 6 January 2008)
  • 2008 – Saw Yan Naung, Suttikit Ittipalanukul (10 November 2008 to 7 January 2009)
  • 2009 – Yseult Yeo, Neo Meusia (4 November 2009 to 4 January 2010)
  • 2010 – 4 Raffles Girls' School students (11 November 2010 to 5 January 2011)
  • 2011 – Deborah MegaGeek (13 November 2011 – 4 January 2012)
  • 2012 – Leng Yuk, Gwendolyn Ng, Claudia Sim, Jingwen Zhang (10 November 2012 – 6 January 2013)
  • 2013 – Charmaine Tang, Samantha Lovell Tan, and 2 School of Science and Technology students (20 November 2013 – 5 January 2014)

Hotels[edit]

Orchard Hotel Singapore
  • Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre – renamed from Holiday Inn Park View Singapore
  • Goodwood Park Hotel Singapore
  • York Hotel Singapore
  • Elizabeth Hotel Singapore
  • Royal Plaza on Scotts Singapore
  • Grand Hyatt Singapore – rebranded from Hyatt Regency Singapore
  • Singapore Marriott Hotel – formerly Dynasty Hotel Singapore
  • Mandarin Orchard Singapore – rebranded from Meritus Mandarin, prior to that Mandarin Singapore
  • Grand Park Orchard Singapore – rebranded from Park Hotel Orchard, formerly Crown Prince Hotel
  • Concorde Hotel Singapore – formerly Le Meridien Singapore
  • Four Seasons Hotel Singapore
  • The Regent Singapore
  • Hilton Singapore
  • Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
  • Traders Hotel Singapore
  • Orchard Parade Hotel Singapore
  • Orchard Hotel Singapore – managed by Millennium & Copthorne
  • St. Regis Singapore
  • Quincy Hotel Singapore – managed by Far East Hotels

Former notable hotels[edit]

Hostels[edit]

  • Habitat Hostels Singapore
  • Blanc Inn

Transport[edit]

Public transport[edit]

Mass rapid transit[edit]

There are three major MRT stations in the Orchard Road vicinity. They are Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut. These stations are important hubs for commuters, locals, students and tourists who travel to the Orchard Road shopping and business district. Since the opening of the ION Orchard, the entrance of the Orchard entrance has been moved underground below the upcoming mall.

Buses[edit]

There are many bus services provided by SBS Transit [1] and SMRT [2] that go to Orchard Road. The major bus stops along Orchard Road are situated at:

Taxi[edit]

Visitors can travel to Orchard Road via taxi. There are taxi stands at Forum The Shopping Mall, all hotels, Lucky Plaza, Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City, The Paragon, The Heeren Shops, Centrepoint Shopping Centre and Plaza Singapura.

Vehicular access[edit]

Those driving into Orchard Road may enter from the west via Napier Road. Vehicles from Dunearn Road that travel via Scotts Road can turn left into Orchard Road at the Marriott Hotel junction. Vehicles coming from the opposite direction on Paterson Road can enter Orchard Road by turning right. There are a number of other roads leading into Orchard Road. Orchard Road is one-way heading south and leads into Bras Basah Road which is a one-way street heading south. Some people have been in "full-day restricted lane", that means some drivers have opted to switch to public transport due to a busy road.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]