Singapore/Orchard

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Ion Orchard

Orchard Road is the main shopping street of Singapore. North of the Singapore River, to the west of the Central Business District, Orchard Road turns into Bras Basah Road as it heads east.

Contents

Understand

Orchard Road is named after the nutmeg orchards that used to line it in the 1830s, one of them coincidentally belonging to a Mr Orchard. Large trees still shade the road, providing a modicum of relief from the heat. Fortunately, Orchard Road has an extensive network of underpasses that connect many of the malls providing even more shelter from the blistering equatorial heat and, on occasion, rain. Weekends in the area are often packed with locals and visitors alike out to consume en masse. Only at the eastern Bras Basah end do the shopping malls peter out, with some fine colonial architecture and a few of Singapore's top museums to be found instead.

The Christmas decorations along Orchard are mildly famous and entirely over the top, with reindeers cavorting through palm trees and gingerbread houses topped with fake snow.

Get in

The MRT stations of Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut and City Hall on the North-South Line follow the alignment of Orchard Rd. Change to the North-East Line at Dhoby Ghaut or the East-West Line at City Hall.

Get around

Map of Bras Basah and eastern Orchard

Orchard Rd is walkable, at least allowing plenty of breaks in air-conditioned shopping centers. You can no longer cross the central Orchard/Scotts intersection on foot: instead, take the air-conditioned underground walkway system that links Orchard MRT/Ion Orchard to Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City and Lucky Plaza (east), to CK Tang/Marriott (north), and to Shaw House and Wheelock Place (west).

See

Three of Singapore's top museums are in Bras Basah, within striking distance of Dhoby Ghaut and Bras Basah MRT stations.

There are few tourist attractions as such on Orchard Road itself, the thing to do here is shop, shop and shop! However, there are a few galleries of interest for photographers.

Do

It's difficult to find anything more strenuous to do on Orchard than lugging around shopping bags, getting pampered at a spa and watching a movie.

Buy

Map of Orchard Road

Orchard Road and neighboring Scotts Road form Singapore's premier shopping district, with several kilometers of road lined on both sides by practically nothing but shopping malls. The latest round of frantic upgrading in 2008-2010 has seen half a dozen new malls open up and most of the rest renovate in an attempt to catch up.

Orchard Road also participates in the annual Great Singapore Sale[1] that is organized by the Singapore Tourism Board[2]. During this period, street events and late night shopping (till 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays) are held at selected malls, and tourists are entitled to additional privileges. The Great Singapore Sale 2011 is from 27 May to 24 July 2011.


Malls

The fearsome bulk of Ngee Ann City

While most malls in Orchard are distinctly upmarket, there are one or two that still cater to the average Singaporean wallets. A selection of malls, from west (Orchard MRT) to east (Dhoby Ghaut MRT):

Eat

Orchard is a good place to sample not just Singaporean food, but food from all over the planet. That said, if you're pinching pennies, prices tend to be slightly inflated by Singaporean standards, but well, at least it's not as bad as Sentosa.

Budget

Almost every shopping mall has its own food court, but for gourmet snacking, it's hard to beat the collection of shops and stands at Takashimaya's basement. Be careful though, those $2 squid balls won't fill you up.

Mid-range

Splurge

Orchard Road is brimming with fiercely competitive restaurants. One easy option is Crystal Jade [3], a popular chain of Chinese restaurants with outlets in nearly every major shopping mall in Singapore, including Suntec City, Shaw House and Paragon.

Drink

Singapore's nightlife is concentrated just south of Orchard Rd by the riverside, but there are still a few notable nightspots. The largest cluster is Emerald Hill [4] opposite Somerset MRT, a beautifully restored cluster of shophouse-cum-bars.

A few places of interest lurk elsewhere along the strip.

Sleep

Accommodation on Orchard Rd incurs a hefty premium for the location and is uniformly expensive (at least by Singapore standards). Cheaper rates are usually offered only by older hotels in varying states of decay.

Budget

Mid-range

Located on the fringe of the main Orchard Road stretch and minutes away from the Central Business District by car. Getting around is easy with access to a network of buses and the MRT train system within walking distance. Leisure travellers will enjoy the proximity to shopping clusters at City Hall and Dhoby Ghaut while culture bugs will enjoy the Singapore Art Museum and bustling Little India down just the street.


Splurge

If you want to splurge, there are two major styles to choose from: colonial hotels, harking back to the turn of the century, and modern hotels, firmly in the present.

Contact

There are internet cafes on almost every floor of Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road that charge only S$2/hour.

Other locations include Capitol Building at the corner of North Bridge Rd and Stamford Rd.

WikiPedia:Orchard Road

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