Orchard Road District

Orchard Road is a road in Singapore that is the retail and entertainment hub of the city-state. It is regularly frequented by the local population as well as being a major tourist attraction. Often the surrounding area is known simply as Orchard.

The immediate vicinity of Orchard Road, 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.

During the National Day Rally Speech 2005, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that he would create more landmark buildings to create more fun in the district, partly to keep up with vibrant cities around the region.

History of Orchard Road

Orchard Road got its name from the nutmeg, pepper and fruit orchards that used to lie on either side of the street in the 1840s. Commercial development only 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 Grand Central Hotel stands. Later a Jewish cemetery was established; it was located where Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station is now situated, and 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, His Majesty Somdetch Phra Paramindr Maha Chulalongkorn, the supreme 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 present 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.


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 also contains numerous upmarket restaurants, coffee chains, cafés, nightclubs and hotels. It is also the site of the official residence of the President of Singapore, the Istana.

List of shopping malls

·         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 and Chanel as well as Japanese department store, Takashimaya. The mall is also home to Southeast Asia's second largest bookstore, Books Kinokuniya.

·         Wisma Atria — Opened in 1986, it underwent renovation recently with its trademark blue facade replaced 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.

·         DFS Galleria — This shopping mall located in Scotts Road, it mainly sells luxury item such as Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton and Bvlgari.

·         ION Orchard — ION Orchard opened on July 21, 2009 and houses six double-storey flagship stores of close to 9,000 square feet each, including Prada, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Cartier and Patek Philippe. Its signature glass façade doubles up as a giant media screen as well.

·         Plaza Singapura — Located next to the Istana, the mall opened in 1974 with a now defunct Yaohan department store. It was revamped twice, in 1998 and 2003 with the former having a totally revamped now and the latter with a new tenant mix. It houses a Golden Village cineplex, Carrefour and other shops.

·         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 with its cheap fashion items, the plaza is also known for its cheap food outlets. The mall has since undergone renovation.

·         Wheelock Place — Houses the Borders bookstore, one of the largest bookstores in the country and it also has a large Marks and Spencer outlet. Formerly known as Lane Crawford Place which housed Lane Crawford but closed during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

·         Paragon — The Paragon is a high-end shopping mall selling branded items with a Metro department store and a Marks & Spencer store as well. The place also has a Toys 'R' Us and a number of restaurants. It underwent expansion around 2002, taking over the land once occupied by The Promenade.

·         The Heeren Shops — Heeren sells items mainly for youngsters. The site was formerly a colonial building.

·         Tang Plaza — Tang Plaza is home to a homegrown department store, Tangs.

·         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.

·         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 is where the Lido 8 Cineplex is located, which has one of the largest cinema halls in the country.

·         Mandarin Gallery — Located inside Meritus Mandarin Singapore with shops such as Vertu,Montblac,Dolce and Gabanna.

·         Orchard Point — Home to local department store, OG, it used to have art galleries, but was closed when OG decided to take over.

·         Hilton Singapore — Located inside the hotel itself, the Hilton Shopping Gallery houses branded boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Bulgari, Donna Karan and Dolce & Gabbana. It also include Club21, a Singapore high-end based company that sell luxurious items like 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. Also, it housed the Isetan department store at one time.

·         Scotts Shopping Centre — Scotts Shopping Centre housed Singapore's first food court and above was the Ascott Singapore. It was torn down in June 2007 to make way for a new building.

·         Orchard Central — Singapore's first and tallest vertical mall, which replaced Specialists Shopping Centre and opened on 2 July 2009.

·         313@Somerset — Houses Singapore's largest Forever 21 and Zara retail store and a HMV which moved from The Heeren,* Mandarin Gallery. It includes international high-end brands like Y-3, Bape and Hugo Boss.

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