Stretching over 2km, one can imagine that to fully soak in the quintessential Orchard Road experience takes some strategy. Let our guide show you the way.
Orchard Road is the most famous shopping street in Singapore with its array of glitzy malls boasting the latest trends and top quality restaurants. Behind its glamour and luxe though, there are bits of heritage, flora and fauna that you'll notice if you look close enough.
Many professionals and trail-blazers in the business and arts areas call Orchard home, but with so many different turns and corners, how do you best comb the street without leaving any stone unturned?
Things to do
The Istana Heritage Gallery / 35 Orchard Rd
Starting from the Southern tip of Orchard Road that's closest to Bras Basah Road, nestled opposite the Istana (Presidential Palace) is the Istana Heritage Gallery. Look forward to the array of heritage displays and gifts by foreign representatives to our nation’s Presidents and Prime Ministers. Technological devices can also help viewers better understand the gallery’s exhibits. If you are a history or culture buff, this place would definitely allure!
Creeping in closer to the heart of Orchard Road, the Emerald Hill area offers some tranquility and greenery. Nestled right across the futuristic edifice of Orchard Gateway, Emerald Hill boasts several quaint Peranakan (Straits Chinese) shophouses that bear testament to Singapore’s cultural heritage.
Formerly a fruit and nutmeg orchard, many generations of Peranakan families eventually settled in this vicinity and called these colourful shophouses home. Look out for little metal signs that showcase the stories behind some of these shophouses.
Today, these cultural icons have been refurbished into contemporary residential abodes, trendy restaurants and al fresco bars such as Que Pasa to cater to a more discerning urban audience. Surround yourself with dining, retail and lifestyle options at your fingertips when you stay at a Hmlet Emerald Hill.
Some other streets to check out in the area:
- Emerald Hill Road - Bars, restaurants nestled in shophouses
- Saunders Road - Stunning shophouse facade
- Peranakan Place - More bars and restaurants
Library@Orchard / 277 Orchard Road, Orchard Gateway
Located just a stone’s throw away from Emerald Hill, this library is worth the visit even if you're not a bookworm. Opened in 2014, this library with its sophisticated interior, evokes an appreciation for design, art and lifestyle for those acquainted with the arts and general readers alike.
Or if you're looking for a pleasant respite from the sultry afternoon heat, this library could just be the place for you to chill in comfy reading pods (endearingly known as “Cocoons”) facing full-length windows providing you with a bird’s eye view of the Somerset vicinity.
ABC Cooking Studio – Japanese Cooking Courses / 391A Orchard Road, #03-12
Keen for a hands-on exploration of Japanese cooking and Wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery)? ABC Cooking Studio located at Takashimaya is the perfect place to kickstart your culinary adventures! Established to show the significance and joy of handmade cuisine, ABC is now one of Japan’s most popular cooking schools and has arrived on Singapore shores! This studio provides beginner and intermediate lessons for Japanese meals and baking methods.
Whether you sign up for an individual spot or take your family along with you, this studio guarantees an educational and delightful experience. Plus, you can bring your culinary creations back to share with loved ones!
A Stroll During Christmas Time
While Christmas in Singapore remains humid and warm, the lights and decor makes up for it. Visit Orchard Road during the holiday season and just take in the sights and lights. If you're really leaning into the holiday mood, get yourself a cup of coffee or hot chocolate to accompany your stroll.
Things to eat
Café & Meal Muji / 290 Orchard Rd, #04-36/40 Paragon Shopping Centre
Muji, a Japanese lifestyle brand famed for household items and other sundries, launched its pioneer cafe in Singapore in 2015. If you are craving for cuisine with seasonal natural ingredients from Japan, this cafe is for you. Remember to save some stomach space for delectable desserts as well!
Some Cheap Food Haunts
If you think that Orchard Road is only about pricey restaurants that would break the bank, don’t run away just yet. Check out the following affordable food options that would whet your palates without bursting your wallet.
Singtel ComCentre Food Court / 31 Exeter Road, B1-10 Singtel Comcentre
One of the hidden affordable food gems in the Orchard area, the Singtel ComCentre Food Court is open to both Singtel staff and to the general public. Grab a complete hearty local meal, such as fishball noodles for under five bucks. Better still if you know someone working at Singtel as he or she can get your food at a staff discount.
Hua Ji Sliced Fish Soup / 304 Orchard Road, B#01-99, Lucky Plaza
Relish this hearty broth with a natural fish base for around $4. With crowds streaming in during lunch time or peak hours, be sure to arrive there earlier to “chope” a seat.
Orchard Yong Tau Fu / 5 Koek Rd, #01-09 Cuppage Plaza
If you are searching for a mouth-watering meal of Yong Tau Fu, look no further than this unassuming stall at Cuppage Plaza. Take your pick from an assortment of ingredients such as bitter gourd slices and ladies’ fingers. Prices begin at around $5 for at least 7 ingredients. Let the flavourful broth that accompanies the ingredients delight your palates!
Fish Tales / 2 Orchard Link, SCAPE* #02-27/02-18B
Think that Orchard Road has only cheap Asian food? Well, Fish Tales would prove you otherwise. You can savour a plate of delicious crispy fish and chips without burning a hole in your pocket. Besides, who can resist their dish of creamy pasta for under $10?
Far East Plaza / 14 Scotts Rd, Level 5 and 6
Halal-Chinese cuisine, Japanese, or straight up fast-food, Far East Plaza located right on the edge or Orchard Road on Scotts Road is your best bet. Also check out the food carts right outside the building if you're just looking for a snack.