No vacation in Singapore is complete without a mega-trip to Orchard Road. Why? Because shopping is a national obsession for Singaporeans. They do retail-therapy REALLY well and an afternoon or three enjoying the delights of this shopper’s paradise will show you why.
If you love to shop, you’ll bliss-out at the high-end designers, high-street favourites, and chichi local boutiques.
But what if you hate shopping? No problem! Drop your shopaholic friends off at the mall and take the opportunity for some R&R, delicious food or some great entertainment. Or plonk yourself in a cafe to marvel at the shiny splendour of it all and indulge in a spot of people-watching.
Finally, don’t miss out on visiting at least one of the best restaurants in Singapore.
Overwhelmed by choice in the 2.5 miles of glass and chrome retail craziness? Read on!
We’ll share our top tips on where to shop, the best restaurants, how to relax, and our favourite hotels, just in case your shopping trip turns into an indulgent over-nighter.
How to get to Orchard Road
Orchard Road is well served by the MRT, with three stations: Orchard Road, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut. The best plan is to land in Orchard Road station and go from there.
Many malls have air-conditioned underground walkways so you can escape the famous Singaporean humidity.
If you do find yourself outside on the street make sure you pick up an ice-cream from a Singaporean Ice-cream Uncle. Super cheap, really cold and extremely good.
Shopping in Orchard Road
The main attraction in Orchard Road is most definitely the shops. Stock your wallet and wear comfortable shoes. This is a marathon rather than a sprint.
If you only visit one shopping mall in Singapore, let it be ION Orchard. You’ll love the range of stores from high-end designers to mid-range high-street favourites all nestling in a shiny impressive new building. One trip here and you’ll soon see shy shopping in Singapore is a national sport!
If you work up an appetite with all that shopping there are a range of excellent bars and restaurants to choose from, not forgetting the food court which offers a range of affordable options including local and international dishes.
ION Orchard is extremely well connected, Orchard MRT is in the basement, there is a taxi rank and if you are inspired by all that retail therapy and ready for more, ION is at the centre of walkways that lead to Wisma Atria, Shaw House, Wheelock Place, Ngee Ann City, and Tangs. A fabulously Singaporean shopping experience!
ION Orchard. 2, Orchard Turn. 238801. Open 10 am – 10 pm
Ngee Ann City
My favourite shopping mall is without a doubt the elegant Ngee Ann City which is home to the beautiful Japanese department store, Takashimaya and the biggest and best book-store in Singapore, Kinokuniya.
There are also a collection of high-end designer boutiques and some great sports shops.
Ngee Ann City is home to a range of great restaurants including the wonderful TWG tearoom where you can enjoy a pot of carefully selected tea while overlooking the masses shopping on Orchard Road down below. An elegant choice.
Ngee Ann City. 391, Orchard Rd. 238873. 10 am – 9.30 pm. (Restaurants open until 11 pm.)
Paragon Shopping Centre
If you’re looking for a high-end shopping experience a visit to the luxurious Paragon Shopping Centre is a must. This award-winning building houses six floors of designer stores, restaurants, fashion boutiques and high-end kids stores. This is the place for a glamorous shopping trip.
Paragon Shopping Centre. 290, Orchard Rd. 238859. 10 am – 10 pm.
Plaza Singapura is great if you’re looking for art supplies as there is an Art Friend and a Spotlight, and for anything to do with music there is a large Yamaha store. In addition, there is a range of high-street shops, a large Cold Storage supermarket and plenty of places to eat.
If the shopping becomes too much, you can relax at the Golden Village Cinema on the top floor.
Plaza Singapura. 68, Orchard Rd. 238839. 10 am – 10 pm.
Orchard Central offers a different sort of retail experience. This is a quieter mall and in addition to western brands also has a good range of local lifestyle stores.
If you’ve had enough of shopping by now, why not take a stroll along the art trail with pieces selected by the National Arts Council of Singapore, or relax in the Mediterranean food hall, Medzs. And if you really feel like a break, take some time out to sip a cocktail and enjoy the view from the beautiful roof garden.
Orchard Central. 181, Orchard Rd. 238896. 11 am – 10 pm.
313@Somerset – Conveniently located at Somerset MRT, 313 has a range of high-street stores and a number of restaurants. Its probably best known for the great food hall on the top floor with stunning views of Orchard Road.
Tanglin Mall – This small shopping centre is loved by expats as it has a range of western fashion stores, a great food hall and a number of boutique home stores too.
Mandarin Gallery – The Mandarin Gallery is home to a very high-end collection of international fashion, jewelry and beauty brands.
Far East Plaza – If you’re looking for a few bargains, Far East Plaza is the place for you. Here you’ll find small fashion stores, shoe shops, and tailors. It’s also a great place to get an affordable mani/pedi.
Restaurants in Singapore: Time for lunch
But shopping in Singapore is not the only national pastime, they are also partial to a good restaurant too. If you’re looking for a rejuvenating lunch but don’t feel like one of the food halls, why not try out one of Orchard Road’s excellent cafes?
- Enjoy great coffee, excellent breakfasts and a tasty sandwich at The Providore, Mandarin Gallery.
- Relax after a hard morning shopping at Mon Bijou at Claymore Connect. They have set lunch and dinner menus, lunch snacks, and their all-day breakfast is definitely a winner.
- The Japanese know a thing or two about coffee and dessert, as you’ll see if you visit Hoshino Coffee at Plaza Singapura. It gets busy at lunch time, though, so make sure you book.
- Another Mandarin Gallery favourite is Jones the Grocer. Known for its delicious breakfasts and quality coffee, its spacious interior is also a great place to catch up with friends.
You might also want to check out our guide to the best lunch-date venues in Singapore.
The best of the rest of the things to do in Orchard Road
Once you’ve shopped like a Singaporean and lunched like a King (or Queen) it must be time for some well earned R&R.
Orchard Road is not only one of the most popular attractions in Singapore because of the shopping. It’s also what of the most popular places to visit in Singapore because it is the premier entertainment centre, so there are plenty of things to do.
But if you really need to relax and get rid of those retail-induced aches and pains, treat yourself to a massage at one of Orchard Roads fabulous spas.
Natureland Spa is a firm favourite and offers a fantastic 5 in 1 massage treatment. Alternatively, treat your aching feet to a fabulous reflexology session.
For a reflexology specialist you can’t go wrong with My Foot Reflexology at Centrepoint. Be sure to opt for a combined treatments as their massages excellent too.
If you’re looking for something a bit more energetic, why not indulge in some vocal gymnastics at K Box, the Karaoke venue at Cathay Cineleisure. Or for a really fun afternoon, tax your detective skills by trying out the escape rooms at Roomraider in Orchard Central.
Restaurants in Singapore for a special evening
The perfect day in Orchard Road isn’t just about shopping, lunches, and relaxation.
As evening approaches dump your bags and dress up. Some of the best restaurants in Singapore are close by. Here’s a pick of our favourites to round off your day perfectly!
Alma by Juan Amadour at Goodwood Park Hotel
Undoubtedly a classy choice, Alma has a Michelin star and the delicate Asian influenced European cuisine is no-doubt an award-winning combination.
For a restaurant with such a reputation you might expect the staff to be a bit stuffy but they are very welcoming and the atmosphere is relaxed. Set in the historic Goodwood Park Hotel, you’re sure to enjoy the quietly elegant ambiance. A very special experience.
Alma. 22 Scotts Rd, 228221. Tel : 6735 9937.
If its Michelin stars you’re looking for, Les Amis has two of them, and one trip to this beautiful French restaurant will show you why. Its certainly not an inexpensive option, but the quality of this delicate food and the care and attention of the staff are second to none. Definitely a great choice for a special occasion.
Les Amis. 1 Scotts Road, #01-16 Shaw Centre, 228208. Tel : 6733 2225.
Jiang-Nan Chun at the Four Seasons Hotel
You might be thinking you didn’t come all the way to Asia to eat European food, in which case why not try Chinese food at its best at the stylish Jiang-Nan Chun. It’s probably most famous for its excellent dim sum, which are sold by the piece and cooked to order, the Duck and the seafood are very good too.
Jiang-Nan at the Four Seasons Hotel. 190 Orchard Boulevard, 248646. Tel : 6734 1110
Min Jiang at One-North
For Chinese food in a more intimate setting, try the elegant Min Jiang at One-North. With only 15 tables, and set in the leafy surroundings of Rochester Park, Min Jiang is perfect for a cozy dinner.
You’ll be delighted by the warm, friendly staff, and the historic building, but it’s the quality of the food that you will really remember. Min Jiang is best-known for its excellent seafood, but with such an extensive menu you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice.
Min Jiang at One-North. 5 Rochester Dr, 139216. Tel : 6774 0122
Hotels in Orchard Road: A great place to stay
Orchard Road is also a great place to stay. Some of the best hotels in Singapore are in the area, the central location makes it a convenient choice for Orchard Road and there are easy connections for exploring the rest of Singapore. These are a few of our favourite hotels in the area.
Holiday Inn is a great choice with an excellent location, right in the heart of Orchard Road. All the malls and restaurants are within walking distance. The hotel is particularly renowned for its helpful staff and spacious rooms.
The Four Seasons is a slightly pricier option, but with such a fabulous reputation for providing exceptional service and facilities, you’ll soon see why. There are two swimming pools and a well-equipped gym. The bars and restaurants are excellent. The hotel also accommodates pets. A strong choice.
The Quincy Hotel on Mount Elizabeth is 10 minutes walk from Orchard Road and as a result, is more peaceful. This is a modern boutique hotel with great facilities renowned for personal service.
The Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza is definitely not an inexpensive option, but the service is exceptional, the facilities luxurious and the food is outstanding. Be sure to make time for some high tea.
A Shangri-la is always a pleasure, offering great service, good food and a lovely pool in a peaceful location. Orchard Road is either a 10-minute walk or short shuttle bus journey away.
The Goodwood Park Hotel is a firm favourite for the beautiful colonial building, the helpful staff, and great location. The pool facility is lovely too making this is a great choice for families.
A final word…
Its hard to believe that the first shops only started to emerge in Orchard Road around a hundred years ago. Apart from the name, there’s not much left of the fruit orchards and nutmeg plantations that used to dominate this area.
In place of all those fruit trees, you now find a world-class retail and entertainment experience. Grab your wallet and let’s get going!