Sights of Orchard Road

12/21/2010 Matt Siow 2 Comments

Singapore is well regarded around the world as a shopping paradise. It has the ever-famed Orchard Road that has seen great transformation with enhancement done on its streetscape and the opening of new malls. At these modern shopping temples, you can browse and buy many brands and labels under one roof, and refuel at a huge selection of restaurants and cafes, making it truly "A Great Street".

This year's light-up theme is "A Starlit Christmas", and the road will be lined with star-shaped decorations. Now in its 27th year (my 1st year), Orchard's annual Christmas light-up promises to be bigger and better than before.

Orchard Road received its name from the orchards that used to encompass the area until the early 19th century, when a mysterious disease wiped out the nutmeg plantations. Since this area was surrounded by valleys, floods were also common here.

Lists of malls:

DFS Galleria — This shopping mall located in Scotts Road, it mainly sells luxury item such as Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Hermès, Loewe 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 (840 m2) 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.

Frontview of ION Orchard.

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 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. 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 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.

From left: A lighted Christmas tree, Mandarin Gallery and section of Orchard Road.

Mandarin Gallery — Located inside Meritus Mandarin Singapore housing international high-end brands like Y-3, Bape and Hugo Boss.

The Paragon — The Paragon is a high-end shopping mall selling branded items such as brand like Gucci which open flapship store here and Miu Miu, Prada, Coach and Burberry 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 another shopping centre The Promenade. The Promenade was built on the former location of Fitzpatrick's supermarket.

How to go there:
The whole stretch of Orchard Road is served by three different MRT stations - Doby Ghaut Exchange (CC1/NE6/NS24), Orchard (NS22), and Somerset (NS23).

Christmas Light-up
Every Christmas season, Orchard Road and Marina Bay are lit up with stunning electric light displays that blaze through Singapore's prime shopping and entertainment districts. This, combined with the late mall hours put in place during Christmas season, make nighttime shopping in Singapore way more fun.

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