History & Origins
Orchard is known as the heart of Singapore's retail sector. Lining its central road, Orchard Road, are rows of discount outlets, upscale boutiques, department stores and luxury hotels. Orchard Road is named after the numerous nutmeg, pepper and spice plantations that covered the area from 1830s to 1960s. Orchard Road is actually one of Singapore's lower lying areas, with frequent flooding occurring as early as the 1840s, continuing till 1960s when the area received its drainage system makeover. In 2010, a freak flash flood (affectionately known as 'ponding') resulted in authorities further raising the road by an additional 300mm to prevent further flash floods from occurring.
Orchard has no public housing blocks at all. Instead, all the residents of this area live in private housing, mostly on smaller side roads off Orchard Road. The price per square foot in Orchard is also one of the highest in the country.
Transportation & Connectivity
Orchard is served by 4 current MRT stations, Orchard (NS22), Somerset (NS23), Newton (NS21/DT11) and Dhoby Ghaut (NS24/NE6/CC1). There is also one future MRT station planned for the area - Orchard Boulevard (TE13). Major roads through the area are Scotts Road, Grange Road, Stevens Road and Somerset Road. Numerous bus routes also service the residents in Orchard, these include 5, 14, 16, 54, 65, 105, 123, 124, 128, 132, 143, 162, 167, 171, 175, 190, 700, 971E, 972, NR1, NR2, NR3, NR5 & NR6.
Orchard is home to 3 schools - Raffles Girls’ School (RGS), a leading girls' school providing a holistic education via its 6-year Raffles Programme; 2 International Schools - International School Singapore (ISS) Elementary School / Middle School and EtonHouse International. This prestigious district also houses AXA University (Asia Pacific Campus), the first regional training hub in the Japan Asia-Pacific region AXA’s Japan and Asia-Pacific employees and agents.
Residents of Orchard live and play in the heart of Singapore retail. Prominent malls in the area include ION Orchard, 313@Somerset, orchardgateway, Paragon, Wheelock Place, Orchard Central, Forum The Shopping Mall, Paragon Shopping Centre, Orchard Shopping Center, Mandarin Gallery,Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Tanglin Shopping Centre, Wisma Atria, Centrepoint, Tanglin Mall, Tanglin Place, Tudor Shopping Gallery, Delfi Orchard, Orchard Towers, Cineleisure Orchard, Shaw House, Shaw Tower, Scotts Square, Tang Plaza, T Galleria, Lucky Plaza, Far East Shopping Centre and Far East Plaza. The most iconic of these is currently ION Orchard with retail and food options spread over 4 basement levels and 5 overground floors.
If shopping in the countless malls isn’t enough, residents in Orchard can also choose to explore Emerald Hill, an enclave of colourful Chinese baroque houses and casual pubs with something for everyone. A popular bar is the Alley Bar, which interestingly is built vertically instead of horizontally. Residents can also enjoy some me-time at Cuppage Terrace, which boasts more than its fair share of al fresco bars and eateries.
URA Master Plan
As part of URA's plans for Orchard, a green urban corridor will be developed to include more green spaces and new flowering plants, which will not only remind visitors of the region's origin, but also add color and vibrancy to the area. There are also plans to transform Orchard from a retail destination to a lifestyle destination, with differentiated experiences being offered to every visitor. This will mean development of innovative retail concepts, attractions and other entertainment options will progressively be introduced to encourage people to rediscover the essence of Orchard Road and its lesser known parts.
Did You know?
- Present day Paragon used to be known as Fitzpatrick Supermarket, which screened the 1974 World Cup Final between Germany & Holland (in colour!)
- Orchard Road used to be home to Gluttons Square, a night market where oyster omelette & char kway teow used to go for under $1
- The rainbow ice cream sandwich is a big part of the Singaporean culture. While ice-cream carts are found island-wide and some would associate it as being a snack for “heart landers”, it has also become a lasting icon on Orchard Road. Find one such ice-cream cart regularly stationed outside Takashimaya Shopping Centre for a cheap and yummy solution to the blazing heat of Singapore and a taste of nostalgia.