Orchard Road

For the road in Illinois, see Orchard Road (Illinois). For the Leo Sayer song, see Orchard Road (song).
Orchard Road
Name transcription(s)
  Pinyin Wūjíe-lù
  Malay Jalan Kebun (or Jalan Orkid)
  Tamil ஓர்ச்சர்ட் சாலை
Orchard Road

Location of Orchard Road within Singapore

Coordinates: 1°18′17.433″N 103°49′54.56″E / 1.30484250°N 103.8318222°E / 1.30484250; 103.8318222Coordinates: 1°18′17.433″N 103°49′54.56″E / 1.30484250°N 103.8318222°E / 1.30484250; 103.8318222
Country  Singapore
  Ruling parties People's Action Party
(part of Tanjong Pagar GRC)[1]
  Total 0.90 km2 (0.35 sq mi)
  Total 1,600[2]
Orchard Road

The flower zone of Orchard Road
Simplified Chinese 乌节路
Traditional Chinese 烏節路

Orchard Road, a 2.2 kilometre-long boulevard, is the retail and entertainment hub of Singapore.[3] Often known colloquially as Orchard, the area is a major tourist attraction.[3] It is also known as Tang Leng Pa Sat Koi (Tanglin Market Street) and Vaira Kimadam (Fakir's Place) by the Singaporean Chinese and Singaporean Tamils respectively.

The Orchard Planning Area a planning area as specified by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. It is part of the Central Area located within the Central Region. Orchard is bordered by Newton in the east and north, Tanglin in the west, River Valley in the south and Museum to the southeast.

Orchard Road underwent a $40 million revamp in 2009, with the addition of new street lamps, planter boxes, urban green rooms, street tiling and flower totem poles, which have since been removed.


Orchard Road got its name from the nutmeg, pepper and fruit orchards or the plantations that the road once led to.[4] Such plantations were common in the area in the 19th century.[5] Other sources attribute the name to Mr Orchard, a gardener and the owner of plantations which were located at the corner of present-day Scotts Road and Orchard Road.[5]

The Orchard Road area was also known to Chinese Singaporeans as Tang Leng Pa Sat Koi or "Tanglin Market Street".[6] The Tamil people in Singapore gave the area the name Vaira Kimadam or "Fakir's Place".[4] They also called the area Muttu Than (High Ground), in a reference to the area's hilly terrain.[4]


After more than a century as a two-way thoroughfare, Orchard Road became a one-way street in 1974.[5] The ever-lively street starts at the junction with Orange Grove Road which is the location of the Orchard Hotel. It then stretches southeast across the Scotts Road–Paterson Hill junction, Orchard MRT Station, Bideford Road, Somerset MRT Station, Central Expressway, Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station, and ends at the junction with Handy Road (just before Prinsep Street), where it becomes Bras Basah Road. It has an extensive underground infrastructure, including underground pedestrian walkways between the malls running underneath the street and other streets in the vicinity. The numbers begin at Handy Road and end at Orange Grove Road.


Old & New Comparison

Orchard Road, c. 1900
Orchard Road, c. 2014

Early times

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 Hotel Grand Central stands. Later a Jewish cemetery was established; it was located where Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station is now and was 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, King Chulalongkorn, the then 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 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."

New problems

2010 floods

Flash floods occurred at the road's iconic junction with Scotts Road on 16 June 2010 after 100mm of rain fell from 8am to 11am, reportedly the worst flood at the junction since 1984. Shopping malls along Orchard Road such as Lucky Plaza and Liat Towers were affected. The flood had caused some shopping mall and car park basements to be submerged. Around 70 people had to be rescued from cars and buses, as flooding shut down Orchard Road. Some people sustained injuries.[7]

Notable past and present landmarks

The junction of Orchard Road and Scotts Road
Plaza Singapura is a major shopping centre in Orchard

The Istana is at Orchard Road's eastern end. Nibong palms survive near its entrance, with a plaque that reads, "As the nibong is a mangrove palm, this site must have once been a mangrove swamp." This information leads many to believe Orchard Road was once a muddy swamp and these palms are remnants of that original habitat.

To the south of Orchard Road is former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's house, located at 38 Oxley Road. It was slated for demolition when Lee Kuan Yew died or when his daughter, Lee Wei Ling, decided to sell and move out.

On the western side of Orchard Road is the Botanic Gardens. Along Scotts Road is Goodwood Park Hotel, a fine example of colonial architecture and a monument. At the junction of Scotts Road and Orchard Road is Tangs, the first upmarket department store in Singapore.

About halfway down Orchard Road are Cairnhill and Emerald Hill, where the rich Chinese built their residences, now prime properties sought after by affluent professionals and expatriates. Next to Emerald Hill is Centrepoint, which houses the supermarket Cold Storage, possibly the oldest surviving business establishment in the area. Other establishments have not been so fortunate. Amber Mansions, one of the earliest apartment blocks in Singapore, built around the turn of the 20th century, was torn down in the 1980s to make way for the Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station.

Specialists' Shopping Centre was one of the earliest redevelopment projects on Orchard Road. It occupied the site of the former Pavilion Cinema, which was demolished in 1979. Its flagship store was John Little, which has been in Singapore since the mid-19th century, when it opened its first outlet in Commercial Square (now Raffles Place). Specialists' Shopping Centre was itself demolished in 2007 to make way for a new development, Orchard Gateway.

Elsewhere just off Orchard Road on Scotts Road, Scotts Shopping Centre housed Singapore's first food court, which sat below the Ascott Singapore. It was torn down in June 2007 to make way for a new building.


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 shopping centres. Orchard Road contains numerous upmarket restaurants, coffee chains, cafés, nightclubs and hotels. It is the site of the official residence and office of the President of Singapore, the Istana.

Tanglin Mall is located at the junction of Tanglin Road and Grange Road. Its customer base is made up of expatriates, yuppies and professionals. Anchor tenants include Tanglin Market Place, a gourmet supermarket and bakery, and Tasty Food Court where up to 15 varieties of local cuisine can be found.

Orchard Central distinguishes itself from other shopping centres on Orchard Road with architectural and design forms. Fronted by an exterior featuring local artist Matthew Ngui's digital art membrane, the shopping centre offers cluster concept shopping by grouping complementary offerings for shoppers. The shopping centre houses the world's tallest indoor Via Ferrata climbing wall, a large collection of public art installations by international artists and a 24/7-operational Roof Garden and Discovery Walk. The Roof Garden offers dining options on an open-air veranda.

313@somerset is directly linked to the Somerset MRT station and features a concentration of mid-range retail and dining outlets. Retail options are made of a mix of local and global fashion labels including Zara, Uniqlo, New Look, Esprit and a Forever 21 flagship store that spans four floors.

Visitors in Singapore (from 27 May to 24 July 2011) qualified for Great Singapore Sale tourist privileges and discounts at shopping complexes along Orchard Road. During this period, a number of shopping centres extend their opening hours till 11pm.[8]

American fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch opened a flagship store on Orchard Road on 15 December 2011. The store was marked by controversy over an ad during its construction phase.[9]

Every first Saturday night of each month, a section of Orchard Road will be closed and the road will be used as a temporary pedestrian street between Scotts Paterson Junction and Bideford Junction between 6pm -11pm from October 2014 to May 2015 and extended bit by bit. Known as Pedestrian Night on Orchard Road, this six-month pilot initiative aims to inject street vibrancy into the precinct by creating an integrated community space with activities such as street tennis and mass yoga.

Orchard Road's shopping centres will never face death of tenants every year. Broken tenants (which in the case of losing business or the shift of demand) are replaced into proper tenants. Most of the demand began to fluctuate with the newer shopping malls since 2009 (such as Westgate/JEM/JCube, Waterway Point, Seletar Mall, Tiong Bahru Plaza, Nex, Bedok Mall, Clementi Mall, Changi City Point and Tampines 1).

List of shopping centres

Ngee Ann City is the largest shopping complex along Orchard Road.
The Paragon is a high-end shopping centre along the Orchard Road strip.

Christmas light-up

Orchard Road is lit up elaborately near the end of every year for the Christmas season.

Each Christmas, Orchard Road is decorated with Christmas lights. The lights have been switched on by the following celebrities:


Public transport

Mass rapid transit (underground trains)

There are three major MRT stations in the Orchard Road vicinity: Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut MRT stations.[13] These stations are important hubs for commuters, locals, students and tourists who travel to the Orchard Road shopping and business district.


Bus services provided by SBS Transit, SMRT Buses and Tower Transit Singapore provide access to Orchard Road. Bus stops are staggered to avoid causing congestion, with the scheme being implemented on 13 May 2004 (1st Phase, Mandarin Orchard Singapore) and 28 May 2004 (2nd Phase, Midpoint Orchard). A bus lane was introduced in 2005, operational from 7.30am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday. It was extended to 24 hours in 2016. The major bus stops along Orchard Road are situated at:

Westbound passengers can board their buses at Penang Road (Dhoby Ghaut Station), Somerset Road (Somerset Station), Orchard Turn (opp Ngee Ann City/Takashimaya), Orchard Turn (Orchard Station), Orchard Boulevard (opp Orchard Station) and Orchard Boulevard (Wheelock Place).


Orchard Road has numerous taxi stands, which are mostly found at shopping centres and hotels. It is prohibited to hail taxis at locations other than these official stands.

Vehicular access

Those driving into Orchard Road may enter from the west via Napier Road. Vehicles from Dunearn Road that travel via Scotts Road can turn left into Orchard Road at the Marriott Hotel junction. Vehicles coming from the opposite direction on Paterson Road can enter Orchard Road by turning right. There are also a number of other roads leading into Orchard Road. Orchard Road is one-way heading south and leads into Bras Basah Road which is a one-way street heading south.

See also


  1. "Boundaries of Altered Polling Districts" (PDF). Elections Department, Singapore. 2015-02-27. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  2. "Orchard District Guide". Streetdirectory.com. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  3. 1 2 "Orchard Road on YourSingapore". YourSingapore. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  4. 1 2 3 Victor R Savage, Brenda S A Yeoh (2003), Toponymics – A Study of Singapore Street Names, Eastern Universities Press, ISBN 981-210-205-1
  5. 1 2 3 "Orchard Road on Infopedia". National Library Board, Singapore. 2005-01-03. Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  6. Editions Didier Millet (2011), Singapore at Random, ISBN 981-426-037-1
  7. Annual Weather Review 2010
  8. Orchard Road Singapore, yoursingapore.com
  9. "Abercrombie & Fitch is too sexy for Singapore". CNN Travel. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  10. http://www.yoursingapore.com/content/traveller/en/browse/shopping/shopping-malls/the-heeren.html
  11. http://www.heeren.com.sg/stores/trde/stores_trde_index.htm
  12. "Borders closes flagship store at Wheelock Place". Channel News Asia. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  13. "About Orchard Road" (PDF). Singapore Press Holdings. Retrieved 2015-09-06.


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