Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore
Ever wondered what was it like before Singapore became the metropolis it is today? Join us in this neighbourhood series where we’ll let you in on the secrets and culture behind the places you frequent today. Look out for pro tips on interesting places to visit, eat and fun facts to learn about Orchard!
Courtesy of Roots.sg & All About City.
Orchard Road started as a countryside retreat in the 1800s before it became the famous tourism and retail shopping destination it is today. It was believed that the nutmeg orchards depicted on maps led to their name. Chinese, Malays, Indians and Jews had once settled in the area which built the multicultural legacy of today.
Courtesy of Sansa K, BYKidO, Roots.sg & 360 Stories.
Interesting Places to Visit
Apart from the never-ending shopping street, the Botanic Gardens is Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s not possible to walk the entirety of the space by foot. So, grab a map and pick a section you’d like to explore. You will find the most famous Heritage Trees, the old tembusu near Swan Lake that’s found on our $5 currency note.
Before WW2, families would arrange for prospective couples to walk around for dates. It’s still a popular date spot for Singaporeans today. At the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, you can catch iconic outdoor concerts. In the nearby Fort Canning Park, filled with rich WW2 history, also hosts the annual Ballet Under the Stars. There’s something for everyone at the Gardens really.
Of course, you can visit The Istana, the “White House” of Singapore. Only Yusok Ishak, our first President, have lived there before. Presidents don’t usually stay in them today, but they do head there for work. You can watch the guard changing ceremonies on the first Sunday evening of the month here: https://www.istana.gov.sg/Visit-And-Explore/Ceremonial-Guards
Courtesy of Middle Class & Daniel Food Diary.
Places to Eat
There’s good food in Orchard Road from all over the world. You will be spoiled for choice. There is a HDB themed café called, Lou Shang 楼上. HDB stands for Housing Development Board and it’s the name for public housing blocks for Singaporeans. You’ll get to taste fusion local food with an angmoh (Singlish for Westerners) flair to it. And you’ll be greeted by a pseudo–Mama Shop (local mom-and-pop store) and transported to the corridors of public housing units. It can’t get any more local than this!
Courtesy of Scribbling Geek & Danamic.
The 2 biggest annual events you should visit are the Christmas Light-Up and the Great Singapore Sale (GSS). GSS usually lasts for 4 weeks from late June to early August. Most, if not all, the stores will have a battle of sales that you can enjoy.
With each year better than the last, the entire Orchard Road will be lit up with beautiful lights from November to January. Sometimes the roads will be closed off for pedestrians to walk freely.
Experience Orchard for yourself today by reaching out to us for house viewings at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get excited for the next edition of the “What’s in Your Neighbourhood?” series!