This is the main shopping area in Singapore, offering major department stores, supermarkets, cinemas, restaurants and five-star hotels. Many of the major international apparel brands can be found here, and they are very popular with tourists and locals alike. The whole district stretches 3 MRT stations, from Dhoby Ghaut station to Orchard Station. The shopping malls include Centrepoint, The Far East Plaza, Paragon, Ngee Ann City, Orchard Point, Far East Shopping Centre, Forum the Shopping Mall, Lucky Plaza, Orchard Plaza, Wisma Atria, Shaw House, Shaw Centre, Tanglin Place and Tanglin Mall.
Some of the more interesting shopping complexes on Orchard Road include:
- Palais Renaissance – A marble monument that houses labels like Gianni Versace, DKNY, Dunhill, Prada and many more. Generally very expensive.
- Shaw House – Anchor tenants includes Lido cinema, one of the biggest cinemas in Singapore, and the Japanese department store, Isetan. In addition to this, there is the supermarket in the basement and many inexpensive cafes.
- Paragon – A high-end mall great for kids’ items and couture brands, located between Orchard and Somerset MRT stations.
- Ngee Ann City – High-end mall housing Takashemiya, a lovely Japanese department store, and other couture brands like Cartier, MontBlanc, Tiffany, and Shanghai Tang. Kinokuniya is the biggest bookstore in Southeast Asia, occupying a whole floor of the complex with 43,000 sq ft with over 500,000 titles.
- Wisma Atria – Known for its great food court and other eating outlets, this center houses a number of cute mid- and upper-range boutiques as well.
- DFS Galleria Scotts Road – DFS Galleria Scotts Road is the place to enjoy duty-free savings on the world’s leading luxury brands. They have an extensive selection of prestigious brands and offer great value on fashion and accessories in Singapore. Products come with a DFS 100% Worldwide Guarantee.
- Somerset 313: Orchard Road’s latest shopping centre houses a wide range of mid range retail stores including Zara, Mango, Esprit and Forever 21. A large range of dining options can be found in the basement.
- ION Orchard: Also a new addition to Orchard Road, ION contains a wide range of retail stores ranging from high end luxury brands such as Luis Vuitton through to high street stores like Topshop, Levis and Aldo. There is a food court in the basement that offers a wide variety of dining options.
How to get there: Take the MRT to Orchard MRT and walk down Orchard Road or take a taxi to any of the shopping centres listed above.
This is one of the biggest shopping complexes in Singapore. Situated at Harbourfront, near the entrance to Sentosa, it features a rare rooftop garden area overlooking the ocean and an unusual outside shell. The rooftop is full of artistic sculptures and other art pieces, complete with green additions of various plants and water features. Restaurants are also available on this romantic hideout. One of the most special food courts in Singapore also resides in Vivocity. It is decorated with furniture that looks like it is from the 1960s, with the vendors completing the ambiance by wearing costumes similar to that era. A small part of Singapore’s tradition and culture can be experienced while eating in this wonderfully nostalgic food court. Shops range from high-end to very reasonable. http://www.vivocity.com.sg
How to get there: Take the MRT to Harbourfront station. Taxis take slightly longer because the way in is not as straightforward as one would expect.
JEM is Sinagpore’s newest addition to the mall scene and is the third largest mall in Singapore. It houses 818,000 square meters of retail space across six levels. The mall also features indoor and outdoor dining and a beautiful skypark. http://www.jem.sg
How to get there: There is an easy to use journey planned on the JEM webiste: http://www.jem.sg/gettinghere.php?CategoryID=142
Chinatown and Little India
These two areas, although distinctly different districts, are the richest in terms of culture and tradition. During the colonial years, the British Government mandated that the Chinese and Indians were housed in the areas that are today’s Chinatown and Little India. As a result, these nationalities, far from home, set about adapting to a new life while holding on tightly to their cultural traditions. The goods sold and architecture of the past fill one with nostalgia when strolling these streets. However, with modernization of the city state, many vendors have since set up small stalls reminiscent of the past to peddle their ‘futuristic’ goods, complete with a host of street snacks unavailable elsewhere. Little India remains far more ‘authentic’ than Chinatown, which has gotten a bit too commercial. Both, however, are great places for ethnic foods, clothing, and inexpensive gifts.
How to get there: Take the MRT to the Chinatown or Little India stations. Chinatown’s MRT station, however, is new and a bit far from the heart of the district, so a taxi to South Bridge Road or Sri Mariamman Temple might be your best bet.
This small gem on Holland Road houses a number of home goods and clothing shops that remain very popular with expatriates. The older building lacks the glitz of newer complexes, but makes up for it in the interest and quality of the shops therein, including Lim’s for soft furnishings. The boutique shops offer goods at reasonable prices.
How to get there: Take the MRT to Buona Vista and walk north, or ask a taxi to bring you directly to the shopping center.