Orchard Road is located in central Singapore, a short distance from the airport and is popular for its high-end shopping centers and chic cafes. Known as “the red dot on the world map”, Orchard Road has been an area packed with high rise buildings and hotels since its inception. Today, Orchard continues to be a popular retailing destination for the international shoppers who flock to the city all year round.
The history of Orchard dates back to the early 19th century when it was discovered by Captain James Cook, who was then posted to the offshore penal colony of Singapore. From here, he brought with him some local products which were then later on used by the locals in the trading settlement at Yerabunggan, situated north of the Orchard. These included tobacco and molasses. In addition, some of the native trees and plants were also found there, which gave Orchard its unique name. The colony was later incorporated into Singapore and Orchard Road was officially established.
Today, Orchard is regarded as one of the premiere commercial destinations in the country. As a result, the influx of tourists is quite high. The area boasts of a number of high rise buildings and residential areas. Apart from this, Singapore’s reputation as a food paradise has made it an ideal location for many restaurants and cafes. This has made Orchard a favorite among the locals and visitors alike.
Orchard Road itself is a popular shopping spot. This includes designer boutiques, second hand stores and international brands. The area also provides numerous entertainment avenues like cinemas, showrooms, and night spots. Apart from these, the Orchard Road market provides a wide range of handicrafts and arts and crafts. There are also a number of art museums located here.
But for a more detailed look into Orchard’s history and its place in the current scenario, it is important to go through the following history lesson. Orchard was once a Dutch settlement. The Dutch controlled the trading here until the British took over. In fact, even after the British left, the Dutch controlled the location until 1960 when they were replaced by the Singaporeans.
Today, Singapore’s identity has emerged out of the British colonial period. Under the British, Orchard was turned into a penal colony. Here, the people were forced to work on the railroads and to earn money by doing so. They were also tortured and subjected to all sorts of injustices. In such a depressing state of affairs, Orchard was never able to develop and progress like other areas in the country. In short, Orchard has a dismal and dark history.
However, Orchard still managed to retain its unique charm. It is today considered as one of the premier shopping destinations in the world. Many celebrities and famous personalities make Orchard a favorite stop during Singapore tours. Orchard Road itself is lined with a plethora of hotels and eateries. Some of these have chains, while there are also some independent establishments that cater to the needs of the shoppers.
Apart from this, Orchard is also home to a number of museums. One of them is the Singapore History Museum, which is located within the viewing of Orchard Road. Within its premises are a number of artifacts and documents that relay the background of the country’s history.
There are also two wildlife parks located here. Orchard Lake Wildlife Sanctuary and Orchard South Road Wildlife Sanctuary are located within close proximity of Orchard. Within these parks you will be able to find varied species of birds and even monkeys! If you are looking for more lionfish, then you can try Fishworld Water Park located in nearby Petalwood.
If you are looking for souvenirs and gifts, Orchard is also home to many gift shops and boutiques. These stores sell souvenirs such as clothing, handbags, jewelry, and souvenirs. The boutique stores are very popular during Christmas and New Year. They also have a wide range of unique items that you can choose from.
With all the attractions found in Orchard, shopping should not be the least of your worries. However, if you are a first timer, then you might want to consider taking a guided tour of Orchard. This way you will be able to see all the famous landmarks while getting the most out of your shopping experience. You can book an Orchard Singapore tour online or you can ask for a recommendation from your local tour guide.