Orchard Road, Asia’s premiere shopping

Heheh…really? Some of you dear readers might ask.

No. This is not a post of our Singapore series. Rather, it is a deeper dive into an interesting discussion about this so-called iconic shopping belt in the little red dot. Now we know that you dear readers, assuming you came to our sunny island before, would have had Orchard road on the itinerary?

What do you find exciting about this stretch of road?

In the last year, we’ve read and heard about a flurry of reports about how the road can be revitalized. This all suggests that there is something amiss. Perhaps it has lost its allure? Yep. And you also have articles such as this and that postulating the reasons for the decline. Things appear to be getting a little hazy for the strip, like the featured image of this post.

We’ll be honest. That it was actually hard to do a write up about this supposedly famous shopping street. That’s why we were sceptical enough to start this post with a rhetorical question. The ‘fact’ from our view : is that the street has lost its place. In the sense that to us whether this street is iconic, vibrant or not has become irrelevant. Like cities around the world swimming with strip malls even in suburbia, our little red dot has so much of the same in every shopping center.

Even if one is to do some ‘window shopping’, there is probably one just around the corner of an MRT station. And of course we are speaking from the perspective of high dense city living. For those who have visited Singapore, do you think there is anything special about Orchard Road?

How important is shopping to you when you travel?

Author: Mel & Suan

Mel works his day job for a living, but lives for antiquities, history and geography at all other times. He enjoys writing and thought sharing and obviously traveling. Suan is a homey person, who like girlie stuff such as cross stitching etc. Enjoys shopping & modeling for Mel. What a match!

24 thoughts on “Orchard Road, Asia’s premiere shopping”

  1. Mel & Suan, I remember back in the 1980s when Australia was expensive and Singapore was cheap, we would fly up there and shop, shop, shop on Orchard Road. It was dazzling. Then we would fly home with our luggage testing the limits, stuffed full of clothing and electronics.

    In January, after many years, we are returning to Singapore on our way home from a holiday in the Middle East. If not Orchard Road, where is the place to shop now?

    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I have never been a fan of shopping Orchard Road lost its appeal when it became possible to walk large parts of it via the connecting passges between/under shops. Of course people like the AC aspect of this but it killed Orchard Road for me. Also SG shopping used to be cheaper than HK and other Asian cities now if is rather more expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well the idea was to facilitate those who do not enjoy the sweltering heat… but to each their own! Heheh.
      And unfortunately, it is true that as the years passed, shopping along this stretch and indeed across the island changed. An appreciating Sing dollar did not help!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I miss walking along Orchard road… I don’t know why, but I love Orchard road… Just the atmosphere I guess… the wide sidewalks, the people, the tourists, the street performers, the ice cream uncles and yes, the malls… Although there are malls everywhere in Singapore, there’s something about Orchard road malls that I like. Can’t wait to go back next year during summer holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never been to Singapore so can’t comment on Orchard Road (I will soon!). But about shopping, I usually always shop at local stores for clothes or souvenirs. I go to malls to enjoy the aircon! and see all the different varieties of fast food, the menu, the feel of the crowd and last but not least, the bookstore!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a really interesting post guys seeing we were only there a month ago. It was 20 years ago we were last in Singapore and we did notice quite a difference. With most of the malls connected underground now, I felt that we did not spend much time out on the street front , where as we did 20 years ago.
    For us, the shopping here was quite expensive compared to Australian prices. Maybe if we had of visited during sale times it would have been cheaper, so we did not buy or shop as much as we would have liked to on this last trip. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh if only you post a before and now photo of the street it would be nice! Indeed it has changed. Where once it was possible to both get a bargain on good quality products or have the luxurious expensive one, today it is not quite the same anymore. Many red dotters shop online now and also out of the country if they wish to get a real retail therapy… so indeed it does look like somewhat of a sunset for this shopping street…

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Okay, throwing my two cents here since this stretch was a stop during me and my girlfriend’s Singapore trip.

    Well, if you ask me – Orchard Road’s appeal lies in the fact that certain items from a number of brands can only be found in Singapore outlets. Surely, such brands are available here in the Philippines like MUJI, Zara, M&S, Giordano, and more – but the Philippine stores only carry limited designs. (Take, for example, a National Day polo shirt I bought for S$49. Given that this isn’t available where I live, I would have to purchase it online – and I would shell out a bigger amount.) Sale prices are much cheaper in SG compared to the PH, even better when one visits during the Great Singapore Sale period. The Louis Vuitton outlets here in the Philippines tend to have only high society figures and members of political families as customers, but young adults were forming a queue at the ION Orchard location!

    (A caveat, though; I noticed some clothing brands tend to have consistent stocks for a certain region. Two examples would be H&M and Uniqlo; they have the same exact inventory of clothes throughout every branch – whether it’s in Suntec, ION Orchard, VivoCity, or Changi City Point. And incidentally, those would be the exact stocks the moment I return to the Philippines!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmmm… that is an interesting point of view. Indeed there will be some items that one cannot find in outlets at other cities in the region. Agree with that.
      But that said, we also noticed that the range of products here are not all that can be found back in the home countries where these brands hail from. Perhaps it takes time for it to be ‘listed’ or shipped… in any case the current efforts to ‘revitalize’ is a mix aimed at both locals and visitors. The lament is that locals are no longer thronging the street as much as before… but then we have so many suburban malls too. Did you visit any of those while you were in Singapore?

      Liked by 1 person

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