Author : Kelly-Ann – Singapore
I remember being an impressionable teenager sauntering down Orchard Road, decked out in oversized t-shirts, baggy high-waisted Valentino jeans and a friendship band proudly hanging from my wrist. We only hung out at a few malls then; Wisma Atria, Scotts Shopping Centre, Far East Plaza, Plaza Singapura. They were enough as long as we had a place to sit in a group and sip our slurpees.
Today, 2 decades later, the same stretch of Orchard Road is Singapore’s pride and it’s tourists’ joy. Littered with a myriad shopping malls, hotels, cafes, pubs and eateries, it puts high street to shame. I remember returning from Australia after 3 years away from Singapore, and was I lost! Lost in a sea of new vibrance I’ve never seen before, on our little island.
Restaurants serving authentic cuisines from all over the world, fashion boutiques peddling obscure brands, high fashion houses, spas, pubs, clubs, street baskers and countless hotel chains are presented to you on a single street. Like it takes 30 days to finish admiring every art piece in The Lourve, it took me months to even remember where each mall was.
But it’s simple; just remember where the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station is, and the 3 stations that serve the entire stretch of Orchard Road [namely: Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut] ensures you wouldn’t have to struggle with shopping fatigue from one end, to another. Also, don’t forget to pack light when you’re out and about in Orchard Road, because the number of shopping bags you’ll have to lug back home after a spree, is akin to carrying free weights in a gym! Oh, that means you’ll need to dress light too, because, Singapore is summer all year round (of course, except for the monsoon season).
Here are some malls I frequent, and if you’re a shopaholic like me, you’ve come to the right place!
1.Far East Plaza – for young adults’ fashion, good hair stylists, eyelash extensions, waxes, cheap shoes!!! Go to the 5th floor for very good local food.
2.Wisma Atria – a mid-priced mall, selling fashion brands like FCUK, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, and houses the Japanese departmental store, Isetan. Must eat at Singapore’s first premium food court – Food Republic. Must-try: Stir-fried Hokkien Mee (noodles) with lots of chilli on the side. YUM!
3.Ngee Ann City – the biggest mall in Asia. This place has everything under the sun, houses Japanese departmental store, Takashimaya. I get my Aesop and Sephora fixes at Ngee Ann City.
4.ION Orchard – for the rich and well-heeled. The Ls and the Vs and all that jazz. It has an underground link that leads you to Wheelock Place (where bookstore, Borders is).
5.Paragon – I go to Fitness First gym here, and ironically stuff my face afterwards, at PS café. Order: Banana-Mango Crumble with vanilla icre cream. DELISH!
6.313 @ Somerset – What can I say? A Forever 21 shop so big, I took an entire afternoon shopping in it! Music giant HMV is also here. And my favourite buffet place Marche is BACK! Yay!!!
7.Orchard Central – Ok, the design of this place is commendable. Each floor has a theme! For the sweet-toothers, you MUST try the Japanese fruit pies at Fruit Paradise. I think even my eyes were salivating looking at the colourful displays. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks!
8.KPO – I was there for the launch of Kronenbourg 1664 (who thought France could make such good beer!?!) launch, and fell in love with this place. It’s a 2-storey post-office that has been converted into a pub/café. So, yes, please order a Kronenbourg 1664 if you love your beer light and fruity like me!
9.Bed Rock @ Pan Pacific Suites (at the back of 313 @ Somerset) – This quietly confident looking serviced apartment has a secret! Sitting at the rear end of the building, is Singapore’s best steak house in town! I wasn’t doing my wallet any favours when I ordered the most expensive Wagyu steak they had on the menu. But if you’re a like-minded carnivore, you will not regret this cozy and intimate establishment.
10.Plaza Singapura – ‘Plaza Sing’, as it’s affectionately known, or PS, is a place for families. I’m usually there to catch a movie at the Golden Village theatres, after a good snack of Aussie gelato and waffles at Gelare. Carefour is a giant hypermart that is good enough for any shopping need! Oh, if you’re into arts and crafts, you’ll have to go to Spotlight (another Australian brand) on Level 5, to buy materials or to attend a craft class!