Orchard Road, Plunging Into Southeast Asia Most Famous Boulevard

There is no street in Southeast Asia more famous than Orchard Road, the 2.2 km long boulevard in the heart of Singapore commercial centre. The road is a major magnet for both Singaporeans and travellers as it is flanked by almost 800,000 square m. of glitzy -and sometimes less glitzy!- shopping malls, famous hotels, restaurants and parks. The success of Orchard Road is its mix of retail and dining options, which please any budget, from top restaurants and luxury designer shop to food courts, fast food chains and local souvenir shops. According to Orchard Road Business Association, the street registers over 5,000 retail, dining and entertainment establishments.

Founded in 1998, Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) represents the interests and welfare of businesses
operating along Orchard Road.

Originally a country road lined with fruit orchards, plantations and pepper farms, the street became a residential area some 150 years ago and welcomed its first “supermarket” as far as 1903 while its first department store opened in 1958 with C.K. Tang. The  first department store has been demolished in 1982 and replaced by a brand new tower integrating TANGS department store and the Marriott Hotel.

The transformation of Orchard Road into a major shopping area started in the early 1960s with most development taking place during the seventies, starting with the multi-storey mall “Plaza Singapura”. A major program of overhaul was launched in the late 2000s including a new generation of malls, the renovation of existing ones and a beautification program of public spaces and gardens.

The street experienced last year a slight decline in its sales according to an article of the Straits Times with tenants blaming the emergence of new malls in other Singapore districts, especially in the city’s “heartland” while the decline in Chinese travellers also weighted on the street’s activity. Other factors are rising rents which make prices at Orchard less competitive and changing consumption habits due to e-commerce. In 2015, a report from Cushman & Wakefield Real Estate Services Company ranked Singapore Orchard Road the 13th most expensive street in the world, up from rank 16 in 2014.

Orchard Road will certainly find new ways to reposition itself. Among new tools to enhance the appeal of the city boulevard are high-profile events. The most famous is “Christmas on A Great Street”, which continues to be orchard Road most visited event. Other events now include “Fashion Steps Out”,“Rev-­‐Up@Orchard” and “Pedestrian Night” to attract visitors and tourists. The latter has been organized since October 2014 and transform once a month a s660 meter stretch into a pedestrian area. The Pedestrian Night has proved popular with some 50,000 visitors being accounted.

More theme activities could come in the future to further bring visitors to Singapore iconic boulevard and keep Orchard Road reputation as ASEAN most famous shopping street.

Details about all the malls and buildings of Orchard Road can be seen under Straits Times active graphic and article under