If you are wandering along Orchard Road and looking for something to do other than shopping then never fear, there is plenty to do here. These days malls aren’t just focused on shopping, they have plenty of entertainment too: cinemas, bowling alleys, a flight simulator and even a huge climbing wall. For something a bit more cultural the area around Orchard Road also delivers, with the National Museum of Singapore, the Singapore Art Museum and Istana, the old governor’s mansion. End the day checking out the beautiful old buildings on Emerald Hill Road. We’ve put together our top ten attractions in Orchard Road and its surroundings.
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A surprising green space in the heart of Singapore, Fort Canning Park is one of the city’s most significant historical landmarks. Here it is possible to escape the busy city for an afternoon with plenty of walking trails and unusual plants. It is also home to Battle Box, an interesting underground tunnel complex from the Second World War. Situated behind the Singapore History Museum at Stamford Road, you can get into Fort Canning via several accesses - the Park Mall underpass, the National Library underpass, the Hill Street Food Centre and the River Valley Swimming Complex. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily 24 hours
- MRT: City Hall
- Address: 70 River Valley Road, Singapore 179037
The National Museum of Singapore is not only the oldest museum but also one of the most prominent national monuments in the city-state. Formerly known as Raffles Library and Museum, the National Museum of Singapore was initially a segment of Singapore Institution’s library from 1849 to 1887 when it was moved to the present building by Colonel Sir H.E Mc Callum. After undergoing renovation for more than three years, the museum was again opened for the public in 2006. Spanning over an area of 18,400sqm, it’s now the biggest in the country, with exhibits that largely reflect the rich history of Singapore as well as Asia. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Singapore History Gallery is open from 10:00 to 18:00 while the Goh Seng Choo Gallery and four Living Galleries are open from 10:00 to 20:00
- Address: 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
- Tel: +65 6332 3659
Formerly known as Government House, Istana is where the Singaporean President's office is located. It was built from 1867 – 1869 by Sir Harry St George Ord, Singapore's first governor. Constructed in the neo-Palladian Anglo-Indian style, it has beautiful surroundings and landscaping including a 105mm Japanese cannon, a six-foot high statue of Queen Victoria hewn from Sicilian marble, four ponds and an old well. The Istana grounds are open to the public annually in celebration of the following occasions: Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day and National Day.
- Opening Hours: Special holidays 08:30 - 18:00
- Address: Special holidays 08:30 - 18:00
Located in the centre of Singapore’s major shopping district on Bras Basah Road, it is an ideal place to see close to 8,000 pieces of Singaporean and Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art. With over 10,000sqm, this museum, run with international standard museum facilities, offers 14 fully climate-controlled galleries. There’s not only painting on display, but also photography and installation pieces. It’s interesting to see the different messages conveyed by the artists from the region, and the exhibitions are well set up for learning more about the countries that make up Southeast Asia. The museum also has a small shop as well as a cafe and restaurant.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 - 19:00, Fri close at 21:00
- Address: 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555
- Tel: +65 6332 3222
This gallery is located on Queen Street, just opposite the Singapore Art Museum, and focuses on contemporary photography and video artwork. The artists who exhibit here tend to be from the Southeast Asia, with artists from Thailand, Laos and Malaysia – often with a political theme. This is easily one of the best photography galleries in the region, and although most of the exhibitions will be from little known artists, it’s a fascinating insight into the different ideas and issues that are facing the countries in the region.
- Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 12:00 – 19:00 and Sunday 13:00 – 17:00
- Address: 222 Queen Street, Unit 02-02, Singapore 188550
- Tel: +65 6339 8665
Ever wanted to be the captain of your own plane? It’s almost possible, as long as you don’t mind never taking off! SG Flight Simulations is located inside Orchard Central Mall and offers a taste of aviation, with your chance to pilot an Airbus A320, experiencing take-off and landing, and well as learning all about the switchboard inside the cockpit. Packages vary in length from 30 to 90 minutes, and if you wish you can obtain a DVD recording of your experience. An experienced instructor sits next to you to ensure you make the most of your trip.
- MRT: Somerset
- Address: 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896
- Tel: +65 66342797
It is impossible to miss the Via Ferrata climbing wall. Open daily from 12:00 until 21:00 they provide rock climbing sessions for beginners and a chance to abseil. The tallest indoor wall in Singapore, it rises to 30 metres over five floors of Orchard Central. The instructors are well trained, whether you are climbing for the first time or are a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and you can enjoy a great view from the top. The climbing wall is located inside Orchard Central Mall. Easy to find, it is on the corner of Orchard Road and Killiney Road, around five minutes’ walk from the MRT at Somerset.
- MRT: Somerset
- Address: 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896
- Tel: +65 6238 1051
Amongst the giant shopping malls along Orchard Road is one of the most attractive streets in the city: Emerald Hill. It’s located just behind Orchard Central and was once an upmarket residential area for Peranakans. The main reason to take a quick walk down this street is that it remains almost frozen in time, with most buildings constructed between 1900 and 1920. There’s a blend of art deco and Chinese Baroque styles and it’s extremely picturesque – a contrast with the modern concrete of Orchard Road. Not only is it nice to marvel at the architecture, but there’s some great bars here with happy hour offers.
- Location: Behind Orchard Central
There are plenty of reasons why we love Esprit including: their amazing custom blends created with a whole host of essential oils, the hot stone massage and the Zsa Zsa Gabor orange and pumpkin scented facial that leaves skin feeling completely hydrated. Although it’s right in the centre of the city, the look is incredibly natural, with plants and greenery in reception and treatment rooms lined with wood. Their amazing collection of essential oil products is available for sale, and it is even possible to create your very own blend.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 -21:00 Daily
- Address: Paragon Mall, 290 Orchard Rd. Singapore
This art house cinema opened in 1990, bringing alternative movies to the centre of Singapore, and strangely enough has remained the only place to see art house movies in the city. On top of daily screenings it also hosts festivals, director talks and special events. This small cinema only has one screen, but the tickets are great value: only $10. The cinema is located in the Cathay Building, a short walk from the MRT at Dhoby Ghaut.
- Address: The Cathay Building, 2 Handy Road, Singapore