Singapore’s most famous street is a shopper’s paradise, a food-lover’s dream and the fave hangout spot of many, but you’ll be surprised these 7 lesser-known spots, including a rooftop farm and hidden speakeasy, exist.
Unleash your inner artist at this cafe in Istana Park, a strip of greenery opposite the President’s official place of residence. Overlooking a gorgeous water feature, the two-storey, glass-clad building is filled with natural light and is perfect for unwinding or trying this new creative pursuit.
At its Art Jam sessions, tunes are streamed from speakers, while you sip complimentary drinks and express themselves on canvases with acrylic paints and brushes. For those who want a little more guidance, there are creative painting workshops, too.
31 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238888
NEXT: Tea Bone Zen Mind →
Visiting this hidden, homey tea atelier, tucked away in a 20th-century shophouse on elegant Emerald Hill, is much like having a high tea sesh over at a friend’s.
Stepping inside, you’re greeted by a zen koi pond and a collection of hand-painted teacups and paraphernalia crafted by artisans from around Asia.
Sip on rare teas like aged pu-er and vintage matcha, and contemporary creations like lychee oolong with their signature French rose syrup. Private rooms, which are even more zen (Imagine that!) are available for tea tasting sessions, available by appointment only; tea leaves are also for sale.
98 Emerald Hill Rd, Singapore 229374
NEXT: Ion Sky →
At 218m high, the glass-walled Ion Sky observatory on level 56 of Ion Orchard offers a splendid view of the stunning cityscape through state-of-the-art Beholdtim telescopes – the first of their kind in Asia. (On a good day, you can even spot Malaysia in the distance!)
The high-tech viewing devices also have a feature that allows you to see what the shopping strip used to look like years ago, when it was filled with fruit farms and nutmeg plantations, juxtaposed with live scenes to illustrate the changes.
If you get peckish, head one level down to celebrity chef Luke Mangan’s Salt Grill & Sky Bar, which is famous for their steak and oysters.
Level 56, Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801
NEXT: Comcrop →
Learn how to grow your own edible urban garden while on a tour of this mall’s rooftop farm. Comcrop at *Scape – which supplies vegetables and herbs to some of Singapore’s best eateries and bars – is a veritable orchard of everything from habanero and ghost peppers to basil and mint.
The green oasis perched above the hum of traffic is about the size of five five-room HDB apartments. Employing aquaponics (where fish waste is channelled to provide nutrients for growing plants) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil), the greens are grown on 12 vertical shelves to save space.
Comcrop also runs farm tours on the first Saturday of every month (by appointment only).
2 Orchard Link, *Scape Singapore, 2 Orchard Link, Singapore 237978
NEXT: Shashlik →
This iconic 30-year-old Russian-Hainanese restaurant on the sixth floor of Far East Shopping Centre is so loved by generations of locals that many rushed to book a table when its owners announced it was closing at the end of 2015. Thankfully, the quaint joint was revived the next year.
Besides the meat-on-skewer dish that lent its name to the restaurant, other signatures include borsch soup and a dessert that is hard to find elsewhere on the island: baked Alaska, doused in rum and set aflame at your table.
Though the new owners gave the 100-seater a facelift, diners can expect the same general look and feel as its previous incarnation, complete with rickety trolleys and service provided by long-serving employees.
#06-19, Far East Shopping Centre, 545 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238882
NEXT: Como Shambhala Urban Escape →
When the Orchard Road crowd gets to you, take things slow with fellow ohm-ies at this urban wellness centre. Expect soothing touches such as large windows, which let in plenty of natural light, and dark wooden floors.
The centre offers not only yoga and pilates classes, but also a spa where you can luxuriate in holistic treatments such as massage therapy, naturopathy and homeopathy.
They’ve even got their house-brand spa products. We hear its Invigorate blend – with geranium, lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils – is divine!
#06-01/02 Delfi Orchard, 402 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238876
NEXT: Horses’s Mouth →
The road to success is never smooth – and that’s the truth when one is seeking secret cocktail bar Horse’s Mouth.
Our tip: Locate sister establishment Uma Uma Ramen within Forum the Shopping Mall, then find the right curtain concealing a door. Enter and descend a flight of steps that will lead you to your goal: an intimate Japanese-inspired izakaya that’s as famed for its bartenders’ wit as it is for its tipples.
The Whisky Sour comes highly recommended for its authenticity, as does the Unencumbered – a tequila-sake fusion with homemade Granny Smith syrup and Japanese cucumber. It’s an ironic name for a cocktail, considering the less-than-straightforward way to get to the bar.
#B1-39 Forum the Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238884
NEXT: And just beyond Orchard Road… →
MORE treasures for food, culture, nature and leisure lie.
This iconic Dragon Playground, one of the last surviving sandpit playgrounds in Singapore, is an official heritage spot in Toa Payoh. On a sunny day, have your kids join other little ones climbing through the colourful spine and whooshing down the terrazzo-tiled slides.
Check out more places to explore on the outskirts of Orchard Road here.
28 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310028
NEXT: My Art Space →
By Esther Au Yong, SilverKris, last updated October 2017
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