Orchard and Tanglin are rightly considered to be two of Singapore’s premier residential districts, as well as being the city’s prime locations for shopping and recreation. Orchard is more than Orchard Road (technically it does encompass most of it, but not in fact the far eastern end), and it extends as far north as Stevens Road and down to Grange Road in the south, while its western edge abuts Tanglin, the latter then heading west to incorporate part of the Botanic Gardens and extending as far south as Alexandra Road.
As described elsewhere, there are few places in the world that can rival Orchard Road for the sheer quantity, quality and energy of its shopping; however, just off of the main thoroughfare there are many surprisingly quiet streets and enclaves that offer excellent standards of spacious, family-style housing. This includes some very large, newly-built bungalows, attractive and spacious townhouses (sometimes in the form of renovated older terrace houses), as well as condominiums, hi-rise and low-rise apartments. There are also, less surprisingly, some extremely prestigious penthouses offering facilities to the highest international standards and providing some stunning views as well.
The standard of housing in Tanglin is in some ways even more impressive, in that this was the area first developed by British Colonialists in the nineteenth century, and so a number of the residential properties here are very large, well-established landed properties built in the colonial style and which remain, inevitably, the natural domain of the affluent and influential. It is not all venerable villas, however, and there are condominiums, apartments and townhouses available here as well, and these tend to be in low-rise blocks with landscaped gardens and that manage to maintain a secluded air. There are also modern detached and semi-detached properties that are ideal as family homes, as they are built to include plenty of living and entertainment areas and are located in quiet streets without too much traffic. In both Orchard and Tanglin, therefore, despite their very central location, it is nevertheless possible to escape into a more peaceful world, away from the organised chaos that is Orchard Road.
Tanglin is also very much embassy territory, and so residents in this part of town can be assured of having some top-drawer neighbours. The United States Embassy (27 Napier Road), the Australian High Commission (25 Napier Road), the British High Commission (100 Tanglin Road), the Chinese Embassy (150 Tanglin Road), the Indonesian Embassy (5J Chatsworth Road), the Pakistan High Commission (20A Nassim Road), the Embassy of Japan (16 Nassim Road) and the High Commission of Brunei Darussalam (325 Tanglin Road) are all to be found here. In addition, in the same neighborhood you can also find the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1 Sherwood Road), the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (2 Nassim Road), and the British Council (30 Napier Road).
Aside from the quality of the housing on offer (and the shopping, of course), there are numerous other benefits to living in Orchard and Tanglin. There are countless eateries, both high- and low-end and including some of the city’s finest restaurants, plenty of entertainment options for both children and adults, while health and beauty services abound, including some of the most luxurious spas that Singapore has to offer. Combined with the independent galleries, artisan cafés and antique shops that can be found throughout the district, it is easy to see why these remain two of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city. They provide a quality of metropolitan urban lifestyle that is hard to match, while at the same time still offering spacious family accommodation that takes you away from the hustle and bustle that is contemporary Singapore.
As a bonus, at the western end of Tanglin is the Singapore Botanic Gardens (1 Cluny Road), undoubtedly one of the jewels in Singapore’s crown. There is so much to see and do here (including specialist gardens for children and concerts in the pavilion) that you will never tire of visiting this oasis that has over 60,000 specimens and houses the exquisite National Orchid Garden. Living in this part of town also means that you are within easy reach of the Tanglin Club (5 Stevens Road), established in 1865 and one of the most prestigious Clubs in Singapore, and which provides members with extensive dining, sport and recreation facilities.
These districts are all well served with regards to medical and health facilities, meaning that you and your family are never far away from world-class medical assistance. Two of Singapore’s leading hospitals are here: Gleneagles Hospital (6A Napier Road), in the top 10 hospitals in the world for medical tourism; and Mt Elizabeth Hospital (3 Mount Elizabeth), accredited by JCI and providing 24 hour emergency services.
In addition, you’ll find Camden Medical Centre (1 Orchard Boulevard), a medical centre with over 65 private practices offering a comprehensive range of services, including dental practices catering for expats, such as Dr Catherine Lee Orthodontics and Smile Focus. Other dentists in the district include The Dental Specialist (19 Tanglin Road, #05-24 Tanglin Shopping Centre), who focusses on providing cosmetic, restorative and implant dentistry services.
As is the case throughout Singapore, you will also find innumerable private doctors and medical practices all over the district. Full lists of these practitioners and their locations in Orchard and Tanglin are provided by Singapore Health.
There are a couple of well-known international schools located within Orchard and Tanglin, although the majority tend to be in other nearby districts. However, you’ll find the Avondale Grammar School (318 Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park), the Overseas Family School (25F Paterson Road) and the International School Singapore—Elementary School and Middle School (25 Paterson Road) all within the neighborhood.
In addition, the majority of Singapore’s other leading international schools are within easy commuting distance and you will find that all of these offer a comprehensive bus network that picks up your children in the morning and then delivers them home again in the afternoon. Contact the schools and they will provide you with information regarding the bus services that they run.
Within Orchard and Tanglin you’ll also find several Ministry of Education primary and high schools and a number of pre-schools and kindergartens, including Little Raindrops Montessori Pre-school (2A Paterson Hill).
Access to Singapore’s expressways is straightforward from Orchard and Tanglin, meaning that travel to other parts of the island by car can be achieved fairly conveniently. For instance, you can enter straight on to the CTE (Central Island Expressway), the island’s main north-south highway, at the eastern edge of Orchard from Bideford Road. To the south of Tanglin runs the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE), an east-west link across Singapore, which you can access via Farrer Road or the CTE, while to the north is the Pan Island Expresway (PIE), also running east-west, which you can connect to via the CTE or from Adam Road.
The major MRT station in Orchard is Orchard (NS22), while Botanic Gardens MRT (CC19) is on the north edge of Tanglin. However, Somerset MRT (NS23) is not far from Orchard, while the important interchange station Dhoby Gaut (CC1/NE6/NS24) is only two stops away, allowing easy connections to all of Singapore’s lines. The area’s service will be enhanced with the opening of stages 2 and 3 of the Downtown Line, set to be operational in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Buses run the length and breadth of Orchard Road, coming from and going to all four corners of the island, and so travelling anywhere within the district or to other neighborhoods beyond by bus is easily done. There are bus stops all along Orchard Road and other roads that intersect it, including major thoroughfares like Orchard Boulevard, Scotts Road, Tanglin Road and Napier Road, and many other smaller roads as well. A number of the premium express bus services that operate to and from the CBD, connecting it with the suburbs, also stop on Orchard Road, while it is also the central hub of the night bus service (see Getting Connected).
If you’re taking taxis, it’s important to know that taxi drivers are not allowed to pick up or drop off passengers along main roads in the CBD (where buses run) between 7am-10pm (except on Sundays and public holidays). However, you can catch a cab or be dropped off at a designated taxi stand or within the premises of most major commercial, retail and office buildings.
Shops and Services
The retail shopping along Orchard Road and Tanglin Road is not only the very best in Asia, but also amongst the very best in the world. However, life can’t be about shopping for Cartier in glitzy malls everyday, and so if you are living here it’s useful to know where you can get hold of homewares, books and other more mundane, but equally as important necessities.
At Atomi (#04-27 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road) and CB2 (Peranakan Place Complex, 178A Orchard Road) you can stock up on goods for the kitchen and bathroom, or for items that are a little more offbeat, visit The Moongi Project (#B2-23/24 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road).
Gentlemen can replenish their stock of shirts for the office at JustMen’s Tailor (#01-36/39 Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Road), or if you need a new fridge or TV for your new home, try Best Denki (#05-01/04 Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road). If you prefer to spend your time reading, Kinokuniya (#03-09/10/15 Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road) is Singapore’s largest bookshop and conveniently stays open until 9.30pm during the week.
It’s also handy to know that in Orchard and Tanglin you’re never far from a Cold Storage in order to take care of everyday food and grocery shopping. You’ll find branches at Tanglin Shopping Centre (11 Cuscaden Road #01-01), Centrepoint (176 Orchard Road, #B1-14) and Takashimaya (391A Orchard Road, #B2-01-1 Ngee Ann City).