Singapore Ion Orchard mall road night

Singapore 2010: Day 2 – Orchard Road, mall-hopping… and already shopping

Date: 26th September 2010

We woke up late.

Thought I’d get that out of the way first. After a tiring first day (with barely any sleep), we made up for it by only getting up around 10:30am. And by the time we were out, it was already noon.

But today, the skies were clear and sunny.

Singapore Kampong Glam noon

Singapore Kampong Glam Muscat street
We were ready for brunch

Singapore Kampong Glam cafe alleySingapore Kampong Glam cafe brick streetSingapore Kampong Glam Nasrin restaurantSingapore Kampong Glam shopsSingapore Kampong Glam Arab areaSingapore Kampong Glam Bian's cafeSingapore Tan + Tsakonas office

But despite the plethora of eateries and cafes, ‘the vegetarian’ (my friend Ramesh) found nothing to his taste. So we decided to go to Little India.

Singapore Rochor Centre colourful apartments
Rochor Centre
Singapore Rochor Centre apartment hanging clothes dry
This is how apartment households in Singapore hang clothes out to dry

Singapore apartment hanging clothes out dryWhile the guys headed to Little India, I instead went to Sim Lim Square – Singapore’s famous IT mall.

Singapore Sim Lim Square buildingBeing a Sunday, few stores were closed but you still had plenty open.

Singapore Sim Lim Square Nikon storeI was looking for a good tripod and the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS USM I lens. Most stores didn’t have the latter in stock anymore but I did get a chance to try out the non-IS variant.

Singapore Sim Lim square tripod store
Taken on the 70-200 f2.8; these are unprocessed & only cropped — very impressed with the image quality!

Singapore Sim Lim Square Vangaurd tripodSeveral shops I entered asked  me why I needed the IS version and suggested that I simply go in for the non-IS version and buy a good tripod instead. Something I did give deep consideration later.

Singapore Sim Lim square floors
SIm Lim Square isn’t as big as Funan Digital Life mall — but still offers quite a lot

A few smaller shops did say they had the lens and it “could be arranged,” but I decided not to deal with them. After all, Sim Lim is equivalent to Bangkok’s Pantip Plaza — you have tread carefully when shopping here. You can get ripped off, at the same while scoring some really good deals.

Singapore Sim Lim Square SNSD Gee Samsung laptop
SNSD and other K-pop shown on laptops and TV screens was such a common sight

I had only made it to the second floor before my friends called and told me they were done with lunch. Since I had to catch up with them, I had to leave Sim Lim. Just like yesterday, I left disappointed knowing I couldn’t explore the mall in its entirety.

Singapore Sim Lim Square stores

Singapore Sim Lim Square escalator Indian KeraliteI grabbed a quick bite and made my way out.

As I stepped out and crossed the road in front of Sim Lim Square, I noticed crowds and street shops ahead of me.

Singapore Bugis Street shopping back entrance

Singapore Bugis Street shopping centre snake charmer
… and street ‘performers’ like this guy
Singapore Bugis Street Shopping centre Rochor
Turns out I was now inside the Bugis Street Shopping centre

Singapore Bugis street shopping centreSingapore Bugis Albert CentreBugis Street Shopping is the largest street shopping market in Singapore.

Singapore Bugis street shopping insideFor me, it wasn’t really impressive. Not after you have visited Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market (or JJ Market). In fact, a lot of the merchandise sold here was from Thailand — which obviously meant it was slightly more pricier here.

Singapore Bugis street shopping sex shopSingapore Bugis street shopping food

Singapore Bugis street shopping main front entrance
The main entrance to Bugis Street
Singapore Bugis Street shopping Iluma mall
We were really curious as to what this Iluma building was
Singapore Bugis iluma mall exterior
I thought it was some boutique hotel

I had to get to Suntec City to meet up with my friends, but instead of taking of the MRT, I just walked.

I passed through another mall, this time — Bugis Junction.

Singapore Bugis Square G.NA autograph session fan meet
K-pop star G.NA was going to be here in two days

Singapore Bugis square water fountain shoppingSingapore Bugis square water fountain

Singapore Bugis Square Porsche sports car
Spotted at Bugis Square. It was F1 weekend after all.

Singapore Victoria Street public library buildingSingapore Bugis Suntec City laneSingapore over bridge to Suntec city

Singapore city traffic diverted F1
Singapore’s roads aren’t this empty, just that traffic was diverted because of the race

After catching up with my friends, Ramesh made his way to the F1 tracks to begin his evening. While myself & Loi pondered what to do next. I had plans of going to Marina Bay Sand Casino to go up to the sky deck. When I had called them up earlier in the day, I was informed it was only open to visitors until 4pm, after which it would be off limits to non-guests.

We were inside CityLink Mall (yes, another mall in the area) when we decided to check out the HMV store.

Singapore CityLink mall HMV store

Singapore Jay Park HMV store
Damn, Jay Park was in Singapore yesterday! (Jay Park is an K-pop star who’s going to be big worldwide… trust me)

By the time we stepped out of the HMV store, we already spent SGD150 (around Rs. 5,100) on official band t-shirts — and it was past 4pm. So I pushed Marina Bay Sands for tomorrow and headed to Suntec City mall instead.

Singapore Suntec City Tropics Atrium

Singapore Suntec City Canon booth

Singapore Suntec City stores
This is just one section to Suntec City mall

After shopping some more at Suntec, we made our way back to Victoria Street where I had plans to show Loi the Bugis Street shopping centre.

Singapore National Library building
The Singapore National Library building

Singapore greenery trees BugisSingapore Victoria Street iluma mall signalBut lay before us was Iluma — the alluding building which I assumed was a boutique hotel.

Singapore iluma mall exterior design

Singapore iluma mall Victoria street
But upon closer inspection…
Singapore Iluma Mall entrance
… guess what…
Singapore Iluma mall interior design
… it’s just another mall

But a funky one at that. Iluma is a pretty cool mall mostly targeting a younger crowd. Despite its appearance, we didn’t find the usual selection of high-end designer brands. Instead, we came across stores like this:

Singapore iluma mall Comics Connection storeThe merchandise on display was good enough to draw me & Loi in. Nearly half-an-hour later, we step out after having spent some dime on anime merchandise.

Singapore iluma mall floor design
We window-shopped a bit more…
Singapore iluma Otaku House shop
…. before stepping into another nerd’s toy haven

Inside the Otaku House was more anime merchandise; more necklaces and keychains (like the ones we bought from Comics Connection), to cosplay outfits and other props for rent or purchase.

But we sighed… and quietly walked out, reminding ourselves that we had already spent enough and would soon run of Singapore currency at this rate.

It didn’t stop us from exploring the mall still.

Singapore iluma mall inside design
Pretty cool looking mall

The top-most floor houses what they claim to be Singapore’s largest arcade. And then there is the open roof top.

Singapore iluma roof top National Public Llibrary

Singapore sunset skyline iluma rooftop
You get a nice view of the Bugis surroundings from up here
Singapore Raffes hospital Bugis Victoria street
Victoria Street and Raffles Hospital in the distance

Singapore Raffes hospital Bugis junctionSingapore evening sky building iluma rooftop

Singapore iluma rooftop restaurants
There are a few rooftop restaurants up here

As we made our way down, I realized iluma was one of the more unique malls in Singapore. Not only does it look cool, it really manages to cater to a young crowd with more affordable options compared to the rest of Singapore’s malls.

Singapore iluma mall ground floor

After we stepped out of iluma, I took Loi to the Bugis Street Chopping centre.

Singapore Bugis Street shopping Tokyo ShopAnd by the time we were done with that, we were hungry. So we popped into the near by Burger King for a good ol’ beef burger

(Note: Beef burgers are a rarity in India due to religious sentiments so even McDs are too ‘chicken’ to serve beef burgers here).

Singapore Burger King Bugis

Anime jewelry necklace keychain Singapore purchase
Some of the anime merchandise we bought
Singapore iluma building lights night
iluma mall lights up at night

After this, we took the MRT to Orchard Road, our next destination.

I actually wanted to go back to Sim Lim Square, but Loi needed to meet his cousin — and since he didn’t have a local SIM, I had to tag along with him.

When we got to Orchard Road, we stepped right out to Ion Orchard mall.

Singapore Ion Orchard mall road night
There was some dance competition open to the public
Singapore Orchard road Ion Orchard dance contest
And this fat dude was getting a lot of fake screams from the women… so he kept dancing

Orchard Road is Singapore’s famous shopping stretch (as if the rest of the city didn’t offer enough already), home to many star hotels and a very popular stop for tourists.

And boy, does this one-way road live up to its reputation!

Singapore Lucky Plaza Orchard road
Opposite ION Orchard, Lucky Plaza is very popular among Filipinos working in Singapore
Singapore Ngee Ann city mall orchard road
Ngee Ann City mall, the largest mall on Orchard Road
Singapore Takashimaya shopping center Orchard road
Popular for housing Japanese department store Takashimaya
Inside Ngee Ann city mall Singapore
You can get into Ngee Ann city to get to the underpass which comes out the other side of Orchard Road

Inside Ngee Ann City mall fountain Singapore

Singapore Paragon Tod's Prada Miu Miu Orchard road
Paragon, a high-end mall housing luxury brands like miu miu, Prada and more

Once Loi met up with his cousin, I was on my own to explore the rest of Orchard Road for some time.

I got back to the other side to continue from where I left off.

Singapore Emporio Armani store Orchard road
Next up, Mandarin Gallery
Singapore Orchard road street performer gold
You’ll find a few street performers on Orchard Road… and for the love of god, do not taunt them like a few tourists did. They don’t like it.

Singapore Orchard Road woman bikini sculpture

Singapore Orchard Road female bikini sculpture
This can be found in front of the Mandarin Gallery

Singapore Mandarin Gallery Orchard road

Singapore Tourism Visitors center Orchard road
This is the Singapore Tourism office where you can get info, maps, make reservations and such
Singapore Courts electronics store Orchard road
Courts is a large multi-storey electronics store
Singapore bus stop bed ad Orchard road
Pretty innovative ad

Singapore Orchard Road old building traffic signalSingapore Orchard Road The Centrepoint mall RobinsonsSingapore Orchard road mall escalator

Singapore Orchard Central mall Orchard road
This was a pretty cool looking mall

Singapore Orchard Central mall lights Orchard roadSingapore Orchard road Orchard Plaza Hotel GrandSingapore Orchard road green grass treesAfter this point, the malls slowly disappeared.

Singapore Orchard road art gate monument

Singapore Orchard road Orchard Central signal
Crossed to the other side and made my way back

Singapore Orchard road crossing Meritus Mandarin hotel

Singapore Orchard road Tangs store
Tangs is a local department store
Singapore Orchard road Wisma Atria mall
The Orchard Road MRT station is connected to Wisma Atria mall
Singapore Orchard road Ion Orchard Paterson road junction
Ion Orchard, from across the road

After catching up with my friend Loi, we decided to see off his cousin at the bus stop and take one ourselves as we hadn’t done so yet.

Singapore Orchard road Ion Loiyumba cousin
My friend Loi with his cousin sister who studies in Singapore
Singapore sbs transit bus inside
The buses use the same MRT cards

Since we didn’t really know where to get down, we just got off at the end of Orchard Road.

Singapore Orchard road Plaza Singapura Carrefour
There were still more malls this side

Singapore Cathay Mall 75 years oldAs I looked at the map, we realized that Victoria Street wasn’t very far from where we were currently, so I asked Loi if we could just keep walking.

Singapore School of the Arts campus building
The School of the Arts Singapore campus
Singapore YMCA hostel building
We passed by quite a lot of landmarks

It was nearing 11pm, so we stepped into a food court to have dinner and to quench our thirst with some beer.

Singapore Kopitiam food court 24 hours
Open 24 hours, Kopitiam has mostly Chinese and Pan-Asian fare
Singapore Kopitiam roast honey duck pork
We weren’t really hungry so we just had roast duck and pork with our beer

Singapore Kopitiam Master Duck counterAfter ‘dinner,’ we resumed our walk towards our hostel.

Singapore Arts Museum night sculptures
This was the Singapore Arts Museum

Singapore Arts Museum building nightSingapore Victoria Street church junctionI couldn’t help but remind ourselves how good a location we chose to be stay in, given how close we were to a lot of what Singapore has to offer (especially if you a re shopaholic!).

Singapore Management University building
Singapore Management University campus

Singapore Victoria street at night building

Singapore Bugis street shopping closed night
The Bugis Street Shopping centre… closed
Singapore Kampong Glam at night Sultan Mosque
Sultan Mosque down the street

Singapore Kampong Glam trees moon sky

Singapore Old Street cafe & bar hotel
Santa Grand Hotel Bugis is in front of ABC Hostel

We were finally back in our room…. oh wait, we ran out of drinking water.

(Steps out again)

Singapore Kampong Glam Al Baik Mariam restaurantSingapore Kampong Glam cats at nightSingapore Kampong Glam Biriyani Bistro restaurantSingapore Kampong Glam wall grafittiOnce back from the nearby 7-Eleven I was finally done with day 2! As we checked out out our merchandise, we also counted how much we had already spent and soon realized we were running out of Singapore dollars.

We just had one more day left in Singapore, so it was either going to be Sentosa or the Singapore Zoo. I also wanted to hit the sky deck at Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino.

Would I be able to do it all?

Well…


Other posts in this series:

Singapore & Malaysia 2010: Planning and preparing for the trip

Singapore 2010: Day 1 – Little India, CBD, Clarke Quay, China Town… and a lot of walking

Singapore 2010: Day 3 – Singapore Zoo, Marina Bay Sands; leaving Singapore for Penang

Malaysia 2010: Day 4 — One day in Penang (Around Georgetown, Gurney Drive, Penang Hill)

Malaysia 2010: Day 5 — Langkawi (Ferry ride from Penang, Cable car & Sky Bridge)

Malaysia 2010: Day 6 — Langkawi (Island hopping tour, Pantai Tengah beach, Night market)

Malaysia 2010: Day 7 — Kuala Lumpur (Low Yat Plaza, Petronas Towers, Jalan Alor)

Malaysia 2010: Day 8 — Kuala Lumpur (Batu Caves, Petaling Street/China Town)

Malaysia 2010: Day 9 — Kuala Lumpur (KLCC Aquaria, Merdeka Square, KL Tower observation deck)

Malaysia 2010: Leaving Kuala Lumpur… and about going back

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2 Comments

  • Joanne Chan

    09/02/2012

    Hi!

    My name is Joanne and I’m a final year student from NTU (Communication Studies) doing a final year project on dying trades in Singapore. The project is an interactive website.

    My groupmates and I are actually looking for photos of people doing dying trades, as we have a part of the website that is based on contributions of photos from the public.

    I came across your photo of the snake charmer and I was wondering if you were willing to contribute your photo to our website? We will credit the photo accordingly. (:

    Please do feel free to email me at joannecht89@gmail.com if you do have any queries.

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Joanne

    [Reply]

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    I know I’m 3 years late…. but I don’t know why I never saw this comment until now. Sorry 🙁 Hope you are doing well post graduation.

    [Reply]

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