Secret Singapore: Upcoming Neighbourhoods To Know

19 December 2016

A stopover in Asia and a popular destination in its own right, many Australian travellers are familiar with the world-class attractions, hotels and dining and shopping experiences that Singapore spruiks. Alongside well-known ethnic enclaves such as Little India, Chinatown, and the Arab-Malay area of Kampong Glam, each with its own distinct flavour, there are other rejuvenated residential and industrial neighbourhoods well worth a visit that are close to the city centre and all accessible on Singapore’s famous (and air-conditioned) MRT system.

Tiong Bahru in Singapore Tiong Bahru in Singapore. (Image: Singapore Tourism)

Tiong Bahru

West of Chinatown, Tiong Bahru is considered one of the most happening ‘hoods in Singapore. The city-state’s first housing estate retains its historic charm with rows of Art Deco shophouses, a wet market and hawker centre (a local favourite for breakfast) and even a World War II-era bunker. Head to Yong Siak Street for new eating establishments, such as the healthy haven that is Open Door Policy and the Aussie-owned 40 Hands for superior coffee and comfort food.

MRT: Tiong Bahru

Jalan Besar

Found at the eastern edge of Little India, the former industrial area of Jalan Besar (‘large road’ in Malay) used to trade in tyres. Now this hip ‘hood is home to a collection of stylish cafes, eclectic eateries and atmospheric bars. Try Chye Send Huat Hardware, a cafe dishing up coffee and small bites in a 1950s hardware store; Parisian-style tea salon Antoinette; and Druggists – a 23-tap craft beer bar and restaurant housed in the Singapore Chinese Druggists Association building.

MRT: Lavender

Holland Village

A popular hangout for expats, who love the laidback vibe, Holland Village is known as Singapore’s bohemian enclave with its mix of hipster cafes (the Monocle Shop is here), international eateries, beauty salons, crafty boutiques and a hawker centre along narrow Lorong Mambong street. Venture here after dark to sample ice-cream parlours or craft beer bars, depending on your vice of choice.

MRT: Holland Village

Katong & Joo Chiat in Singapore Katong and Joo Chiat in Singapore. (Image: Singapore Tourism)

 

Katong & Joo Chiat

A bastion of Peranakan (or Nyonya) heritage (a mix of Indian, Chinese, Malay and Indonesian cultures), the neighbourhoods of Katong and Joo Chiat in Singapore’s east is still a cultural melting pot and an Instagrammer’s dream. Head to where East Coast and Joo Chiat roads meet to find vibrantly hued two-storey Peranakan shophouses (Koon Seng Road also has iconic examples of this preserved architectural style) and traditional kebayas, sarongs and handicrafts alongside hip cafes and 1950s-era coffeeshops, where you can sample the famous Nyonya cuisine of laksas and bak chang – glutinous rice dumplings.

MRT: Eunos

.........................................................................................................................................................

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Singapore.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.