If you’re looking for something off the beaten path in Singapore, this might be it! Tiong Bahru is a historic district in Singapore that’s famous for its well-preserved traditional architecture and history. It derives its name from the former Tiong Bahru Estate, which was named for the Malay word for “new village”. The area used to be home to many government housing projects during World War II and later relocated into newer public housing estates around Singapore by 1950s and 1960s.
Today, Tiong Bahru has become a popular destination for tourists looking for local cuisine and heritage buildings restored by local artisans who have turned them into galleries, cafes, shops and offices. If you’d like to know more about Tiong Bahru, read on for our guide to the neighbourhood.
- Brief overview of Tiong Bahru, a neighborhood in Singapore
- History of Tiong Bahru
- Attractions in Tiong Bahru
- Accommodation and Getting Around in Tiong Bahru
- Tips for those visiting Tiong Bahru for the first time
- Video: Tatler Tours: Cheryl Wee Takes Us Around Tiong Bahru
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. What is Tiong Bahru known for?
- 2. What are some popular things to do in Tiong Bahru?
- 3. Are there any historic sites in Tiong Bahru?
- 4. What is the best way to get to Tiong Bahru?
- 5. Are there any good places to eat in Tiong Bahru?
- 6. Are there any good places to stay in Tiong Bahru?
- 7. Are there any good places to shop in Tiong Bahru?
- 8. Are there any parks in Tiong Bahru?
- Final Thoughts
Brief overview of Tiong Bahru, a neighborhood in Singapore
Tiong Bahru is a neighborhood in Singapore known for its pre-war architecture and rich history. The area was developed in the 1920s and 1930s by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), and many of the original buildings, such as the iconic Tiong Bahru Estate, have been well-preserved. The neighborhood is also known for its art deco architecture and charming shophouses.
Popular attractions in Tiong Bahru include the Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre, which is a must-visit for those interested in local cuisine. Tiong Bahru Park is a great spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic, and the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail is a great way to explore the neighborhood’s rich history and architecture. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the many independent art galleries and shops in Tiong Bahru, and foodies will love the diverse dining options in the area, from traditional hawker stalls to trendy cafes and restaurants. Additionally, Tiong Bahru is also known for its bookshops, antique shops and vintage record stores.
History of Tiong Bahru
Before we take a look at the Tiong Bahru that you’ll meet today, let’s look back on how this historic neighborhood came to be. Tiong Bahru was originally a kampong, or village, that formed around the turn of the 20th century. Back then, it was known as Kampong Kolam Ayer and was home to many Malay families. In 1937, a developer named Lim Nee Soon purchased some land in Tiong Bahru and began developing it into housing estates.
Origin of the neighborhood’s name
The name “Tiong Bahru” translates to “New Cemetery” in Hokkien, and it is believed that the area was named as such because it was once a cemetery for the Hokkien community. The neighborhood was developed in the 1920s and 1930s by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), which was a government agency responsible for public housing.
How Tiong Bahru developed over the years
During the 1920s and 1930s, Tiong Bahru was a bustling neighborhood with a mix of residential and commercial buildings, including marketplaces, shops, and cinemas. The SIT constructed many of the buildings in the area, including the iconic Tiong Bahru Estate, which is a complex of three-story walk-up apartments and is considered one of the city’s first public housing estates. The majority of the buildings in Tiong Bahru are Art Deco style, which is a popular architectural style from the 1930s.
Over the years, Tiong Bahru has undergone various transformations, but it has managed to maintain its charm and character. In the 1990s, the government launched an effort to revitalize the neighborhood and preserve its heritage. Today, Tiong Bahru is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, known for its pre-war architecture, charming shophouses, and vibrant arts and culture scene.
Famous landmarks and historical sites
Famous landmarks and historical sites in Tiong Bahru include the Tiong Bahru Estate, Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre, Tiong Bahru Park, Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail, and Tiong Bahru Plaza, and Tiong Bahru Library. Additionally, Tiong Bahru is home to many churches like the St. Anthony’s Church and the Tiong Bahru church, which are notable for their architecture and historical significance.
So, if you’re planning to visit this neighborhood, you should well know that a day is probably not enough to cover everything. We’ll detail in the following sections some of the must-visit places in Tiong Bahru that you should not miss.
Attractions in Tiong Bahru
This section lists some of the attractions that you should not miss when visiting Tiong Bahru. The list includes the iconic Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre, Tiong Bahru Park, Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail, and more.
Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre
Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre is a must-visit for any food lover visiting Singapore. This bustling hawker center is located in the heart of the Tiong Bahru neighborhood and offers a wide variety of local cuisine, from traditional favorites like laksa and char kway teow, to lesser-known dishes like pig organ soup and oyster omelette. The market is housed in a modern and clean building, with a wide variety of food stalls to choose from.
The vendors are friendly and more than happy to give recommendations, and you can find almost any type of local cuisine in the food center. From the fragrant aroma of freshly cooked dishes to the lively chatter of patrons and vendors, the Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre is the perfect place to experience Singapore’s vibrant food culture.
It’s also a great spot to try some local breakfast delights like Kaya Toast, Soft-boiled eggs, and Kopi. This hawker center is a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines, where you can savor the flavors of Singapore while mingling with locals and tourists alike.
Tiong Bahru Park
Tiong Bahru Park is a peaceful oasis in the bustling neighborhood of Tiong Bahru. This picturesque park offers visitors a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax amidst lush greenery and tranquil surroundings. The park is a great spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic, with plenty of benches and open spaces to enjoy. The park also features a playground for children, a fitness corner for adults, and a jogging track for fitness enthusiasts.
One of the main features of the park is the Tiong Bahru Park’s man-made waterfall. The park also boasts of an array of plant life, with a diverse collection of plants and trees, including the popular Bamboo Garden. The park is also home to a variety of birds and butterflies, making it a great spot for birdwatching and wildlife observation. With its serene atmosphere and natural beauty, Tiong Bahru Park is a must-visit for anyone looking for a peaceful escape in the city.
Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail
The Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail is a must-do for visitors interested in Singapore’s rich history and architecture. The trail spans across the neighborhood and takes visitors on a journey through Tiong Bahru’s past and present, highlighting the area’s unique blend of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne architecture.
The trail starts at the Tiong Bahru MRT station and leads visitors past some of the neighborhood’s most iconic buildings, including the Tiong Bahru Estate, which is considered one of the city’s first public housing estates. Along the way, visitors will also come across charming shophouses, quaint cafes, and beautiful murals that showcase the area’s rich cultural heritage.
The trail is a great way to explore Tiong Bahru’s past, present and also its future, as it will also show the ongoing revitalization and preservation efforts in the neighborhood. It’s a perfect blend of old and new, making it a unique experience that visitors should not miss.
Art and culture scene in Tiong Bahru
Tiong Bahru is a neighborhood that boasts a vibrant art and culture scene. The area is home to numerous independent art galleries, including the Utterly Art gallery, which is dedicated to promoting local and regional artists. Visitors can also find many street murals and street art scattered throughout the neighborhood, which add to the area’s unique charm and character. Additionally, Tiong Bahru also has a vibrant design scene, from furniture to fashion, as it is home to many independent designers and boutiques.
For those interested in the literary arts, Tiong Bahru is home to several bookshops, including BooksActually, which is a popular independent bookstore known for its curated selection of books and unique merchandise. Tiong Bahru also hosts various cultural events throughout the year, such as the Tiong Bahru Festival, which is an annual event that celebrates the neighborhood’s arts, culture, and heritage.
Tiong Bahru’s art and culture scene reflects the neighborhood’s dynamic and diverse community, and it is a perfect destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in Singapore’s creative scene. Whether you’re an art lover, a design enthusiast, or simply someone looking for a unique and culturally-rich experience, Tiong Bahru has something to offer.
Shopping and dining options
Tiong Bahru is a foodie’s paradise, with a wide variety of dining options to suit every taste and budget. The Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre is a must-visit for those interested in local cuisine, with over 30 food stalls serving up a variety of delicious hawker fare, from chicken rice to laksa to dim sum. The market is a great place to try traditional Singaporean dishes and sample local flavors. For those looking for something a bit more upscale, Tiong Bahru has plenty of trendy cafes and restaurants to choose from, offering everything from artisanal coffee and pastries to fusion cuisine and international fare. The Tiong Bahru area is also known for its diverse food options, from Chinese, and Malay to Indian, which is a reflection of Singapore’s multicultural society.
Shopping in Tiong Bahru is also a unique experience, with a mix of independent boutiques, vintage shops, and art galleries. The area is home to several independent bookshops, antique shops, and vintage record stores, where you can find unique and hard-to-find items. The Tiong Bahru Plaza is a popular shopping destination, with a wide range of shops and services, including a grocery store, cafes, and a cinema. Additionally, Tiong Bahru is also home to many local designers, artisans, and craftsmen, who sell their work at the many weekend markets and pop-up events in the area.
Accommodation and Getting Around in Tiong Bahru
Tiong Bahru is a historic neighborhood in Singapore known for its pre-war architecture and unique local shops and restaurants. Accommodation options in the area include:
Hotels and guesthouses:
- The Tiong Bahru Hotel: This hotel is located in the heart of the Tiong Bahru neighborhood and features modern rooms with city views.
- Hotel Mono: A boutique hotel that offers minimalist rooms and a rooftop bar.
- The InnCrowd Hostel: A budget-friendly option for travelers looking for a more communal experience.
Serviced apartments and vacation rentals:
- Tiong Bahru Suites: This serviced apartment complex offers fully furnished units with kitchenettes, perfect for long-term stays.
- Tiong Bahru Residences: A collection of vacation rentals that range from studio apartments to multi-bedroom units.
Transportation options for getting to Tiong Bahru include:
- MRT: Tiong Bahru MRT station is on the East-West line, making it easily accessible by subway.
- Bus: Many bus routes pass through Tiong Bahru, making it easy to get there by public transportation.
- Taxis: Taxis are readily available throughout Singapore and can be hailed on the street or booked through a ride-hailing app.
- Walking: Tiong Bahru is a relatively compact neighborhood and many of its attractions can be easily explored on foot.
Tips for those visiting Tiong Bahru for the first time
- Take a stroll through Tiong Bahru’s charming streets and admire its pre-war architecture: Tiong Bahru is known for its charming pre-war architecture, which can be seen in its shophouses and public housing estates. Take a walk through the streets to admire the unique design and history of the area.
- Visit Tiong Bahru Market for a taste of local street food and fresh produce: Tiong Bahru market is a great place to experience local Singaporean street food and fresh produce. It’s a great spot to try out some local delicacies, and you’ll find a wide variety of options here.
- Stop by Tiong Bahru Bakery for a delicious pastry or sandwich: Tiong Bahru Bakery is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. They offer a wide variety of pastries, sandwiches, and other baked goods that are all delicious.
- Visit the Tiong Bahru Heritage Centre to learn about the neighborhood’s history and culture: The Tiong Bahru Heritage Centre is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the Tiong Bahru neighborhood. The center offers exhibits, guided tours, and other educational opportunities.
- Take a break at one of Tiong Bahru’s many cafes and coffee shops: Tiong Bahru has many great cafes and coffee shops where you can take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Some popular options include 40 Hands and Tiong Bahru Bakery Cafe.
- Explore Tiong Bahru’s unique shops and boutiques: Tiong Bahru is home to many unique shops and boutiques that offer a wide range of items, from clothing and accessories to home decor and gifts. Some popular options include BooksActually and Naiise.
- Take a walk or bike ride through Tiong Bahru Park and enjoy the tranquil gardens and views of the city: Tiong Bahru Park is a peaceful spot in the middle of the city where you can take a walk or bike ride and enjoy the tranquil gardens and views of the city.
- Visit the nearby Tanjong Pagar district for more dining and shopping options: The Tanjong Pagar district is just a short walk from Tiong Bahru and offers more dining and shopping options. It’s a great place to explore for those looking for more options.
- Visit Tiong Bahru’s temples and churches: Tiong Bahru is home to several temples and churches, including Tiong Bahru Temple and St. Anthony’s Church. These religious sites are worth a visit to learn more about the cultural and religious heritage of the area.
- Use the MRT and buses to get around Tiong Bahru and the rest of Singapore: The MRT and buses are fast and efficient ways to get around Tiong Bahru and the rest of Singapore. They are a great option for those who want to avoid the traffic and explore the city with ease.
Video: Tatler Tours: Cheryl Wee Takes Us Around Tiong Bahru
In this video, Chery Wee for Tatler Singapore takes us around Tiong Bahru to show us what the area has to offer. She also gives us a glimpse of its history and culture, which is important when exploring a new city. Tiong Bahru is a great place to visit if you want to get a glimpse of Singapore’s history and culture. It’s also a great place for those who want to avoid crowds in other parts of the city.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Tiong Bahru known for?
Tiong Bahru is known for its pre-war architecture, charming streets, and unique local shops and restaurants. The neighborhood is also known for its Tiong Bahru Market, which offers a wide variety of local street food and fresh produce.
2. What are some popular things to do in Tiong Bahru?
Some popular things to do in Tiong Bahru include taking a stroll through the neighborhood’s charming streets, visiting Tiong Bahru Market, stopping by Tiong Bahru Bakery, and exploring the area’s unique shops and boutiques.
3. Are there any historic sites in Tiong Bahru?
Yes, Tiong Bahru has several historic sites, including the Tiong Bahru Heritage Centre, which offers exhibits and guided tours about the neighborhood’s history and culture. Additionally, Tiong Bahru is home to several temples and churches, including Tiong Bahru Temple and St. Anthony’s Church.
4. What is the best way to get to Tiong Bahru?
The best way to get to Tiong Bahru is by MRT, as Tiong Bahru MRT station is on the East-West line. Additionally, many bus routes pass through Tiong Bahru, making it easy to get there by public transportation. Taxis and ride-hailing apps are also readily available throughout Singapore.
5. Are there any good places to eat in Tiong Bahru?
Tiong Bahru has many great places to eat, including Tiong Bahru Market, which offers a wide variety of local street food and fresh produce. Additionally, Tiong Bahru Bakery and Tiong Bahru Bakery Cafe are popular destinations for delicious pastries and sandwiches.
6. Are there any good places to stay in Tiong Bahru?
Yes, Tiong Bahru has several good places to stay, including hotels and guesthouses like The Tiong Bahru Hotel and Hotel Mono, and serviced apartments and vacation rentals like Tiong Bahru Suites and Tiong Bahru Residences.
7. Are there any good places to shop in Tiong Bahru?
BooksActually is a popular bookstore that offers a wide range of books, including local and international titles. They also carry a variety of unique gifts and souvenirs that are perfect for book lovers. The bookstore is known for its cosy atmosphere, knowledgeable staff and frequent book-related events such as author meet and greets and book clubs.
Naiise is a popular design-centric store that offers a wide range of products, including home decor, fashion, and lifestyle goods. The store features a carefully curated selection of products from local and international designers, and is known for its unique and stylish offerings.
Additionally, there are other options for shopping in Tiong Bahru like The Little Drom Store, which offers a curated selection of unique and locally-made products, including clothing, accessories, and home decor. Another option is The Social Space, a lifestyle store featuring a curated collection of home decor, fashion and lifestyle products from local and international brands.
8. Are there any parks in Tiong Bahru?
Yes, Tiong Bahru Park is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some greenery and fresh air. The park is perfect for a leisurely walk or a bike ride, and it’s a great spot to relax and take in the views of the city. There is also fitness equipment available in the park for those looking to get some exercise. The park is also popular with locals and visitors alike, so it’s a great place to meet new people and experience the community. Additionally, the park has a playground for children.
In summary, Tiong Bahru is a must-visit destination for those looking to experience a different side of Singapore. With its charming streets, unique local shops and restaurants, and historic sites, Tiong Bahru offers a glimpse into the city’s past and present. Whether you’re interested in local culture, and history, or just looking for a great place to eat and shop, Tiong Bahru has something for everyone. So next time you’re in Singapore, be sure to add Tiong Bahru to your itinerary and discover the hidden gems of this historic neighborhood.