Exotic Singapore Geylang What To Expect and More
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Exotic Singapore Geylang: What To Expect and More

If you’re a traveller seeking an authentic taste of Singapore’s vibrant culture, Geylang is a must-visit destination. It promises to indulge your senses in a whirlwind of experiences. 

While Geylang is recognised for its licensed brothels and red-light district, it’s also important to appreciate the district’s multifaceted character, with religious sites, traditional bakeries, and cultural centres scattered amidst the modern-day attractions.

As they say in Geylang, life is vibrant, flavours are intense, and every corner holds a surprise that’s waiting to be discovered—so let’s go and discover them together!

General Info (What is Geylang most known for?)

— From escopetejake

A lot of folks might regard Geylang as one of the worst places in Singapore given its history of rioting and being a red-light district. 

Surprisingly, though Geylang spans 10 square kilometres (around 3.8 square miles), it confines its red-light district to the even-numbered lorongs in the southwestern part of the neighbourhood.

Up until the start of COVID-19 lockdowns, Geylang’s main road bustled with life, including activities in nightclubs, KTVs, and brothels. Housed mostly in terraced homes, there are an estimated hundred brothels in Geylang, though most are currently dormant.

Today, in post-circuit breaker times, it’s back to being a flavourful 1.6-mile eating-and-walking tour for those wanting to explore a variety of appetising establishments. 

Because while its even-numbered side streets host government-regulated brothels, Geylang’s main road remains a family and tourist attraction with its promises of exotic and filling food that’s a showcase of Peranakan cuisine.

Best Time to Go

— From viper_rtr46

Geylang is the place to be during the early evening when the hawker centres and food stalls come alive. 

Stalls usually operate throughout the lunch hours, starting from around 11 AM to 2 PM, and reopening for the dinner crowd around 5 PM until past 10 PM.

If you’re interested in experiencing Geylang’s nightlife and entertainment, the best time to go is in the late evening and night. However, keep in mind that certain establishments may have specific operating hours or be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

The best time to take pictures in Geylang, as in many other places, is during the golden hour. The warm, golden light can beautifully illuminate the buildings, temples, and streets, providing an excellent backdrop for your Instagram-worthy photos.

Remember that Geylang is a lively and busy district, so it’s essential to be respectful of people’s privacy while taking photos and to be mindful of the local customs and regulations. 

How to Get to Geylang

— From snow.aice

Address: Geylang East Central Street, Singapore 389448

Trains: Paya Lebar Station is particularly convenient for transferring to Geylang due to its accessibility on both the Circle and East-West Lines. Aside from Paya Lebar, you can get off the train at Aljunied or Eunos stations.

Buses: Take the 134, 51, or 80 Bus. Look for bus stops along major roads in Geylang, such as Geylang Road, Sims Avenue, and Guillemard Road. Bus stops are typically marked with the numbers of the bus services that stop there.

Car: Geylang has several one-way streets, so pay attention to road signs to avoid driving in the wrong direction. Also, parking in Geylang can be challenging due to the area’s popularity and limited parking spaces. 

Before you set out by car, research the available parking options in Geylang. Look for public parking lots, HDB parking lots, coupon parking zones, or Electronic Parking System (EPS) areas where you can park your car.

On foot: Wear comfortable walking or running shoes, as you’ll be strolling around for an extended period. Stick to the sidewalks when available and use designated pedestrian crossings when crossing roads for your safety.

Taxi alternatives: Grab and Gojek are popular ride-hailing services in Singapore, offering car and motorcycle rides. Using their mobile apps, you can book a ride to Geylang easily.

Things to See

— From taimanchan

Would you believe that Geylang also has a spiritual and religious side to it? It’s home to several religious sites representing the diverse cultural and religious fabric of Singapore.

1. Church of St. Stephen

— From edrhykdwight 

Address: 30 Sallim Rd, Singapore 387639

Website

Situated along Geylang Road, this Roman Catholic Church serves the local Christian community and features a beautiful neo-Gothic architectural style.

2. Sri Sivan Temple

Address: 24 Geylang East Ave 2, Singapore 389752

Hours: Daily, 6 AM to 12 PM, 5.30 PM to 9 PM

This Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is known for its stunning architecture and vibrant religious ceremonies.

3. Burmese Buddhist Temple

— From reychris90 

Address: 57 Lor 4 Geylang, Singapore 399296

Hours: Daily, 9 AM – 6 PM

Website

Located on Lorong 35 Geylang, this temple is a place of worship for Singapore’s Burmese community and showcases Burmese architecture and cultural elements.

4. Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple (Temple of 1,000 Lights)

Address: 366 Race Course Road, Singapore 218638

Hours: Daily, 8 AM – 4.30 PM

Website

Positioned on Race Course Road, this Buddhist temple houses a large Buddha statue and is adorned with thousands of flickering lights during festivals.

5. Masjid Khadijah Mosque

— From jeronimoloco 

Address: 583 Geylang Rd, Singapore 389522

Website

Located at Onan Road, this mosque is an iconic landmark in Geylang and serves as a spiritual centre for the local Muslim community.

Things to Do

Marvel at the street art

— From mycraftyfriendsophie

Address: Onan Road is a small street off Geylang Road, and the murals are located on the walls of buildings and shophouses along this street.

Hours: 24/7

Wander through Geylang’s streets and alleys to discover vibrant street art and murals adorning building walls. The area boasts unique artwork that adds an artistic touch to the neighbourhood.

While you’re at it, check out the Onan Road murals, a series of vibrant and eye-catching artworks that portray Singapore’s multicultural identity and history.

Step back in time at Katong Antique House

Address: 208 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428907

Hours: 11 AM – 4.30 PM

Step into the Katong Antique House, a museum-like home showcasing a vast collection of Peranakan antiques and artefacts. Experience the rich Peranakan heritage in this well-preserved house.

You’ll need to book an appointment before visiting the house, though. The entry fee is around S$15.

Browse books at the Geylang East Public Library

— From antroyce_snsd

Address: 50 Geylang East Ave 1, Singapore 389777

Hours: Daily, 10 AM – 9 PM

If you enjoy reading and seeking a peaceful retreat, spend some time at Geylang East Public Library, where you can browse an extensive collection of books and relax in a quiet environment.

Shop at traditional Geylang shops

— From foodie_tl

Immerse yourself in the old-world charm of Geylang by visiting traditional shops and stores selling various goods, from incense and traditional medicines to handicrafts and textiles.

Check out the Lorong 24A shophouses, which are as gorgeous as they’re intriguing. There, you’ll find everything from vintage Chinese instruments to flower shops.

Take a trip to Geylang Serai Market

— From sakoken_nekotabi 

Address: 1 Geylang Serai, Singapore 402001

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 6 AM – 9 PM; Sundays, 6 AM – 10 PM

Explore Geylang Serai Market, a bustling market that comes alive during Ramadan and festive seasons. Discover an array of Malay and Indonesian cuisine, traditional snacks, and festive goodies.

Check out sales in Paya Lebar Quarter Mall

— From jamie1612

Address: 10 Paya Lebar Rd, Singapore 409057

Hours: Daily, 10 AM – 10 PM

One of the shopping malls near Geylang is Paya Lebar Quarter Mall. It’s located in Paya Lebar Quarter, which is a mixed-use development in the Paya Lebar area of Singapore. 

The mall offers a wide range of retail shops, dining options, and entertainment facilities, making it a popular shopping destination for locals and tourists. It’s also easily accessible from Geylang by public transportation or car.

Where to Eat

— From medolyme

While Geylang has gained notoriety as a red-light district, its reputation as a culinary haven for adventurous food enthusiasts is equally fascinating. Here, the exotic becomes extraordinary, and every dish is an invitation to expand your culinary horizons. 

One of the standout delicacies you simply cannot miss is the famed frog porridge or soup. This dish might raise some eyebrows, but don’t let that deter you from experiencing its unique flavours, especially on a rainy day.

Other Peranakan must-tries are barbecued stingrays and the mouthwatering chilli crabs that Singapore has become famous for. Makan!

Geylang Lor 9 Fresh Frog Porridge

Geylang Lor 9 Fresh Frog Porridge

Address: 235 Geylang Road, Lorong 9 Geylang, Singapore 389294

Phone: 8688 8839

Operating hours: Daily, 11 AM – 4 AM

Pricing: $ 

Website

Here’s an OG Geylang eatery that’s open until 4 AM daily! Geylang Lor 9 Fresh Frog Porridge regulars adore its affordable Frog Porridge at just S$8.50 per serving.

It also offers dried chilli frog leg (from S$8.50) and ginger spring onion frog leg (from $8.50) options that are perfect with plain porridge (from S$2).

S7 Live Seafood & Frog Porridge Restaurant

S7 Live Seafood & Frog Porridge Restaurant

Address: 213/215 Geylang Road Singapore 389273

Phone: 6970 5676

Operating hours: Daily, 4 PM – 4 AM

Pricing: $$ 

Website

S7 Live Seafood & Frog Porridge is a popular Geylang spot known for seafood and zi char dishes. Its signature Frog Porridge (from S$18) offers a choice of dried chilli or ginger spring onion frog with clay pot porridge served separately.

Open till 4 am, it’s perfect for a late-night treat! The tasty and flavourful frog legs can be complemented with an extra porridge serving for S$3.80.

Chang Jiang G1 Claypot Frog Porridge

Chang Jiang G1 Claypot Frog Porridge

Address: 314 Geylang Road, Singapore 389353

Phone: 9830 6040

Operating hours: Daily, 12.30 PM to 11.30 PM

Pricing: $$ 

Website

Chang Jiang G1 Claypot Frog Porridge offers budget-friendly and tasty frog dishes. Try the White Frog Porridge (S$13) with three frogs in comforting white congee. 

The crowd favourites include 3 Dried Chilli Frogs (S$10) and Ginger Onion Frogs (S$10). But don’t miss the aromatic Frog Bee Hoon (S$20) with bee hoon, eggs, beansprouts, lard, and meaty frog on top.

Geylang Bahru Market and Food Centre

— From tracymon 

Address: 69 Geylang Bahru, Singapore 330069

Phone: +65 6225 5632

Operating hours: Monday to Saturday, 6 AM- 11.45 PM; Sundays, 7 AM – 11.45 PM

Pricing: $

The spicy sambal stingray BBQ at Geylang Bahru Market and Food Centre is a delightful and flavourful dish that tantalises the taste buds of seafood enthusiasts. 

This mouthwatering delicacy features a generous portion of stingray, grilled to perfection over an open flame until it’s tender and smoky. What sets this dish apart is the delectable sambal sauce generously slathered over the grilled stingray. 

Hao Zhang Ji Seafood BBQ

Hao Zhang Ji Seafood BBQ

— From Quandoo

Address: 530 Geylang Rd, Singapore 389486

Phone: +65 6846 0356

Operating hours: Daily, 4 PM – 4 AM

Pricing: $$ 

Website

Hao Zhang Ji Seafood BBQ, a small restaurant along Geylang Road, boasts a traditional Chinese cooking style, resulting in savoury dishes with a richer taste. 

Do note that its food tends to be saltier and more concentrated in flavours, so it’s best to order a carb dish with your seafood protein.

28 BBQ

— From euniverse_eats 

Address: 79 Circuit Road, #01-28, Singapore 370079

Operating hours: Daily, 4.30 PM – 9.30 PM

Pricing: $$ 

The perfectly cooked stingray at 28 BBQ boasts moist and tender flesh, flavourful sambal chilli, and a delightful wok hei. It’s irresistibly delicious! 

However, if you’re dining with someone else, order one stingray each, as sharing a big one isn’t enough for two. It’s simply too delicious to scrimp on!

No Signboard Seafood

Address: 414 Geylang Rd, Singapore 389392

Phone: +65 6842 3415 

Operating hours: Daily, 11 AM – 12.30 AM

Pricing: $$$ 

Website

No Signboard Seafood, a renowned zi char stall chain, is known for its iconic chilli crab. With decades of food heritage, it also offers crab delivery for those craving their famous dish at home. 

The restaurant’s long operating hours, open for 12 hours, make it a perfect spot for a midnight seafood feast.

G7 Live Seafood

Address: 163 Geylang Road, Lor 3 Geylang, Singapore 389239

Phone: +65 6848 4161

Operating hours: Daily, 3 PM – 3 AM

Pricing: $$ 

Website

Picture a dish that offers moist, sweet meat stir-fried in a thick, savoury sauce made from chilli paste, tomatoes, and eggs. It strikes the perfect sweet and spicy balance that’s ideal for a rainy day meal.

The sauce is so rich that you’ll need to pair G7 Live Seafood’s chilli crab with mantou (steamed bun) on the side to mop up every last mouth-watering drop!