A Neighborhood of Nostalgic Heritage A Guide to Tiong Bahru
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A Neighborhood of Nostalgic Heritage: A Guide to Tiong Bahru

The central area of Singapore has some of the best neighborhoods, and one of the underrated ones that you should check out is Tiong Bahru.

Tiong Bahru is a housing estate that has been around since the 1920s, making it one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore. So the neighborhood is chock-full of heritage landmarks. 

It’s also home to countless restaurants, shops, and even nightclubs.

Indeed, there are just so many things to do in Tiong Bahru! If you’re looking for suggestions, then read on. 

Things to Know

History and Background

Located within the Bukit Merah Planning Area, Tiong Bahru was constructed in the 1920s as a test case for a public housing estate. 

The land was hilly and swampy. It also had several cemeteries, which were removed during the construction of the estate.

Aside from being a residential area, Tiong Bahru was also known as a “den of beauties” at the time because it was where men would hide their mistresses. There was also a growing population of “pipa girls,” which is a polite term for prostitutes. 

Over the next few years, Tiong Bahru underwent several changes. In the 2000s, in particular, it became gentrified, and now, the neighborhood is known for its trendy cafes and boutique shops amidst historical buildings. 

How to Get There

MRT: Riding the MRT is the best way to get to Tiong Bahru. You only have to take the train and alight at the Tiong Bahru MRT station.

Bus: Another mode of public transportation you can take to Tiong Bahru is the bus. Ride any of the following bus services: 123, 16, 33, 63, or 851. The neighborhood has several bus stops, so you can disembark anywhere.  

Taxi or Ride-Hailing App: If you prefer privacy when traveling, you can hail a taxi or book a ride from a ride-hailing app to get to Tiong Bahru.

Best Time to Visit

Any time is the best time to visit Tiong Bahru. It all really boils down to your personal preference. 

For example, if your goal is to go sightseeing around Tiong Bahru, you’d be better off coming here during the daytime. However, if you’d like to party with your friends, then visiting at night is the better option.

What to Do

Explore Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter

Address: 78 Guan Chuan St, Block 78 Block 78, Singapore 160078

If you love history, then you’ll love visiting this historical landmark in Tiong Bahru. As you can gather from the name, the Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter is a building that was constructed during World War II to protect residents from air raids. 

Walking inside this air raid shelter makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The interior is spacious but dark and without any ventilation, so you can only imagine the terror people felt when they had to hide here. 

Keep in mind that as of writing, this air raid shelter is indefinitely closed.

Enjoy a relaxing stroll at Tiong Bahru Park 

Address: 1 Henderson Rd, Singapore 159561
Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

If you just want a day of quiet fun, then head to Tiong Bahru Park. 

Developed in 1967, this park truly is a haven of tranquility in the midst of a bustling neighborhood. You can enjoy a casual stroll, work out in the exercise corner, or even play in the playground (who says adults can’t have fun?).

When you’re tired, there’s a foot reflexology footpath where you can get a relaxing foot massage at no cost!

Hunt for beautiful murals and street paintings

One thing I love about visiting Tiong Bahru is that you can find murals and other street paintings on almost every corner. These artwork pieces convey everyday, nostalgic scenarios that paint a picture of what it’s like to live here. 

My favorite murals have to be the ones by Yip Yew Chong. His “Pasar Tiong Bahru” features an everyday scenario of hawkers selling local dishes and people buying and enjoying them; meanwhile, “Home” is a depiction of a casual day at home. 

Go on a heritage tour

Since Tiong Bahru is a neighborhood steeped in history, one of the best things to do here is to go on a heritage tour. Doing so will give you a much better insight into what life is like here; it will also give you a snapshot of its past. 

Luckily, there is a Tiong Bahru heritage trail. If you want to take on this trail, here are some of the waypoints you should visit. 

Monkey God Temple

Address: 44 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 169786

The Monkey God Temple, officially known as the Tiong Bahru Qi Tian Gong, may not seem like a temple at first glance. After all, it’s a small attap hut located within a taro garden, so it’s easy to assume that it’s a shop and dining spot.

But when you step inside, you’ll spot many statues of Sun Wu Kong, the monkey king from Wu Chen-en’s 16th-century fable “Journey to the West.” One of the statues is even a century old!

Tiong Bahru Community Center

Address: 67A Eu Chin St, Singapore 169715
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—10 am to 6 pm
Contact Number: +6562230748

The Tiong Bahru Community Center was constructed in 1951 as a place where residents can come together and organize activities for the community. Before that, the building that houses the community center was once a standalone air raid shelter. 

Right now, the community center is very active. Film shows, weekend dances, and other forms of entertainment are often hosted here, so if you want to see what the community is up to, stop by this center!

Seng Poh Garden

Address: 78 Guan Chuan St, Singapore 160078
Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Sandwiched between residential blocks and commercial venues, Seng Poh Garden is almost a secret spot that only locals know. It’s here where they go for their morning walk or take a break from their busy lives. 

If a time of serenity sounds good to you, head to this garden. You can enjoy a relaxing walk or sit down on any of the benches as you read a book or nibble on a delicious snack. 

While you’re here, don’t pass up the chance to spot the Dancing Girl Sculpture. This sculpture was created by Lim Nang Seng, who was the leading sculptor in Singapore in the 1970s, and it depicts a girl doing a joyful harvest dance. 

Where to Eat

Tiong Bahru Market

Address: 52 Tiong Bahru Rd, Singapore 168716
Pricing: $

In my opinion, the best way to experience a neighborhood is by eating the local cuisine. So, if you’re in Tiong Bahru, you should stop by Tiong Bahru Market, a hawker center that boasts some of the best food in the area. 

This center may seem unassuming, but some of its stalls have been acknowledged by the Michelin Guide! Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee and Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice are two examples, and I recommend starting with them.

My other favorites include Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice (the curry rice is just top-tier here) and Skirt and Dirt (yes, there’s a burger spot in this hawker center!).

Beo Crescent Market

Address: 38A Beo Cres, Singapore 169982
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Saturday—6 am to 8 pm
  • Sunday—6 am to 7:30 pm

Pricing: $
Contact Number: +6562255632

Tiong Bahru Market isn’t the only hawker center worth checking out in Tiong Bahru. Another one that you should visit is Beo Crescent Market. 

This food center may not have as many options as its more famous neighbor, but it definitely has some great yet affordable stalls. My favorites are the prawn noodles from Loi Kee Cooked Food Prawn Noodles and the egg fried rice from Chef Wang Fried Rice. 

Other noteworthy stalls are Cantonese Claypot Rice, Soon Heng Lor Mee, and Kia Xiang Du Du Nyonya Kueh.


Address: 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19, Singapore 162078
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Thursday—6 to 11 pm
  • Friday—6 pm to 12 am
  • Saturday—12 to 4 pm, 6 pm to 12 am
  • Sunday—12 to 4 pm, 6 to 11 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $$$
Contact Number: +6564384567

If you’re a night owl, Bincho should spark your interest. This is an izakaya restaurant, which literally means “stay drink place” in Japanese. 

The said restaurant is only open at night. In other words, it’s the perfect place for a casual night out with your crew!

Here, you can enjoy Asian dishes of the finest quality. The bestselling meals are the grilled A4 omi Wagyu and the grilled New Zealand lamb chop

As for dessert, don’t miss out on the warabimochi (made from bracken starch and covered in sweet toasted soybean flour and kuromitsu syrup) or the matcha monaka (azuki bean paste sandwiched between two thin wafers and soy caramel). 

Coq & Balls

Address: 16 Kim Tian Rd, Kai Fook Mansion, Singapore 169251
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—12 to 11 pm
Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6569088131

I have to admit that the name is the first thing that caught my attention; I mean, Coq & Balls, how can I not notice it? Apparently, this name is a play on words because it’s founded by a group of men, and they primarily serve cocktails here.

Aside from the punny name, another thing I love about this bar is its very chill atmosphere; you can easily spend hours here just eating and chatting with your companions. The staff is also very friendly, so you’ll feel right at home in this restaurant. 

The food here doesn’t disappoint as well. They serve dishes with interesting flavor combinations. 

For example, they have a duck pizza with teriyaki sauce and creamy egg and a pasta dish that tastes like a tom yum seafood soup!

Sin Hoi Sai Seafood Restaurant

Address: 55 Tiong Bahru Rd, #01-59, Singapore 160055
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—4 pm to 4 am
Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6562230810

Sin Hoi Sai Seafood Restaurant has been featured in the Michelin Guide, so you can expect to find nothing but greatness here.

What I love about this seafood restaurant is that they offer live seafood only; you can even select your preferred sea animal from a tank! There’s also a good variety of meals here; the chili and black pepper crabs are the best, in my opinion. 

If you want to eat something that’s not seafood, they offer other meats as well. My favorites are the coffee pork ribs, salt and pepper pork, and the ginger and spring onion chicken.

The Butcher’s Wife

Address: 19 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168650
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Friday—12 to 2:30 pm
  • Saturday—11:30 am to 2:30 pm, 6 to 9:30 pm
  • Sunday—11:30 am to 2:30 pm, 6 to 9 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $$$
Contact Number: +6562219307

The Butcher’s Wife is a unique restaurant in the sense that it specializes in 100% gluten-free cuisine. So, if you’re looking for places that serve gut-friendly dishes, you should stop by here. 

When I come by this restaurant, I always love to start with the cassava fries with kimchi tartar sauce, then I jump straight to the ribeye steak with chimichurri and fermented shrimp-peanut sauce. Of course, I also order fresh juice to wash down everything.

Caffe Pralet

Address: 17 Eng Hoon St, #01-04 Eng Hoon Mansions, Singapore 169767
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—9 am to 6 pm
Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6583180698

If you’re looking for a breakfast or brunch spot, then Caffe Pralet is for you. This restaurant offers a great deal of pastries and sandwiches, so whether you’re craving something sweet or savory, you’ll find one that you’ll like. 

The donuts here are square-shaped instead of the typical round, and your flavor options include pandan gula melaka, cinnamon sugar, and burn butter honey glaze. You have more choices for sandwiches; I personally love the cheeky avocado and the tuna melt.

Caffe Pralet also has a wide variety of cakes, cookies, and breads. And if you’re visiting first thing in the morning, be sure to order any of their coffee drinks to liven you up. 

House of Peranakan Petit

Address: 42 Eng Hoon St, Estate 169785
Operating Hours

  • Wednesday to Monday—12 to 3 pm, 6 to 10 pm
  • Closed on Tuesday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6562221719

House of Peranakan is an award-winning restaurant with multiple locations in Singapore. The one in Tiong Bahru is called the House of Peranakan Petit, and it’s well-known for its modern and intimate atmosphere. 

In this restaurant, you can order traditional Nonya dishes as well as Peranakan-inspired meals. The chili pomfret, curry fish head, and assam prawns are some of the bestselling dishes here, and I recommend giving them a try as well.

Privé Tiong Bahru

Address: 57 Eng Hoon St, #01-88, Singapore 160057
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—8 am to 10:30 pm
Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6567760777

With a charming and almost hippy atmosphere, Privé Tiong Bahru is great if you want a cozy brunch experience. It has a wide range of offerings as well—from breakfast meals to alcoholic drinks; there are even plant-based options for vegan visitors!

Personally, I’m a big fan of the spaghetti aglio olio with roast pork belly; it’s the perfect combination of savory perfection! I also can’t resist the tiramisu and banoffee cheesecake because I have the worst sweet tooth.

In addition to all this, the restaurant is also pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friends with you. 

Flock Café

Address: 01-25 Tiong Bahru Estate, 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-25 Block 78, Singapore 162078
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Thursday—8 am to 8:30 pm
  • Friday to Sunday—8 am to 9:30 pm

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6565363938

Flock Café is a family-run café that boasts a relaxing atmosphere and a menu full of hearty meals. 

There are all-day breakfast dishes here. My favorite is the breakfast set because it comes loaded with eggs, sourdough toast, and a cup of coffee

I also really like their pasta dishes, especially the prawn linguini, because they’re so savory and satisfying. As for drinks, I usually go for iced coffee, tea, or a smoothie.

Sevens Kappo

Address: 58 Seng Poh Rd, #01-15, Singapore 160058 
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Sunday—12 to 3 pm, 6 to 10:30 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $$$
Contact Number: +6587237777

If you want to experience fine dining, then head out to Sevens Kappy, a restaurant that aims to bring the very best of Japanese hospitality. 

This Japanese restaurant specializes in the omakase dining experience, which means you place your trust in the chef to create a personalized meal for you. Because of this, your experience will be different each time you visit, and I find that really exciting! 

If you don’t want to leave your meals up to the chef’s decision, no worries because there’s an ala carte menu filled with all the classic Japanese dishes. I personally recommend the wagyu katsu sando and the salmon usuzukuri (thin slices of salmon).

Merci Marcel

Address: 56 Eng Hoon St, #01-68, Singapore 160056
Operating Hours

  • Sunday to Wednesday—8 am to 11 pm
  • Thursday to Saturday—8 am to 12 am

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6562240113

You don’t have to go to France to enjoy French cuisine. Simply stop by Merci Marcel and have yourself a fun time!

What I like about this restaurant is that it has five menus—breakfast, daytime, afternoon break, dinner, and brunch—so you’ll be tempted to come here numerous times to try as many dishes as possible. 

Personally, I love coming for brunch, and my go-to order is the beef tenderloin carpaccio. As for seating, I always go for the lush glasshouse garden patio because I get to enjoy the view of the neighborhood while dining.

Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Porridge

Address: 116 Bukit Merah View, #01-217, Singapore 151116
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—10 am to 4 am
Pricing: $

If you’re looking for affordable dining spots, one of your best options is Ye Lai Xiang Teochew Porridge. 

For just a cheap price, you can feast on several plates of food; aside from the porridge, you can also order fish cakes, chili clams, and braised pork belly. You’ll feel full and satisfied in no time!

Another great thing about this dining spot is that it’s open until 4 am. So, if you’re craving something hearty late at night, you know where to go. 

Tian Fu Ren Jia

Address: 34 Jln. Bukit Ho Swee, #01-864, Singapore 160034
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Saturday—9:30 am to 9 pm
  • Closed on Sunday

Pricing: $

Another affordable option you can check out is Tian Fu Ren Jia. This Chinese restaurant is tucked away in an HDB block, so it easily gets overlooked, but the wafting aroma is sure to lure you in. 

If you plan to eat here, I recommend the spicy fried chicken, mapo tofu, and egg with chives. The grilled fish is also pretty beloved; I personally haven’t tried it, but some of my friends have, and they swear that it’s worth it.

You can even order things that aren’t on the menu, so long as what you’re ordering is a typical Chinese dish; how convenient is that?

Spizza Havelock

Address: 22 Havelock Rd, #01-677 Bukit Ho Swee Court, Singapore 160022
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Friday—11:30 am to 2:30 pm, 5:45 to 10 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday—11:30 am to 10 pm

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6563777773

Spizza Havelock is the place to go if you’re craving Italian cuisine. This Italian restaurant serves all your favorite dishes, from salads to pizza and pasta. 

When I’m extremely starving, I always order their thin-crust pizza; I have a soft spot for the Helena pizza because it has grilled chicken in pesto sauce, but I also really like Barbara because of its spicy Italian minced pork. 

If you’re not into pizza, I recommend their parmigiana or lasagna. Then, of course, I suggest ending your meal with a delicious order of tiramisu or a scoop of gelato. 

Starter Lab

Address: 721 Havelock Rd, Singapore 169645 
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Friday—7:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday—7:30 am to 4 pm

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6598390408

Do you love bread and other types of baked goods? Then, you’ll definitely love Starter Lab as well!

An artisanal bakery from Bali, Starter Lab serves sourdough breads that have been crafted with love and care. You can buy a loaf of sourdough by itself and create all kinds of sandwiches at home, but you can also buy a ready-to-order sandwich here.

One of the bestsellers is the classic grilled cheese sandwich, which features three types of cheese (Mimolette, cantal, and emmental), so it has a satisfying cheese pull. Another crowd favorite is the honeyed mascarpone, which is both savory and sweet. 

Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee

Address: 78 Yong Siak St, #01-18, Singapore 163078
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Friday—1 to 10 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday—12 to 10 pm

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6588179986

Singapore weather can get really hot, so to beat the heat, you better grab a scoop or two of ice cream at Cremier. 

What I love about this ice cream shop is that it offers flavors you typically won’t find elsewhere. Sure, there’s the classic chocolate flavor, but it also has flavors like Earl Grey lavender, Thai milk tea, and sea salt gula melaka. 

I also recommend getting the ice cream and waffles combo. The sweet coldness of the ice cream just matches perfectly with the crispy, warm waffles—I’m obsessed!

Where to Shop


Address: 79 Chay Yan St, #01-02 Opposite Plain Vanilla, Singapore 160079
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Friday—11 am to 2 pm, 4 to 7 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday—10 am to 5 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Contact Number: +6588333427

Fashionistas will love shopping at OliveAnkara. This charming shop in Tiong Bahru boasts colorful clothing items, so you can easily build an outfit that shows off your bold personality. 

The selection of items is pretty good as well. Blouses and dresses are predominant, but you can also find swimwear items, clothing for children, and accessories like hats, headpieces, and earrings.  

Nana & Bird

Address: 1 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168641
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Friday—11 am to 6 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday—10 am to 5 pm

Contact Number: +6591170430

Another boutique shop you should visit in Tiong Bahru is Nana & Bird. This women-owned store specializes in women’s fashion; it has clothes, accessories, and jewelry, so you can build your dream wardrobe in no time. 

Aside from fashion, Nana & Bird sells wellness products, such as supplements that help you sleep well at night. There’s also a kid’s section here, so feel free to shop with your little ones.

Cat Socrates

Address: 78 Yong Siak St, #01-14, Singapore 163078
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Thursday—10 am to 7 pm
  • Friday and Saturday—10 am to 8 pm
  • Sunday—9 am to 6 pm
  • Monday—10 am to 6 pm

Contact Number: +6563330870

Cat Socrates is a quirky little shop in Tiong Bahru that sells charming and adorable goodies. For example, there are bamboo plates here etched with cute cat drawings or mugs with several Singapore icons painted on them. 

Because of this, this shop is perfect if you’re hunting for souvenirs to give to your friends and family back home. You can also just buy gifts for yourself; seriously, you’ll want to stock up on these locally-designed houseware items because of how adorable they are.

Woods in the Books

Address: 3 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168642
Operating Hours

  • Wednesday to Saturday—10 am to 7 pm
  • Sunday and Monday—10 am to 6 pm
  • Closed on Tuesday

Contact Number: +6562229980

If you have a child who loves books, then you might want to stop by Woods in the Books and pick up something for them. This independent bookstore boasts a wonderful selection of picture books and other illustrated books that are aimed at children. 

You can find other products here that aren’t books. For example, if you want to give your child something challenging, there are activity kits and puzzles available.  

Yenidraws & Friends

Address: 55 Tiong Bahru Rd, Block 55, 01-53, Singapore 160055
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Saturday—11 am to 5 pm
  • Sunday—11 am to 4:30 pm


Yenidraws & Friends is a quaint shop owned by a self-taught illustrator, so the products you’ll here are all handcrafted by her. Her products range from houseware to prints, and they all follow a Singapore theme. 

My favorites are the bamboo plates featuring the iconic Singapore Cable Car and local desserts. There are also tea towels showing off the colorful shophouses you can find in the neighborhood, and if you love to journal, you might want to buy a notebook here. 

When you buy souvenirs from this shop, you can rest assured that you have something unique. Plus, you get to support a local artist, and that’s always a good thing!

The French Bookshop

Address: Tiong Bahru Rd, #01-53 Block 55, Singapore 160055
Operating Hours

  • Thursday to Saturday—11 am to 6 pm
  • Sunday—11 am to 3 pm
  • Closed from Monday to Wednesday


Near Yenidraws & Friends, you can find a hidden gem of a store in the name of The French Bookshop. As the name implies, this specialty store sells French books—in a variety of genres and age categories and in both brand-new and pre-loved conditions. 

Aside from books, this store also has some stationery items like postcards and notebooks, vintage items, and art prints. 

With that said, The French Bookshop is perfect if you’re a Francophile or you know someone who is. Even if you aren’t a Francophile or don’t know anyone who loves France, this place is still worth checking out because they have some unique items. 

Where to Stay

Nostalgia Hotel

Address: 77 Tiong Bahru Rd, Singapore 168727
Contact Number: +6568081818
Book Now 

Treat yourself to a luxurious vacation by booking a room at Nostalgia Hotel, a 4-star boutique hotel in the heart of Tiong Bahru. Aside from being clean and comfortable, the rooms here are also beautifully decorated with vibrant pieces of artwork. 

This hotel offers various promotions and deals every now and then; examples include a 32% discount off your room’s price and a stay-more-pay-less deal. I recommend checking out their website to see what promotions are available.

Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium, an IHG Hotel

Address: 317 Outram Rd, Singapore 169075
Contact Number: +6567330188
Book Now

Another great choice if you want to splurge on a luxurious hotel is Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium. 

This 4-star IHG hotel has everything you want. The rooms are modern and spacious, and you’ll also have access to various amenities, such as the outdoor pool, 24-hour gym, and various dining options. 

There are also self-laundry facilities and a laundry valet should you need any of them during your stay.

Link Hotel

Address: 50 Tiong Bahru Rd, #01-01, Singapore 168733
Contact Number: +6566228585
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Opened in 2007, Link Hotel is the first and only hotel in Singapore that was converted from conserved art deco apartment blocks, which were constructed back in the 1950s. So, in a way, you’re staying inside a historical landmark!

Despite its backstory, the hotel is oozing with modernity. Each room is equipped with a queen-sized bed and/or twin bed, air conditioning, and flat-screen television; some units even have a kitchen area, so you can cook your meals instead of eating out. 

This hotel also offers several promotions from time to time, so if you want to enjoy discounts and good deals, check their website to learn more.

New Cape Inn

Address: 3 Seng Poh Rd, Singapore 168891
Contact Number: +6565369939
Book Now

Seeking a budget-friendly hotel in Tiong Bahru? New Cape Inn has got you covered!

Even though the rates in this 2-star hotel are cheap, you can expect superb service all the same. All the rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a private bathroom, and a flat-screen television, so you can feel right at home here. 

Additionally, this hotel isn’t just strategically located in Tiong Bahru; it’s also near other iconic neighborhoods like Outram Park and Chinatown. So, feel free to explore those areas whenever you can.