While exploring Singapore, we accidentally discovered the Katong/Joo Chiat area on the East Side of the city. This picture-perfect quarter, filled with exquisite architecture, multi-ethnic restaurants, bars and shopping is one of the most overlooked areas in Singapore.
The area is easy to miss when travelling in Singapore. Due to the melting pot of ethnicities here, it’s sometimes called ‘Little Singapore’. We promise it will be worth your journey and really, nothing is too far apart in this city.
By MRT: The nearest MRT stations are Paya Lebar and Eunos.
By bus: buses might be trickier to use in the city, but are a good way to travel around and plenty of them go to the Eastside. Though you might want to have the Google maps app handy to navigate.
To get to Joo Chiat Road and Joo Chiat Place, take the bus 15, 16,33 or 155.
For East Coast Road, take the bus 10, 12, 14, 32, 40 or 155.
Joo Chiat Road & East Coast Road
Start your day at the northern end of Joo Chiat Road and head towards the East Coast Road. From these two main roads sneak a peek into the quieter residential streets and get closer to everyday life of the residents.
While exploring the area, imagine the Katong/Joo Chiat road as a once peaceful seaside retreat for the well-off residents. At 150 East Coast Road discover the most unusual Singapore’s terrace houses, built where the beach used to be.
You will noticed that these ‘beach houses’ are raised up slightly, to protect them against the rising tides. The sea is now further away but the unique houses remain in the area.
Now the former seaside is a buzzing street lined with shops, museums, restaurants and stunning architecture. While on the road, don’t miss the former Joo Chiat Police Station at 86 East Coast Road. Built-in 1928, the preserved building is being transformed into a hotel and food complex.
Wonderfully arranged shop facades of pre-war traditional shop-houses, lining both sides of the street, can be spotted along Koon Seng Road. Influenced by Peranakan culture these houses are Singapore’s most outstanding architectural heritage.
The stunningly ornamented pale blue, pink and green facades are a reminder of the history and architectural heritage hidden away amongst the city’s modern steel and glass constructions.
These are just a few gems in the area. Don’t miss other heritage buildings such as Church of the Holy Family on 6 Chapel Road, visit Singapore’s oldest Indian temple or simply admire the symbolic ornaments above the shop doors and on facades. The Flying Dragon in Chinese mythology represents good luck and prosperity and is often placed above shop doors.
We recommend setting aside a full day for the explorations of the area. The alleyways are full of restaurants and cafes, serving great quality food.
Have a look at our Ultimate Guide to Visiting Singapore for more information.
Have you visited the East side of Singapore? What did you like the most? let us know in the comments below…