1. Tiong Bahru
Once a sleepy residential area, Tiong Bahru is now a staple of contemporary culture – all without losing its quaint charm. This neighbourhood is teeming with specialty coffee shops, so don’t forget to drop by Forty Hands or Flock Cafe for a delicious cup of joe. Avid readers should make a beeline for Books Actually, an indie bookstore that stocks obscure literary gems. After a lazy afternoon of exploring, treat yourself to a cupcake from Plain Vanilla Bakery. Whether you pick dark chocolate ganache or red velvet, you can’t possibly go wrong.
If you decide that you want to linger in this lovely neighbourhood, you can always check into the delightfully cosy Nostalgia Hotel.
Where: 78 Yong Siak Street, #01-12 Opening Hours: 7:30am–7pm, Monday-Thursday; 7:30am until late, Friday-Sunday.
Where: 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-25 Opening Hours: 8am–10pm daily.
Where: 9 Yong Siak Street Opening Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10am–8pm; Sunday–Monday, 10am–6pm.
Where: 1D Yong Siak Street Opening Hours: Monday–Saturday, 8am–7pm; Sunday, 9am–6pm.
_Explore quirky bookshops in Tiong Bahru.
2. Keong Saik
Buzzing with trendy eateries and swanky cocktail bars, Keong Saik is a super-trendy Singapore hotspot. This former red light district has ditched its seedy past, blossoming into the ultimate nightlife destination. Tuck into gourmet tapas at the wildly popular Esquina or enjoy rustic French fare at Taratata Bistrot. If you’re in the mood for a drink, the options are endless! Start your night Potato Head for a tipple in their lush rooftop bar.
Keong Saik is also an ideal base for exploring Singapore and boasts many charming boutique hotels, such as the Naumi Liora, which is located in a heritage townhouse.
Where: 16 Jiak Chuan Road Opening Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12pm–2:30pm; Monday–Saturday, 6pm–10:30pm.
Where: 35A Keong Saik Road Opening Hours: Tuesday–Friday & Sunday, 11:30am–3pm; Tuesday–Sunday, 5:30pm–12am.
Where: 36 Keong Saik Road Opening Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–12am daily.
3. Jalan Besar
This historical neighbourhood is quickly turning into coolest kid on the block, thanks to its artsy vibe and thriving culinary scene. There’s plenty to do (and eat) here, but make sure to stop by Butter Studio for their Salted Caramel Red Velvet cupcakes and enjoy an amazingly decadent hot chocolate or indulge in French pastries at Antoinette. Caffeine addicts will find their mecca at Chye Seng Huat Hardware: this coffee joint has its very own roastery and private tasting room.
For some real eye candy, pop into Hotel Vagabond: the opulent red-and-gold lobby is an Art Deco feast.
Where: 147 Jalan Besar Opening Hours: Monday–Thursday, 12pm–9pm; Friday, 12pm–11pm; Saturday, 11am–12am; Sunday, 11am–9pm
Where: 150 Tyrwhitt Road Opening Hours: Tuesday–Thursday & Sunday, 9am–10pm; Friday–Saturday, 9am–12am; Monday closed.
Where: 30 Penhas Road Opening Hours: Monday–Thursday, 11am–10pm; Friday & Eve of Public Holidays, 11am–11pm; Saturday, 10am–11pm; Sunday & Public Holidays, 10am–10pm.
4. Haji Lane
This vibrant, shophouse-lined street has long been at the heart of Singapore’s hipster scene and it’s still going strong. Haji Lane features an impressive array of trendy shops, bars and cafés for such a small area. Head over to Bar Stories if you fancy a bespoke cocktail, or chill out at Going Om, a quirky café that offers yoga classes and live music. Haji Lane is also a fashionista’s dream, with dozens of independent boutiques vying for your attention. Check out Dulcet Fig for a treasure trove of vintage fashion.
For a touch of Old World glamour, plan a stay at The Sultan, an impeccably elegant hotel that pays fond tribute to Singapore’s past.
Where: 57A Haji Lane Opening Hours: Sunday–Thursday, 3pm–1am; Friday–Saturday, 3pm–2am.
Where: 63 Haji Lane Opening Hours: Monday–Thursday, 12pm–12am; Friday–Saturday, 12pm–1am; Sunday, 12pm–12am.
Where: 41 Haji Lane Opening Hours: Monday–Saturday, 11am–9pm; Sunday, 11am –8pm.
5. Everton Park
Hunting for the next trendy neighbourhood? Up-and-coming Everton Park just might fit the bill. A growing cluster of coffee shops, bakeries and indie boutiques has sprung up in one of Singapore’s oldest HDB estates – and it’s just the beginning. Everton Park is a dessert lover’s paradise: look out for Grin Affair – which serves cakes in glass jars – or make a pitstop at Seriously Ice Cream to sample bold, intriguing flavours.
Channel your inner hipster at the uber artsy New Majestic Hotel, which boasts individually designed rooms. This peaceful enclave is still under the radar, so go now before the crowds rush in.
Where: Blk 2 Everton Park, #01-59 Opening Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 12pm–8pm; Public Holidays, 1:30pm–6pm.
Where: Blk 4 Everton Park, #01-44 Opening Hours: Monday–Thursday, 12:30pm–9pm; Friday, 12:30pm–11pm; Saturday, 1pm–11pm; Sunday, 1pm–9pm.
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Originally published in March 2016 and updated in September 2017. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.