Tiong Bahru is a place for everyone. With massive murals, beautiful bakeries, ancient architecture, historic heritage, busy bookstores, and pleasant parks, Tiong Bahru offers you something to look forward to every time you visit. Don’t know what to do in one of the most charming neighbourhoods of Singapore? Need a place to shoot your next Instagram post? Don’t know where to take your date? Tiong Bahru has got your back. Here are 10 ways you can appreciate the beauty of Tiong Bahru the right way:
1. Admire the Architecture Blocks
The Housing Development Blocks (HBDs) are an all-time favourite location for photographers. With photogenic spots on every corner, Tiong Bahru is home to unique low-rise apartments with smooth, curved corners; spiral staircases; parapet walls; overhanging eaves, and porthole windows. Look out for the “horse-shoe block” 78, and the “aeroplane blocks” 81 and 82. Away from the towering cityscape, Tiong Bahru is the perfect place for a romantic evening stroll. The minimalistic, streamline modern architecture is well-loved by many Singaporeans.
2. Listen to the Murals
The Murals on the streets of Tiong Bahru depict the bygone days. Each mural speaks a story that your grandparents would narrate of their time. They’re an echo of the lives of the people who lived in those buildings. Yip Yew Chong, the artist of the three murals; Bird Singing Corner, Home, and Pasar and the Fortune Teller, said that this was his attempt to conceptualise the good old days using some of his personal memories. Another artist, Ernest Goh, has blessed the streets with his Goldfish and Goat Family murals. The nostalgic charm of the free art gallery is definitely going to be worth your time.
3. Discover the Independent Local Bookstores
Nothing beats the smell of the books. The bookstores in Tiong Bahru offer a wide range of publications. Don’t forget to check out the work of the local authors and the literary section of Singapore. You can also find vintage second-hand books, a book vending machine, and peculiar stationery. BooksActually is the most popular bookstore in the neighbourhood, but it has shifted most of its operations online now. You can check out other emerging bookstores like Woods in the Books, Popular, and many more. Immerse yourself in the pages of your new book and romanticise your life to the fullest.
4. Visit the Curated Records Store
For all the music and record lovers, this is the place to be. The small independent record store has over a thousand records from mainstream pop hits to indie releases. With new stock arriving every week, the store has a wide range of genres like classic, jazz, rock n’ roll, electronic, folk, pop, and house. The owner, Tremon, is always happy to recommend and help you out.
5. Go Cafe Hopping
Tiong Bahru offers a variety of options for brunching with a wide range of cafes spread all over the neighbourhood. The Tiong Bahru Bakery is famous for its breads. Don’t forget to try the French pastry here! The Little House of Dreams is an all things pink cafe that deserves to be your Instagram feed. It offers a selection of all-time favourite brunch and deli items. Plain Vanilla is the OG of cupcakes. With open, airy space and cute decor, Plain Vanilla is the best place to relax. Bincho is a mee pok stall during the day that transforms into an upscale copper-hued, dining destination by night. The list of aesthetic cafes in Tiong Bahru go on and on. Just take a walk and you’ll find your favourite. Do let us know in the comments.
6. Go on a Shopping Spree
Tiong Bahru is filled with cute novelty shops. Be sure to look out for Cat Socrates (a gift shop with works by local designers), Nana & Bird ( a local and international designer clothes store), Olive Ankara (a vibrant African fabrics store), Toy Or Game (a video game store), Nimble and Kneed (a spa), and Ask A French-Flowers (a floral and lifestyle studio).
7. Stop by the Art Galleries
If you’re looking to appreciate the art of your fellow human beings, stop by the Grey Projects. It is a non-profit minimalistic design space that even has a library. Guided by the principle that “Art transcends cultural boundaries”, Art Blue Studio shows how artistic styles have evolved in South Asia. Degiosart Gallery is a place for all highly refined objects and artwork appreciators. It is a space filled with modern and vintage antiques from Europe and Asia.
8. Follow the Local Food Trail
Tiong Bahru is one of the best hawker centres in Singapore. Tow Kwar Pop (Stall #02-06), Hua Yuen Porridge (Stall #02-74), and Leung San Hong Pastries’s egg tarts (Stall #01-06) are some of the must-try dishes. Several of these hawker stalls have been given the Michelin Bib Gourmand and The Plate awards. Look out for the long queues and you’ll know where to eat next. Which is your favourite dish here?
9. Get clicked with the Dancing Girl
The Dancing Girl located in the Seng Poh Garden was sculpted by Lim Nang Sang. It became Tiong Bahru’s first piece of public art. Till today, the sculpture remains the estate’s only piece of public sculpture. Some people think it looks like a bird but it is meant to be a blissful harvest dancer.
10. Relax in the parks
Relaxing amidst the luscious green surroundings with the wind blowing through your hair is the best way to spend your evenings. Tiong Bahru Park is a spot for all age groups. The train theme playground is a children’s favourite. There are two running trails around the park for all the joggers. Kim Pong Park is a smaller field for recreational activities. It is a perfect location for a picnic date.
Do share your favourite spots and activities to do in Tiong Bahru in the comments down below!