Tiong Bahru, a charming neighborhood in Singapore, offers a delightful blend of old-world charm and contemporary vibes. Known for its distinctive Art Deco architecture, this area boasts a unique mix of heritage, street art, and trendy cafes.
As you stroll through Tiong Bahru, take the time to admire the well-preserved prewar buildings and conservation apartments that serve as a testament to the neighborhood’s rich history.
The stunning blend of British and local design elements creates a distinct aesthetic, setting Tiong Bahru apart from the typical high-rise cityscape of Singapore.
With a plethora of activities to choose from, including mural-hopping in search of Yip Yew Chong’s stunning artworks, indulging in freshly baked goods at the renowned Tiong Bahru Bakery, and exploring the local art scene at establishments like ArtBlue Studio, there is always something to captivate your senses in Tiong Bahru.
History and Heritage
Before we move on to things to do in Tiong Bahru, let’s know a little bit about the history of it.
Tiong Bahru, a unique neighborhood in Singapore, boasts a rich history and impressive heritage.
Originally a burial ground, Tiong Bahru transformed into a thriving housing estate known for its fascinating blend of architectural styles, including the notable Art Deco-inspired buildings and shophouses.
The architecture of Tiong Bahru is an essential part of its charm, with many of the flats and buildings reflecting distinct pre-war Art Deco designs.
The presence of the Monkey God Temple, established in 1920, speaks to the area’s historical significance as a cultural melting pot.
As travelers walk around the neighborhood, they can admire the streamlined modern characteristics of the buildings, including curved corners and horizontal lines.
Public housing in Tiong Bahru, originally designed by Alfred G. Church, showcases the marriage of British and local design influences, resulting in low-rise buildings and charming conservation apartments.
Throughout Tiong Bahru, various artworks can also be found, including murals and sculptures, further enhancing the area’s cultural appeal.
Be sure to stop by the Tiong Bahru Market to see an impressive peacock painting and spot the remnants of a family of goats – a nod to local artists’ creativity.
In summary, Tiong Bahru offers a captivating glimpse into Singapore’s history and heritage through its distinctive architecture, public housing, and unique atmosphere.
Visitors will undoubtedly be charmed by the neighborhood’s blend of old-world allure and modern-day vibrancy.
Things to Do in Tiong Bahru Singapore
You may feel overloaded when you read other articles about things to do in Tiong Bahru Singapore because they just listed the places without even being there and walking the route alone.
As a local traveler, I have often walked this neighborhood, either for urban exploration or lifestyle photography.
I will always start from Tiong Bahru MRT, just nearby the Tiong Bahru Plaza, and from there, you can choose how you want to explore Tiong Bahru on your own.
1. Tiong Bahru Park is on my first list of Things To Do In Tiong Bahru.
Just a 5-minute walk from Tiong Bahru Plaza, Tiong Bahru Park is a 3.3-hectare park in Singapore’s Tiong Bahru area.
It is a popular destination for families and visitors of all ages. The park offers a variety of amenities and attractions, including:
1. Adventure Playground
The adventure playground at Tiong Bahru Park is a popular attraction for children.
The main attraction is the Tilting Train, with an engine, three carriages, and a caboose at the end. The train is elevated off the playground’s sandy ground, and the wood-clad carriages and caboose trail behind the engine at an angle as if about to derail.
It features various play equipment, including swings, slides, climbing frames, and more. The train structure has multiple levels and is connected by bridges and tunnels, providing plenty of opportunities for children to climb, crawl, and explore.
There are also sand pits and interactive play panels for younger children.
The sandpit at Tiong Bahru Park is fun for children to play and explore. It features a giant sandbox with plenty of toys and equipment for kids to enjoy, like swings and several interactive play panels in the sandpit area that children can use to play games and explore.
3. Fitness Corner
The fitness corner at Tiong Bahru Park is a great place to exercise and stay active. It features a range of outdoor fitness equipment, including pull-up bars, parallel bars, and more.
4. Therapeutic Garden
The therapeutic garden at Tiong Bahru Park is designed to help visitors connect with nature and find peace and relaxation. It features four different zones, each with its unique features and attractions.
2. Tiong Bahru Heritage Area is the following things to Do In Tiong Bahru.
Tiong Bahru Heritage Area is a historic neighborhood in Singapore known for its unique architecture and attractions.
The area is home to various pre-war buildings and landmarks preserved and restored over the years.
Here are some of the unique buildings and notable spots in the Tiong Bahru Heritage Area:
1. Block 78
in Tiong Bahru, Heritage Area is also known as the “Horseshoe Block” due to its distinctive horseshoe-shaped design.
The block was built in the 1940s in the Art Deco style and is considered a significant landmark in Singapore’s architectural history.
The horseshoe shape of the block allows for natural light and ventilation to enter the units, making it a unique and functional design.
Additionally, the block contains an air raid shelter, which was added due to the threat of war during its construction.
While the shelter is not open to the public, visitors can still appreciate the unique design and historical significance of the Horseshoe Block from the outside.
2. Air Raid Shelter at Block 78
I was lucky enough to get access to this air raid shelter, whereby I wrote this article in July 2023.
The air raid shelter in Block 78 of Tiong Bahru Heritage Area is a significant historical landmark in Singapore. The shelter was built during World War II in the 1940s as a precautionary measure against air raids by the Japanese.
It is located at the semi-basement of the block and is believed to be the last remaining civilian air raid shelter in Singapore.
This air raid shelter in Block 78 of Tiong Bahru Heritage Area was built using bricks and concrete.
The shelter has walls that are 19 inches thick which are made up of layers of bricks and concrete.
This thickness was necessary to protect against bombing and shrapnel during air raids.
The shelter’s roof is also reinforced concrete to provide additional protection.
The use of bricks and concrete in the construction of the shelter is a testament to the durability and strength of these building materials.
Today, the air raid shelter is not public for safety reasons. However, visitors can still appreciate its historical significance from the outside.
The shelter serves as a reminder of Singapore’s wartime history and the resilience of its people during difficult times.
3. Tiong Bahru SIT Flats (Post-War Walk-Up Flats)
The Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) built Tiong Bahru SIT Post-War Flats in the 1950s.
The design of the Tiong Bahru SIT Flats was inspired by the Garden City concept, which aimed to create a balance between urban development and green spaces. The flats were designed with open courtyards and green spaces to give residents a sense of community and connection to nature.
Today, the Tiong Bahru SIT Flats are a significant part of Singapore’s architectural heritage and are considered a unique and important example of public housing in the country’s history.
4. Mural Arts by Yip Yew Cheong
Yip Yew Chong is a Singaporean artist known for his beautiful and intricate mural art in Tiong Bahru Heritage Area. Yip’s murals are inspired by Singapore’s rich cultural heritage and history, depicting scenes from everyday life in the neighborhood.
“Pasar and The Fortune Teller” is located on the wall of Block 73 and depicts scenes from a traditional market or “Pasar.” The mural features intricate details such as traditional food stalls, vendors, and customers. The mural also features a fortune teller, a common sight in traditional markets in Singapore.
“Bird Singing Corner” is located on the wall of Block 71 and depicts scenes from a traditional bird singing corner.
The mural features older men bringing their rare birds to “compete” in singing at the void deck, which used to be a popular pastime in Singapore. The mural also features intricate details like bird cages and traditional bird feeders.
“Home” is located on the wall of Block 74 and depicts scenes from a traditional living room.
The mural features intricate details such as old-fashioned furniture, a grandfather clock, and a family portrait. The mural is a tribute to the close-knit community of Tiong Bahru and the importance of family and home.
I can say that Yip Yew Chong’s murals in Tiong Bahru are a significant part of Singapore’s cultural heritage and provide a glimpse into the everyday lives of people in the neighborhood.
They are a testament to the unique character and charm of Tiong Bahru and serve as a reminder of Singapore’s rich cultural history.
3. Explore Some of the best Restaurants and Cafes in Singapore
Tiong Bahru is a popular destination in Singapore, known for its incredible food scene and unique charm. This guide of things to do in Tiong Bahru will not be complete without it.
With various restaurants and cafes, visitors can indulge in an eclectic mix of cuisines and enjoy a memorable dining experience.
Let’s start our exploration!
1. Tiong Bahru Bakery
Yes, I know that they have so many outlets around the town, but as stated by its name, The Tiong Bahru Bakery at Eng Hoon Street is the original Tiong Bahru Bakery located in the heart of the Tiong Bahru Heritage Area.
The bakery was founded in 2012 by celebrity baker Gontran Cherrier and quickly became a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
The bakery is known for its delicious and unique pastries, cakes, and bread, made using traditional French techniques and high-quality ingredients. The bakery’s signature items include the almond croissant, pain au chocolat, and kouign amann, all made fresh daily.
In addition to its delicious baked goods, the Tiong Bahru Bakery at Eng Hoon Street is also known for its cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The bakery features a spacious outdoor seating area, perfect for enjoying coffee and a pastry on a sunny day.
The bakery has become a beloved part of the local community and is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Tiong Bahru Heritage Area.
Flock Cafe, located at Block 78 in Tiong Bahru, is a charming and cozy cafe that offers a unique dining experience in the heart of the neighborhood.
As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the warm and inviting atmosphere, rustic wooden tables and chairs, and a beautiful mural on the wall.
The menu at Flock Cafe is a delightful mix of classic brunch dishes and creative twists on traditional flavors. One of their most popular dishes is the Scrambled Eggs & Croissant with Smoked Salmon; The dish starts with a warm buttery croissant, sliced in half and toasted to perfection. The croissant is then topped with a generous portion of creamy scrambled eggs made with a touch of double cream and seasoned with fresh herbs.
Finally, a generous serving of smoked salmon is placed on the eggs, adding a rich and smoky flavor.
For something a little more adventurous, try the Pork Cheek Burger. It starts with a house-made beef patty cooked to perfection and topped with a generous serving of braised pork cheek.
The pork cheek is tender and flavorful, with fresh lettuce, tomato, and cheddar cheese layers. A dollop of Dijon mustard and mayo adds a tangy and creamy flavor to the burger, while a side of cajun fries completes the meal.
3. Plain Vanilla
Plain Vanilla Bakery in Tiong Bahru prides itself on offering a menu that seamlessly blends classic and innovative flavors, using only the finest ingredients and traditional baking techniques.
Their classic Vanilla Cupcake is a crowd favorite, made with real vanilla beans and topped with a light and airy buttercream frosting.
4. Bakalaki Greek Taverna
The menu at Bakalaki Greek Taverna is a celebration of traditional Greek cuisine, focusing on using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients.
One of the standout dishes is the Padaikia, which features a tender and juicy lamb rack seared to perfection and served alongside crispy roasted potatoes. The dish is topped with a zesty lemon sauce that perfectly complements the rich and flavorful lamb.
The Moussaka at Bakalaki Greek Taverna is a must-try dish for anyone visiting the restaurant. This classic Greek dish is made with layers of sliced eggplant, potatoes, and ground beef, all topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and baked to perfection. The dish is served piping hot and is a perfect comfort food for any occasion.
5. Tiong Bahru Market
No trip to this vibrant neighborhood is complete without a visit to the iconic Tiong Bahru Market, where you can sample some of Tiong Bahru’s best street food. Indulge in local delicacies like prawn noodles, mee pok, and fresh salads from the various hawker stalls.
Some popular stalls at Tiong Bahru Market include the famous 178 Lor Mee, which serves up bowls of thick and flavorful lor mee (braised noodles), as well as Hui Ji Fish Ball Noodle, which is known for its delicious fish ball soup.
Our favorite is Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee. It is a hawker stall in Tiong Bahru Market in Singapore awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand for several years.
This award is a testament to the quality of the food served at the stall and the skill of the chefs who prepare it.
The Michelin Bib Gourmand is awarded to restaurants that offer high-quality food at an affordable price.
Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee was recognized for its delicious and authentic Hokkien mee, a local specialty of yellow noodles, prawns, squid, and a flavorful broth.
With its diverse culinary offerings and uniquely charming atmosphere, Tiong Bahru is an ideal location to explore and experience the best of Singapore’s food scene.
Shopping and Boutiques
Another activity of our things to do in Tiong Bahru guide is strolling the boutique stores in the area that cater to various tastes and interests.
Here are some of the top shopping destinations in Tiong Bahru
A visit to Woods in the Books is a must for bibliophiles. This cozy, independent bookstore specializes in beautifully illustrated children’s books, perfect for sparking wonder and curiosity in readers of all ages.
For those searching for unique home decor, Tiong Bahru has several charming shops offering a variety of items, from antiques to contemporary designs.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Cat Socrates, known for its eclectic selection of accessories, stationery, and design products. Embrace your inner green thumb by visiting stores selling decorative pots, perfect for sprucing up your living space with a touch of nature.
Another option if you like colorful and vibrant style is OliveAnkara, a sustainable fashion brand that offers a unique fusion of African and Asian design.
OliveAnkara’s fashion pieces are made with high-quality, natural materials and are designed to be timeless and versatile. The brand’s collections feature bold prints, vibrant colors, and unique designs inspired by Africa and Asia’s rich cultural heritage.
If you like local touch, our last recommendation is Nana & Bird, a popular boutique that offers a unique selection of fashion, accessories, and lifestyle products.
Nana & Bird was founded by two friends, Georgina Koh and Tan Chiew Ling, who shared a passion for fashion and design. The boutique’s collections feature a curated selection of clothing, accessories, and lifestyle products from both established and emerging designers.
What sets Nana & Bird apart is its commitment to sustainability and ethical production methods. The boutique works with designers who use eco-friendly materials and production methods and is committed to reducing waste and promoting honest and fair trade practices.
Transport and Accessibility
Tiong Bahru is a well-connected neighborhood in Singapore, and getting around is simple thanks to the Tiong Bahru MRT Station.
Located on the East-West Line, the station is a gateway to the vibrant area, allowing visitors to easily explore the unique architecture, quirky boutiques, and rich heritage that Tiong Bahru offers.
Not only is Tiong Bahru MRT station a convenient access point but the area is also well-served by several bus routes.
This means reaching other parts of the city from Tiong Bahru is straightforward and hassle-free.
For those wishing to travel by car, the neighborhood is easily accessible via major roads, including Zion Road and Havelock Road.
A short distance from Tiong Bahru lies Orchard Road, Singapore’s premier shopping district. Known for its luxury malls, fine dining establishments, and high-end hotels, Orchard Road offers a different experience for visitors compared to the relaxed ambiance of Tiong Bahru.
The best way to travel between the two areas is via MRT. Visitors can reach Orchard Road quickly with just a few stops on the East-West Line and a quick transfer to the North-South Line at City Hall MRT station.
All in all, transport and accessibility are stress-free when visiting Tiong Bahru. With its well-connected public transportation network, travelers can easily explore Singapore’s local neighborhood and other must-see attractions.
In conclusion, Tiong Bahru is a charming and historic neighborhood in Singapore that uniquely blends old-world charm and modern sophistication.
This is my version of things to do in Tiong Bahru; it has something for everyone, from iconic pre-war shophouses to trendy cafes and boutiques.