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Singapore is renowned for its strict order to everything. Geylang is one neighbourhood that keeps things a little more free flowing. The main streets and lorongs are home to lines of historic shophouses, some of which remain merchant stores, while others have been transformed into modern stores, cafés, restaurants and even inns. Geylang is also famous for being Singapore’s ‘red light district’.
Visitors to Singapore would enjoy strolling through this historic neighbourhood that marches to its own beat. Geylang Road is the main thoroughfare, and certainly boasts plenty of heritage shophouses. However, it’s in the small side streets that the treasures lie. For Singaporeans, the main draw here is the food.
Geylang is home to an enormous range of restaurants and cafés, with a variety of different cuisines. Chinese, Malay and Indian food can all be found in Geylang, including some amazing Nasi Lemak, Mee Siam, Chicken Curry, Nasi Padang and more. A staycation in Geylang places you on the doorstep of some great cheap food and family-run not-so-atas restaurants. What's the best food to eat in Geylang? Satay, chilli crab and durian are some top picks. But there's certainly a whole lot more to enjoy. And the best part is food is cheap in Geylang. You should also make sure to sample lots of the Malay kuih-kuih in Geylang, like kueh lapis, goreng pisang, jemput jemput, pineapple tarts, sugee balls and more.
The shophouses in Geylang are also home to small pubs, karaoke bars and even some racier bars, all all offer a lively evening for visitors and locals.
Visitors can explore the many religious sites along Geylang Road. This multicultural neighbourhood is home to the tranquil Foo Hai Ch’an Monastery, which boasts bonsai trees and peaceful Buddha statues. Next door is another religious site known as the Sri Sivan Temple. It is regularly visited by Hindu worshippers and visitors keen on its intricate design. While visiting Geylang, tourists are encouraged to head around the corner to the area of Joo Chiat. This adjacent neighbourhood is the main Peranakan community in Singapore. Guests are greeted by 100-year-old shophouses that provide local delicacies, handicrafts and more.
The traditional merchants in Geylang are known for selling great fabrics - perfect for tailoring your kebaya, Chinese new year outfit or some other fancy clothes to transform you into the smartly-dressed nice traditional boy/girl for those special occasions with the uncles and aunties. The nearby Geylang Serai Market is also home to a range of cheap goods that should not be passed up. It’s liveliest in the lead up to Hari Raya every year, when the Geylang bazar ramadan comes to life.