Tiong Bahru must be one of my favourite places in Singapore. It is underestimated by a lot of people and often overlooked by tourists.
One of the best things about Tiong Bahru is that unless you like looking at buildings and tower blocks, then it can be hard to know what you’re doing there in the first place!
Unbeknown to me before I arrived, there is actually a heritage trail which showcases to tourists the most prominent parts of the Tiong Bahru area, including the site of Singapore’s first residential tower block. As you can imagine, a lot of these buildings are in fairly poor condition, but I was happy enough to just walk around and take in the atmosphere even from the newer parts of Tiong Bahru. I didn’t find it clear until later on in the morning which parts of Tiong Bahru are actually historic, and which parts were just regular HDBs. Still, it meant I got a lot of photos and really sampled urban Singapore at its most intriguing.
So what kind of people live in Tiong Bahru now? To me it seemed a fairly affluent place, with well kept gardens and roads. There were mostly ethnic Chinese Singaporeans in this vicinity, and not many Indians. I suspect the cost of living in the newer towers of Tiong Bahru is not cheap.
Mainly, though, of course, tourists walk around here in the knowledge of its history and importance in the country’s heritage. I have seen other built up areas of Singapore, such as Ang Mo Kio, but that didn’t seem to have as much atmosphere when compared to Tiong Bahru.
The famous Tiong Bahru market is a classic example of this heritage and atmosphere, as even to this day people come from all over the island to try out the local cuisine, including Char Kway Teow and plenty of seafood – and all of it was very well priced!