Tiong Bahru Estate

Tiong Bahru Estate, Singapore: Address, Phone Number, Tiong Bahru Estate Reviews: 4/5

Tiong Bahru Estate
Neighborhoods • Architectural Buildings
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kim buay p
By kim buay p
Interesting exploration for both tourists and locals alike
Sep 2020
The best way to have the Tiong Bahru experience is to do the self-guided Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail which consists of ten markers with detailed explanation. Marker No 3 along Outram Road shows the site of the graves of Tan Tock Seng, Chua Seah Neo (daughter-in-law) and Wuing Neo (grand daughter-in-law). Marker No 5 is the Monkey God Temple and the trustees of the Temple claim that this was the first temple in Singapore dedicated to the worship of the Monkey God. Marker No 9 is the site of the horse-shoe block at Blk 78 Moh Guan Terrace. There is also a pre-war air raid shelter at Blk 78. Access to this shelter can be done only with certain guided tour. Marker No 10 in front of Blk 33 describes the unique design of Tiong Bahru flats. Some features include the five-foot ways, back lanes, spiral staircase, the shophouses and kitchen airwell. Although the SIT flats in Tiong Bahru was meant to be a mass public housing project to alleviate the overcrowding problem in Chinatown, it did not happen as rents in TB cost about $18-$25 a month while that in Chinatown cost only between $3-$6 a month. Hence just like the present days, Tiong Bahru became a residential estate for the affluent and professional classes. Marker No 6 highlights the architecture of Tiong Bahru and the marker is situated at Sit Wah Road. Blk 81 and 82 along Tiong Poh Road are known as "aeroplane flats" because they look like the wings of an aeroplane. Tiong Bahru's pre-war flats were built in a modified form of a style called Streamline Moderne. Tiong Bahru market and Food centre are also well-known for the numerous famous stalls which provide delicious food in a well-ventilated environment at affordable price on the second level. The market at level 1 is also a very pleasant place to browse around as there are so many variety of stalls and most vegetables and fruits are so attractively packaged. I also bought arabica coffee beans from the coffee stall. There are many pork stalls too. There are also many popular F&B outlets here such as Loo's curry rice and Tiong Bahru Bakery. Glaicier cafe at Blk 55 sells local kuehs and pastry. There are a few Yip Yew Cheong's murals depicting lives in the sixties and seventies. A walk here enables one to use all the senses to see, taste etc.

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100 reviews
Very good

Singapore, Singapore3,666 contributions
Tiong Bahru Estate is one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore, built in the 1930s, to cater for mass public housing in Singapore in those days. The estate consists of about 30 apartment blocks with a total of over 900 units. The apartment blocks are made up of two to five-storey flats and the units are assorted three to five-room apartments (most without lift access).
Moving forward, the estate units are now one of the most expensive in the country due to proximity to city central and in high demand by many affluent younger sets-interior designers, architects, etc.
But to many visitors (locals and tourists alike), it's the availablity many F&B outlets offering a wide range of local cuisine like Bak Kut Teh (pork ribs soup with peppery stock), porridges, seafood and notably an all-time favourable food centre - Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre and Wet Market, where many local food can be savoured at a pocket-friendly price.
So a visit to Tiong Bahru invariably involves food, food and food. The wet market is essentially a morning activity venue, so if you are keen in local scenes...go early at 6am-11am.
Access to the estate can be via the Tiong Bahru MRT station (5 min walk to the estate belt) or many options like public bus, taxis...
Worth a visit? Perhaps for architecturals enthusiasts...and well....for the food....definitely a YES!
Written May 9, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Singapore, Singapore837 contributions
This is a charming housing estate close to Chinatown (and Orchard) as well (about 10-15 mins by cab) and offer a glimpse of public housing built as early as 1930s - 1960s (some have been demolished in the 1990s, unfortunately) by the British colonial government as a public housing estate, with charming Art Deco design built for the tropics.

The estate is now a much sough-after residential enclave with eateries aplenty (dining options are great) - the food at the iconic Tiong Bahru hawker centre is known to be among the very best in Singapore.

This is very much a living museum - you will catch glimpses of old Singapore in the charming back alley, spiral staircases, five-foot-ways, and some still occupied by their original inhabitants (some of their homes still retain flavors of the good old days). The best time to visit is in the early morning - where many of the old residents start their day early and the market is a hive of activities (attracting people from all over Singapore as well)!

There are many sources on the internet about Tiong Bahru (including movies shot in location at Tiong Bahru). I would recommend an early morning trip exploring the estate on foot + breakfast in the market or local coffeeshop (can be covered in 1.5 hour including food) would be a perfect experience to explore this area loved by many Singaporeans - and not very well known to many tourists yet.
Written November 10, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Maria M
Birkenhead, UK509 contributions
Staying at the Nostalgia hotel we were right next to the Tiong Bahru estate. Its an art deco housing estate from the 1930's, where rumour has it, Singapore business men housed their mistresses. Today its full of little coffee shops and great restaurants and despite going through a decline in past years is now an in place to live. The wet market still has the best fish, the day market sells everything you could possibly want and the hawker centre has some great stalls for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a heritage walk through the estate with trail notices. its definately worth a visit.
Written April 10, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Australia127 contributions
This establishment is in Tiong Bahru on Seng Poh Rd (nearest MRT is Tiong Bahru). It is a 2 storey complex with a wet market on the ground floor along with a few odds and ends stalls. The second floor is a hawker centre with 60+ food stalls. This is a genuine market and hawker centre and very well priced. We were there on a Sunday morning and the place was packed with locals having breakfast and shopping. The prices were excellent and I would recommend it as a genuine Singapore experience.
Written March 22, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Singapore842 contributions
We grew up knowing about Tiong Bahru. A place where you get good and cheap authentic food from various dialect groups. Famous being pau and xue kwee, fish balls, noodles, chicken rice, etc.However, there are just too many good food. they have rennovated the market and hawker center. what attracts peole there is also the housing. It is old and unique, no lift but walk up. The home is large but awkardly shaped. ;(It was used by military long time before) many older folks used to sit around there. hopefully they are still around. Nearest MRT is Tiong Bahru. Within the MRT, there is also a modern shopping mall. So one get both worlds, old Tiong Bahru versus the new.;)

If you like to see how the local lives, this is a good place to visit. Don't recall seeing many western tourists here. sad...
Written January 22, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Makati CIty14 contributions
If you're looking for something beyond the usual hawker stalls and posh restaurants in the Marina Bay area, Tiong Bahru would be a great area to visit to check out quaint cafes and hip restaurants.
Written October 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Singapore, Singapore4,978 contributions
This used to a sleepy, rather quiet area of Singapore with one notable element - good food. And although the area has become gentrified to a certain degree, it is still home to a fantastic wet market and food court (above the market), as well as new and hip eateries like Flock, PS Cafe and 40 Hands.

Do take the time to wander around the neighbouring side streets where you can also see locals supping at famous chi char stall Golden Spoon, the nearby bak kut teh (pork bone soup) and the curry rice stall. There are also a couple of well-stocked fish shops (for aquarium fish).

You can also take the Tiong Bahru heritage walk around the estate. For more details, visit littledayout.com and look up The Tiong Bahru Trail.
Written February 8, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Singapore, Singapore6,369 contributions
When I was young, I stayed at Jalan Membina, a short distance walk to Tiong Bahru Estate. When our flat was demolished, we moved to Jalan Bukit Merah and our block of flat was overlooking the Tiong Bahru Estate.

I remember during those days in the 70s, my father used to bring us to watch Chinese movies at King's Theater (璇宫戏院) at Kim Tian Road that was located within the Tiong Bahru estate. After the movie, we would then proceed to Kim Tian Hawker Center to have our ice-kacang and sweet desserts. Both the cinema and the hawker center had been demolished and given way to newer blocks of HDB flats and apartments.

I also remember my mother used to visit a Taoist temple located between Kim Tian Road and the Tiong Bahru market. My mother consulted the temple medium (a deity god of the supernatural underworld) and I would watch by the side of my mother how the temple medium went into a trance and prescribed the metaphysical `treatment' for my mother.

Each time I visited the Tiong Bahru Community Center, it raked up those nostalgic feeling of the past. I remember during my school vacation, my late father registered me for a Tae Kwon Do martial art beginner course at the community center.

Thereafter, at the courtyard in the community center, the instructor introduced his Spartan martial art training schedule that totally changed my weak physique and also my outlook of life. I recalled wearing the white Tae Kwon Do suit and belt and punching sand bags at the open courtyard of the community center on every weekend.

My late father always wanted me to be physically fit and also excelled academically and I ended up signing up as a regular in the Police Force. The short stint of martial art training benefited me tremendously and I owed much to the insistence of my late dad to enroll me for the course. The Tiong Bahru Community Center has not changed much over the years.

I also cannot forget the Tiong Bahru market and hawker center. Even after so many years that we moved out from Jalan Bukit Merah, my mother still insisted me to drive her to the Tiong Bahru market to buy her Chinese New Year's clothing. The little small garment shops in the market reminds me of the nostalgic feel of Singapore in the 70s and my mother probably had that emotional attachment with these shops. The hawker center has changed drastically with so many varieties of gorgeous food options to choose from. Every weekend when we came here, the food court is crowded and packed. I also have problem parking in the near vicinity.

The most memorable aspect of the Tiong Bahru Estate is still the unique 4-storey old `self-government' architectural style of public housing still in existent today. As I walked past the windows of these units along the footway of the flat, the unique wavy staircase and the round opening of the staircase wall, the round metallic poles that were fixed as grilles on the exterior of the windows fascinated me. You would not be able to see such unique housing architectural style in any other places in Singapore. It was classically the `Lim Yew Hock' style of housing as they were built during the era of this Chief Minister of Singapore. Some of these similar architectural style of shops along Tiong Bahru Road have been converted to hostels, re-painted and refurbished to rent out to tourists.

I remember at a corner of one of the roads in this Tiong Bahru was a congregation point, a kopitiam (coffee shop) for bird lovers. Bird cages were hoisted on poles and the bird lovers sat around watching the birds chirping and singing while they had their coffee and breakfast. I supposed the `kopitiam' is still operating and bird lovers still congregated at this junction for exchange of bird species and knowledge.

I was brought up here during my youth. Each time I visited this estate, it invokes that nostalgic memory of the past. This is a lovely place, this was once my home.
Written August 13, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Wendell D
New York City, NY741 contributions
Fun to visit just for the restaurants and shops that are sprouting up in the neighborhood, Tiong Bahru is an impressive example of modern architecture and urban design developed by Singapore's housing authority in the 1930's. The town center is a sleek, interesting design with a large open-air market on the ground floor, hawker stalls and eating areas on the second ... and parking on the roof! Leaving the center and walking through the residential neighborhood, it's easy to understand why Singapore is a leader in architecture, planning and public housing.
Written January 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jana C
Prague, Czech Republic4,618 contributions
We come to Singapore few times a year and always look for something to see and do. We have finally visited this 1930's estate. It is an easy walk from MRT station Tiong Bahru. We followed the Heritage trail which has many points of interest and also helpful boards where you can learn about the history of this place.
There are many nice cafes and shops within the estate and also a popular hawkers market.
Maybe not a top attraction but if you have seen the top ones this is definitely worth a visit.
Written August 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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