Off the beaten track/path

If you’re hoping lớn go off-the-beaten track away from the đô thị centre, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of hip haunts, cool hangouts và hidden gems in Singapore that are considered under-the-radar even by locals.

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Our guide khổng lồ hidden gems in lesser-known locales encompass the neighbourhoods of Balestier, Bukit Timah, Holland Village, Hougang, Jalan Besar, Queenstown, Redhill, Siglap and Toa Payoh.

Visit these neighbourhoods for amazing sights, sounds and, of course, food!

Off the Beaten Track Neighbourhoods in Singapore
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Balestier

Named after Joseph Balestier, the first American consul khổng lồ reside in Singapore, Balestier was initially an agricultural space, but evolved lớn host businesses from traders, artisans & craftsmen.

In the 1920s, it was nicknamed ‘Recreation Road’ for its growing entertainment offerings. Today, this district is trang chính lớn Chinese-Baroque style shophouses, old-world cultural gems and hip eateries.

For an authentic Singaporean meal, visit Founder’s Bak Kut Teh, which has been dishing out piping-hot bowls of pepper pork-rib soup for over four decades, & is a favourite haunt of local stars & celebrities. Alternatively, dig into lớn a meal at Loy Kee Chicken Rice for a taste of one of our island’s most iconic dishes.

For your coffee fix, visit Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory to lớn learn how old-school coffee is made, or while away the afternoon at Wheeler’s Yard, a bicycle-themed coffe popular amongst locals where its xanh door makes a great backdrop for an #OOTD.


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Bukit Timah

A prime location in Singapore, the Bukit Timah area used to be known for the Bukit Timah Race Course, a horse-racing facility for the high-heeled. Today, that facility is renamed The Grandstand & has been converted lớn host various shops and eateries, such as Italian restaurant Ristorante domain authority Valentino and Louisiana-style seafood diner Dancing Crab.

The neighbourhood is trang chủ to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve sầu, a verdant sanctuary that’s popular aao ước nature lovers and fitness buffs alượt thích, and a great place to relax and unwind. 

Alternatively, we recommkết thúc exploring The Green Corridor, which leads to lớn the Old Bukit Timah Railway Station. You’ll be able to lớn spot Neram trees (large tree indigenous to Southeast Asia, commonly found on riverbanks) & Raintrees, as well as old railway tracks at the initial 1.4km of the Bukit Timah-Rochor trail.

When you’re done sweating it out, hop off the train at Beauty World MRT for various dining options. In the day, stop by Revelry & Carpenter & Cook for brunch, or drop by Bukit Timah Food Centre to nosh on hawker delicacies like fish soup, braised duchồng rice and laksa (spicy coconut milk-based noodle soup).

Night owls can visit the bustling supper stretch which offers local delights lượt thích roti prata (South Indian flatbread) và curry at Al-Azahar to lớn a spread for sharing at Joo Seng Teochew Porridge. Those with a palette for novelty can also try out frog leg porridge at G7 Sinma Claypot.


Holl& Village

Affectionately known as ‘Hollvà V’ by locals, the district of Holland Village is named after Hugh Hollvà, who was one of the area"s early residents & a well-respected architect.

This charming precinct encompasses Chip Bee Gardens on Jalan Merah Saga—lined with semi-detached and terrace houses that were once homes khổng lồ members of the British army in the 1950s, when Singapore was under colonial rule.

Today, Holl& V is mainly known for its F&B outlets, including bagel eatery Two Men Bagel House, Mediterranean-vegetarian restaurant Original Sin, & late-night sweet spot 2am:dessertbar.

If you’re looking khổng lồ grab a cuppage authority & people watch, consider dropping by %Arabica for aromatic brews that hail from countries Brazil, El Salvador và nhật bản.

The neighbourhood’s vibrant watering holes are a hit with locals as well—restaurant-bar Drinks & Co Kitchen, Germanic pub Baden và live sầu music venue Wala Wala are the perfect spots for an evening tipple.


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Hougang

In the past, Hougang was bustling with food stalls, street wayang (theatre shows), Chinese medicine men, và storytellers. It is now a mature residential town, và the most populous in North Eastern Singapore.

History buffs can pay a visit khổng lồ the Japanese Cemetery Park— the largest Japanese cemetery in Southeast Asia và home to lớn 910 tombstones from World War II. For beautiful gothic architecture, drop by the recently renovated Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the oldest Catholic Church for the Teochew community in Singapore.

To refuel, head to Sitháng Road for Lola’s Cafe, or dig in khổng lồ the iconic Punggol Natê mê Lemak và Selegie Tau Huay (beancurd) just round the corner. Closer khổng lồ the heart of the neighbourhood & the MRT station, you can pichồng up no-frills essentials at Hougang Mall và Hougang 1.


Jalan Besar

The shophouse-lined streets of this colourful district was once a simple traông xã through a betel nut & fruit orchard, established in the 1830s by the Norris Brothers. Years later, the municipality decided to lớn expvà the road before aptly naming it Jalan Besar, which translates from Malay khổng lồ "big road".

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Now a conserved area, Jalan Besar is trang chủ to lớn an eclectic stretch of eateries, cafés, entertainment venues, và religious sites. It’s also a hostel hotspot, and a haunt for backpackers & globetrotters seeking affordable accommodation. 

This is one of the best areas to lớn go café-hopping, so kiểm tra out hangouts like Butter Studio for its incredible baked goods và Chye Seng Huat Hardware for some potent coffee (or a cold brew on tap). Don’t miss other highlights like The General Company for artisanal products và handcrafted wares—they make for great souvenirs.

If you’re sticking around for dinner, hit up places such as The Refinery for Japanese kushiyaki (grilled skewered food) and bespoke cocktails, or if you want some local delights, head to lớn Berseh Food Centre for orh luak (fried oyster omelette) & local aromatic kopi (coffee).


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Queenstown

One of Singapore’s oldest housing estates, Queenstown was once an agricultural zone, and is named after Queen Elizabeth II, Singapore’s head of state during the colonial era.

From its MRT station, take a short bus ride to the sprawling IKEA at Alexandra for Swedish meatballs and home page décor shopping.

Visitors to Queenstown can also learn more about the neighbourhood’s colourful heritage with the quaint artefacts & exhibits on display at My Queenstown Museum, Singapore’s first-ever community museum.

Also synonymous with the neighbourhood is Queensway Shopping Centre, a favourite haunt of local athletes and shoppers looking for bargain buys on sneakers và apparel from brands lượt thích Nike & Adidas.

Over in the nearby Wessex Estate, there are noteworthy sites as well. Cheông chồng out art galleries like Joy Clay Studio và Gallery (you’ll have lớn make an appointment to lớn visit) for ceramic sculptures & installation art before dropping by Colbar—a charming canteen that boasts an old-school ambiance and a myriad of Western and Asian culinary delights.


Redhill

Legend has it that Redhill, (also known as Bukit Merah)—the hill that gives this neighbourhood its name—was named after a young boy who was murdered out of jealousy after saving his village from swordfish, with his blood staining the hill ever since.

Intriguing tales aside, Redhill is a new town in the Southernmost part of Central Singapore, & was trang chủ khổng lồ our island’s first brickwork factories & mills in the 1930s.

Today, it’s a cosy neighbourhood housing the well-loved Redhill Market for local delicacies like satay bee hoon (rice vermicelli noodles in a spicy peanut sauce) & chicken rice.

If you’re feeling peckish while visiting, be sure to drop by Seng Hoon Coffeecửa hàng or Soon Li Yong Tau Foo. The former is a great option for travellers visiting in the morning—and serves up the classic Singaporean breakfast of kaya (a traditional jam made from coconut và eggs) toast và kopi—while the latter is a popular supper spot that dishes out piping hot bowls of yong tau foo.

Siglap 

Starting off with humble beginnings as a coastal kampung (village) of coconut-nutmeg plantations, Siglap flourished when the Frankels— wealthy Jewish businessmen from Lithuania— bought over the land. 

Today, this residential area in eastern Singapore is trang chủ khổng lồ mostly semi-detached homes & bungalows. The neighbourhood is a stone’s throw away from East Coast Park and Changi Airport, making it a popular area amongst tourists, expats, và beach-going Singaporeans.

For traditional-local meals, sample home-made nonya* cuisine at House of Peranakan, or feast on zi char (traditional dishes influenced by home-cooked Chinese food) at Jin Wee Restaurant. Coffee lovers can indulge in the many brunch joints available in the area—crowd favourites include Penny’s University, Craftsmen Speciality Coffee, and Stamping Ground Coffee.

If you’re looking lớn tóm tắt a pint with the locals, be sure to lớn drop by watering holes lượt thích Georges MADBar & Grill or Jag’s Gastropub.

*Nonya cuisine is also known as Peranakan (meaning "local born") cuisine. The cuisine comes from people of Chinese và Malay/Indonesian heritage.

Toa Payoh

Toa Payoh may seem like a typical heartlvà area at first, but delve deeper and you"ll find that it"s steeped in a rich và colourful history.

The neighbourhood, which translates lớn "big swamp" in the Hokkien dialect, is the second oldest satellite town after Queenstown và is the site of many firsts: it was the first town to lớn adopt the neighbourhood police post system, the first MRT station was built here, and is the trang chính to the first mosque established under the Mosque Building Fund (MBF).

To experience the neighbourhood’s many charms, drop by venues like the aforementioned Masjid Muhajirin mosque, Toa Payoh Town Park for a spot of greenery, và the iconic Dragon Playground for a look at one of Singapore"s most beloved landmarks.

If you’re feeling peckish, there are cafés & restaurants lượt thích waffle và ice cream joint Creamier and famous seafood dining spot Kelly Jie Seafood, where you can sample chilli crab, Singapore’s national seafood dish.

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Now that you’re equipped with the right knowledge, you’re all phối và ready lớn go explore the secret side of Singapore! For more walking trails & neighbourhoods lớn visit, kiểm tra out these guides.


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