This indie bookstore is one of the best places in Singapore to find books outside of the mainstream market that dominates much of the city’s book sales. Instead of the usual best sellers, the shelves of Books Actually are filled with books by lesser known authors, with a focus on native writers. The shop is decorated with potted plants, wooden furnishings and fun trinkets. This is more than a mere bookstore as it also hosts book launches, poetry reading sessions and local exhibitions. For the literary mind looking for some culture, Books Actually is the place to go.
Address: 9 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru, Singapore 168645, +65 6222 9195
Like its name suggests, Strangelets is a treasure trove of weird and fantastic finds. This design shop sells jewelery, home wares, stationary, gifts, and an infinite assortment of other odd items. Here is the perfect place to buy a gift for an eccentric friend, to indulge in your inner child’s sense of amusement or simply to look at things that are beautiful, strange, and unusual. Who knows, you may even make an unexpected find.
Address: 7 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168644, +65 6222 1456
Qi Tian Gong Temple
This Taoist temple has been in Tiong Bahru since 1920, and it is supposed to be the first temple dedicated to the Monkey King. Ever one of the most interesting and mischievous deities in Taoist mythology, the Monkey King can be seen everywhere in the temple, with over ten statues of him in the temple premises, some of which are older than the temple itself. The Qi Tian Gong Temple is the last thing you would expect to see in hipster Tiong Bahru, showcasing the neighborhood’s history.
Address: 44 Eng Hoon St, Singapore 169786, +65 6220-2469
Grey Projects is much more than the art gallery it claims to be. Other than an exhibition space, Grey Projects also includes a library and an art studio, as well as an apartment where their studio artist lives. Their gallery features art by their current studio artist, as well as other local talents. They make open calls for artists to submit their work for upcoming exhibitions, which are always changing, making each visit a new and compelling experience.
Address: 6B Kim Tian Rd, Singapore, 169246, +65 6655 6492
The Orange Thimble
Want to look at art in a more casual setting? Check out The Orange Thimble. The walls of this café display artwork by local artists, making it a mini gallery. It serves excellent coffee, as well as an assortment of brunch foods and desserts, giving it an artistic yet relaxed vibe. As it is relatively unknown to both locals and tourists, it is a great spot to spend a relaxing afternoon looking at local creativity in comfort.
Address: #01-68 56 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 160056, +65 6223 8068
The Tiong Bahru Trail
This trail, mapped by Singapore’s National Heritage Board, is designed to take you through the important landmarks of Tiong Bahru, celebrating the district’s history and paying tribute to its beginnings as a cemetery ground and public housing estate. The trail includes ten points in the district, including places of religion, cultural, and historic notability. You will learn about the lives of the district’s residents in the 20th century, as well as see the distinct architecture of pre-war Singapore.
Tiong Bahru Park
This 3-hectare park dates back to before the rejuvenation of Tiong Bahru, when the district was defined mainly by the public housing estate. The Tiong Bahru Park offers a place of greenery to the residents, and after many extensions in terms of its facilities, is a place of relaxation and recreation for locals. Other than the usual green lawns and footpaths, which are perfect for jogging, the park has a fun adventure playground for children. It’s a great place for a spot of nature in this bustling metropolitan area.
Address: Tiong Bahru Road, Singapore 168732, +65 1800 471 7300
Every hipster neighborhood needs a vinyl store, and Curated Records is one such shop in Tiong Bahru. It is stocked with a fantastic collection of vinyls, ranging from old classics like Led Zeppelin to modern Grammy-winning artists like Lady Gaga, as well as little-known indie bands. The shop has a casual ambiance, making visitors feel relaxed and comfortable just browsing. The friendly staff is always able to offer help if you’re looking for something specific, or make recommendations.
Address: #01-53 55 Tiong Bahru Rd, Singapore, 160055, +65 6438-3644
Tiong Bahru is home to a multitude of cafés, dessert places, and coffee shops that have sprung up over the past few years. Each shop has its own ambiance, from the buzzy New York bar vibe of popular brunch place Open Door Policy, to the relaxed and homey family-run Flock Cafe, to the local favorite Tiong Bahru Bakery. You will be surprised by the variation of brunch food, such as the sambal prawn sandwich offered at Drips Bakery Cafe. You can café hop and experience all the coffee and sandwiches Tiong Bahru has to offer, or choose a cozy shop to spend an afternoon in and people-watch out the window.
Thirsty Craft Beer Shop
One of Singapore’s most popular craft beer bars, Thirsty Craft Beer Shop has an impressive list of over 200 different kinds of craft beers and ciders. They import craft beers from both big and small labels all over the world, from Europe, America, Asia and Australia. The interior of the bar has a classy yet laid-back aesthetic, with cool air-con against the humidity outside and cozy couches to get comfortable in. The staff is also more than happy to tell you about the available beers and assist you in making a selection.
Address: 3 Seng Poh Road #01-01, Tiong Bahru Bar (TBB), Singapore 168891, +65 6532-0116