Redefining Geylang

September 17, 2018

Almost three years ago, I met someone who lives in Geylang and agreed to accompany me to a night photowalk in the area. Being new to the city, I had my reservations coming to Singapore's red light district at night. This notion was quickly replaced by the assurance of seeing the area firsthand. To the curious--yes, it is very safe even at night. This is Singapore after all.

Six months after, my shared flat's lease in Ang Mo Kio was up and I had to quickly find a new place to stay. I turned to the Geylang district, and never looked back since.

Vibrant, warm and full of life are the three first things I can think of if you ask me about this place. I have lived in the Geylang area for two years now, and I'm really happy with this choice. So happy, I decided to do a blog series on what I like about my 'hood and why the usual stigma surrounding this area should be redefined.

(Relatively) Cheap Rent

For starters, the flat rental in this district zone can rival the lower cost of renting flats far away from the central business district (CBD). The flat I'm renting now is the same price as the one my friend was renting at Bukit Panjang, which is at the last stop of the Blue Line MRT.

My current apartment is so lovely no matter which time of day. My favorite is of course the golden hour. But the sunset here never disappoints. Another bonus is that I get a nice view of the fireworks over the Marina Bay, whenever the occasion calls for it.


Just to give you an idea, from my place it's only 5 bus stops to the CBD. Two stations of the Green Line MRT are very accessible, and one Yellow Line MRT is an easy 4-min walk. This is arguably the only place in Singapore where if you book a Grab, the car will be at your gate before you even get a chance to press the lift button to go down.

Apart from that, the airport is just 15 minutes away.


A lot of Singapore restaurants and hawker fares close early around 10pm. When I used to live in Ang Mo Kio, if I got hungry my only resort was food from 7Eleven. In the Geylang area, there's a lot of food choices to choose from even at the wee hours of the night, a few 24-hr supermarkets that are walking distance, and a 24-hr Cheers opposite a 7Eleven.

I just really, really like the idea that I will not starve if my fridge happened to be empty.

There is also a wet market, a public library, two post offices, two POPStations (like a PO box that you get temporarily when sending/receiving parcels)--all within some minutes of walking.


Within the 1-km radius of where I am, there is a yoga studio, 2 climbing gyms, 3 bouldering gyms, an aerial hoops/silks studio, a stadium for running, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a judo  federation club, a krav maga center... There is even Kallang River where they hold dragon-boat races and classes should I choose to enroll in that too! You name it, Geylang will surely have it!

Food Options

Now that I have talked about what to do for exercise, I can start raving about the food. First off, the famous Old Airport Road Food Centre is just a 5-min walk. Forget Lau Pa Sat, and other touristy hawker centres. OARFC is the real deal. Must try dishes are the wanton mee, prawn noodles, and the chicken rice that gets the longest queues.

For the best pau, I go to Tanjong Rhu Pao and Confectionery just off the corner of Lor 34 Geylang and Guillemard Rd. 

Geylang is also the birthplace of the best char siew in town--Char. They have since then closed down to move to Jalan Besar. But as the old adage goes, if a door closes, a window will open. I'm talking about the best pork place in the city, which happens to be a Filipino dish called lechon by Don Lechon.

My Thai friends have taken me to probably the most authentic tasting Thai restaurant here. They have the best pad thai, green curry and so much more. And you've guessed it right--it's also in Geylang!

Another personal favorite of mine is just a minute walk away from home--the Japanese restaurant called Haru. The food and tea selection is so perfect, it deserves its own blog post.

Blog Series

There are so many things I want to write more in-depth about, so I'll be making a separate sub-page for this for easier navigation. You will see more. I can't wait to share with you this place full of character, the place I call my second home.

I'd like to end this post by another cliche "don't judge a book by its cover." A lot of times, a book's contents will surprise you.

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