Distance: 1 km, extend the route by walking back from Yong Siak St via Seng Poh Lane to the main Tiong Bahru Road.
This low-rise and leafy compound of chalky-white Art Deco residential blocks pulls hashtag-happy hipsters with its picture-pretty boutiques, galleries, coffee shops, yoga studios and street art. Gentrification aside, some of the old neighbourhood feel remains and it’s a dream to walk around – follow our itinerary to uncover the best bits of the vibey heritage hood.
A. Qi Tian Gong Temple
Built in the 1920s, the diminutive Monkey God Temple, or Qi Tian Gong Temple, on the corner of Eng Hoon Street is worth a peek for the taoist statues dedicated to the simina deity.
44 Eng Hoon Street, +65 62202469, 7am-5pm daily, qitiangong.com
B. Tiong Bahru Bakery
Now stroll over to Tiong Bahru Bakery for one of their delicious buttery croissants and coffee – though you may have to scrummage with the expat buggy brigade on weekdays, and everyone else on weekends.
56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-70, +65 6220 3430, 8am-8pm daily, tiongbahrubakery.com
C. Merci Marcel
Local it-gals go Insta-nuts for TBB’s photogenic neighbour, boho-meets-Parisian Merci Marcel. It gets packed for weekend brunch, so go early, or better still, go mid-week for relaxing wine and fromage on the dinky patio, or score a seat at the bar instead.
56 Eng Hoon Street, +65 6224 0113, 8am-11.30pm Mon-Sat, till 10.30pm Sun, mercimarcel.com
Next door is antiques and art den Diegosart. What started as a personal rug fetish has evolved into an enviable stash of Tibetan carpets, antiquities and Buddhist sculptures collected by owner Giuseppe on his travels around Asia and Australia.
57 Eng Hoon Street, #01-82, +65 9698 6038, 10am-7pm daily by appt only, degiosart.com
E. Oriental Traditional Therapy
It won’t win any awards for decor or ambiance, but the masterful, intuitive masseuses at Oriental Traditional Therapywill have your muscles melting in no time. Not one for spa bunnies; this is a rigorous Chinese-style rubdown. Limited English is spoken, but who needs words…
HDB Eng Hoon #01-74, 57 Eng Hoon Street, +65 6438 5567, 10am-11pm daily, orientaltcm.com
F. Tiong Bahru Wet Market and Food Centre
Across the road you skip to the curvaceous, cream Tiong Bahru Wet Market and Food Centre. Browse for fresh produce and flowers on the ground floor, then pop upstairs for food. It’s by no means Singapore’s best hawker centre, but its airy, spacious tables make it one of the more comfortable. The fish maw soup stand and Tiong Bahru Fishball 7 Original are among our favourite stalls; prepare to queue if you want to sample the Michelin-bibbed Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice.
30 Seng Poh Road, 7am-10pm daily
G. One Olive
Cute greenhouse One Olive is your go-to for whimsical artisanal bouquets, arrangements and potted plants – they’ll also style your wedding, photoshoot or special occasion. Caught the green-fingered bug? Hone your skills at one of their flower arranging workshops.
61 Seng Poh Lane, #01-01, +65 6779 3543, 11.30am-7pm Tue-Sat, till 4pm Sun, oneolive.net
H. Olive Ankara
Sharing the same name, designer Olive Ankara takes boldly printed African waxed cottons and crafts them into Asian-inflected cheongsams, crop-top and skirt sets, jumpsuits and trademark ‘afromonos’, perfect for throwing on in Singapore’s artic aircon. There’s a delightful mini-me range too.
79 Chay Yan Street, #01-02 (opposite Plain Vanilla), noon-2pm and 5pm-7.30pm Tue-Fri, 11am-6pm Sat-Sun, oliveankara.com
I. Yong Siak Street
Yong Siak Street is a short but mighty hip strip of retail and refuelling. Here you’ll find fashionista Nana & Bird known for their clean silhouettes and graphic prints; cupcake champs Plain Vanilla, replete with a small shady patio and bikes to rent. Indie stalwart Books Actually serves fiction, nonfiction and a sharp edit of knick-knacks while prettily painted Woods in the Books shelve beautiful children’s tomes. Don’t miss 40 Hands, which has been wooing the coffee cognoscenti for nigh on 10 years and arguably kick-started the neighbourhood’s revival. End your trawl with a good ol’ stretch and twist at Yoga Inc (drop-in classes available).
Plain Vanilla: 1D Yong Siak Street, +65 8363 7614, 8am-7pm Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm Sun, plainvanilla.com.sg
Books Actually: 9 Yong Siak Street, +65 6222 9195, 9am-6pm Sun & Mon, till 7pm Tue-Sat, booksactuallyshop.com
Woods in the Books: 3 Yong Siak Street, +65 6222 9980, 10am-7pm Tue-Fri, till 8pm Sat and 6pm Sun-Mon woodsinthebooks.sg
Nana & Bird: 1 Yong Siak Street, +65 9117 0430, noon-7pm Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm Sat-Sun, shop.nanaandbird.com
40 Hands: 78 Yong Siak Street, +65 6225 8545, 7am-5.30pm Mon-Fri, 7.30am-6.30pm Sat-Sun, 40handscoffee.com
Yoga Inc: 21 Yong Siak Street, WhatsApp/SMS +65 9092 3922, classes held in shifts daily, see website for schedule, yogainc.sg
Photo credit: K-Hellon – iStock.com
ManulifeMOVE has no association with any of the landmarks, dining venues, galleries or retailers included within this walking guide, selected by LUXE, and disclaims any liability as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.