Our guide to the real Tiong Bahru Social Club.
Cafe-hopping is what you probably already know Tiong Bahru for. Yet, for a hipster enclave rich in local heritage as well as old-school charms, there’s more than meets the eye.
From (almost) century-old landmarks like The Monkey God Temple to new and trendy tenants like hipster cafes and vintage-inspired boutique shops, here are nine hidden gems to see, eat and do in the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood!
1) Interact with the Tiong Bahru Murals
There are many vibrant and unique murals scattered around Tiong Bahru. For example, at block 74 Tiong Poh Road, there’s the “Home” mural pictured above.
Illustrated by local muralist, Yip Yew Chong, each mural captures a significant memory of Tiong Bahru’s past. As Singapore’s oldest housing estate, this mural showcases the typical and traditional way a house was furnished in the past.
Here’s a little fun fact: the paint of each mural is retouched once every six years. So the colours will always be popping!
Opening hours: 24 hours
How to get there: Take the East-West Line to Tiong Bahru MRT. The Mural: Home (pictured above) is a 12min walk via Tiong Bahru Rd at Blk 74 Tiong Poh Road
2) Geek Out at a Local Bookstore – Woods in the Books
This cosy bookstore specialises in illustrated books but also stocks a range of knick-knacks and heartfelt gifts like handcrafted wooden animals and art prints.
Opening hours: 10AM – 6PM (Sun – Mon), 10AM – 7PM (Wed – Sat), closed on Tue
How to get there: Take the East-West Line to Tiong Bahru MRT. The store is a 9min walk from Exit A
3) Lepak at Tiong Bahru Park Playground
Unlike most playgrounds around Singapore, this one in Tiong Bahru has no maximum age and is open to all! The iconic tilting train playground features three slides, a mini climbing wall and two flying foxes.
For the young at heart, it’s time to bring out your inner child at this lesser-known playground located in the heart of Tiong Bahru Park!
Opening hours: 24 hours
How to get there: Take the East-West Line to Tiong Bahru MRT. The park is a 7min walk from Exit A
4) Visit the Monkey God Temple
Founded in 1920, the temple is the first of its kind in Singapore and it displays more than 10 statues of the Monkey God. There are also 40 other temples around the country where the Monkey God is worshipped.
Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: 7AM – 5PM
How to get there: Take the East-West Line to Tiong Bahru MRT. The temple is a 12min walk from Exit A
5) Feast on Local Delights at Tiong Bahru Food Centre
A well-known food haven, there are over 80 hawker stalls at Tiong Bahru Food Centre.
Be spoilt for choice as you pick from Michelin Guide selections such as Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee (鸿兴炒稣东虾面) and Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice (中峇鲁海南起骨鸡饭) to the famous Jian Bo Shui Kueh (楗柏水粿) flagship store which serves traditional Teochew Shui Kueh (S$3/5 pieces) which has been there since 1958!
Photo credit: @VisitSingaporeOfficial via Facebook
Tiong Bahru Food Centre
Opening hours: 7AM – 10PM
How to get there: Take the East-West Line to Tiong Bahru MRT. The food centre is a 9min walk from Exit A
Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee (鸿兴炒稣东虾面)
Opening hours: 11AM – 3PM, 4:30PM – 7:30PM (Tue–Sat), closed on Sun & Mon
Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice (中峇鲁海南起骨鸡饭)
Opening hours: 10:30AM – 11PM
Jian Bo Shui Kueh (楗柏水粿)
Opening hours: 6:30AM – 9PM
6) Get a Vintage Haircut at We Need a Hero Barber
Photo credit: @weneedaherosg via Facebook
For the boys, switch up your look and get a retro haircut at We Need A Hero — a one-stop male-grooming station. If it’s never crossed your mind to get a haircut at Tiong Bahru, this might just be your sign to do so!
From the classic sleek combover to the iconic Elvis Presley pompadour, every cut comes with a vintage twist.
Cost: S$70 – S$100/hair cut
Opening hours: 11AM – 9PM (Mon – Fri), 10AM – 9PM (Sat), 10AM – 8PM (Sun)
How to get there: Take the East-West Line to Tiong Bahru MRT. The barber is a 10min walk from Exit A
7) Sip on Traditional Coffee or Grab a Beer at Hua Bee
Photo credits: @l.huifang via Facebook
Kopitiam by day, bar by night.
In the day, Hua Bee Restaurant serves the traditional Singapore breakfast — kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs, and a cup of Kopi Gu You (coffee with butter).
Operating for over 70 years, the shop has retained its classic interior with tiled walls and marbled furniture, creating an authentic experience for all diners.
Photo credit: @binchosg via Facebook
By night, Bincho at Hua Bee takes over and turns the space into an underground yakitori and cocktail bar. Talk about duality!
To locate the hidden bar, you’ll need to venture beyond the storefront and to the back of Hua Bee. The restaurant’s chill vibes create the perfect ambience for tasting seasonal and delicious Japanese dishes.
Hua Bee Coffee Shop
Opening hours: 7:30AM – 2:30PM (Tue – Sun), closed on Mon
Opening hours: 12PM – 3PM (Tue – Sun), closed on Mon
How to get there (same for Hua Bee Coffee Shop): Take the East-West Line to Tiong Bahru MRT — 8min walk from Exit A
8) Explore a Pre-war Air Raid Shelter
Photo credit: roots.gov.sg
This war heritage site is the last pre-WWII civilian air raid shelter that exists in Singapore. Maintaining its original architecture, it is dimly lit and not for the faint-hearted.
Built in the 1930s, the shelter was used to shield residents from the WWII bombings during the Japanese occupation. Ever since then, the space was left untouched before it was converted into an art gallery in 2018.
Explore the gallery through a guided tour to find out more about Singapore’s war history and the ominous themes of war.
Guided tour details:
Date: Every first Sat and Sun of the month
Time: 10AM – 12PM or 4PM – 6PM
9) Be Inspired at Degiosart Gallery
Photo credit: @degiosart via Facebook
Calling all art enthusiasts! Head down to Degiosart Gallery, which features a range of contemporary fine art. From antiques to vintage collectables, the gallery exhibits works of art from Asia all the way to Europe.
The showroom also regularly rotates its collection on display, so be sure to keep a lookout for the next classic artwork with a modern twist!
Entrance fee: Free
Opening hours: 10AM – 7PM
How to get there: Take the East-West Line to Tiong Bahru MRT. The gallery is a 15min walk from Exit A
Discover a Different Side of the Tiong Bahru Neighbourhood
Tiong Bahru is home to both the “old” and “new” — where traditions and trends coexist harmoniously.
The next time someone suggests cafe-hopping at Tiong Bahru, share this article and explore these places instead 😉
Any interesting neighbourhoods we should check out next? Let us know in the comments below!