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Where to live in Singapore: the old-world charm of Tiong Bahru

Where to live in Singapore: the old-world charm of Tiong Bahru

By Aditi Gaitonde Fernandes

There’s something about Tiong Bahru. Walking around this heritage neighbourhood feels like travelling back in time to an era when walk-ups were all the rage, neighbours talked to each other and doors had clanky (but cute) grills.

The old-world charm, retro architecture, CBD fringe location and the peaceful pace all contribute to making Tiong Bahru one of the most coveted ’hoods in Singapore.


Is Tiong Bahru well-connected?

You bet. One of our favourite District 03 neighbourhoods, Tiong Bahru is conveniently located just off the city centre. Being on the fringe of the CBD has its benefits. It’s got that special community vibe with all the convenience of being close to the buzzing bits of the city.

Take the Tiong Bahru MRT (East-West Line) and you’ll find yourself at Tanjong Pagar, Raffles Place and City Hall in less than five minutes. Alternatively, you can hop onto a bus or cycle to the CBD too.

If you’re working in and around One North, the MRT with one change to the Circle Line will get you there in just 15 minutes. Sentosa and Orchard Road are both a sweet 6-10 minutes drive away too. Besides, the upcoming Havelock MRT station on Thomson-East Coast Line will further enhance the connectivity.


Where to live in Tiong Bahru?

Tiong Bahru is one of the oldest residential estates on the island. You know what that means. It’s home to some of the most iconic homes that include shophouses and absolutely unique pre-WWII apartments that are painstakingly conserved. It’s where art deco meets Straits shophouse-style architecture!⁠

Retro semi-circular balconies in Tiong Bahru Estate

As for condos, there are only a handful in the precinct. The newest build, Keppel Land’s Highline Residences (completed in 2018) has 500 units across two 36-storey, one 21-storey tower and four 4-storey blocks with dual-key apartments. The unit mix at Highline Residences ranges from 1 bedroom through to 4 bedroom and penthouse, although the floor areas are relatively tight at just 1,227 sqft for the four bedder. The condo boasts an enormous pool, gym, concierge and even an “urban farm”. And of course there’s it’s unbeatable location, across the road from the MRT, mall and supermarket and enjoying incredible views – both big wins if you want to buy or rent a unit here.

Then there’s The Regency at Tiong Bahru (completed in 2010), a lovely freehold development with 158 apartments across 35 floors. The highlight has to be the views, along with proximity to public transportation. And there’s more space on offer, with 2 to 4 bedroom apartments ranging from 926 to 1,636 sqft.

Next door is Twin Regency, the oldest but also the most spacious. Completed in 2007, the development offers 234 freehold units, the expected list of condo facilities, and 2 to 4 bedroom apartments ranging from 980 sqft through to 2,120 sqft (bless those older builds and their spacious layouts!).

If you’re looking to rent, consider co-living brand Hmlet’s gorgeous shophouses at 3 & 5 Yong Siak or the new collection of studio apartments. Commontown and Cove are two other co-living start-ups with rentals in Tiong Bahru.


Is Tiong Bahru family-friendly?

For sure. It’s a great precinct to raise kids and furbabies. Nearby schools include CHIJ Kellock Primary, Radin Mas Primary, Crescent Girls’ School and CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent. Got a college-goer on your hands? There’s also Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, SMU and PSB Academy.

Round the corner. Unique pre WWII buildings in Tiong Bahru

We reckon a Sentosa Islander membership might come in handy considering the entertainment island is only two MRT stops or 7-minute drive.

Tiong Bahru has its share of parks for the little ones to run around and play. Plus, it’s also close to Mount Faber, Fort Canning and Pearl’s Hill City Park.


Things to do in Tiong Bahru

Everything. It’s one hip neighbourhood and chances are you’ll seldom run out of things to do/eat here. Love local food? Tiong Bahru Market is one of the most popular hawker centres and home to insanely good chicken rice, chwee kueh, prawn noodles and other local fares.

From delightful cafes and award-winning restaurants to indie stores and Instaworthy nooks (see: murals), it’s got it all. Honestly, you can’t walk around the ’hood without stopping for treat or two.

Gorgeous hanging chair at Tumbleweed nursery

Yoga, pilates, gyms are everywhere to be seen, as are creative workshops for hobbyists. And then there are bookstores (BooksActually & Woods in the Books), florists and nurseries (Ask a French & Tumbleweed), home decor boutiques (Maissone, European Bedding and the entirety of Tan Boon Liat building in Outram) to keep you occupied.

The bright lights and flashy sale signs of Orchard Road calling out to you? It takes eight minutes by car to get there. Also, the largest and oldest hospital in the country, Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is minutes away.


Where to now?

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