How much do you know about Singapore’s East side? Here are some fun facts and places to check out!
How well do you really know our little red dot? The next time you’re feeling a little cooped up, set out to discover the East side of Singapore. This exciting enclave is home to heritage shophouses, quaint shops, cool cafes and more. To jazz up your agenda, here are some awesome things to do and fun facts we bet you didn’t know…
1. Hello, heritage
Joo Chiat has clinched the accolade of being Singapore’s first Heritage Town! Go on an intrepid exploration of the area’s colourful shophouses, the most famous of which is the pastel display along Koon Seng Road. Don’t miss out on venturing into the back alleyways for some photoshoot-worthy backdrops too. If you’d like, you can even walk along ‘Medleyalley’, a stretch of art murals along East Coast Road. You’ll be snapping endless pics for the ‘gram.
2. A Peranakan haven
Learn all about Peranakan culture: start by having a taste of Nyonya cuisine at Rumah Bebe, which is housed in a 1920s heritage shophouse. The Intan is another intriguing showcase of Peranakan heritage. It’s a museum containing a vast collection of cultural items amassed over 30 years.
3. It’s home to Singapore’s oldest private hospital
Did you know that Parkway East Hospital (PEH) has a rich history that spans a whopping 80 years? The multi-disciplinary private hospital is located in the heart of Singapore’s East side, which doesn’t just focus on children’s and women’s healthcare needs, it also includes round-the-clock medical help with a 24-hour A&E clinic, and specialist services such as orthopaedics, gastroenterology and obstetrics and gynaecology. Say goodbye to the usual sterile hospital fronts — the good folks at PEH take pride in being caring, warm and genuine.
This year marks PEH’s 80th anniversary, and the hospital is taking the celebration up a notch with anniversary tingkat (traditional tiered food containers) meals specially curated by its own Executive Chef Roslan Abbas. Available as an inpatient menu item from May to December 2022, this Peranakan-themed meal is a homage to the surrounding neighbourhood. The inpatient kitchen is also halal-certified!
Celebrating 80 years of care in the community, this anniversary milestone is also marked by upgrading works to better serve patients. Key areas of the hospital, such as its ward rooms and operating theatres are being revamped with improved clinical and operational capabilities. A refreshed A&E department has been specially designed to help patients feel at ease, while a new cafeteria promises greater comfort for visitors and guests. There’s also a rehabilitation centre where physiotherapy services aid recovery from conditions such as sports injuries.
4. Explore an intriguing antique shop
We do love a little shopping for antiques! Go on your next treasure hunt at Katong Antique House, which has over 100 years of Peranakan history. Travel back in time at this unique two-storey Katong shophouse, which boasts trinkets, artefacts, furniture, and costumes that date back to the 1800s.
5. Cafe-hopping, here we come!
This is for anyone who loves brunch with coffee and chill vibes. There are countless cafés to choose from: visit the classic Sinpopo, Birds of Paradise, or Chin Mee Chin. If you’re all about the ‘gram, consider Simplicite for its gorgeous cocktails, complete with a showstopping Angel Hair pasta appetiser decorated with fresh flowers.
Add a whimsical dose to your day at the Upside Down Café, where optical illusions make you feel — you guessed it — as if you’re dizzyingly upside down. Get your cameras ready! However, if a morning perk-me-up is all you need, you’ll be spoilt for choice with coffee joints, such as Five Oars Coffee Roasters, East Coast Commune, The Brewing Ground and more. Seriously, you’ll need to devote a few day trips here just to munch your way through the neighbourhood.
6. Admire amazing sunset sights
Just before dusk falls, make your way to Changi Point Coastal Walk for one of the best sunsets in Singapore. Stroll along the 2.2km boardwalk that stretches from Changi Jetty to Sunset Walk. And if you have time, you can even spend the day at Pulau Ubin before refuelling with Changi Village’s famous nasi lemak.
7. Of cotton and coconuts
The East Coast of yesteryear is nothing like today: we bet it’s hard to imagine that the neighbourhood was once home to cotton and coconut plantations! How times have changed. In fact, the Joo Chiat area derived its namesake from Chew Joo Chiat, one such plantation owner.
Katong may be bustling today, but it used to be a coconut plantation back in 1823. This spanned the familiar residential areas of Siglap and Frankel Avenue. Katong was also home to Kampong Amber, a coastal enclave, as well as a Malay village between East Coast Road and Amber Road. In fact, before 1819, pirates were known to stalk the waters off our Eastern shores. Imagine that!
To learn more, why not embark on the Bedok Heritage Trail and visit spots that were once home to kampongs, mangroves, military keypoints, fishing villages, and more.
8. A fun weekend, coming right up!
You can easily spend an entire weekend exploring the East side with your loved ones in Singapore. And a single weekend will not be enough for adventures that include mangrove kayaking tours at Pulau Ubin, waterbike rides at Pasir Ris, or cable skiing at East Coast Park. Want more? Meet bunnies at the Rabbit Headquarters, participate in a coastal clean-up, cycle through the Jurassic Mile, or strap on a pair of skates at the Hi Roller Indoor Skating Rink.
So much to do, so little time! Clear up your weekend schedule, ‘cos adventure starts now.
This post is in partnership with Parkway East Hospital.