If you ever find yourself at Geylang Serai, you’ll notice it’s brimming full of culture and has plenty of historical monuments.
With Hari Raya Puasa fast approaching, Geylang Serai is bustling full of activity. There’s no better time to visit the heart of the local Malay community than now, so scroll through the gallery for the top places you can explore and tours you can head on in Geylang Serai.
One of the biggest markets in Singapore, the Geylang Serai Market plays a key focal role in the culture of the Muslim and Indian-Muslim communities in Singapore. Situated on the first floor is a traditional wet market where you can get Malay spices and ingredients for traditional dishes. Besides the fashion bazaar that sells clothes and accessories, the second floor also has a hawker food centre where you can feast on dishes like nasi lemak, beef rendang and goreng pisang.
Geylang Serai Market,
1 Geylang Serai, 402001
Founded in 1858 by descendants from Dabu, China, this association is one of the oldest Chinese associations in Singapore. If you head to the back wall on the ground level, you can find the names of the founding members of the association inscribed on the original stone tablets in the wall. You can explore the Char Yong Heritage Hall here, as well as the Hakka Culture Study Room, and two galleries: the Dabu gallery on the eighth floor, and the Char Yong Gallery on the seventh floor.
Char Yong (Dabu) Association
29 Lorong 22 Geylang, 398686
The second-oldest fire station in Singapore, the Geylang Fire Station was opened in 1929. It was later renamed the Paya Lebar Fire Station, until the end of its operation in 2002. Now a conserved building that is leased out as a commercial and industrial space, the fire station is still located at the same place, with its distinctive, bright red doors.
Former Geylang Fire Station
29 Paya Lebar Road, 409005
Constructed in the 1930s, this Victorian-esque building used to screen Malay and other foreign language movies. It was a popular place back then, with crowds flocking to the building to catch movies. The place was eventually shut down in the 1980s, but the charm of the building still remains.
Former Queen’s Theatre
Located opposite Lorong 41 Geylang Road
These pre-war shophouses have existed since the early 1900s and were popular till the late 1930s, right before the war. The shophouses are preserved today, and can be easily spotted along the stretch at Lorong 24A and Lorong 34. With colourful, patterned tiles and an antique charm, these shophouses are perfect for snapping a quick shot.
A newly constructed hub that just recently opened its doors, the facility is a cultural and heritage space. Singapore’s first social and cultural heritage hub, the place consists of the new Community Club, the South East Community Development Council office, a Malay Heritage Gallery, arts facilities, a senior care centre, childcare centre and a family service centre. The architecture reuses features from the former Malay village, so head down to the hub to see the gorgeous architecture for yourself!
When you’re done exploring the area on your own, hop onto any tour around Geylang Serai to check out potential places you missed, or food that you haven’t tried. Scroll through the rest of the gallery for our recommended tours!
Wisma Geylang Serai
1 Geylang Serai, 402001
Join this evening food tour that will introduce you to the unique Geylang culinary culture. You’ll be able to sample street food such as rice noodles, dim sum, turtle soup, and the ‘king of fruits’, the durian. The food tour guide will explain all about food customs and traditions in Singapore as you make your way through winding lanes and bustling back alleys.
Make your way through the district and discover the past and present times the neighbourhood has to offer with the Kampung Geylang Serai Uncovered Tour. As you walk through the backlanes, shortcuts and hidden gardens, you will get a chance to sample an array of popular Malay & Muslim traditional & street foods.
If you’re keen to explore a different side of Singapore, hop onto this tour where you’ll be able to uncover Chinatown’s interesting past, where it was known for opium and gambling dens, and multi-faceted present. Afterwards, a bus would bring you down the streets and alleys of Geylang Serai. The tour will also bring you down Club Street and Food Street. Take note that participants have to be 18 and above!
By Cheryl Lim, 28 May 2018 / Updated by Melodi Ghui, May 2019
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