There will be no different feeling at all when you set foot in the Tiong Bahru MRT station. This station is almost similar to several other MRT stations in Singapore that commonly connected to a shopping center that always presents a wide selection of goods and food shortly after you make it out from the station platform.

You will only feel the difference when you come out from Tiong Bahru Plaza (shopping center). You will immediately be treated by views of Singapore-style residential areas, with looming apartments on the right and left of the road.

However, do not let it make you feel lost and decide to change direction. Although at first glance it doesn't look like a tourism area, Tiong Bahru has its own charm. This area is actually the oldest residential area in Singapore, which was built in the 1920s.

Tiong Bahru itself means 'new burial'; in the Hokkien dialect, Tiong means 'the end', while Bahru that of the Malay language means 'new'. The name was used because this area was once used as a burial ground, before it was changed into a residential area since in the 1920s by the British colonial government. The long historical footprint of this residential area is still felt today, with some 1930s architectural-style buildings known as Streamline Moderne that still standing tall, flanked by several relatively new modern apartments.

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This view is what makes Tiong Bahru a unique tourist area compared to the total modernity offered by most tourist areas in Singapore. The combination of the nuances of the past from some of the buildings and the interesting touch of contemporaryity produce a different sensation that makes this area popular among tourists even though it doesn't look like a tourist area at all.

Moreover, Tiong Bahru is now filled with a variety of additional attractions that make you have many reasons to visit this area: from modern cafes, traditional cuisine, hipster bookstores, unique accessories from local artists, to murals.

FACES OF TIONG BAHRU - INDIE SHOPS, CAFES, TO MURALS

Behind a row of residential buildings with shades of vintage dominated by white, Tiong Bahru turns out to be an attractive place that will spoil the passion for shopping, culinary, and art. This is because in recent years, this region continues to clean up to make it one of the most hip places in Singapore.

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Tiong Bahru has a variety of indie shops that will satisfy the shopping desires of its visitors. One of them is BooksActually, the most famous indie bookstore in Singapore. Here, connoisseurs of literature can find a diverse collection of local and imported books, classics, to contemporary. Not just a bookstore, BooksActually also publishes books independently under the auspices of Math Paper Press.

Satisfied shopping, you can stop for a moment to rest and fill the stomach in hip Tiong Bahru cafes. One that can be your goal is Forty Hands. Not without reason, before the many cafes in Tiong Bahru as it is today, Forty Hands has stood up and become a pioneer of the famous brewed coffee in Singapore. Not only coffee, this cafe also serves a variety of breakfast menus, main courses, salads, to burgers.

The Tiong Bahru area is also decorated with street art in the form of murals. There are several mural spots in this area; the most famous is heritage murals by Yip Yew Chong which consists of three works; 'Market and The Fortune Teller' at Blk 73 Eng Watt Street, 'Bird Singing Corner' at Blk 71 Seng Poh Lane, and 'Home' at Blk 74 Tiong Poh Road / Eu Chin Street.

FROM THE MOST DELICIOUS CROISSANTS TO THE POPULAR WANTON MEE

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For you lovers of pastry, it's a must to come to Tiong Bahru Bakery. The cake shop located at 56 Eng Hoon Street is always crowded with locals and tourists alike. How come? The pastry delicacy there has been known throughout the Lion Country.

Tiong Bahru Bakery has many menus that will spoil the tongue of its visitors. But there are two who are excellent. First, the digested croissants are the tastiest in Singapore. Second, Kouign Amann is a circular pastry with a layer of caramel which is filled with various filling.

If you want more traditional food in Singapore, walk a little to Tiong Bahru Market, and find the hawker center on the second floor. As with a typical Singapore hawker center, there are so many food choices to choose from there. One of the most popular there is Wanton Mee at Zhong Yu Yuan Wei Wanton Noodle, which almost every afternoon will invite many interested people to produce a long queue.

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HOW TO GET TO TIONG BAHRU ?

Visiting the Tiong Bahru area is very easy. Simply take the MRT from the nearest station from where you stay. Take the green line, East West Line, and stop at Tiong Bahru Station, which has the EW17 code. From there, you can walk to the area around Yong Siak Street where BooksActually and a row of other interesting shops are located. In addition to riding the MRT, there are also other modes of transportation such as buses and taxis that can take you to Tiong Bahru.

Don't just look, be traveler.