Queenstown is one of Singapore’s oldest neighbourhoods, being one of the earliest housing estates built by the Singapore Improvement Trust. It bore the name of Queen Elizabeth II to mark her coronation in 1952, a year before the neighbourhood was built. A great deal of Singapore’s firsts were cemented on this very ground – the first public polyclinic, library, and sports complex among others. While metal plaques now take the place of where these landmarks once were, parts of Queenstown still remain as fond memories for those who have lived in the area.
Walk down memory lane through this guide from day to night, as we explore both the old and new sides of Queenstown.
Your day begins here at Tanglin Halt Market, situated in the heart of the Tanglin Halt neighbourhood. Join the queue for Jiu Ye, one of the main breakfast offerings at the food centre here. They specialise in Hong Kong style Chee Cheong Fun (steamed rice rolls) with a variety of fillings – all of which are made on-demand and steamed on wide metal trays before serving with a blanket of light soy sauce.
Address: 48A Tanglin Halt Rd, #01-09, Singapore 148813
Operating Hours: Daily except Tuesdays, 6:00 am – 10:00 am
Beside the market, Tanglin Halt Roti Prata is often crowded with customers and passers-by watching the passionate young man flip these thin sheets of crispy dough on an open hot plate facing the road. The 29-year-old prata shop also sells Nasi Kandar (rice, curry and a variety of side dishes), originating from Penang and popularised by Tamil Muslim traders from India.
Tanglin Halt Roti Prata
Address: #01-365, 49 Tanglin Halt Rd, Block 49, Singapore 142049
Operating Hours: Daily except Tuesdays, 5:00 am – 3:00 pm
Soak in the sights and sounds of nostalgia as you navigate the Tanglin Halt neighbourhood, which is slated for demolition in the next couple of years. While many of the shopkeepers intend to retire upon this change, their legacies will live on in the memories of those who grew up here.
Amin Koh Cobbler
Address: Commonwealth Dr, 46-3, Singapore 140463
Operating Hours: 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
Kian Seng San Kee
Address: 49 Tanglin Halt Rd, Singapore 142049
Operating hours: 8:00 am – 3:00pm daily
At the edge of Tanglin Halt, you will see a set of red and white low-rise flats which are in contrast to the typical high-rise structures in most of Singapore’s neighbourhoods. Blocks 57, 61, 67 to 73 Commonwealth Drive were the first to be built by the Singapore Improvement Trust, the predecessor to the Housing Development Board.
Just behind these blocks, you’ll find the remaining train tracks of the now-defunct Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Railway line which ran between Malaysia and Tanjong Pagar. Trains used to halt at this station, hence giving the neighbourhood its namesake. This path is part of the larger Rail Corridor hiking trail – head on down for another 7km and you’ll reach the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.
Former Malayan Railways
Address: 67 Commonwealth Dr, Block 67, Singapore 140067
Stop by the flagship outlet of Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee for a midday refuel. Inherited by the son of one of Singapore’s pioneering coffee roasters, Mr. Tan Tiong Hoe, the roastery-cafe has held the title as the bridge between the second-wave and third-wave specialty coffee. By offering beans across a spectrum of roast profiles from origins including India and Indonesia, trust that your cup would be right up your alley.
Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee
Address: 170 Stirling Rd, #01-1133, Singapore 140170
Operating Hours: 8:30 am – 5:20 pm (Mondays to Fridays), 9:00 am – 3:50 pm (Saturdays and Sundays)
For lunch, visit one of Singapore’s first hawker centres to be built – ABC Brickworks Hawker Centre. The resettlement of hawkers from the streets into organised stalls happened in the late 1960s to 1980s, out of the necessity for proper sanitation and amenities. Named after the old Archipelago Brewing Company and the presence of brickwork companies in the area, this hawker centre saw over 150 hawkers coming together under one roof then.
Some popular stalls today include Fatty Cheong, Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Mee, Sheikh Indian Pakistani Food, and Project Penyek.
ABC Brickworks Hawker Centre
Address: 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 150006
Operating Hours: 8:00 am – 11:00 pm (Mondays to Saturdays), 8:00 am – 12:00 am (Sundays)
One does not require green fingers to be able to appreciate the art of gardening. Explore the four different zones in Hortpark, an experiential learning garden for all ages spanning 9-hectares. Spend the afternoon marveling at the variety of butterfly species, edible vegetable and fruit plots, and appreciating plant species native to Singapore.
Address: 33 Hyderabad Rd, Singapore 119578
Operating Hours: 6:00 am – 11:00 pm daily
Dubbed informally as ‘Singapore’s Sports Mall’ since its establishment in 1974, Queensway Shopping Centre was one of the first multi-purpose shopping complexes to be built. Beneath the octagonal-shaped facade, sports lovers would find their own heaven among rows of shops selling sports equipment and shoes.
Slurp on a comforting bowl of laksa at The Original Katong Laksa Since the 1950s in the basement. Legend has it that the shop was founded by a hawker who used to sell laksa by carrying buckets across a metal pole on his shoulder in the East Coast area, where the first outlet was born.
The Original Katong Laksa – Janggut Laksa
Address: 1 Queensway, #01-59, Queensway Shopping Centre, Singapore 149053
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm daily
Catch the sunset from the garden on the 47th floor at SkyVille @ Dawson and take in a breathtaking 360-degree view of Singapore’s southern and central regions. From the highest vantage point in Queenstown, admire some of Singapore’s iconic landmarks including Marina Bay Sands, and Singapore Flyer from a distance.
SkyVille @ Dawson
Address: 86 Dawson Rd, Singapore 141086
Cap off the night at Abundance, a bar situated under an unassuming HDB block near Redhill. Serving Asian-inspired bar bites including braised pork belly bao sliders, chilli oil dumplings, and their rendition of Taiwanese dessert rolls filled with ice cream, ground peanuts and cilantro.
Address: 63A Lengkok Bahru, #01-378, Singapore 151063
Operating Hours: Daily except Mondays, 11:00 am – 10:30 pm
🎥 For other unique experiences in the heartlands around Singapore, catch the entire Under My Block series here:
📍 Wondering what else to do in Singapore? Here’s a handy map of all the locations featured in the articles and videos under this series: https://bit.ly/3srQf2m