Singapore’s architectural landmarks: a love at first sight

“I don’t think all buildings have to be iconic, but the history of the world has shown us that cultures build iconic buildings,” – Frank Gehry

The opportunity to travel, for me, is the greatest blessing I have the fortune to be able to do in my life. Every time I travel, I am always reminded to say my thanks for the journey or adventures I’m about to have. Growing up with architects as parents, I am accustomed to notice and appreciate the beauty of buildings, the older the architecture the better. I believe this is probably the roots of my love and appreciation for the Arts. In all of our travels as family, or when I travel by myself, older architectural landmarks are a must-see.

Singapore is probably one of my most visited city. When I used to reside in Jakarta, Singapore is an hour away hence an easy getaway. Once I moved to Melbourne, Singapore is a transit airport on my way home. Ever since my best friend moved back to her hometown of Singapore, I have more excuse to visit this island nation. For the years I have visited Singapore, I am always stuck between the bustle of Orchard Road or Sentosa Island. During my recent visit there, I have decided to not go to my usual path and ask my bestie to take me to places in Singapore with old architectural landmarks. So my bestie and her awesome hubby took me to these amazing neighbourhoods…

Joo Chiat Heritage Town

Once a coconut plantation owned by a wealthy Peranakan – Chinese descends family, Joo Chiat Heritage Town is filled with colourful shop-fronts and ornate two-storeys houses. The vibrancy of these houses brings so much joy to my day. Many of them are private residents which means visitors will not be able to see any further than the unique facades of the buildings. While we were there, there aren’t many visitors but few locals taking selfie of their own. In one of the house, a group of elderly men and women gathered to socialise, playing card games or Mahjong, which made me so happy. It felt like I get to take a peek into their daily life, living in these beautiful houses.

The neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru neighbourhood might not be a new discovery for many, but I am so happy to have discovered it this time around. The whole neighbourhood is filled with art-modern inspired buildings. Some of the outer facade of the buildings are made from exposed bricks which contrast the plain white wall. If you keep walking around the area, you’ll find unique cafés and adorable brunch places within these unique buildings.

One of the unique sights to see around Tiong Bahru are the murals, which depicts the everyday life of the many Tiong Bahru residences. The murals are spread around the neighbourhood and in order to find them, you do have to go on a mini treasure hunt.

Capitol Theatre

I adore old theatres, they always have unique characteristics and a unique story of their own. Wedged between modern building on both sides, Capitol Theatre feels out of place in the way that it exists amongst all the modernity. However, despite the oddity I am so happy to have stumble upon this theatre.

I am glad to have find these pockets of unique architectures during this trip. I feel that the short four days trip is so much more fulfilling than the many other times I have been to Singapore. One of the best thing about Singapore is the accessibility, therefore you can go to any of these places using Singapore’s amazing underground train system.

Do you have any Singapore’s travel stories to share? Leave them in the comment below please, would love to read it.

-k.

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