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03 February 2013

Red Dot Roaming - Aljunied MRT - Geylang

I've been promising and teasing you about a new regular feature on my blog for a while now and finally here it is!  

I mentioned on one of the recent Liebster Blog Award posts about how I had become a little complacent about living in Singapore and that I really wanted to get back the excitement I'd felt during my initial time here.  It was actually a conversation with one of my colleagues at work that put the idea in my head to do this and from there things grew.  I decided that it might be fun to travel around the MRT map of Singapore and in the process hopefully root out some interesting and undiscovered (at least for me) areas of this island.

When I studied the MRT map closer I realised that there are actually an awful lot of stops there and that some of them may not be very worthwhile visiting or, at least, trying to blog about.  As well as this some of the stops in the city area I've done countless times and may have already covered much of what I might want to see.  I therefore decided that I would take them in alphabetical order, research a little of the surrounding area of each one to see what was there and if it sounded/looked promising I'd make the trip.  The only rule being it needed to be something that was within walking distance of the MRT station.  Despite Singapore not being the best for walking far, at least if you don't want to turn into a horrible sticky mess I am prepared to walk a fair distance in the name of exploring something new.    

Of course I don't know the whole island and I'm only doing this from what is available on the Internet, other Singapore blogs and websites I've found and from looking at maps of the area.  So if you know of a must do near a station that I'll likely not know about then please let me know and I'll aim to visit.  I'm not sure how long this will take me to do (or even if I'll ever finish it) but I certainly think it will give me a new challenge for the year and a new appreciation of Singapore.  So sit back and let me take you to my first MRT stop, Aljunied and to the streets of Geylang nearby.



I actually live just a stone's throw from Geylang so, of course, I've ventured there and eaten there in the past but I've never really gone to just hang out there and wander around.  Geylang is well know for housing an array of night time entertainment and KTV bars, but it is none-the-less a fascinating part of Singapore to see.  I've read much about Singapore's history but I have to admit to always wishing I knew just a little bit more about the places I go to to understand more of the significance of the buildings or an area.  Geylang being no exception to this.



I went for my wander around Geylang in the early afternoon when the stalls and coffee shops were full of groups of people chatting and enjoying each others company.  There were also many taxis parked up near eateries too, I guess the drivers were also getting a bite to eat.  Away from the hustle of the eateries though, if you walk down the narrow Lorongs in the afternoon (at least on a week day) many are deserted and peaceful with nothing but bird song to keep you company.  

Geylang is full of beautifully decorated shophouses, even those in in need of a little TLC seem wonderfully charming and many different temples, mosques and churches.  The shophouses I saw seemed in some cases to be occupied by various clan associations and, of course, many by businesses.  There are a myriad of these independent businesses in this area selling everything you could possibly imagine.  Having read a little more about Geylang since I gather that this was an area that many new settlers first came too so it seems fitting that it should be teeming with temples etc. as people doubtless gave thanks for their safe arrival in Singapore.


I enjoyed my walk around, admiring the beautiful buildings and the buzz of day-to-day life.  It felt like their was a real community there and that neighbours knew their neighbours.  Especially as I casually observed Uncles sitting outside the front of shophouses chatting to other Uncles sat outside another shophouse.  Pleasingly Geylang Road's many shophouses are preserved from redevelopment and the area is certainly worth a visit if you've yet to discover it. 

My next Red Dot Roaming post will be published soon, don't forget to get in touch if you think there is somewhere near an MRT station that I absolutely must visit or something that is a must see!

Aljunied MRT station is on the East West line (EW9).

Love the spiral staircases at the back of these buildings




4 comments:

  1. There are so many places I still have yet to go to in Singapore. Places like Joo Chiat and the rest of Geylang. I only just went to Duxton hill a couple of weeks ago.

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    1. Oh I know me too, finding the time to do it can be really tough with all those day-to-day commitments etc. - but I really hope this helps me to see a little more of this island.

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  2. Hello Laura, I chanced upon your interesting blog today and I've decided to give u some advisory help as a local singaporean. ;-)

    Kudos to taking good pics and studying the history and heritage of the area in detail. I learnt something new about my land today.
    I can't wait to read on next blog on these places! I don't have any ideas on B locations, but these 2 C locations are rich in history and beautiful. Try visiting them! :-)
    1) Chinatown Mrt: rich in culture and heritage, very busy during lunar new year. This area is mainly catered for the chinese people to buy foods, traditional wear, knick knacks etc. Interesting temples and shops.

    http://www.yoursingapore.com/content/traveller/en/browse/see-and-do/culture-and-heritage/a-touch-of-history/heritage-trails/chinatown-trail.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinatown,_Singapore

    2) Chinese Garden Mrt: Key attractions- The chinese and japanese gardens, crafted to look like chinese and japanese ancient gardens. Free admission. (Seeing as u are a nature lover- u would regret it if u don't visit !). Chinese garden, two twin pagodas in a big lake, 1000 Suzhou-style Bonsai Garden, built using 1,000 bonsai trees imported from China. You can also learn the ancient art of tending to the delicate bonsai at the Bonsai Training Centre. Jap garden is beside C garden, enter by crossing the Bridge of Double Beauty. Link on jap garden and other nature spots: http://www.all-about-singapore.com/medi_page/site_web_st/common_page.asp?pg=42

    Other interesting places: science center (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_Centre_Singapore) and snow city (only place in singapore that lets singaporeans experience how man made snow and winter is like.

    Grace Wang

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    1. Hi Grace,

      Thanks for all your helpful comments and I'm glad you've enjoyed reading my blog.

      I've been to Chinatown and the Chinese and Japanese Gardens several times before but I'll certainly be thoroughly checking as I'm sure I may have missed things. I didn't know, for example, there was a bonsai training centre at the Chinese and Japanese gardens so thanks very much for sharing this!

      Snow City sounds fun - where is that?

      Thanks again!

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