10 Best Neighbourhoods in Singapore Everyone Should Visit

10 Popular Neighbourhoods in Singapore First-Timers Should Visit

The Lion City is more than just its tourist attractions.

Singapore: A multi-cultural and picturesque destination where the heritage areas of Chinatown and Little India and the iconic Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay are on the itinerary for any first-time visitor. But what about the neighbourhoods in Singapore — which locals refer to as the very heart and soul, or heartlands, of the nation? 

It’s where you’ll find everything that the people living here need, from hawker centres and shopping malls, to schools, parks, and community centres. In fact, some neighbourhoods in Singapore have even become known for a unique characteristic that people immediately associate them with. 

Here are 10 of these neighbourhoods that you should definitely visit the next time you’re travelling to Singapore. And, for my fellow locals who perhaps live in or frequent these areas, this list might stir up some of that local pride in you! 

Also read: 50 Incredibly Unique Reasons We Are Proud of Singapore

1. Outram Park

neighbourhoods in singapore outram

Image credit: Kharl Anthony Paica

First off, Outram Park is a perfect representation of how the old and new come together to create one of the most dynamic neighbourhoods in Singapore. 

On the one hand, you’ve got one of the oldest estates in Singapore — even the shophouses here are part of heritage buildings. And on the other, you’ve got streets that come alive with crowded restaurants and bars. 

Adding to the charm of the neighbourhood are back alleys lined with murals and the iconic [email protected] and Oasia Downtown that tower over the shophouses.  

2. Tiong Bahru

neighbourhoods in singapore tiong bahru

Image credit: Fleur Kaan

You can’t mention the best neighbourhoods in Singapore without talking about the oldest estate here: Tiong Bahru. Like Outram Park, this eclectic mix of old and new boasts 1930s Streamline Moderne architecture with spiral staircases and photogenic back alleys, along with an array of trendy cafes and indie shops on the ground floor. 

Also read: 20 Best Things to Do in Tiong Bahru — Singapore’s Hipster Enclave

After walking through the streets with your camera in hand, stop by Forty Hands or the flagship outlet of Tiong Bahru Bakery for some buttery, flaky treats like the Kouign-Amann or almond croissant. 

For more options, head to Tiong Bahru Market for a range of affordable local fare to choose from! We recommend the chicken rice, fried carrot cake, and vegetarian bee hoon. 

3. Bukit Merah

neighbourhoods in singapore bukit merah

Image credit: Han Xiang Chua via Canva Pro

Not too far away lies Bukit Merah. Translating to “red hill” in Malay, this area is named after the fertile red soil used in the pepper and gambier plantations during British colonial rule. 

hiking trails singapore

Image credit: vichie81 via Canva Pro

Today, the Bukit Merah district is home to several neighbourhoods, some of which include Alexandra, Bukit Merah Central, Redhill, Telok Blangah, and of course, Tiong Bahru. With so many neighbourhoods, the amenities here are naturally plenty, too: a medley of hawker centres like ABC Brickworks and Bukit Merah Central Food Centre and hiking trails like the Southern Ridges.  

4. Bukit Timah

bukit timah nature reserve

Image credit: DanielFerryanto via Canva Pro

Speaking of hiking trails, Bukit Timah is certainly the best Singapore neighbourhood for all nature lovers out there. It’s the go-to area for the hiking trails and quarries of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Chestnut Nature Park, Bukit Batok Nature Park, and Dairy Farm Nature Park. Just the place for you to get away from the flurry of the city rush! 

bukit timah railway

Image credit: Han Xiang Chua via Canva Pro

More than that, it’s also where you’ll find the Rail Corridor. Otherwise known as the Green Corridor, this urban trail used to function as the operating railway line connecting Singapore and Malaysia. Now, you’ll see remnants of this in the form of railway bridges and railway tracks that tell of a historical past in how people used to commute between the two countries. 

Reward yourself with scrumptious local cuisine at Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre. The many options here might overwhelm you, just like the rest of the hawker centres in Singapore. A tip from us? Do as the locals would by joining the longest queue — it usually has one of the better food options! 

5. Tampines

neighbourhoods in singapore tampines

Image credit: David Gan via Canva Pro

On both ends of Singapore — Tampines in the east and Jurong in the west — you’ll find not just one, but four shopping malls congregated around the MRT station and bus interchange. 

Tampines Hub is the area’s newest mall and is also Singapore’s largest integrated lifestyle and community hub. More than just featuring eateries and shops, you can even find a football stadium, an art theatre, and six swimming pools! 

6. Jurong

jurong lake gardens

Image credit: Yamin Ohmar

Jurong — the western equivalent of Tampines — offers shopping options from the outlet iMM to the eco-friendly Westgate

In the evenings and weekends, the captivating scenery of Jurong Lake Gardens comes alive with sprawling boardwalks, pristine lakes, and beautiful gardens; these areas are filled with joggers and cyclists taking a break from the busy week. 

7. Punggol

punggol park connector

Image credit: Calvin Chian

On the topic of the scenic outdoors, no Singapore neighbourhood comes quite as close to achieving this as the park connector in Punggol. Rent a shared bicycle or don your walking shoes and journey down 6.1 kilometres of trees, lakes, and bridges, where the landscape changes from residential estates to underpasses that span below an expressway.

Along the way, you’ll find a swimming complex and Waterway Point — one of the largest waterfront malls in Singapore — to take a break. 

8. Katong

katong shophouses

Image credit: Winel Sutanto

Think Katong, and the pastel row of shophouses along Koon Seng Road immediately come to mind; after all, few streets in Singapore are as perfectly photogenic as this! 

Afterwards, venture towards East Coast Road, and you’ll find rows of shophouses home to cafes, açaí bowl joints, and yoga studios for that midday pick-me-up. In time, you’ll realise why the areas of East Coast, Katong, and Marine Parade are coined as the go-to cafe district of Singapore — where the pace of life seems to be just a little more slowed down. 

Also read: 22 Photoshoot Locations in Singapore That You Never Thought Of

9. Upper Thomson

thomson supper spots

Image credit: ThamKC via Canva Pro

Locals frequent the private housing estate of Upper Thomson for what is known as its “supper stretch”: a row of eatery options that open till late at night. In particular, The Roti Prata House is the most famous here, which is known for its range of prata, or crispy flatbread. The most popular flavours are plain, egg, onion, or cheese — or just get a mix of these! 

Brunch spots and ice cream shops are standout options too, and you’ll also find one of the best burgers in Singapore here. 

If you’re feeling guilty after your hearty meal, work up a sweat at Macritchie, Lower Peirce, or Upper Peirce Reservoir — all of which add to the impressive list of hiking trails in Singapore. 

10. Hougang

Finally, to really get to know the heartlands, spend some time walking through a residential estate. One of the best places to start is at Hougang, located in the northeast of Singapore.

The rainbow facade of 316 Hougang Avenue 7 can be easily spotted from afar, and boasts a massive courtyard on the ground floor for capturing photos. Walk up the stairwell to get a different view of the rainbow, and see if you can spot the tranquil Punggol Park just across the road. 

To get your local food fix, head to Ci Yuan Hawker Centre for some lor mee, a yellow noodle dish served with a thick gravy, or some affordable Korean fried chicken! 

Also read: 7 Tips for Travelling to Singapore on a Budget, According to Locals

And there you have it, the best neighbourhoods in Singapore to visit the next time you’re here for a holiday. While we’ll admit that the city has its appeal that makes Singapore an attractive destination, take the time to uncover the nooks and crannies — to discover what truly makes the Little Red Dot so special. 

About Author

Cassandra Nerva
Cassandra Nerva

Cassandra seeks comfort in warm blankets, period dramas, and all things hazelnut. If she's not getting carried away with a wartime novel or decorating her house with plants & fairy lights, she's uncovering hidden gems around her as she continues to embrace her keen sense of adventure.

CLICK TO SEE MORE ARTICLES BY Cassandra Nerva