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There’s a place in Singapore that many visitors miss but no self-respecting blogger should leave without seeing!
I didn’t include Koon Seng Road in my Singapore itinerary blog because squeezing it in can be tight on a weekend trip. However, if you have a third day in town (like I did) and a passion for all things colourful, don’t miss it!
Koon Seng Road
This area was built by the Peranakan Chinese or in other words, the descendants of Chinese immigrants who moved to Malaysia. The houses really reminded me of George Town in Penang, Malaysia which all made sense after researching the history.
After researching the history of Singapore, I learnt they were built in the early 20th century and apparently the colourful tiles were imported from England and Belgium. So they’re very international homes indeed!
The street is named after Cheong Koon Seng, one of the first 13 Chinese students to study at the English-Chinese school in Singapore.
Who lives on Koon Seng Road now?
Apparently, many of the ancestors of the original residents – lots of properties have stayed with the same families for generations. This actually reminded me of visiting Bo Kaap, the Malaysian area of Cape Town and being told the residents traditionally live and die with the same neighbours. Very different to the attitudes of myself and many of my peers back home!
However, due to gang violence in the 1950s, Koon Seng was a dangerous place to live. Many of the Peranakans moved out to safer abodes and other Singaporeans bought up many of the properties.
Either way, they’re worth millions today!
Should you go?
If you’re an Instagrammer, blogger, architecture or art fan, absolutely! There’s not much else to do in the area so it might not be for you if you don’t have a passion for colourful houses.
After my explorations around the colourful streets of London, I was in heaven!
How to get to Koon Seng Road
Koon Seng Road is in Katong: east of the city centre and halfway towards the airport. However, it’s not hard to get to. Taxis are very cheap – from the city centre to Koon Seng Road in a cab shouldn’t cost more than S$12.
It’s a 30-minute bus journey from Koon Seng Road to Haji Lane so it can be easily tagged on to a day out. The 33, 32 and 16 buses run between the two locations so after seeing Koon Seng Road, I hopped on a bus to explore Haji Lane. The buses in Singapore cost about a dollar per journey!
If you liked this, you will definitely like the rainbow village of Taiching, Taiwan!
Thanks for reading!
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Check out other Singapore posts:
- 2 day Singapore itinerary
- The 12 best foods to try in Singapore
- Singapore street art guide
- How to spend 3 months in Southeast Asia
- A complete bucket list for Southeast Asia
See you next time for more adventures,
Ps. Pin this for later!
Singapore useful links
Flights – I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going.
Stay connected with E-sim data plans that don’t require delivery or collection; just scan the QR code.
In my opinion, Lonely Planet offer the best guidebooks. Get the latest Lonely Planet Singapore.
For buses to Malaysia, I use 12GoAsia. The search feature allows you to compare prices and durations.
I use Booking.com for accommodation. They have the best range of hotels and self-catering apartments, plus you can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.
To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.
For activities, I use GetYourGuide and Viator as they both have a huge range of affordable tours.
Need travel insurance? I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote.
For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and tips!