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Singapore: Emerald Hill Stroll

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I've heard this might be a good stroll to see pre-war homes and shophouses; supposedly exquisitely crafted buildings along Emerald Hill Road. Anybody explored around here or Peranakan Place? Rants, raves, eating, drinking or shopping tips welcome. Looks to be off Orchard Road. Is it easy to find? What is the best time of day to see it?

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    Just took my little one Trick or Treating there Friday. I live nearby so I take that road multiple times per week.

    It's very easy to find. Coming from Somerset MRT cross Orchard Road and you'll see Outdoors cafe which is between 2 buildings; Orchard Emerald and Centrepoint Mall. Outdoors is good for people-watching and I've had good food there too but service is not great.

    You can walk down either side of Outdoors and you are on Emerald Hill Road. On the right side there are a number of bars (stop for a drink or peek inside -- very nice) and further down is what I recall as a French coffee bar that I haven't been to.
    On the left is a shophouse selling what I suspect to be "antiques", then 3 bar/restaurants that take over that part of the road at night. The first one opened in the last week or so. The second two have the same menu. Pizza is ok and beer is not cheap. I'd say "Ice Cold Beer" is the more popular. A couple of doors down is a new shop that looks to be selling water sports stuff.

    Walking further (past the school on your left) come to an intersection and have entered the pure residential area. I'd say go straight until you hit the next intersection, turn left and follow the road around in a circle to come back to your starting point.

    There are beautiful homes back here. Great for photos. I saw one advertized for rent at S$15,000/month and another more recently for S$18,000.

    Groups of homes on the left are separated by alleys that you can walk down if you want to. There's almost no traffic in this area but there is construction, which one should expect in Singapore. When you're maybe 3/4 way around the circle you'll see on your right a little public sitting area that the locals have created where you can rest if desired. If you're looking to leave via taxi, almost completely around the circle is a public parking area where Taxi's hang around awaiting fares.

    Ignoring construction, the area is beautiful anytime of day but is definitely more lively at night.

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    Yes, Emerald Hill is off Orchard Road, basically behind Centrepoint Shopping Centre. Subway stop would be Somerset, then walk to Orchard Road and facing Centrepoint, look to for Peranakan Place, which leads to it (Peranakan Place is pedestrian-only.) There are some good examples of shop house architecture here; this was the first place re-developed to show these houses, more than 20 years ago now. As noted above, there is a good bit of construction going on in Emerald Hill Road, as high-rises flats are taking over one end.

    There are several other areas to see restored shop houses, notably the Clark Quay area downtown along the river. Also the Arab Street area has many shop houses, as does Little India and Mohamed Sultan Road, this latter area has many fun bars and Western restaurants and several art galleries and little shops. The Malay area of Geylang is also another good place to see shop houses (and have good food at dirt cheap prices, but so is Little India). In these latter areas the shophouses have not all been restored to the level of Emerald Hill, Clarke Quay or Peranakan Place, but you can still appreciate their charms, IMO.

    I would go during the day time, as in my recollection they are not especially well lit at night, other than the shops and bars in Peranakan Place.

    Another good area for a stroll is Goodwood Hill Road, near to the Goodwood Park Hotel on Scotts Road just a block up from the intersection with Orchard Road. This is a circular street of "black and white" bungalows (so called for their black and white awnings which drop down for shade) built in the early 19th century, and it is fun to walk around and see how the Raj once lived and how some very lucky (mostly expats) live today in colonial splendor. There is a private club there at 2 Goodwill Hill Road call the Pryamid Club, but it is mostly deserted during the day and you can nose around there to get a look at what a bungalow looks like. More black and whites can be found walking up Nassim Road and Nassim Hill Road as well as around the area of the Shangri-La hotel. Go during the day, as these homes are all set back from the road and would not really be visible very much at night.

    You can eat in pre-war “black and whites” in the Rochester Park area (like Graze or Ming Jang at One North, as well as Flutes at the Fort (, near the Padang in downtown Singapore. Les Amis au Jardin is in a black and white bungalow in the Botanic Garden, as is the more casual and inexpensive Halia, or the Song of India in an old bungalow (not a black and white but still charming) up Scott’s Road backing up to Goodwood Hill Road. (33 Scotts Road Tel 6836-0055, no website that I am aware of.)

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    Thanks nagiffag and Cicerone for the quick response and superb, in-depth info.

    I am looking for some place casual and not too expensive ($25 or less) to eat as I'll be by myself.

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    I will assume the US$25 is without beer or wine, which will add quite a bit to the price of a meal. But excluding that, IMO in Singapore you can eat very well indeed in that price range. Beyond some excellent restaurants of all cuisines, their street food is just the absolute best, so much variety and all so good and all so cheap. I live in Hong Kong, which has 10,000 restaurants, but IMO it can't begin to compare at all to the street food you can get in Singapore (where I also have lived). There are guidebooks to the hawker/street food places in Singapore, you might want to get one. Hawker stalls are open-air stalls selling all kinds of Malay, Chinese and Indian food, and the specialty of Singapore: Peranakan or Straights Chinese cuisine, a fantastic mix of them all. You can order a bunch of stuff from different stalls and then bring it to whatever table you want. The food is friggin’ terrific, and very cheap (and of course safe, its Singapore, drink the water right out of the tap…) Singaporeans love to go out for a curry or fried noodle snack late in the evening, so places are open late. You might see if this Fodors site here gives any info on hawker stalls (click on “Destinations”), also try the website for the tourist authority at Guidebooks usually have a few reccos.

    There is a major hawker centre at Newton Circus just north of Orchard Road, at the Newton Circus MRT stop. This has a reputation as being touristy, and they may try to tell you seats are reserved for certain stalls, that is crap, just ignore them. (I have to say I was in Singapore recently, and took a completely non-scientific poll of my Singaporean friends during Sunday lunch as to their favourite hawker stall places, and, surprisingly, Newton Circus was quite popular! So its touristy rep may be undeserved.) I would avoid buying seafood by the catty/pound as they will try to sell you too much, IMO, but otherwise this is a good place, but you may find it more expensive than other hawker places You can also find the hawker stalls open in many other places, you could try Glutton’s Bay which is down along the waterfront Esplanade. This is a collection of some of the best outlets in the city. This location which would give you a good view of the city skyscrapers and bits of the colonial areas that are lit at night if you wanted to walk around.

    Some things to try would be Char Kway Teow or Beef Kway Teow (fried flat noodles, the latter with beef), popiah (soft vegetarian spring rolls), roti john (spicy omlette sandwich), murtabak (a doughy crepe filled with spicy lamb), chilli crab, black pepper crab, anything in sambal (a potent red chilli gravy), oyster omlette, fried baby squid in honey, Laksa, carrot cake (not at all what you think) and top it off with an ice kacang or just some fresh mango. Try local Malay foods like satay, murtabak. Or try popiah which is a soft spring roll with peanuts and chilli.

    Beyond hawker stands, for regular restaurants which are not expensive, Little India is a great place to start. A pilgrimage to Apollo Banana Leaf Curry is a must (78 Race Course Road, Tel: 6293-8682). Another good choice (veg only) is Madras New Woodlands (12/14 Upper Dickson Road tel: 297 1594). Geylang is another great area for inexpensive but good food. (Yes, Geylang is a bit of a red light district (and its actually the transvestites that you really notice IMO), but still IMO completely safe so I would not have any worries. ) Have the taxi (or subway) take you to Geylang Road, where there are little alleys, called “Lors” each with a number, running north and south off Geylang, there are hawker stalls and outdoor restaurants all along Geylang and down the Lors (and the brothels too, but they are almost all on the even numbered Lors running north off Geylang). I like the Beef Kway Teow Place at Lor 9 (called simply Beef Kway Teow), and at Lor 11 is the Fo You Yuan Vegetarian that is very good. Really, just walk along and try what looks good, it’s hard to get a bad meal, and you won’t spend a lot of money.

    Another good place to go are the seafood outlets in East Coast Park, however with seafood (which is often sold by the kilo/catty) you may actually end up spending more than US$25, so watch carefully that you don’t over order. A famous and good place to try would be Long Beach Seafood (see, but really any along the strip on the beach there would be fine, IMO.

    Finally, try the Dempsey Road area which is a former army barracks now re-developed with shops and restaurants, and Sam’s Curry, a Singapore institution, is a must and would be in that price range (was actually there when the barracks was there), see He also has an outlet in East Coast Park. You will also find an outlet of Long Beach Seafood in Dempsey Road.

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    Your question was well-answered by the above. I've done the walk many times and can't think of anything else to add. And I agree to do it during the day time. Happy Travels!

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    Okay, I did the stroll. Nice enough, but I was disappointed. Thought it was going to be much more extensive. I combined it with going to Orchard Road so it was easy to do and didn't waste time just getting there.

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