We were in Tanjong Pagar that day for a walk. It was one of those days, a public holiday which you kind of wonder what one should do. So Shine and ourselves decided to do this Timeout Walk. Why not since Timeout has already plotted out the route and included information on each of the stops on this walk. Nice way to do some exercise and also learn new things about our city. You can read about the Timeout Treasure Hunt Walk here.

We started out by meeting up at Keisuke Tonkotsu King for ramen. You can read about our lunch and review here.

We sort of did not follow the starting point of the plotted walk and got a bit lost trying to find the first answer to the hunt.

This is where started the walk. Wrong choice. Haha!

We got rather lost trying to find the first answer to the walk. Nonetheless, it is very interesting to walk down the back alley of the flats in Tanjong Pagar. It is a bit ghetto and Hong Kong'ish, thought Hong Kong is a bit more ghetto than this.

Tanjong Pagar Market to the Singapore Poo Thor Jee Temple on Yan Kit Road. Dedicated to Cundhi Guanyin (the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion), the temple was originally set on the now-expunged Narcis Street (named after Nerses ‘Narcis’ Joaquim, brother of Agnes Joaquim, the breeder of the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid) in 1911.

Continue uphill along Yan Kit Road – named after a Hong Kong dentist immigrant – and you’ll come to a white round building on your left, which is the remains of the Yan Kit Swimming Complex. Built in 1952, the compound was Singapore’s second public swimming pool, and featured three pools – one for adults, a splash pool for children, and a diving one (the deepest) – but it was subsequently closed in 2001 due to flagging attendance rates.

The Pinnacle@Duxton – the showpiece of the success of public housing in Singapore. This is the staircase heading up to this massive estate of flats.

Timeout recommends the java at nano-roasters PIT STOP Nylon Coffee Roasters(#01-40, 4 Everton Park, 6220 2330), cakes in jars at Grin Affair (#01-77A, 3 Everton Park, 8222 2678), sweet treats at Batterworks (#01-42, 4 Everton Park, 6438 2208) and retail tat at The Redundant Shop (#01-22, 5 Everton Park, 6707 2005). A cheaper, more retrospective option is the gleaming multi-coloured ang ku kueh (steamed rice cakes, $0.70) at Ji Xiang Confectionery (#01-33, 1 Everton Park, 6223 1631) with traditional fillings like corn, coconut or durian ($0.70-$1 each).

Stroll on down Everton Road and take a right at Spottiswoode Park Road. Art gallery and retail space Vue Privée (63 Spottiswoode Park Rd, 6226 2508) features works by local and international artists and a selection of artist-made lifestyle goods if you’d like to detour for a dose of culture.

Continue down Spottiswoode Park Road and take a left down another row of shophouses along the junction of Neil Road and Kampong Bahru Road, where cafés like PIT STOP Strangers’ Reunion (37 Kampong Bahru Rd, 6222 4869) and Highlander Coffee (49 Kampong Bahru Rd, 6226 1686) also serve java and pastries.

Continue west along Kampong Bahru Road, past the block of shophouses. You’ll see a huge open green area to your left, which was once the rail yard serving the Kereta Tanah Melayu (KTM) rail lines originating from Singapore. The rail yard has since been dismantled following the closure of the rail line’s historic Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in mid-2011. 

At the stoplight, veer left to continue down Kampong Bahru Road, then take the next left fork down Spooner Road, which brings you to two blocks of flats, the Kemuning Residential Block and Melati Residential Block. These blocks were previously used as housing for workers serving the KTM railway, and have since been converted into rental units for low income and needy families.

Walk back out to Kampong Bahru Road via the small staircase at the Melati block and cross the road onto Silat Avenue, where there’s an estate of blue low-rise flats. Built after World War II between 1949 and 1952 by the HDB’s predecessor, the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), these Art Deco-styled blocks could have potentially become a hipster enclave like Tiong Bahru (which was also developed by SIT), had the government not moved to en bloc the flats in 2007. Now in varying states of abandon (the blocks further away from the road are in the process of being demolished), it’s nevertheless interesting to walk around and take in the unique architectural features like scallop-patterned air vents and wooden shutter windows. Most of the doors and windows have been boarded up and emblazoned with ominous notices of ‘STATE PROPERTIES, NO TREPASSING’, but for a glimpse into these houses of old, look out for window shutters left open on the ground floor of blocks facing Kampong Bahru Road.

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