Peranakan Walk @ Katong will take you through Changi Market, Lotus at Joo Chiat, Kuan Im Tng Temple, Former Joo Chiat Maternal & Child Health Clinic, St. Hilda's Anglican Church, Former "Red House" Bakery, Former Joo Chiat Police Station, Chin Mee Chin Confectionery, Former Grand Hotel, Marine Parade Community Centre and much more.
Tours: This walkabout will begin right after the map below. Click here to skip History. Do note that this whole route is approximately 6 kms.
History: Katong and Joo Chiat - Joo Chiat, Telok Kurau, Siglap, Mountbaten and East Coast, intimately known to Singaporeans as Katong. It began in the 1820s when the British colonial government granted large plots of land to individual estate owners for development. Amongst the pioneer estate owners were wealthy European, Arab and Chinese merchants such as Thomas Dunman (Singapore's first Commissioner of Police).
19th-century Katong is often depicted as an idyllic sea-side retreat, where the rich and wealthy built grand villas and bungalows along the sandy beaches. Katong was also home to local communities living in humble attap-roofed kampungs, who depended on fishing and farming even up to the 1960s. After World War I, the growing prosperity of Malaya and Singapore attracted an influx of immigrants which led to the eastward expansion from the city centre.
Gradually, Katong was transformed into a permanent residential suburb for various communities, including the Eurasians and Peranakans. Built in the 1920s and 1930s, the distinctive shophouses along Joo Chiat Road remain a familiar and colourful icon today.
A major development was reclamation along the East Coast which started in 1966, where land was created for East Coast Park, the East Coast Parkway (ECP), etc. Today's Marine Parade Road marks where the shoreline used to be.
More information can also be found at Mr. Philip Chew blog.
You can click on the destination on the above map to read about the destination information or you can just scroll down. You can click on the map icon to return to this map instead of scrolling up from the destination information.
Begin your walkabout at Paya Lebar MRT Station, take Exit A, turn right and walk alongside the MRT Station, at the end of the station/end of Paya Lebar Sq, turn right into the closed down Eunos Rd 8, walk straight, cross the traffic light and you will see Tanjong Katong Complex on your left...
1. Tanjong Katong Complex was opened in 1983, it was built on the site of a former Malay settlement at Lorong Engku Aman. It was the first fully air-conditioned shopping mall managed by the Housing Development Board, it was once housed the popular Japanese supermarket and department store Yokoso, Singapore's first round-the-clock supermarket and department store.
2. One KM Mall is situated where Lion City Hotel, Hollywood Theatre and Hin Hollywood Canteen once were. Lion City Hotel, 3 star hotel, costing $4.2M then was opened in 1968 by the late Dr. Goh Keng Swee, the Minister for Finance. The Hollywood Theatre (好莱坞戏院) was oened by the cinema magnate late Mr. Loke Wan Tho in 1958.
3. Galaxy Cinema was part of the The Galaxy, a movie-cum-shopping centre. Galaxy Cinema was formerly known as Apollo Theatre in the 1930s. It was taken charge by Lim Chong Pang, son of Lim Nee Soon, who renamed it as Garrick Theatre. It is now home to the Muslim Converts' Association of Singapore since 2 June 1997.
4. Geylang Serai Market old building was completed in 1964, the Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew inaugurated Singapore's first ever halal wet market. For 42 years, stallholders eked out a living behind makeshift stalls in ramshackle conditions, sweltering under a rusting zinc roof. In 2004, the aging market was torn down and rebuilt in its current form and named "Sri Geylang Serai". The market occupied temporary premises along Sims Avenue near Paya Lebar MRT Station for some years until 2010, when a new market and shop complex was completed on the site of the old HDB complex.
5. Joo Chiat Complex - After the Japanese Occupation, 1945, Changi Market (now Joo Chiat Complex) became an important trading centre for Malays from Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. They traded in food, flowers and spices, which remain a major part of the area's economy today. In the early 1900s, an electric tramway ran between the Changi Market and Tanjong Pagar.
6. Joo Chiat Road was a simple dirt track running through the plantations from Geylang Serai to the sea in the 1920s. It was named after Chew Joo Chiat, a wealthy landowner and philanthropist, who bought over large plots of land in Katong after World War I, and was known as the “King of Katong”. Chew Joo Chiat was a Chinaman, born in 1857 and came to Singapore in 1876 as a young man without a penny to his name. In 1993, Joo Chiat was gazette as a conservation district.
7. Masjid Khalid was built in 1917 and recently renovated in 1996. A group of kandar peddlers selling Malay food used to rest on the site where the Khalid Mosque is now situated. The late owner of the land, Haji Abdul Khalid bin Haji Mohamed Tyeb, on the suggestion of this group of peddlers agreed to turn the land into a wakaf mosque and named it Masjid Khalid.
8. Jousting Painters - If you have seen/heard about the famous Penang street art in Penang's Georgetown, that same Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic, had also done quite a few of these street drawings/paintings here in Singapore. You can find the Jousting Painters at the junction of Joo Chiat Terrace and Everitt Road.
9. Lotus at Joo Chiat - These apartments are example of integrating old shophouses (built in 1930s in the Late Shophouse style) with new flats. There is a small storyboard in front of 89 Joo Chiat Place, it talks about the pre-war shophouses along this street, pintu pagar, and more.
10. Kuan Im Tng Temple - The land on which this temple stands was purchased on 31 May 1919 by Mr Tan Pang Seng, Mr Tan Jit Whee and Mr Loh Cheng Ying for the purpose of building a “Joss House”, a colonial term for a Chinese temple. On 14 Feb 1933, the 3 owners formally conveyed the land and the temple to a group of trustees so as to ensure that the land and the temple would always remain a place or worship. Major renovations were carried out in 1988.
11. Eurasian Community House, along 139 Ceylon Road, is run by the Eurasian Association. Eurasian Association was formed in 1919, amidst the tumultuous years following World War I. Eurasians have made important contributions to Singapore’s history and development. They include President Benjamin Sheares, Professor Yvonne Salmon, etc.
12. Storyboard of Koon Seng Road - This storyboard is located on the wall of the 283 building, opposite JK Ctr. Formerly known as Lorong E East Coast Road, this road was renamed in 1934 after Cheong Koon Seng, an auctioneer and estate agent. He was the elder son of Cheong Ah Bee, a wealthy first generation Straits-born merchant from Malacca. Along this road display some of the finest example of Peranakan architecture in Singapore and are exceptionally ornate.
13. Peranakan Houses - The colourful Peranakan culture and influence can be seen in the 2 rows of pre-war shophouses. The most outstanding feature of the Late-styled (1900-1940) shophouses is the narrow, yet elaborately embellished front façade. With the unique pintu pagar, a fencedoor, the Peranakan Chinese combines their love of decoration with a practical response to living in the tropics. The half-height doors of the pintu pagar would be closed during the day, allowing air circulation through the house without compromising privacy.
14. Former Joo Chiat Maternal and Child Health Clinic at 341 Joo Chiat Road (Scanteak). It was established in 1907 to counter Singapore’s high infant mortality rate. After World War II, the clinic began to focus on treating a nation devastated by the Japanese Occupation.
15. Joo Chiat Community Club - Once a humble wooden hut had a zinc roof with simple facilities like a library, boys’ club and basketball court, this club has been extensively renovated. The Joo Chiat Branch Library (1954 - 1974) was the third branch library of the Raffles Library located at this Joo Chiat Community Centre. On 1 June 1974, the library was closed because of the demolition of the community centre to make way for a new one.
16. St Hilda’s Anglican Church - Located at No. 41 Ceylon Road, then known as Nos. 14, 20 and 22 Fowlie Road. It was founded in 1934 when Archdeacon Graham White took over the running of a private school for boys called Bethel English School. Worship services were held on the ground floor of a stately but worn looking two-storey wooden bungalow whle school classes were held upstairs. On 26 January 1949, Bishop Leonard Wilson laid the foundation stone for the new chapel. Later in the year, on 17 November, during St. Hilda’s Patronal Festival, Bishop Henry Wolfe Baines consecrated the present church building. Designed after a simple English parish church style, it features a conical tower built in the Victorian tradition.
17. Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple - Its history dates back to 1875, when an early Ceylonese Tamil pioneer built a small attap-hut like temple under a Senpaga tree, where a statue of the Lord Vinayagar (Elephant God) was said to be found. While the temple complex was re-built after damage was done during World War II, the main shrine remains intact and unscathed.
18. Roxy Square, across the overhead bridge, is once Roxy Cinema, a.k.a. Roxy theatre, now demolished, used to be located. Owned by the legendary Shaw brothers, established in the pre-World War II years. The name Roxy remained unchanged when the Shaw brothers took over and the theatre continued to screen English and non-English movies. The land on which the cinema sat was sold away be the Shaw brothers in 1978. In its place now stands Roxy Square, a $77 million dollar shopping complex wich was completed in 1984.
19. Former “Red House” Bakery located at 75 East Coast Rd. Former Katong Bakery & Confectionery, also known as the “Red House” Bakery was established in 1925, once famous for its Swiss rolls and curry puffs. It was originally built as a private residence facing the sea and operated as a bakery for over 80 years until its closure in 2003. The “Red House” Bakery was the first to bake three-tier Western-style wedding cakes in the 1920s. It was closed on 23 March 2003 after the shophouse where it was occupying was deemed as unsafe.
20. Former Joo Chiat Police Station at 86 East Coast Road. Built in 1928, later became Katong Village. The Urban Redevelopment Authority invited tenders for the development of this site for a boutique hotel, tender submission date was on 21 January 2014. It attracted eight bids, with the top bid of S$352.8 million coming from a venture between Master Contract Services and Keong Hong Construction. Katong Square / Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong opens in 2016.
21. Kim Choo Kueh Chang - 109 & 111 East Coast Road. Kim Choo Nonya Dumplings has been a mainstay of Singapore’s colourful food culture for more than 40 years. The story of Kim Choo goes back to the 1940s when Madam Lee Kim Choo first learned her grandmother’s secret recipe of making Nonya glutinous rice dumplings at the age of 12. There is a small gallery upstairs that features “Peranakan”, don’t miss Rumah Kim Choo.
23. Conserved terrace houses at 150 East Coast Rd. These single-storey terrace houses stand beside a former sea wall near where the beach used to be. These homes are built on raised ground to protect against the rising tides then.
24. Church of the Holy Family is a pre-World War II parish church, was a focal point for the Eurasian community. Its origins date from 1902, with the original chapel built in 1923. Today, it continues to serve the local Catholic community. The building was re-built in 1999, while the front sculptures have been retained from the original church structure.
26. Former Grand Hotel located at 25 & 26 Still Road South. In 1917, Moona Kader Sultan, a wealthy Indian cattle merchant built the Karikal Mahal, or the Grand Hotel as it was later known. Originally a complex of four houses, the luxurious gardens were split into two with the construction of Still Road South in 1973. Part of the former hotel at 26 Still Road South has been gazette for conservation.
27. Marine Parade Community Building - The current building, located at the junction of Still Road South and Marine Parade Road, sits on reclaimed land first occupied by the Marine Parade Community Centre, which was built in the early 1980s and later renamed to Marine Parade Community Club. The old club building was demolished in 1997 and construction of the Marine Parade Community Building began the same year. Built at a cost of S$30 million, the new building was completed in January 2000, and was open to the public on 6 March 2000. It was officially opened by Goh Chok Tong on 28 May 2000.
Information is correct as at 6 September 2015. Please visit the destination website for latest updates.