By Cheong Wen Xuan
When someone mentions Geylang, many people’s minds immediately associate it with sleazy, distasteful images. However, unbeknownst to many, the landscape of Geylang has been changing; it’s shifting out of the one-dimensional stigma of red light districts and Hotel 81s, and becoming somewhat of a hipster haunt. So if you’re sick and tired of revisiting those same old few places in Singapore, I’m going to be revealing to y’guys the hidden gems of Geylang – one of the most culturally rich, vibrant, and colourful enclaves in our tiny island city.
The yoga craze is a movement that has taken millennials by storm in recent years, and while people mainly flock to places like Tanjong Pagar for their yoga, it’ll come as a shock to many to know that there’s a quaint little yoga studio right in the heart of Geylang! Located at Guillemard Road in the Old Singapore Badminton Hall, this is one of four of Yoga Inc’s locations. They offer a huge range of classes, from Basics, to Hatha, to Restorative, to Pre-natal, and even Kids Yoga… there’s sure to be something for everyone! On weekdays, they have morning and night classes, and are closed mid-day. On weekends, classes run all the way from morning till evening.
The resident dog, Ah Bui, was rescued from the street and adopted by Yoga Inc’s owner in 2014. According to his Instagram bio, he’s “currently working as PR manager at Yoga Inc.” He most commonly frequents the Guillemard branch, but if you’re afraid you’ll miss him, you can check out his weekly schedule that’s uploaded on Yoga Inc’s Instagram account.
Brawn & Brains Coffee
Nestled right next door to Yoga Inc. in the old Singapore badminton hall is a quaint little café. Though unassuming from the outside, the stylish, minimalist decor inside is seriously insta-worthy. Warm and welcoming, its floor-to-ceiling windows flood the place with plenty of natural light, and provides the perfect ambience for a chill and cozy dining experience. It boasts a wide variety of food and beverages, such as artisan coffee, sandwiches, cakes, and other pastries. It takes pride in its coffee, and even has a House Blend called ‘Pen & Pencil’, which is a mix of beans from Brazil, Columbia, and Ethiopia. The chocolate croissants are to die for, and the creamy smooth cold brew is a must try! Do take note that it’s closed on Mondays.
The Shophouse Series @ Lorong 24A
When nobody wanted to rent them because of the stigma surrounding Geylang (particularly the infamous neighbouring Lorong 24), award-winning local architects gave this row of shophouses from the 1920s a new lease on life by converting them into an architectural project. With the exterior conserved and the interior converted, these fading shophouses have now become a swanky residential space and a boutique development. A luxury co-living experience, tenants can rent different units, each beautifully designed and fully furnished with a different contemporary theme.
The neighbourhood comes alive at night, and not just the sordid way you expect it to. Neighboring Lorongs light up with lots of (non-seedy) late-night bars, and if you’re craving a midnight snack, you’ll be spoilt for choice with late night supper places and 24-hour eateries peppering the area. Lorong 24A is home to many old and new small business; it’s hard to miss the old Chinese clan association with its vintage signage, the traditional Chinese medicine shop, the flamenco dance studio-slash-cafe, and the Buddhist library.
The project aims to preserve the architectural significance of shophouses and to retain the authentic culture and rich heritage of Geylang, while also debunking the stigma that shrouds Geylang, proving that there is truly more than meets the eye.
Visit their website to view their units. Prices are inclusive of all bills and cleaning.
You might need to readjust your traditional notions of a gym before stepping into this one. Also situated in the old Singapore Badminton Hall, this gymnasium is not filled with dumbbells or machines like you’d expect. Instead, it’s equipped with mats, trampolines, high jump poles, and even a parkour wall.
It’s a place where people can come together to train in different movement-based activities. There are many activities you can do here: Gymnastics, Parkour, Aerial Fitness, Jump Rope, Cheerleading, Trampoline, Breakdance and more! GymKraft has adopted the Olympic Games’ motto: “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. Here, you can challenge yourself and develop your skills, and break a sweat while still having loads of fun!
If you always assumed that bars in Geylang were of the dodgy and sleazy type, you couldn’t be more wrong. Situated at Guillemard Road, this riverside café-slash-bar has turned into a social space focused on community, where you can find an eclectic mix of people from all over the world, chilling over a pint of beer. It opens till midnight daily and boasts an extensive menu; they have a house brew specifically made for them by Archipelago Beer called ‘Tuck Shop Edition’, and their signature truffle fries and truffle pizza are rejuvenating, to say the least, after a long day.
Inspired by locals, little touches in the décor are meant to be nostalgic and reminiscent of a school canteen and environment – thus the name, Tuckshop! The staff are called Prefects – there’s even a Head Prefect – and if you let them confiscate your phone for at least 90 minutes on No Phone Wednesday, you get free truffle fries as a reward! With an al fresco area overlooking the park and the river, and their collection of books which you are welcome to peruse, this bar surely gives a different vibe.