Things To Do In Singapore

11 Things To Do In Keong Saik – Crispy Kaya Toast, Japandi Boutique Hotel & Vintage Thrift Stores

Things to do in Keong Saik, Singapore


We’ll say it. Keong Saik is probably one of the coolest enclaves in Singapore. Themed cafes, Art Deco buildings, vintage stores, a myriad of bars – you name it, you got it. Even with the modern establishments in the area, it’s managed to retain its original character. 

Plus, it’s easily accessible via public transport too, located less than a 10-minute walk from Outram Park MRT station. 


1. Spend the afternoon at a Chinese bookstore with a hidden cafe



Image credit: @iris.nihao via Instagram

Tucked away in a Peranakan shophouse on Bukit Pasoh Road is Grassroots Book Room, a bookstore that has existed since 1995. We don’t blame you if you need to get a photo of the beautiful facade, which has the bookstore’s name spelt out in traditional Chinese characters “cao gen shu shi”, before heading in. 

While majority of the titles here are in Chinese, you can also find local books in English such as 17A Keong Saik Road by Charmaine Leung. Alternatively, pick up merchandise such as stationery, postcards, toys for kids, and artsy zines. There’s even a section of the bookstore where you can write notes to strangers.


Image credit: Gracelyn Lim

Head to the back of the bookstore and you’ll find Little Oasis, a cafe themed after Le Petit Prince. Order up a flat white ($6) or a cappuccino ($6) and pair it with an earl grey lavender chiffon cake ($3).

Address: 25 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089839
Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Sat 12pm-8pm | Sun 12pm-6pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Contact: 6337 9208 | Grassroots Book Room Facebook


2. Knock back some beer at a Vietnamese craft brewery



Image credit: @jackeychongofficial via Instagram


If you’re looking for a chill hangout on Keong Saik Road for after-work tipple, Heart of Darkness is a laidback craft brewery from Vietnam. They’ve got a whole range of beer on tap, with options such as The River India Pale Ale (from $10) and Kurtz’s Insane IPA (from $11)

Pair your booze with food options such as the okonomiyaki fries ($11.90), wings (from $15.90 for 6 pieces), burgers (from $16.90), or their crispy pork knuckle ($54.90). We’d recommend looking out for their weekly specials like Burger Monday – where you buy 1 burger and get another for free, Taco Tuesday for an extra portion of tacos, and $1.50 Wings Wednesday. 

Address: 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109
Opening hours: Mon-Wed 4pm-11pm | Thu 4pm-12am | Fri 2pm-12am
Contact: 6208 7940 | Heart of Darkness Instagram


3. Take a stroll along Duxton Plain Park



Image credit: @cloudiedayz.walks

One of the things we love about Singapore is the green spaces that coexist amongst the skyscrapers, and one such example is Duxton Plain Park, accessible via the backalleys of Keong Saik Road. This small park starts from Outram Park MRT Station and leads to Pinnacle@Duxton. Fun fact: it was established before WWII and was once a railroad reserve. 


Image credit: @pfong via Instagram 

Don’t be shocked to find a royal shrine in the middle of the park. It’s dedicated to Sharifah Rogayah who was believed to be the granddaughter of Habib Noh, one of Singapore’s most prominent Muslim figures. There’s also a Lee Kuan Yew Memorial tree: a Tembusu tree planted by PM Lee Hsien Loong himself.


Image adapted from: @aussie_boymum_in_singapore & @crystaltmc via Instagram 

Shrines and memorial trees aside, keep an eye out for Outram Park’s beloved wild chickens often seen roaming the park, as well as photogenic architectural elements such as pastel spiral staircases and vibrant murals. 

Address: Entrance via New Bridge Road, Singapore 089140
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily 


4. Indulge in a traditional breakfast at Tong Ah Eating House


Kaya toast, boiled eggs, and a teh or kopi make up the essential components of a typical Singaporean breakfast. For the ultimate nostalgia fix, head to Tong Ah Eating House. It’s been around since 1939, originally in the Art Deco shophouse now occupied by Potato Head Singapore.

One thing the coffeeshop does well is the Crispy Thin Kaya Toast ($2.60 a la carte, $5.80/set), lathered with homemade kaya spread. Else, opt for the Traditional Kaya Toast ($2.20 a la carte, $5.40/set), which comes with a soft and fluffy bread instead. If you choose the set, it comes with 2 half-boiled eggs and a coffee or tea.

Address: 35 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089142
Opening hours: Wed 7am-2pm | Thu-Tue 7am-10pm
Contact: 6223 5083 


5. Shop vintage dresses & accessories at a hidden boutique store



\Image credit: @dustbunny_vintage via Instagram 

Hidden in between bars, restaurants, and old-school kopitiams is DustBunny Vintage. It’s a thrift store that’s by appointment only, and only 2 people are allowed per slot. 


Image credit: @dustbunny_vintage via Instagram

They sell vintage dresses and clothing from about $68. You can also find accessories such as belts, vintage earrings, and shoes from $20. The items here are one-of-a-kind and rare, so you can be sure that you won’t come across someone walking down Orchard Road wearing the same thing as you.

Address: 2-A Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089110
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-6.30pm | Sat 1.30pm-6.30pm (Closed on Sundays)
Contact: 6222 0116 | DustBunny Vintage Instagram


6. Go bar-hopping at Keong Saik Road’s bars


Listen, we can’t do a guide on things to do in Keong Saik without talking about the cocktail bars that line the street. Whether you’re planning date night or a get-together with your friend group, those who take their tipple seriously won’t run out of options. 


Rebel Rebel Wine Bar.
Image credit: @emiemi_2317 via Instagram 

There’s the uber cool No Sleep Club, with bartenders shaking up experimental cocktails and pouring natural wines behind the bar; or Salud with its bougie aesthetics. Head over to Bukit Pasoh Road for more watering holes like Humpback, Gibson Bar, and Rebel Rebel Wine Bar.

Of course, we didn’t forget Potato Head, arguably the poster child of Keong Saik. Head up the mosaic-tiled staircase to the rooftop, and order drinks like Handle With Luv ($26), a gin-based concoction, or have a tailor-made cocktail by asking them for a Trust Your Bartender ($28)

They’re all within walking distance to each other, so you can even go on a bar-hopping adventure. We’d end our adventure at Jungle Ballroom, a speakeasy hidden away on the 3rd level of Mondrian Singapore Duxton.


7. Staycay at a Japandi-style hotel from $140/night



Image credit: KINN Studios 

For a fun staycay at one of the new hotels in Singapore this year, book a night or two at KINN Studios. It’s located in a 4-storey refurbished building and boasts Muji-style interiors – think a calming neutral colour palette, light wooden furniture, and indoor plants peppered around the space. Plus, a stay here only costs $140/night

Those who prioritise mental health will be pleased to know that KINN has experiences that promote wellness, such as a tie-up with mental health service provider Safe Space to offer 10% off standard sessions with therapists. 

ADDRESS
69 Keong Saik Rd., Singapore 089165
Opening Hours: Sunday Open 24 Hours  Show More Timings  Hide 
Monday Open 24 Hours
Tuesday Open 24 Hours
Wednesday Open 24 Hours
Thursday Open 24 Hours
Friday Open 24 Hours
Saturday Open 24 Hours
Sunday Open 24 Hours
GOOGLE REVIEWS
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(23)
CONTACT INFORMATION
RECOMMENDED TICKETS AT S$135.96


8. Do a photoshoot against Keong Saik’s murals & architecture


We all know by now that Keong Saik is full of beautiful heritage buildings, some complete with murals on the walls. Right next to The Working Capitol, a co-working space, is a mural by Singaporean artist collective, Ripple Root. Aptly called the Floral Mural, it features colourful floral motifs inspired by the Peranakan tiles around the area. 


The building is now home to Potato Head Singapore.

Of course, the most iconic building here is the Art Deco Dong Ya building from 1939, with its recognisable white and red colour palette. We’d recommend taking a wide shot of the entire street, positioning the building in the centre and having the surrounding shophouses at the side of the frame, with the Pinnacle Duxton in the background.


9. Check out Coach-themed rooms & interactive zones


Straight out of a Wes Anderson movie is Coach Play Singapore Shophouse, a multi-concept space with a coffee bar, retail shop, and photo-worthy installations. Stepping into the building on Keong Saik Road, you’ll find an American diner-themed cafe serving up mains, drinks, and desserts. Stop by for classic pancakes ($16) and a milkshake (from $10).



Then, head up to the Vintage Room for some customisable vintage bags from this fashion house and the Coach Lounge for seasonal bags, shoes, and accessories. There are even giant LED screens and multiple interactive zones that make for great photo ops. 


Set aside some time to admire the artworks shown on the LED screen.

Address:
05 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089113
Opening hours: Thu-Sat 9.30am-3pm, 6-9pm | Sun & Tue 9.30am-3pm; 6pm-8.30pm | Mon 9.30am-3pm; 6pm-12.30am
Contact: 6677 8595


10. Take part in a durian workshop at 99 Old Trees


There are durian lovers; and there are those who can’t stand the smell of durian. If you’re part of the former camp, bookmark 99 Old Trees, a durian-specialty cafe on Teo Hong Road. It’s popular for its durian swiss rolls (from $6.50) and choux puffs ($1.80/piece with a minimum order of 2).

But beyond the debatably delicious pastries, the shop also holds a Durian Confidence Course ($128/pax). You’ll really get to know your durians and suss out the different durian varieties. They’ve even got a Durian Anti-Scam Hotline at 9822 2495, which you can call for a second opinion on durians, if you’re doubting the legitimacy of the fruits you are purchasing from other sellers.

Address: 1 Teo Hong Road, Singapore 088321
Opening hours: 12pm-10pm, Daily
Contact: 9822 2495 | 99 Old Trees website


11. Collect eclectic knick-knacks at Tong Mern Sern Antiques



Image credit: @alien13xxx via Instagram 

Further down, on Craig Road, is a sign that says “We buy junk and sell antiques. Some fools buy, some fools sell.” When you see it, you’ll know that you’ve arrived at Tong Mern Sern Antiques, a family-run antique store that’s been open since 1972. 


Image credit: @thevintagehobby via Instagram

If you’re looking to decorate your BTO with unique memorabilia, they’ve got everything from vintage lamps to old-school kopitiam stools and more eclectic knick-knacks. However, these items are one-of-a-kind and can be quite pricey. Even if restored antiques that can go over $200 are out of your budget, we’d still recommend you to browse around for the vibes. We heard that the uncle here is friendly, too. 

Address: 51 Craig Road, Singapore 089689
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm | Sun 1.30pm-5.30pm
Contact: 6223 1037


Go ahead, spend time exploring Keong Saik


We may have written a guide to Keong Saik, but there are so many other interesting things to see, do, and eat in this charming neighbourhood. Start at one of these places and just take a stroll – you’ll never know what you may find. 

More neighbourhoods in Singapore to explore: 


Cover image adapted from: Eatbook

Dewi Nurjuwita

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