Indonesian’s Guide to Singapore’s Hangout Places (Other Than OrchardRoad, Bugis, Chinatown and Little India)

Let’s admit it. Even though Singapore is like Indonesian’s second home, even though Indonesians said that they “know” Singapore inside out, but what do majority of Indonesians really know about Singapore? I’m pretty sure that the answers must be one of these: shopping, Orchard Road, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Chinatown, Bugis, Little India, or the other “major” tourist attractions. 

Well, I am Indonesian, so I’m not going to lie; I am too, having the same problem with most Indonesians that claim to “know” Singapore inside and out, lol. 

But since the last couple of months, I did some “research” on Singapore for my upcoming trip to the City of Lion, to find out what else are there for me to explore in Singapore. And it turned out; I knew almost nothing about Singapore! I knew just what most Indonesians know about Singapore. And that is… Sad. Because it turned out that Singapore has a lot to offer, and it includes the hangout places. 

In the state where hangout in cafes or coffee shops are so popular right now within Indonesians, in this post I want to share the new hangout places in Singapore that maybe only a little part of Indonesians know about the existence of these places. 

1. Tiong Bahru 
Tiong Bahru is basically the new “it” place for Singaporeans. It is the up and coming hip area to hangout and chit chat over some coffee, lunch, dinner, or even breakfast. It offers variety of good looking cafes – which Indonesians love – that serves majority of western food rather than Asian food. 

But one thing you should know before visiting Tiong Bahru is that.. It’s not like what you think it is. The area is not the area that right after you hopped off the bus or MRT, you can find cafes lined up straightaway. Well, as my friend, Timothy, said, “you should know where you want to go first.” Why? Because Tiong Bahru is a housing complex area. So if you don’t know where you’re headed, most likely that you’ll get disappointed when you get there because all you can see is house, house, and more houses. 

Basically, there are 3 “main streets” in Tiong Bahru area, where majority of cafes are sitting in. They are “Yong Siak Street”, “Kim Tian Street, “ and Seng Poh, Tiong Poh and Eng Hoon which is right next to another. And the most popular one is Yong Siak street. 

Yong Siak Street
Seng Poh, Tiong Poh and Eng Hoon Street which can be found next to the other
Kim Tian Road
Because we spent a whole day there, so we tried three different places. For our late lunch we ate at Cheng Delicacies Authentic Hainanese Curry Rice because most of the cafes are closed already (we arrived around 3pm so it’s not a lunch time anymore. So please be aware of the opening and closing time of the café of your choosing). We ate fried rice and it was extremely good. Really.

Then we had our dessert time at Drips Bakery and Café. At first we wanted to try the Plain Vanilla Bakery (people said the cupcakes are really good!) but it was full so we chose different place. It was nice because it’s empty; the chocolate pie was also really good! But the bad thing was… they don’t have electric socket and wi-fi, so if you want to work there, it’s not a really good choice. But if you just want to hangout and pleasure your sweet tooth, you can definitely head there.

And for our dinner, we ate at Big Mama’s Korean Restaurant. It’s not the typical place to hangout, but it’s definitely the right place to eat… until you’re really full.

For a complete guide to Tiong Bahru, please refer to this site because it will really help you go through each street in Tiong Bahru. 

2. East Coast / Katong area 
This is a very new area to me. I’ve never been around this area before or even ever heard of it before. I also haven’t found suggestions or recommendations on the internet that point out to this particular area in Singapore. I knew the existence of this area because my hotel, Village Hotel Katong by Far East Hospitality (hotel review here) was located in this area. 

Well, who would’ve thought that an area that even-taxi-drivers-aren’t-familiar-with has a gorgeous line up of cafes, restaurants -- basically hangout places -- that made me fell in love instantly?

It might be quite far from the “city center” (which is Orchard), but your trip to the area will be worth the time. It has the hawker style ones, the so-so ones, the high end ones, and of course the best ones. Just open your Foursquare or Tripadvisor and search based on proximity, pick one, and enjoy your time. 

And based on Foursquare, I and Timothy happened to choose Zaffron Kitchen, Singapore’s Best Indian Restaurant of 2013 and it surely tastes really great! The design is so unlike a typical Indian restaurant that you usually find, so it adds more plus points to the whole experience. Check out the pics below:

I only share two areas right now because I only visited those two, lol. So, where do you hangout when you’re in Singapore? Let’s share here! J


This post is a series post for my and Timothy’s trip to The Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.

Thanks to Dusit Thani Manila, Far East Hospitality, Quest Hotel And Conference Center – Cebu, and Hotel Quickly for being such wonderful partners in this trip.