Singapore‘s colourful areas of Katong and Joo Chiat are full of character, rich in Peranakan history and culture. There are little shops and cafes to enjoy traditional food. If you love architecture and great food and want to see more local everyday life, these areas are a must-see!
Reaching Katong and Joo Chiat
It is really easy to travel around Singapore with reliable, fast and clean transportation. There are three ways to pay for local transport: Tourist Pass, EZ-Link Card or with local currency. With most of our trip planned and tickets for attractions already purchased, we decided to go with the pre-paid EZ-Link Cards, which you can top up at any time. There are plus points for both cards, depending on your length of stay and what you plan to do. We have decided to keep ours and still have credit for our return visit.
Staying in Katong
This is the perfect neighbourhood to stay in, with its colonial bungalows, tree-lined streets and tranquil serenity. We loved it and were truly grateful to stay in such a beautiful location, within a lovely local house and have a kind host.
We stayed with an Airbnb host but there are other accommodation options available including hotels, too.
The Peranakan houses built in the late 19th century are really pretty in pastel colours. Some even have Lucky Chinese Dogs, like in the photograph below.
Peranakan is an Indonesian/Malay word meaning “local born.” It refers to the descendants of the Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago between the 15th and 17th centuries. They came from British Malaya and Dutch East Indies and southern Thailand, primarily in Phuket and Ranong.
The Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple is located on a beautiful, palm-tree-lined residential side street. The Hindu temple, built over 120 years ago, is a designated historic site visited each day by both tourists and worshipers. The second oldest temple in Singapore was established by the Ceylonese Tamils from Sri Lanka. It’s located on Ceylon Road, named for the many Ceylonese, or Sri Lankan Tamils, who were said to be among the earliest immigrants to Singapore.
Every 12 years the highly auspicious ritual of Maha Kumbhabishegam, also known as Samprokshanam takes place. It is believed to homogenize, synergize and unite the mystic powers of the deity. The last one in Katong and Joo Chiat took place was in 2015.
The area is renowned for traditional dishes with complex flavours combined from Malay, Chinese and Indonesian. Have you heard of Bitemojo Tours? Purchase one of the many self-walking Bitemojo Tours, then download the app. We set off on Katong: Singapore’s “Foodie” Neighbourhood. The tour offers a variety of sweet and savoury bite-size dishes and drinks to enjoy while exploring the history, culture and pretty houses.
There’s lots more to explore, including the beach and Eurasian Heritage Centre. I hope you enjoyed reading and are inspired to visit Katong and Joo Chiat. As always, I would love to answer any questions and read the comments you may have. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy travels:) x