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Singapore is, perhaps, the most eclectic mix of people, cultures, and food. Even our street names are a diverse amalgamation of languages and history.
Did you know that there’s a ‘Kay Poh Road’ in Singapore? This is just one of the many streets with quirky names and we’ve curated a list of many others, alongside interesting activities to do around the area, for the next time you’re looking for new places to explore in Singapore for a date or an outing with friends and family.
From streets that will take you back to your past vacation spots, to those you can post on your Instagram stories for a laugh - read on to find out more about these locations, and what you can do in the nearby districts if you ever decide to drop by!
Before you set off for your adventure, make sure you have your sunblock ready to beat the heat. Plus, if you’re an avid Instagram photographer, you’d want to make sure you have enough battery to last the day - a good power bank will be a helpful companion.
1. The closest you can get to a world tour
No thanks to the global pandemic, you probably haven’t boarded a plane in the longest time. These streets named after various countries and cities may be the closest you can get to revisiting the nations on your travel bucket list, so why not go on a “world tour” while you’re at it?
Commonwealth of Nations
Named after countries and cities from the Commonwealth of Nations are Canada Rd (Montreal Rd and Ottawa Rd), Canberra Road (Capital of Australia) and even Kenya Crescent. Marvel upon the sights of colonial houses as you walk by these roads, which were previously home to senior British military personnel and their families.
Continue your sightseeing adventure in this part of Singapore with a group of friends, or even challenge them to a game of Paintball at Camp Challenge, an 11 minutes' walk (0.9km) from Montreal Rd. Alternatively there are plenty more fun things to do right here. Test your fears with their high element courses, or go easy with low element obstacle courses first. They also offer water activities, including kayaking, stand-up paddling and rafting, all of which are great opportunities for bonding.
Address: 8 Admiralty Rd E, Singapore 759991
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 7:00pm daily (closed on Sundays)
If you prefer something more relaxing, de-stress at Sembawang Hot Spring Park, 1.4km away from Canberra Rd (17 minutes by foot / 4 minutes by car), fully equipped with a walking trail (Floral Walk), a small eatery with Tze Char dishes, foot bath pools and of course, the hot springs! (Bonus: There is even an Egg Cooking Station if you’re looking for the true hot spring experience that you’ve missed on your trips to Japan or Korea.)
Sembawang Hot Spring Park
Address: Along Gambas Ave
Opening Hours: 7:00am to 7:00pm daily
Cities in the United Kingdom
For those who miss the English colonial architectures, head down to Cambridge Rd, Carlisle Rd, Durham Rd, and Dorset Rd. There used to be 17 Dutch-style cottage houses along Dorset Rd that gave it a more European atmosphere, but these were sadly taken down in the mid-seventies, to make way for new developments, the district of which became one of the popular urbanised neighbourhoods in Singapore.
While you’re there, take a jog down the memory lane with authentic local street food at Pek Kio Market & Food Centre, conveniently located right along Cambridge Rd. The selection there includes Michelin Plate stores: Pin Wie Chee Cheong Fun and Sheng Seng Fried Prawn Noodles, classics in Singapore.
Pek Kio Market & Food Centre
Address: 41 Cambridge Rd, Singapore 210041
Opening Hours: 6:00am to 7:00pm daily
Thereafter, unleash your creativity and artistic side by Art Jamming at Heartroom Gallery, which is a 3-minute walk away from Cambridge Rd. Open to individuals and groups, Heartroom Gallery offers jamming activities that are perfect to relieve stress, a good respite away from the hustle of Singapore’s city-centre.
Address: 41 Cambridge Rd, #01-17, Singapore 210041
Opening Hours: Differ daily, closed on Tuesdays (View their schedule here)
Countries in Asia-Pacific (APAC)
These next roads are named after cities in the neighbouring countries, which are now so close yet so far. We’re all hoping to be able to travel again, but in the meantime, these Singaporean neighbourhoods are your best bet at getting some local tourism in. Why not drop by Shanghai Rd, Hong Kong Street or Penang Road for a visit?
Some interesting activities you can do nearby include getting trained in Martial Arts (Muay Thai, MMA or Brazilian Ju-Jitsu) at Juggernaut Fight Club. Alternatively, squeeze in a new activity like Barre, inspired by Ballet, Yoga and Pilates, at Barre 2 Barre, as a way of keeping fit.
Juggernaut Fight Club
Address: 275 Beach Rd, #01-10, Singapore 199549
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 11:00am to 10:00pm, Saturday – 10:45am to 3:30pm, Closed on Sundays
Barre 2 Barre
Address: 3 Pickering St #03-01, Staircase 1 Located between Great Eastern and Nankin Row, Singapore 048660
Opening Hours: Differs daily (View their schedule here)
2. Streets named after fruits in different languages?
This next series of streets in quirky Singapore are named after fruits, but in many different languages. The first is Lor Ong Lye, where ‘Ong Lye’ is ‘Pineapple’ in Hokkien. Lor Liew Lian is also close by, and it’s named after the fruit that everyone either loves or hates, the Durian. Although there are no confirmed findings as to how these roads got their names, some believe that it may be tied to the durian and pineapple plantations around the area in the past.
Somewhere in Katong, you can find a street named Lor Nangka - ‘Nangka’ is ‘Jackfruit’ in Malay. Other fruit-inspired road names include ‘Angsana Avenue’ and ‘Mulberry Avenue.’ Isn’t it interesting that the streets are named with a mix of different languages?
There is also an interesting museum conveniently situated 300 metres away from Lorong Ong Lye, which makes it a great attraction to visit, especially if you’re looking for things to do with your kids! An entire museum dedicated to ants, the Singapore Ant Museum features over 50 different species of ants, with 25 formicariums (or ant farms), where visitors can learn more about these tiny creatures.
Singapore Ant Museum
Address: 359 Upper Paya Lebar Rd, Singapore 534961
Opening Hours: Saturday and Sunday – 10:00am to 5:30pm (closed on Weekdays)
3. Where are the royal roads in Singapore?
Fans of the Royal Family (or ‘The Crown’), will be familiar with the names of these roads, as they are the designations of those in the royal family. Located close to Tan Kah Kee station, King’s Dr, Queen’s Rd, Duke’s Rd, Princess of Wales Rd, among many others in the same area, are named after British Royalty and tie back to Singapore’s colonial history.
These streets are also home to many Instagrammable cafés in Singapore, where you can spend the day relaxing while enjoying a cup of coffee, or a yummy brunch. Atlas Coffee House is one such place, the perfect brunch spot with food options ranging from freshly made Butterscotch Banana Pancakes to Creamy Mushroom on Sourdough, not forgetting fragrant coffee.
Atlas Coffee House
Address: 6 Duke’s Rd, Singapore 268886
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday – 8:00am to 7:00pm (closed on Mondays)
Relish by Wild Rocket is another option – a fancy glasshouse with a modern interior surrounded by greenery. With Hae Bee Hiam Spaghettini, BBQ Char Siew Pork Burger and even Krapow Bee Tai Mak, they offer Western food with a local twist that is bound to satisfy your cravings.
Relish by Wild Rocket
Address: 501 Bukit Timah Rd, #02-01 Cluny Court, Singapore 249760
Opening Hours: Weekdays - 11:00am to 10:00pm, Weekends – 8:30am to 10:00pm
If you’d like to keep to the royal theme, why not try out Crown Bakery and Café? Decked in royal blue with classy gold furnishing, the store is hard to miss. Perhaps one of the many hipster places in Singapore?
As they specialise in sourdough bread, most dishes served are various permutations of ingredients atop their signature bread. The Crown’s Oxtail Stew, Chilli Crab Egg & Sourdough and Avocado Tartine are among some of their popular dishes.
Crown Bakery & Café
Address: 557 Bukit Timah Road #01-03 Crown Centre, Singapore 269694
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 9:30pm daily
The Singapore Botanic Gardens, among the many notable attractions in the city, is just 15 minutes away from King’s Rd by bus, and ideal for picnics and photoshoots while being surrounded by nature. You may also visit the National Orchid Garden, and be greeted by thousands of Orchid species, or watch as swans gracefully enjoy the afternoon sun at Eco-Lake. For parents looking for fun things to do in Singapore with their kids, these outdoor activities will surely marvel the little ones!
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Address: 1 Cluny Rd, Singapore 259569
Opening Hours: 5:00am – 12:00am daily
4. Singapore street names you won’t believe are real
Here are some names of streets in Singapore that are perfect for a shout-out on Insta-stories (while tagging a friend who should live on that street that is!). Somewhere near town sits Kay Poh Rd, a colloquial term often used to describe someone who pries too much into the business of others. Interestingly, this was not the inspiration behind its name – the road is named after Wee Kay Poh, an apprentice in Messrs. A. L. Johnston & Company.
Cheow Keng Rd, located within the Katong neighbourhood, also sounds like the Hokkien term “Chow Keng”, commonly used in the Army to best describe someone feigning an illness or physical injury so as to avoid training sessions. Similarly, the name of this road was not inspired by the term, and it is named after Wee Cheow Keng, a Hainanese businessman and leader of the Hainanese community in Singapore during his time.
Finally, Jalan Malu-Malu contains the word ‘Malu’, which means ‘embarrassment’ in Malay. Although one may assume that it translates to ‘A path of embarrassment’, the word ‘Malu-malu’ is actually the name for the Mimosa plant, in Malay. The Mimosa is known to be a ‘shy’ plant, as its leaves fold up upon contact, making Malu-Malu a befitting name.
A road named after ... the Singapore PM’s wife?
Contrary to popular belief, Ho Ching Rd isn’t named after the wife of Singapore’s Prime Minister (and there is an entire article dedicated to explaining the history behind it). In summary, ‘Ho Ching’ is the romanised version of the Chinese term ‘河景 (Hé jǐng)’, which translates to ‘river scenery’. This may also be attributed to the fact that it is close to Jurong Lake Gardens.
There are some fantastic outdoor activities to do in this part of Singapore, perfect for weekends with family. Have a leisurely time at the Lalang field at Jurong Lake Gardens, which is a popular spot for photography. If you’re more inclined towards sports, you can even kayak with a view of the magnificent Pagodas at the Chinese and Japanese Gardens.
A possible eating location is Kuai San Dian Xing (translates from S$1.30 Dim Sum in Chinese). All the food dishes at the store are priced uniformly at S$1.30, and include local dim sum favourites such as Fried Carrot Cake, an assortment of Baos, and even Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun!
Kuai San Dian Xing (Lakeside)
Address: 346A Kang Ching Rd, #01-01, Singapore 611346
Opening Hours: 6:00am to 10:00pm daily
Of course, we couldn’t miss out road names related to the world’s best, Changi Airport!
Right next to Singapore Aviation Academy is Aviation Drive, and this is one of the many flight-related road names around Changi Airport. Near the air freight terminals, there are Airline Rd and Airport Cargo Rd too! Some others that you may be familiar with include Airport Boulevard, T3 Arrival Drive and T1 Departure Crescent.
The best part? There are tons of activities at Changi Airport for you and your family! Travel back in time and roam with the dinosaurs at Changi Jurassic Mile, chill out with a view of the magnificent Rain Vortex at Jewel, and watch planes take flight in front of your eyes at the viewing malls across all the terminals!
Every Singaporean street is uniquely named, with meaning or stories behind them, waiting to be discovered. We’ve been quick to assume, but how often have we paused and took time to read up on the real origins of these places in Singapore?
While travel is still put on hold, this is the best time to learn more about our country’s history and uncover hidden gems within. The next time you’re bored, these places and fun activities provide the perfect opportunity to create new memories.
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