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Walking around Joo Chiat/Katong and East Coast Park, Singapore

24th of October 2013

A walk around some of the best shophouse architecture in Singapore followed by the cooling breeze of the East Coast Park, one of Singapore's favorite urban getaways.

  • Location: Joo Chiat/Katong, Singapore
  • Start or End: I took the bus to the corner of Mountbatten Road and Haig Road and then finished at a bus stop on the corner of Marine Parade Road and Lagoon View.
  • Length: 8.4km (5.2mi)
  • Grade: Easy. Paved the whole way and flat.

After a lovely early morning walk it was starting to get busy, hot and humid in Chinatown so I decided to head off for a nice beach stroll along the East Coast Park, which lies on the south-eastern coast of Singapore, and is an easy bus ride from Chinatown. Before taking in the relief of the cool ocean breeze of the East Coast Park I decided to have a look around Joo Chiat, or is it called Katong? When reading up on the area I found it is often called Joo Chiat/Katong, but I am not sure why. Is it two distinct areas or just two names used for the same place? Anyway, it doesn't matter as Joo Chiat and Katong are known for some of the best shophouse architecture in Singapore. Joo Chiat is also known for a good restaurant scene.

I stepped off the bus near the intersection of East Coast Road and Ceylon Road and made my way up Ceylon Road to my first place of interest, Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple. During my metrotreks around Singapore I have definitely seen many Hindu Temples and thus plenty of gopuram (tower entrance). You would think I would be getting tired of gopuram by now, but the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple gopuram still impresses, and so it should as it stands at 21 meters, making it one of the tallest in Singapore. The artwork and colour of Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple gopuram is also different to the others I have seen. The golden figures on the bone white tower is really spectacular.

From Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple I head back down Ceylon Road, then along East Coast Road and then up Joo Chiat Road which runs parallel to Ceylon Road. Along Joo Chiat Road there are plenty of restaurants and plenty of great examples of shophouse architecture.

The fine example of shophouse architecture in the photo above is on the corner of Joo Chiat Road and Koon Seng Road. Koon Seng Road is well known for some of the best shophouse architecture around, but first I might head further up Joo Chiat Road and explore Koon Seng Road later.

I have to admit, the rest of Joo Chiat Road wasn't overly that exciting, just plenty of shophouses and restaurants. I think Joo Chiat Road would be much more exciting at night when the shophouses are lit up and there is a busy restaurant scene. I am here late morning so hardly any of the restaurants are open and there a very few other pedestrians. Which is good in a way as I can take in the shophouse architecture in a carefree stroll. I wonder how many shophouses I have seen since setting foot on Singaporean soil?

I divert east off Joo Chiat Road along Joo Chiat Place and head south along Tembeling Road and visit Kuan Im Tng Temple. The Kuan Im Tng Temple isn't anything that special, but I do really enjoy the bright colours and the dancing dragons on the roof tops. I have to admit, I am getting a little templed out and the rising heat and humidity along with a grumbling stomach isn't helping my mood. It's not your fault Kuan Im Tng Temple that I don't find you exciting, I just need a meal and the cool breeze of the East Coast Park.

On the search for food and air conditioning I head back up Tembeling Road onto Joo Chiat Place and then down Everitt Road to Koon Seng Road. Of the few restaurants that are open none are tempting me, but on the way I do walk along some good examples of shophouses. Now I think I am starting to get sick of shophouses as well. Way too many shophouses, but they are beautiful.

I think the best way to find some food and air conditioning is to head south towards East Coast Road where it is much busier. I take Tembeling Road south off Koon Seng Road and find Brotzeit, a German Beer Bar and Restaurant on East Coast Road. Good to have a hearty German sausage with mashed potato and washed down with a German Beer. Not the cheapest meal I have had in Singapore (compared to Hawker Centres), but it definitely hit the spot and the air conditioning made it well worth it.

Now that my stomach is full and the air conditioning has cooled me down it is time for a leisurely beach stroll along the East Coast Park. The East Coast Park in only a short stroll south down Joo Chiat Road and is a 185 hectare, 15 km stretch of palm tree lined parkland with great views over the water.

The East Coast Park is supposedly visited by over 7 million people a year and I can understand why. It is the perfect getaway from the heat, humidity and bustle of the city. I am here on a weekday so the park is very quiet with only a few other walkers and kids getting around on hire bicycles. Luckily most of the paths are segregated so I didn't have to contend often with groups of teenagers riding two seater bikes. There are also a number a campers out with their tents pitched on the edge of the beach.

Apart from the refreshing breeze and the shade of the swaying palm trees the park is also filled with many sporting and recreational facilities including tennis courts, a skate park and a cable water skiing lagoon. I am not really interested in these aspects of the park so I just enjoy the stroll towards the east of the park. Apart from a leisurely stroll nothing that exciting happened along the walk and soon enough I was at the East Coast Lagoon where I sat for a while watching water skiers perform aerial acrobatics. From the East Coast Lagoon I decided to call it a day and walked to Marine Parade Road where I found a bus back to my hotel in Little India.

Gallery

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