8 photos that prove Balestier is an underrated heritage district

You know all about the history of the Civic District, the ethnic enclaves and even Joo Chiat, but Balestier doesn’t always come up in discussions of Singapore’s heritage areas. April marks your last opportunity to catch the Balestier: A Hundred Years exhibition, so it’s the perfect time to visit. If that’s not reason enough, here are eight photos that will convince you to add it to your plans this month.

A grand old villa

Completed in 1902, the modern-day Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall was once the residence of a rubber tycoon’s elderly mother. Later, it served as the Singapore headquarters of Sun Yat Sen’s Chinese Revolutionary Alliance; its local supporters aiding the Wuchang Uprising of 1911 which led to the Xinhai Revolution and the end of the Qing dynasty. Sun Yat Sen himself stayed at the villa on three of his visits to Singapore. The hall is hosting the Balestier: A Hundred Years exhibition until Apr 24.


The realm of P Ramlee


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More than 40 years after his death, P Ramlee remains an icon of Malay cinema and music. The old Shaw Brothers’ Malay Film Productions studio at 8 Jalan Ampas is where many of his movies were made.


A towering image of Buddha


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The Burmese Buddhist Temple was founded in 1875 and has been at its current site on Tai Gin Road since 1988 (construction was completed in 1990). The temple is home to the largest white marble statue of Buddha outside Myanmar, brought here from Mandalay in 1921.


Classic coffee


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Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory has been roasting and grinding coffee here since 1959. Today, they offer exotic blends made with coffee beans grown in countries as far afield as India, Ethiopia, Guatamala and Brazil.


Spectacular shophouses


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Balestier is home to some of Singapore’s most ornate shophouses.


The best bak kut teh


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Whether you’re a fan of Founder, Ng Ah Sio or 333, Balestier has long been the go-to place for bak kut teh in Singapore.


Once-familiar aromas


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Sweetlands Confectionary and Bakery on Kim Keat Lane and Sing Hon Loong on Whampoa Drive are among Singapore’s last remaining traditional bakeries.


Back lane bliss


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Balestier is one of the few places where you can still find old spiral staircases in their natural habitat.