Located on the eastern side of Singapore, pretty much away from the centre, Geylang (also known as Geylang Serai) is the home of Singapore's mostly-Muslim Malay community: The only ethnic minority that was present on the island before the arrival of Sir Raffles and his fellow Brits...
This relatively large area was not influenced heavily by large urban redevelopment projects and managed to maintain some of its "old world charm"...
Visitors would not normally travel all the way to Geylang only for shopping, but will combine it with a visit to the area, as well as to neighboring Katong, the historic home of Singapore's rich and powerful Peranakan community.
Famous for its colorful rows of traditional Peranakan shophouses, dating back to the 1920s and 1930s, Katong does not have that much to offer in the way of shopping, but it's still a beautiful place to see and there are some unique shops and restaurants that maintain the special Peranakan heritage (for more information, see the East Singapore and Changi section)
Geylang is a good place to shop for a wide variety of "exotic" and "Oriental" stuffs... textiles, fabrics, traditional clothes, jewellery, antiques, furniture, spices and unique foodstuffs.
You can start your journey from MRT-Paya Lebar: Turn right to Eunos Road and almost immediately left to Sims Avenue (after you have crossed it). Walk along Sims Avenue for a couple of minutes, passing an open carpark and then turn right, to Geylang Serai, where you will see the entrance to the market on your left (all in all, it's less than a 10 minutes' walk).
♦ 40 years old Geylang Serai Market, one of the area's most prominent landmarks, has recently reopened in its historical location, on the corner of Changi Road and Geylang Serai, after the old building gave way to a new edifice, architecturally designed like a Malaysian village, or 'kampong'.
Being the main market of Singapore's Malay-Muslim community, it boasts many shops that sell spices, as well as ethnic jewellery and clothes, alongside a plethora of stalls that serve traditional Muslim specialties from the cuisines of Malaysia and Indonesia
♦ Joo Chiat Road is lined with pre-war Peranakan shophouses, where you can still find all sorts of vanishing trades... Traditional furniture shops, authentic eateries and nightclubs of all types are dominating the street's business scene.
Down at the bottom of Joo Chiat Road, near the junction of East Coast Road, lies the centre of old Katong, with some beautifully restored buildings that have been converted to shopping and entertainment centers. The Katong Village, where the old police station used to be, is housing some restaurants and cafés.
Click here for sightseeing options in Geylang and Katong
Click here for the best restaurants and eateries in Geylang and Katong