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Bino Chua: Your Local Insighter for Geylang, Singapore

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2 months ago

Meet Bino Chua, the face behind I Wander, and your Local Insighter for Geylang, Singapore.

Bino is a recognized world traveler and has been featured in major media sources, including The Straits Times, BBC, Forbes and more. Bino’s aim is to help shed misconceptions in the travel world and provide fresh insights into things to do, where to stay and the best food to try.

In that spirit, we are gaining exclusive access to Bino’s local insights from his home neighborhood, the extremely non-touristy Geylang, Singapore.

If you are planning a trip to Singapore or Southeast Asia in 2024, you will not want to miss Bino’s tips to get under the skin of one of Singapore’s least-visited neighborhoods.

Bino Chua

My name is Bino and I live in Singapore. I run the travel website I Wander. I love traveling and have endeavored to visit my bucket list countries (some are not-so-usual destinations) while still working a full-time job.

What makes Geylang exciting

I live rather close to Geylang (around 15 minutes’ walk away). I have been living in this area for about six years.

In a city that is perhaps quite focused on being prim and proper, I find that Geylang is more authentic and less inhibited. It is a side of the city that is less conscious about itself. It is also close enough to the city center while still retaining a bit of a suburban vibe.

Must-visit places in Geylang

I would recommend some of the beautiful conservation houses along Lorong 25, Lorong 24A and Lorong 34. Lorong means lane or a small street in Malay.

There are also plenty of interesting temples scattered around the Geylang area. One such example is the Sri Sivan Temple which contains elements of both North Indian and South Indian temple architecture. Even most locals don’t know about this place.

Hidden gems of Geylang

Geylang simply isn’t on most tourist guides. It’s not a terribly big neighborhood and I reckon it won’t require one full day to explore the places I suggest.

I recommend joining a walking tour of Geylang called Geylang Adventures. You’ll get to see sides of Geylang that are typically off limits to the casual visitor.

And make sure you check out the roadside corner eateries in Geylang. It’s the best place to people watch and you get to see all sorts of folk around here. The eateries in Lorong come to life at night so you’ll get an amazing vibe to continue your night out.

Food and Drink in Geylang

Where to begin?

Geylang is known as one of the foodie havens in Singapore.

Food you must try in Geylang

My favorite dishes in the area include the noodle soup from L32 Handmade Noodles, Hokkien noodles from Swee Guan Hokkien Mee, crab from JB Ah Meng and vegetarian food from Yes Natural.

To the more adventurous folks, Geylang is also known for “frog porridge” or essentially frog meat in Chinese-style congee.

Best coffee

Geylang has been gentrifying gradually over the years and you can now also find hipster cafes here. One such place I go to is Space Coffee on Geylang Road. Otherwise, for local coffee, I like going to Heng Wang Coffee Stall in Sims Vista Market and Food Centre, which is slightly away from the core Geylang neighborhood.

Best dessert

Gong He Guan at 217 Geylang Road, or Rochor Beancurd (they have two outlets in the Geylang area). They’ve got all of the typical Chinese desserts like mango pudding, yam paste. But, of course, it’s their signature dish, the Gui Ling Gao, which you must try. It’s inky black and jelly-like – it might look a bit off-putting because it’s also used in Chinese medicine. But don’t worry, it’s sweet and tasty here.

Going out in Geylang’s Red Light District

To outsiders, Geylang is primarily known as a red light district so parts of it really come alive after dark. Primarily, these are the even number lanes from Lorong 8 to 24. Aside from this, Geylang has plenty of eateries and restaurants that open well until after midnight.

Celebrations in Geylang

Geylang can be a year-round destination. But it may be slightly more inconvenient to come here during Chinese ghost month (around August) as there are plenty of temples around and they may be burning offerings/papers during this time. It can sometimes be a bit hard to breathe if you walk near the temples.

Unique shopping

Geylang is not really known as a tourist area so you won’t really be able to find souvenirs here. The best souvenir would be to have a good meal while here.

Local insight

Come with an open mind. Many people avoid Geylang after knowing that the red light district is here. But this is Singapore and how a red light district appears here can be very different from other countries.

Get in touch with Bino

You can reach me through my website I Wander or via Instagram.

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