Definition of off the beaten track at dictionary

If you’re hoping khổng lồ go off-the-beaten track away from the đô thị centre, you’ll be glad to lớn know that there are plenty of hip haunts, cool hangouts & hidden gems in Singapore that are considered under-the-radar even by locals.

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Our guide to lớn hidden gems in lesser-known locales encompass the neighbourhoods of Balestier, Bukit Timah, Hollvà Village, Hougang, Jalan Besar, Queenstown, Redhill, Siglap & Toa Payoh.

Visit these neighbourhoods for amazing sights, sounds and, of course, food!

Off the Beaten Track Neighbourhoods in Singapore


Named after Joseph Balestier, the first American consul to reside in Singapore, Balestier was initially an agricultural space, but evolved to host businesses from traders, artisans & craftsmen.

In the 1920s, it was nicknamed ‘Recreation Road’ for its growing entertainment offerings. Today, this district is home page lớn Chinese-Baroque style shophouses, old-world cultural gems & hip eateries.

For an authentic Singaporean meal, visit Founder’s Bak Kut Teh, which has been dishing out piping-hot bowls of pepper pork-rib soup for over four decades, & is a favourite haunt of local stars và celebrities. Alternatively, dig into lớn a meal at Loy Kee Chicken Rice for a taste of one of our island’s most iconic dishes.

For your coffee fix, visit Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory to lớn learn how old-school coffee is made, or while away the afternoon at Wheeler’s Yard, a bicycle-themed cà phê popular amongst locals where its xanh door makes a great backdrop for an #OOTD.


Bukit Timah

A prime location in Singapore, the Bukit Timah area used lớn be known for the Bukit Timah Race Course, a horse-racing facility for the high-heeled. Today, that facility is renamed The Grandstand & has been converted khổng lồ host various shops and eateries, such as Italian restaurant Ristorante da Valentino and Louisiana-style seafood diner Dancing Crab.

The neighbourhood is trang chính to lớn Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, a verdant sanctuary that’s popular ahy vọng nature lovers và fitness buffs alike, and a great place to relax và unwind. 

Alternatively, we recommover exploring The Green Corridor, which leads to the Old Bukit Timah Railway Station. You’ll be able khổng lồ spot Neram trees (large tree indigenous lớn Southeast Asia, commonly found on riverbanks) và Raintrees, as well as old railway tracks at the initial 1.4km of the Bukit Timah-Rochor trail.

When you’re done sweating it out, hop off the train at Beauty World MRT for various dining options. In the day, stop by Revelry và Carpenter và Cook for brunch, or drop by Bukit Timah Food Centre to lớn nosh on hawker delicacies lượt thích fish soup, braised duông xã rice và laksa (spicy coconut milk-based noodle soup).

Night owls can visit the bustling supper stretch which offers local delights lượt thích roti prata (South Indian flatbread) & curry at Al-Azahar khổng lồ a spread for sharing at Joo Seng Teochew Porridge. Those with a palette for novelty can also try out frog leg porridge at G7 Sinma Claypot.

Holland Village

Affectionately known as ‘Holland V’ by locals, the district of Hollvà Village is named after Hugh Holl&, who was one of the area"s early residents & a well-respected architect.

This charming precinct encompasses CPU Bee Gardens on Jalan Merah Saga—lined with semi-detached and terrace houses that were once homes lớn members of the British army in the 1950s, when Singapore was under colonial rule.

Today, Holland V is mainly known for its F&B outlets, including bagel eatery Two Men Bagel House, Mediterranean-vegetarian restaurant Original Sin, and late-night sweet spot 2am:dessertbar.

If you’re looking lớn grab a cuppage authority and people watch, consider dropping by %Arabica for aromatic brews that hail from countries Brazil, El Salvador and Japan.

The neighbourhood’s vibrant watering holes are a hit with locals as well—restaurant-bar Drinks & Co Kitchen, Germanic pub Baden and live music venue Wala Wala are the perfect spots for an evening tipple.



In the past, Hougang was bustling with food stalls, street wayang (theatre shows), Chinese medicine men, & storytellers. It is now a mature residential town, and the most populous in North Eastern Singapore.

History buffs can pay a visit to the Japanese Cemetery Park— the largest Japanese cemetery in Southeast Asia & home to 910 tombstones from World War II. For beautiful gothic architecture, drop by the recently renovated Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the oldest Catholic Church for the Teochew community in Singapore.

To refuel, head khổng lồ Sitháng Road for Lola’s Cafe, or dig in lớn the iconic Punggol Nasay đắm Lemak và Selegie Tau Huay (beancurd) just round the corner. Closer to the heart of the neighbourhood và the MRT station, you can piông xã up no-frills essentials at Hougang Mall and Hougang 1.

Jalan Besar

The shophouse-lined streets of this colourful district was once a simple trachồng through a betel nut and fruit orchard, established in the 1830s by the Norris Brothers. Years later, the municipality decided lớn expvà the road before aptly naming it Jalan Besar, which translates from Malay khổng lồ "big road".

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Now a conserved area, Jalan Besar is home page to lớn an eclectic stretch of eateries, cafés, entertainment venues, and religious sites. It’s also a hostel hotspot, và a haunt for backpackers & globetrotters seeking affordable accommodation. 

This is one of the best areas lớn go café-hopping, so kiểm tra out hangouts lượt thích Butter Studio for its incredible baked goods and Chye Seng Huat Hardware for some potent coffee (or a cold brew on tap). Don’t miss other highlights lượt thích The General Company for artisanal products & handcrafted wares—they make for great souvenirs.

If you’re sticking around for dinner, hit up places such as The Refinery for Japanese kushiyaki (grilled skewered food) and bespoke cocktails, or if you want some local delights, head to lớn Berseh Food Centre for orh luak (fried oyster omelette) and local aromatic kopi (coffee).



One of Singapore’s oldest housing estates, Queenstown was once an agricultural zone, và is named after Queen Elizabeth II, Singapore’s head of state during the colonial era.

From its MRT station, take a short bus ride to the sprawling IKEA at Alexandra for Swedish meatballs & trang chính décor shopping.

Visitors khổng lồ Queenstown can also learn more about the neighbourhood’s colourful heritage with the quaint artefacts và exhibits on display at My Queenstown Museum, Singapore’s first-ever community museum.

Also synonymous with the neighbourhood is Queensway Shopping Centre, a favourite haunt of local athletes và shoppers looking for bargain buys on sneakers & apparel from brands lượt thích Nike và Adidas.

Over in the nearby Wessex Estate, there are noteworthy sites as well. Check out art galleries like Joy Clay Studio và Gallery (you’ll have sầu khổng lồ make an appointment to visit) for ceramic sculptures và installation art before dropping by Colbar—a charming canteen that boasts an old-school ambiance and a myriad of Western and Asian culinary delights.


Legkết thúc has it that Redhill, (also known as Bukit Merah)—the hill that gives this neighbourhood its name—was named after a young boy who was murdered out of jealousy after saving his village from swordfish, with his blood staining the hill ever since.

Intriguing tales aside, Redhill is a new town in the Southernmost part of Central Singapore, & was home to lớn our island’s first brickwork factories & mills in the 1930s.

Today, it’s a cosy neighbourhood housing the well-loved Redhill Market for local delicacies like satay bee hoon (rice vermicelli noodles in a spicy peanut sauce) và chicken rice.

If you’re feeling peckish while visiting, be sure khổng lồ drop by Seng Hoon Coffeesiêu thị or Soon Li Yong Tau Foo. The former is a great option for travellers visiting in the morning—và serves up the classic Singaporean breakfast of kaya (a traditional jam made from coconut và eggs) toast & kopi—while the latter is a popular supper spot that dishes out piping hot bowls of yong tau foo.


Starting off with humble beginnings as a coastal kampung (village) of coconut-nutmeg plantations, Siglap flourished when the Frankels— wealthy Jewish businessmen from Lithuania— bought over the l&. 

Today, this residential area in eastern Singapore is trang chính to lớn mostly semi-detached homes and bungalows. The neighbourhood is a stone’s throw away from East Coast Park & Changi Airport, making it a popular area amongst tourists, expats, và beach-going Singaporeans.

For traditional-local meals, sample home-made nonya* cuisine at House of Peranakan, or feast on zi char (traditional dishes influenced by home-cooked Chinese food) at Jin Wee Restaurant. Coffee lovers can indulge in the many brunch joints available in the area—crowd favourites include Penny’s University, Craftsmen Speciality Coffee, & Stamping Ground Coffee.

If you’re looking khổng lồ nội dung a pint with the locals, be sure to lớn drop by watering holes like Georges MADBar & Grill or Jag’s Gastropub.

*Nonya cuisine is also known as Peranakan (meaning "local born") cuisine. The cuisine comes from people of Chinese & Malay/Indonesian heritage.

Toa Payoh

Toa Payoh may seem lượt thích a typical heartlvà area at first, but delve deeper và you"ll find that it"s steeped in a rich và colourful history.

The neighbourhood, which translates khổng lồ "big swamp" in the Hokkien dialect, is the second oldest satellite town after Queenstown và is the site of many firsts: it was the first town lớn adopt the neighbourhood police post system, the first MRT station was built here, & is the home page to the first mosque established under the Mosque Building Fund (MBF).

To experience the neighbourhood’s many charms, drop by venues like the aforementioned Masjid Muhajirin mosque, Toa Payoh Town Park for a spot of greenery, và the iconic Dragon Playground for a look at one of Singapore"s most beloved landmarks.

If you’re feeling peckish, there are cafés & restaurants like waffle and ice cream joint Creamier and famous seafood dining spot Kelly Jie Seafood, where you can sample chilli crab, Singapore’s national seafood dish.

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Now that you’re equipped with the right knowledge, you’re all set and ready khổng lồ go explore the secret side of Singapore! For more walking trails và neighbourhoods lớn visit, kiểm tra out these guides.