Behind the tall condominium buildings and the skyscrapers made of glass, beyond the five-star hotels and the tourist-filled theme parks, away from Singapore's elaborate shopping malls and high-end boutiques, lies the peculiar little neighborhood going by the name of Tiong Bahru.

The several hours we spent in the area (cut short by the rain that afternoon) gave us a glimpse into some very fascinating places.

Once we stepped out of the MRT station, we took a turn and ended up in a small spot the locals would normally visit. Going down the steps, we're greeted by a pleasantly sweet smell, and I swear nothing gives us joy quite like those Chinese-run bakeries with their freshly made, tasty, decadent, yet inexpensive pastries. My mom purchased two of their egg tarts (pictured above) and it was the best egg tart I've ever had in my whole life, probably.

I was eager to start our walk to Tiong Bahru but mom stopped by a hawker centre nearby to grab herself some lunch. I guess you couldn't call it a trip to Singapore without at least once stepping foot into a hawker centre.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, hawker centres are food courts (usually in open air) that serve wide varieties of cooked food, in which you could usually grab a meal for no more than $5. Commonly found in Asia, like Singapore and Hong Kong, for example.

The day was pretty cloudy on our brisk walk, but I'd enjoy a walk anywhere so long as it's not raining, really. The street we managed to visit already had stores and cafes with the most well-crafted exterior designs. I'm talking illustrations on the wall, custom stickers dotting their windows, and all these funny little trinkets that you can see from the outside. 

After taking some photos, led by a friend's recommendation, we'd decided to first stop by at the Forty Hands coffee shop. (For someone who doesn't drink coffee, I sure have a thing for coffee shops.) Their food was great and the portions were suitable for two people to enjoy, but it wasn't so fantastic that I'd rave endlessly about it either.

What I found interesting was the actual interiors of this coffee shop. It's like they just tried their best to fit into the tiny gap between the two larger buildings by their sides. As pictured above, it was quite narrow in width, but as you step in, the place extended in length. It was like slipping a coffee shop into a very long, dark hallway. Nevertheless, it worked.

The BooksActually bookstore was, by far, the most amazing place I have ever visited in the entire world. I do not exaggerate, friends; I mean this with all my heart. I have such strong feelings for this bookstore, in the it's-heaven-on-earth, can-I-please-live-here kind of way.

Where do I begin? Their book collection was out of this world and it was everything I've ever dreamed of; it was like every single thing that I've ever looked for in regular book stores, all piled up in this humble little space. Mostly centered around fiction and literature, they also included books on politics, travel, biographies, and God, so many more. For my personal choice, I probably found close to 10 that I wanted to bring home, but my self control only granted me 3.

One of my most favorite things about independent stores like these is their effortless, messy, yet harmonious touch in interior decorating. Vintage novelties and naked lightbulbs and, wait, did they just make a chandelier of dried flowers placed in test tubes? They win. Also, they keep two cats in their store like it's absolutely not a big deal at all. On the shelves, the books were stacked to the ceiling and that, simply put, is how to win my heart at first sight. It was like I was immersed in this book fantasy from the minute I walked in. How many times have I typed the word "books" now, anyway?


If you're a fellow book enthusiast who happens to find yourself in Singapore, it would be a sin not to visit this place. For a look into their collection, or simply to find more info, I recommend visiting their site.

Rain started falling, so we needed to settle down and find a place to sit to wait it out. On the same street, there was the Plain Vanilla Bakery. A relative talked highly of this bakery because of their lovely cupcakes, and we opted for a tiny dark chocolate one to share. It was rich and nice and if we weren't so full, we could've bought an entire box to take home. Specializing in a selection of cakes, Plain Vanilla also had some items on display that you could buy, such as magazines and different objects for home decor. What I loved was their warm, inviting, homey atmosphere, and it was quite fitting to enjoy on that rainy afternoon.


I'll see if I can include more posts from Singapore in the near future, but frankly, to write about every single place we visited would be unnecessary and exhausting and I'm simultaneously busy, and lazy, all at the same time, which really isn't an excuse, but there are other things to write about, so I'd rather just jump into those instead.

How was that for a run-on sentence?

Have a pleasant weekend.