Peranakan Houses in Joo Chiat Road

I have been following different Singapore tags on Instagram which has helped me in preparing my itinerary for my trip. One of the places frequently Instgrammed that has caught my eye are the Peranakan houses. It is a row of identical designed houses in different bright colors.

I don’t know anything about the Peranakan culture so before going there, I decided to read about it. Peranakans are Chinese settlers who migrated to Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore is a bit of a melting pot of cultures and it has transformed to a corporate hub that it’s hard to see anything “traditional” in the city.

It’s a little difficult to get to the Peranakan houses because it is not near any train station or bus. I read an article that it’s easier to get there via bus but at this time I haven’t tried to ride their buses yet so instead I checked how much it is to get a Grab from my hotel. From Bencoolen, where I was staying, it was SGD 9 to get there. I decided to just take a Grab for convenience.

It is a bit of a ride, maybe about 15 to 20 minutes away. It is much closer to the airport than to the CBD. As we were getting closer, I could see more condos/HDBs and even houses! I know how expensive it is to own an actual house in Singapore so we most likely passed by a rich area.

My driver dropped me off and there were a fair bit of people already there on the same mission as I am. To take pictures!

This is a fairly long street but it is actually just a total of maybe 10 or 12 houses that look like this. They face each other, 5 or 6 at each side.

The houses are lived in by citizens and not just there for display. One of the houses has a for sale/for rent sign actually. I can only wish that I can afford a house in Singapore.

The Peranakan houses is situated in an area in Singapore called Katong. Apart from these houses, the whole district looks different. I think they tried to maintain as much of the Peranakan culture as they can.

The whole area has this design. Even the stores are situated in buildings like this. It didn’t feel like I was in Singapore.

The Peranakan houses were visually appealing and I appreciate the people’s efforts to maintain their tradition. I feel like with how modern looking everything in Singapore is, it is pretty easy to give in to that and give up traditional buildings and houses. Modern houses may offer more comfortable and spacious living spaces. I also think it is harder to maintain traditional houses nowadays since they might not always be able to adjust to the technologies we have today.

I don’t know what the inside of the Peranakan houses look like but I am curious. They don’t seem to be that wide, and I am not sure how long they are. I’m curious to the layout of the houses inside and if it still looks how it should originally or if it has been modified to be a bit more modern looking.

There is so much to do in Katong. The only thing I knew and my only intention was to see the Peranakan houses, but I thought about reading about the neighborhood. I ended up spending half of the day in the area.

I recommend visiting the Katong area and just walk around. The whole place has a different vibe not just because it looks different but also because it’s a little far from the central area. I felt more relaxed while being there. It is so refreshing to be away from tall buildings.

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