As the center of Singapore’s Malay community, Geylang is the best place for tourists to explore the Malay side of Singaporean culture. Hotels in Geylang line Geylang Road, which runs east-to-west through the center of the district. These are intermixed with mosques, Chinese temples and lively bazaars that are part of daily life in Singapore.
Joo Chiat Street is the most attractive tourist district in the area. It’s named after a Chinese merchant who established an early millhouse in Geylang. Today, this street boasts well-maintained shop houses that blend elements of architecture from China and Europe.
While most of the people in Geylang are local residents, tourists do venture here for the exciting and affordable nightlife. Geylang has Singapore’s most famous hostess bars that operate with formal government approval. Most of the tourists that book accommodation in Geylang are from Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries.
Beyond taking advantage of budget accommodation, one of the biggest draws in Geylang is local cuisine. The fusion of Malay and Peranakan cultures here goes back to the 19th century, and local dishes reflect this unique heritage. Spicy curries and sweet coconut-milk deserts are favorites, and they’re widely available from hawker stalls throughout Geylang.