Singapore’s Geylang Neighborhood

August 17, 2012 by

Free Things To Do, Sightseeing, Things To Do, Travel Tips

Sri Sivan Temple in Geylang, Singapore

Sri Sivan Temple in Geylang, Singapore. Photo courtesy of williamcho via Flickr.

Running through Singapore’s central business district, the Geylang neighborhood is notorious as a red light district. That said, it is a good place to find cheap lodging and durian: a local fruit with distinctive odor and a sharp thorny husk that is unlike anything else you’re likely to have tried elsewhere.

It is also a very good place to observe the extensive decorations that adorn local establishments and homes during the Islamic month of Ramadan, as well as another festival celebrated by Malays that is known locally as Hari Raya Haji, which is the period when Muslims make the trip to Mecca to perform the Hajj.

The road that gives the neighborhood its name begins where it meets the eastern end of Kallang Road over the Kallang River. It meets Changi Road at the junction with Geylang Serai and Joo Chiat Road.

No description of the neighborhood would be complete without at least a cursory commentary on the sex trade. Geylang prostitutes are routinely rounded up by police for check-ups and health screenings, and illegal immigrants are deported. Prostitution in Singapore is legal, but solicitation is technically not allowed. My advice is to avoid the nefarious element in Geylang all together and opt instead for a trip through the neighborhood on one of the “Singapore Hop-on Hop-off” tours that many local outfits offer.

- John Reality

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