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  1. #1
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    Singapore - Balestier Road area

    So this is where I am living at the moment. Its not one of Singapore's trendiest addresses - in fact I believe the only time most farangs would go there is if that is where the taxi driver took them with their Orchard Towers take-away. You see its not too far from town but there are an awful lot of short-time hotels along Balestier Road.

    But anyway, its one of the oldest areas of Singapore and has a history of brothels, opium dens and general gangsterism - so it interests me to walk around and find out whats in the area. As everything changes quickly in Singapore I try and take a lot of pictures because in 5 years the place may be unrecognisable.

    I took this first set of pics a couple of months back after I just moved into the area and for all you local geography fans, they are all of the area of Balestier between Boon Teck Road and Thomson Road.



    This is where I was staying at that time - in Boon Teck Heights which is just off Balestier Road. It looks ok, but the apartment I was living in was a tip - but thats another story.





    Balestier is full of temples - this one was just down the road from my apartment block.



    ^ a rare sight in singapore these days - a free ranging cock. sadly he has disappeared now. This picture was taken near where that python was sighted so he may have been on the snakes menu........



    ^ one of the three Fragrance Hotels along Balestier road. Reasonably priced and clean, but unfortunately they are also there for the short-time market as well as the budget minded traveller so you may well get disturbed by comings and goings if you are there intending to actually get some sleep for the night.
    Fragrance Hotel- Singapore budget hotel with affordable rates and 15mins away from Singapore international airport



    ^ Balestier Hotel - another budget cum short time hotel - cant recommend this place as i dont really know much about it. One time I called to make an enquiry and the guy on the phone only spoke Chinese.

    All along Balestier road there are many eateries - in fact apart from the seedy side of things, food is what Balestier means to most Singaporeans - especially for the areas well known dishes like Bak Kut Teh (pork ribs soup), duck rice and chicken rice.





    ^ i ate the chinese mixed rice at this coffee shop for lunch.

    and at that time not knowing where to go for good food, i was not too surprised to find that although it was cheap, it was pretty ordinary.


  2. #2
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    This section of Balestier Road has 3 Lap Sup Bar's (or LSB for short). I don't know what the words actually mean, but i know what these joints are like because once myself and two local friends tried one out for a laugh.



    ^ This is Da Lu music lounge - the grandaddy of them all - and has been around as long as anyone can remember. The same goes for the women who work in the place apparently. Now on the night of our LSB expedition the place was closed for some reason, so we went to another LSB place across the road.



    These places are kept completely pitch dark inside. When you come in then you will find the person bringing you to a table has a torch. There was no such thing as an ashtray - you just use the floor. Drinks are not too expensive. The real shocker is when you light your cigarette and see that the lady who has been sitting next to you and stroking your leg is about 60 (and a very hard 60 years at that) - wearing white face makeup and generally looking like an undead. Apparently they do offer hand jobs and blow jobs but my friends and I only stayed for one very hasty drink.
    Avoid these places unless you really enjoy having recurring nightmares.

  3. #3
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    Turn off Balestier road and walk down this rather pleasant path to a couple of places of interest.....



    First up is Nanyang Memorial Hall - which is unfortunately undergoing emergency renovation now to prevent it falling down, and so is closed to the public.

    Built in 1900 by a wealthy rubber plantation owner for his mistress, the building later became the planning centre of many......agh just read the website will ya?

    Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall - About Us









    ^ See if you can read that.

  4. #4
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    I had a fantastic time in my last trip to Singapore (wanted to open a thread but too lazy)

    It was great to meet you and that was a nice dinner, the clubs and bars in Boat Quay are awesome

    love those SPG

    With rental going up 60% from last year, I am not sure when I am going to move there

  5. #5
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    And just a little distance away is my all time favourite temple in Balestier - the Burmese Buddhist temple.





    and this temple has been covered already by the thread in the link below:

    https://teakdoor.com/malaysia-and-sin...se-temple.html

  6. #6
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    Excellent photos, SBF. We have a place in Bukit Timah but are in the process of moving to Thailand.
    Back for a week to tie up loose ends and I miss this place already . . .

    Thailand is a nice place to be, Singapore is a great place to be . . . through the eyes of someone who is not yet retired.

  7. #7
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    ^ Don't know too much about Bukit Timah. Perhaps you should wander around with a camera before you leave and take some pics for TD. Remember to dress as a tourist and you can get away with almost anything.

    Anyroad up, yesterday I decided to take a walk to Novena MRT station and take some pics along the way. There were a couple of things I wanted to check out for myself as well, and as it was a cool, cloudy day it seemed like a good opportunity.

    Welcome to Tai Pei Buddhist Organization.


    ^ I am living in this apartment block now, next to Da Bei Temple in Jalan Kemaman. There is something going on at the temple at the moment. There has been the sound of chanting from the place for the last week. Quite relaxing and pleasant though.


  8. #8
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    Absolute quality stuff mate. keep it up.

  9. #9
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    At the corner of Jalan Kemaman and Balestier road is this ornately decorated shophouse from the 1930's.





    On each of the pillars there is a Sikh soldier, apparently guarding the building...



    If you really feel like it you can read the blurb, which someone has helpfully put nearby.


  10. #10
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    Great thread.
    I remember a bar called the Sweden bar. Infamous for octogenarian women giving blow-jobs. Ever heard of it?

  11. #11
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    At the corner of Balestier and Boon Teck Road is a free water dispenser. I have never seen one anywhere else in Singapore - mind you I didnt know what it was until someone pointed it out to me either.



    According to the Urban redevelopment authority -

    "The free water dispenser at the corner of
    Balestier Road and Boon Teck Road was once
    very common in Singapore. They were placed
    by charitable organisations such as Clans and
    places of worship, to provide free drinking
    water for the servants and drivers of the horse
    carriages (and later, cars) for the rich, while
    they waited for their employers"
    Last edited by slimboyfat; 22-07-2007 at 08:28 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Burr View Post
    Great thread.
    I remember a bar called the Sweden bar. Infamous for octogenarian women giving blow-jobs. Ever heard of it?
    Not aware of that one. Any idea where it was located? There are a few such joints located in Balestier, Joo Chiat, Geylang and Lavender but I have never heard of that name before.

  13. #13
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    Next on my quest for Balestier history was Jalan Ampas, where the Shaw brothers had their film studios from 1937 to 1967 (with a break during WWII as the Japanese confiscated it and made propaganda films here). After the war, more than a hundred films were made here under the banner of Malaysia Film Productions.

    p-ramlee/shaw brothers

    Well the place is still there, but obviously not being looked after.





    ^ Funny to find this plaque outside an old abandoned building, but there you go. Edit - I just noticed that you can see my clothing choices yesterday must have been inspired by stroller.

    Anyway, as you couldnt see much from my first pic, I chartered a helicopter today and took this shot which is still a bit disappointing.

    Last edited by slimboyfat; 22-07-2007 at 02:23 PM.

  14. #14
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    Chartered a helicopter just to get a pic for TD?

    and u moan abt my having a maid and driver!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrT View Post
    Chartered a helicopter just to get a pic for TD?

    and u moan abt my having a maid and driver!
    ok, actually i leaned through my room window to get the pic. but at least you were paying attention.

  16. #16
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    i just went for a walk to get some lunch and take a couple more pics. The freeranging cock is alive and well! I saw him strutting about with one of his bitches just now. So thats a weight off my mind.

    So anyway - oh yes, my quest for lunch just now. Felt like eating something tasty without spending too much so decided on a walk to Whampoa market.

    Took the canal path, saw the cock, felt relieved and then past the mosque.



    Despite Balestier being home to many temples and churches, as far as I know this is the only mosque. Not really a very strong muslim malay population in this area historically I guess.



    ^ My favourite place to eat at 2am when I am drunk and feel like something to eat before going home. Nice roti prata, good curries and biriani at a price thats right. The place above is made up of studio apartments at $1500 a month to rent. This is where I had a bedbug problem I believe I mentioned on the forum somewhere before.

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    Really great stuff. I love your Singapore threads. Please keep them coming.

  18. #18
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    How many baht to a sing $?
    Must be worth much less than the US $, judging by some of the prices you quote, maybe 5-10bt to the dollar.

  19. #19
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    Another pretty looking shophouse at the corner of Kim Keat road and Balestier Road. The food is not bad at the coffeeshop below either. There is one stall doing fried chicken which is much better than KFC in my opinion.



    Opposite is Balestier Point - which contains one famously dirty KTV joint and 3 massage parlours which also offer extra services I hear. In fact along Balestier Road there are about 10 dodgy massage places, with varying degrees of hygiene. The ones at Balestier Point are probably better from a cleanliness point of view and the rooms have an attached shower. The massage joints in the shophouses look dirty and seem to employ PRC girls illegally.





    ^ There are few of these old fellas around with their shoe repair/key duplication enterprises.

    Just a little bit further down Balestier Road is where the majority of the budget/short time hotels are located. There is nothing wrong with Fragrance or Hotel 81 but quite frankly I wouldnt try any of the others.


  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller View Post
    How many baht to a sing $?
    Must be worth much less than the US $, judging by some of the prices you quote, maybe 5-10bt to the dollar.
    now about 22 baht to the singapore dollar......

  21. #21
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    Just next to the Fragrance hotel is Go Chor Tua Pek Kong temple, which is the oldest temple in Balestier (it dates back to 1847). I will have to go and check it out properly one of these days. The red blocklike structure is a 'wayang' stage (chinese opera) and is the only fixed stage still standing in Singapore and was constructed in 1906.



    Anyway, I was after food so took a left turn towards Whampoa temporary market (the real one has been undergoing renovation for the last few months).



    Although the setting is a bit rough and ready, some of the foodstalls here are pretty well known and people will travel from other parts of Singapore just to eat their favourite noodles etc.

    I am a man of simple tastes so just went to the nonya rice stall to get a basic lunch of chilli squid, bean curd, a bit if veggie and some rice which cost me S$2.80 .





    ^ I didnt manage to catch it on the pic - but the lady above is sitting with a much older singapore chinese man. That seems to be par for the course here. Either they are mistresses kept by the old men here in Balestier or the men are the girls customers from massage or KTVs I really dont know and unfortunately cant ask.

    Sometimes of an evening it is quite pleasant to eat and drink in the 'beer garden' section...... espcially now smoking is banned in the pubs.


  22. #22
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    On the way back through a back lane I thought I would take a picture of the spiral staircases that seemed quite popular at one time in Singapore. Why? Well because I like them and anyway its my camera and I can do what I like with it.



    Remembered I had to buy some fruits to eat as cigarette substitutes so went to the supermarket at Shaw Plaza (yes the same Shaw brothers who set up the film studio round the corner at Jalan Ampas). Shaw Plaza features a pretty good cinema, fast food outlets and a supermarket in the basement.



    and as I was standing on the bridge over Balestier Road I thought I would take some shots in both directions.

    So first up is looking in the direction of Lavender and the city



    And lastly is looking towards my gaff and Thomson road.



    So I bought some groceries and went home. And thats about all for one weekend.

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    again, cheers, great pics and thread matey.

  24. #24
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    Excellent stuff Sbf!!

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    I really like those spiral staircases. Excellent work.

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