The Joo Chiat and Katong area stands out for its strong Peranakan flavour. Scattered throughout the whole area are numerous Perankan eateries and shops. The area is also widely regarded as having the largest number of conserved Peranakan buildings. Looking at the buildings in the area now, it is hard to imagine that the whole area was previously coconut plantations and that the current treasure trove of Joo Chiat Road was nothing more than a dirt path running through the plantations.
A number of hidden gems can be found along Joo Chiat Road, and the area is best explored with a walking tour.
Peranakan eateries like Chilli Padi and Guan Hoe Soon are above average Peranakan restaurants which offer authentic Peranakan cuisine.
At the northern end of Joo Chiat Road are the relatively new Geylang Serai Wet Market and Food Centre and the Malay Cultural Village. These places offer a good introduction into the Malay culture in Singapore. Khalid Mosque and Kuan Im Ting Temple located along Joo Chiat Road also offer a glimpse into the melting pot of religions that can be found in the Joo Chiat and Katong area.
Along Koon Seng Road, which branches out from Joo Chiat Road, both sides of the road are lined with beautifully conserved Peranakan Terrace houses. Cheap accommodations like Hotel 81 Joo Chiat and Betel Box can also be found along Joo Chiat Road.
The Katong area was born out of the Joo Chiat area and like Joo Chiat Road, it is home to a hidden trove of religious buildings, delicious eateries and cultural shops. The impressive Sri Senpaga Vinayagar temple along Ceylon Road is one of the most beautiful Hindu temples in Singapore with its intricate designs and carvings. At Chapel Road is located the Church of the Holy Family which is one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in Singapore and is well-known for its impressive 16-panel stained glass.
Located along East Coast Road are 328 Katong Laksa and Peranakan Inn which are delicious eateries offering laksa and Peranakan cuisine respectively. Rumah Bebe and Kim Choo Kueh Chang help visitors to better understand the Peranakan culture and relaxing at Chin Mee Chin Confectionery transports you back to a coffeeshop in the 1950s Singapore.
Most of the hotels in the Joo Chiat and Katong area also offer hourly rates for their rooms on top of the usual daily rates like those in Geylang. This is usually an indicator that the area is a red light district.