When I asked AC where to stay, she suggested that I either chose Orchard Road or Geylang. Orchard Road is a really posh, touristy area, and one of those areas all the travel sites would suggest that you stay in. The road itself is lined with one luxury department store after the other and you’ll find all the big international brands in the shops.
Geylang, on the other hand, is known as the red light district of Singapore, so why on earth would AC suggest that I stayed there? I think it’s a sign that she knows me very well. We’ve been friends for a very long time (12 years and counting) and we’ve traveled together on numerous occasions. She knows that I like my cities a little rough around the edges. If it gets too neat and polished, I get bored.
I want to feel the soul of the cities I’m visiting, and you rarely find that among the department stores. Though for a first time visitor, Geylang sounded like quite a mouthful. Instead of staying there, I decided just to dedicate an evening to a visit to this neighborhood.
The relaxed, laid-back atmosphere struck me immediately. People were hanging out on the few green spots in the area or shared a meal in one of the tiny restaurants. Geylang had this intense, vibrant atmosphere, that I didn’t encounter in any of the other areas, I visited.
I managed to steer clear of the seediest parts of the neighborhood, so except for a few adult shops I didn’t experience any red light action. Instead, I was thrilled to see all the tempting restaurants. In just one sniff, I could smell parata, char siu and laksa, and holy moly, did it smell nice!
I would have loved to just sit down at one of those rickety plastic tables and have whatever I was offered, but I had promised AC to go to No Signboard and eat chili crab. It turned out to be a good choice too, which you can read about here: