The district of Tanjong Pagar, fanning out south of Chinatown between Neil and Maxwell roads, was once a veritable sewer of brothels and opium dens. Then it was earmarked for regeneration as a conservation area, following which dozens of shophouses were painstakingly restored and converted into bars, restaurants and shops, notably on Neil Road and Duxton Hill just south of it. A grander example of the area’s architecture can be found right where South Bridge Road flows into Neil and Tanjong Pagar roads: here you’ll easily spot the arches and bricked facade of the Jinrikisha Building, constructed at the turn of the last century as a terminus for rickshaws. They were superseded by trishaws after World War II, and today the building serves as office space – with a celebrity landlord, the Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan.
Tanjong Pagar’s main sight is the Baba House, though as an architectural attention-grabber it’s rivalled by the seven interlinked towers of the [email protected], a showpiece public housing development that offers fine views over much of Singapore.