Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gem near Orchard - Emerald Hill

I had always wanted to go to Emerald Hill. It is funny that I had never been because it is extremely accessible. What makes it even more unbelievable is that it is located near Orchard Road, Singapore’s busy central shopping district! 

Formerly Emerald Hill was a plantation land, the area was subdivided and developed into a idyllic residential estate for wealthy Chinese and Straits-Chinese merchants and their families at the turn of the 20th Century.

"Their dwellings comprised of terrace houses of a variety of architectural styles (ranging from Transitional, Late to Art-Deco) as well as independent mansions (now demolished). Many feature ornate pintu-pagars and have ground floor facades decorated with attractive ceramic tilework. Elaborate plaster work and wood carvings combine to create an architectural hybrid that is also referred to as ‘Chinese Baroque’.

In 1985, the URA announced that Emerald Hill would be a conservation area, the first in Singapore, in order to conserve some of the best examples of Straits Chinese style of dwellings. The conservation area also includes the development known as ‘Peranakan Place’, which is a row of 6 two-storey shophouses (circa 1902) fronting Orchard Road. This was a pilot restoration and development project carried out by the URA in 1985.
The area today is an attractive and quiet residential area with several commercial units in the main shopping zone near Orchard Road."
quoted from URA

Emerald Hill finally received formal conservation status on 7 July 1989. It also has a number of high-quality restoration projects that have won the URA Architectural Heritage Award.

These photos are taken during my first trip in January this year.

As you can see, hidden next to our bustling shopping district, which is full of tall high rise buildings, is this quiet little enclave. Pretty cosy, I would say. Usually, you would see a few photographers taking photos around the area.

Does this area reminds you of Katong? It is quieter here as it is mainly residential area. Some of the shophouses are converted to pubs. They are nearer to Orchard Road near Peranakan Place. I particularly love this row of terrace houses.

I love to look at the gates and the windows. Each unit has different looking shuttered windows. 

This has an elaborated Chinese gate. Reminds you of a temple

Love these walls

These windows are lovely!

Floral tiles can be found here too. 

Old house against the modern backdrop of Heeren

Wow! A tiled house number! And a stone lion. 
door knobs on gates

The trees and plants add a little rustic feel to the neighbourhood

5 foot way is another area I love capturing on my lens especially places as old as this

Pintu pagar is another object that fascinates me. The craftmanship is fascinating

The 2 different coloured benches and the 2 pillars catches the attention of my eyes

Although these houses on Emerald Hill are similar to those found in Joo Chiat and Katong, they are in fact, older.

Some beautiful lamp
I particularly like this address plaque. This has a Peranakan feel.

Somehow I am attracted to this store but it is not open

Look at the old school gate

Although not much can be found from the internet about Emerald Hill,  I found 2 articles related to the area.

Singapore Chinese Girls School used to be located here. The premise on Emerald Hill was declared a significant historical site by the National Heritage Board.

The story, Emily of Emerald Hill, was inspired by the author, Stella Kon's grandmother. A thing to note, Stella's great  grandfather was Dr Lim Boon Keng, who was the founder of Singapore Chinese Girls School.

Have you been here? If you do, do you have any stories to share?

This quiet little gem is a quick getaway if you want to relax or to be away from the crowd.

How to get there?
It is near Orchard Road. Just walk in the lane between Peranakan Place and Orchard Gateway@Emerald.


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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Little One @Japanese Garden

We have not been to the Japanese Garden (星和园). Despite that Japanese Garden is close to Chinese Garden, we have not traveled to Japanese Garden on out last trip 2 years ago when we went to Chinese Garden. That was because we were too tired to walk any more. 

After casting my vote on polling day, I decided to bring Little One to Japanese Garden with hubby. This time, we decided to enter via another gate instead of coming through the gate that faces Chinese Garden MRT station. We entered via the gate near Japanese Garden Road. 

Japanese Garden, also commonly known as Jurong Gardens and Seiwaen, is a park located in Jurong East. Built in 1974 by JTC Corporation, it covers 13.5 hectares (135,000 m2) of land.

It is built on an artificial island in the Jurong Lake area connected to the adjacent Chinese Garden island by bridge named the Bridge of Double Beauty .(双秀桥).
In the early 1970s, the landscape of Jurong was increasingly industrialised with the construction of factories and industries as part of the Jurong Town Corporation's (JTC) industrialisation plan. Hence, JTC decided to redress this situation by damming the Jurong River and creating three small islands from the resulting lake. One of these islands became the grounds for the building of the Japanese Garden. The other garden that was built was Chinese Garden. 
Junction of Chinese Garden Road and Japanese Garden Road

Haze looming around Yuan Ching Road

Bridge of Double Beauty .(双秀桥). Chinese Garden is on the other side of this bridge.
Unlike Chinese Garden,  the Japanese Garden is designed with a calmness to evoke inner peace and a meditative state. The styles and methods used for designing the garden are taken from Japan's Muromachi period of 1392 to 1568 and the Azuchi–Momoyama period of 1568 to 1615. Stone lanterns, rocks, arched bridges, lily-filled ponds and traditional summer houses are part of a picturesque landscape.

Hedges near the Guest House. Look at those trees!

Hanging  lantern

Stone lanterns (There are 10 of them) I love the cravings of these
Simple torii  (There are 3 of them but this is the simpliest)
As it was public holiday, we find Japanese Garden was not quite empty. We met at least 10 people.
The serenity- Stone Lantern Valley 

Arched Bridge (This is one of the 3 arched bridges within Japanese Garden)
I love bridges, you can't blame me for taking many shots of the same thing.

Arched bridge next to Guest House

There are 5 pavilions scattered through out the parks for you to rest, unlike Chinese Garden whereby the 4 of them are close to each other.

Guest house view from another angle

Mini waterfall is a little disappointing. I prefer the small brown tree though.

We saw a number of animals, especially birds and fishes.

See if you can spot a bird in this picture. There are 2 photographers too!

Rest House
We saw a couple of these birds over here.

They even have nests on these trees

The only white bridge in the garden

The only white Torii

Bridges over calm waters

Some unique red flower

Other side of the pond

If you were to walk further, Science Centre would be in view but there is no bridge that connects Science Centre to this man-made island.
We headed to Bridge of Double Beauty towards Chinese Garden
Surprisingly, we were not very tired this time round but thirsty and hungry. We headed towards to MRT station from here.
How to get here quickly and cheaply:
Nearest way to get to this garden by public transport is via MRT. Alight at Chinese Garden station. Walk towards the 7 storey pagoda. The Bridge of Double Beauty is on the left. Once you cross that bridge you are at Japanese Garden.


  • The garden is open from 6am to 10pm
  • Bring your own snacks and drinks for a picnic. It is not very crowded. 
  • Visiting during morning and evening would be best as it is not that hot.
  • 30 minutes walk, depending on the activity you want to do in the garden. It is good for relaxation and reflection.
  • Wear a good pair of walking shoes as you may want to walk on pebbles or rocks to take good pictures for remembrance.

If you have more time, you may want to explore other places near the garden as well.

  • Chinese Garden integration of splendid Chinese architectural features with the natural environment 
  • Jurong Lake Park, I have not visit this park yet but it seemed to have a couple of wonderful playgrounds. Both Japanese Garden and Chinese Garden are within Jurong Lake Park. I need to find a day to visit the perimeter.
  • Jurong East Swimming Complex. When you walk further out to Chinese Garden MRT Station, you may want to visit the Swimming Complex which is nearby.
  • Singapore Science Centre and Omni Theatre. If you are interested in Science, head down to Science Centre but you will have to take a bus (66, 178, 198 , 335). 
  • Blk 347 Jurong East Ave 1, Yuhua Market and Hawker Centre 
    This is one of the place to find good local hawker food. Near Chinese Garden Station. See post by
  • 3 Yung Sheng Road, Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre This requires further walking but my favorite bak chor mee and lor mee and located here. See recommendation by

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