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Bukit Pasoh – A Living Heritage of the Past

Bukit Pasoh, Singapore 

Back in 1822, Sir Stamford Raffles envisioned a town plan for Singapore. He wanted each race to have an allocated area in the land surrounding Singapore River. The Chinese were assigned to the area south of Singapore River. With more Chinese arrivals, the area became one of the most bustling areas in Singapore.

Bukit Pasoh is one of 4 sub-districts of Chinatown. The other districts consist of Telok Ayer, Kreta Ayer and Tanjong Pagar. Bukit means hill while Pasoh means earthen pot in Malay.

Duxton Hill Shophouse Singapore

Despite the area located within a short walking distance from Maxwell food court, Bukit Pasoh has fairly lesser tourists visiting the area. Bukit Pasoh is more well-known among the locals for its restaurants, cafes and bars.

Now Bukit Pasoh has morphed into a modern residential area among the shophouses. URA listed Bukit Pasoh as a historic conservation area and guidelines are in place to protect the area. We have prepared some places to visit if you happen to pop by Bukit Pasoh!

PS. There are tons of picturesque places for you to take your photo of the day. Tag us at #TravelBuddee to share your trip with us!

Jinrikisha Station

Jinrikisha Station was brought back to the limelight in 2007 when the famous Hong Kong actor, Jackie Chan bought the historical building for S$11 Million.

Jinrikisha Station Red Bricks

Although it is currently under renovation, Jinrikisha Station is easily recognisable by its red bricks.

Singapore Shophouses

Read more about Jinrikisha Station!

Shop Houses

Many of the shophouses and buildings in Bukit Pasoh area are under the “conservation protection”. Companies are required to maintain the shophouse’s exterior as part of the conservation effort.

Singapore Shophouses

Rule of thumb for shophouses. Usually, the lower and less decorated the shophouse, the older the age of the shophouse. So while you are walking down the streets with rows of shophouses, remember to pay attention to each design of the shophouses, some more look older than it seems.

Post: The Singapore ShopHouse

Some shophouses have a circular staircase at the back. It is more than an artistic design for residents to enter their houses. It is also for night soil collection which is a manual version of human waste disposal.

Shophouse back alley spiral staircase

Unlike our modern toilets with its efficient plumbing, the toilets of the past have had to be done manually. A night soil collector will go house to house with empty buckets for collection. Soil was piled on top of the bucket to cover and lessen the stench. This century-long night-soil bucket system ended in 1987 in Tampines.

Clan Associations

Each clan associations only allow people of the same family name to join their associations. Eg. Yee clan association is strictly for families with Yee as the last name.

Yee Clan Association Singapore

Third building from the left, located between shop houses- Yee Clan Association.

The clan associations play a significant role in the development of Singapore. They help to support the welfare of immigrants, create educational opportunities for children who came from these families. Chinese immigrants who came down, later on, will be able to seek assistance from the clan associations to settle down. Clan association buildings also act as a place for social gathering. Members of the clan meet to play mahjong (A Chinese game played using tiles) and share news about their families back in their homeland.

Gan clan association Singapore

The design of an item wrapped with two belts in the middle of the building is a symbol of power which originates from Italy.

Millionaire Club

Ee Hoe Hean Club comprises of all Chinese millionaires. The club was created in 1895, it was a social and business “hang-out spot” and most importantly a meeting place for their discussions for important issues related to politics, economics, culture, social and education in Singapore and China. 

Ee Hoe Hean Club

The members of the club also played a significant role in pre and post world war 2 as they help to raise funds for the Republican revolution in China as well as the support for the anti-Japanese war, against the invasion of the Japanese in China.

Duxton Hill

Duxton Hills

Despite its name, visitors may be surprised that they are unable to find the “hill”. The hills were flattened as its lands were used as land reclamation for Telok Ayer.

Duxton hill was once home to 32 acres of nutmeg plantation owned by William Montgomerie. Now, Duxton Hill has gained a reputation for a laidback area with cafés and restaurant selling a wide variety of cuisines. Many of these cafes are found at the shop front of conserved shophouses.

Shophouses Duxton hills

Pinnacles At Duxton

Everywhere you go in Bukit Pasoh, you will see these luxurious-looking buildings towering over the shophouses. They are actually residential buildings.

pinnacle at duxton

Pinnacles at Duxton is made up of 7 buildings with 50 floors each, 2 sky gardens located on the 26th and 50th floor. The public is only allowed to access the sky garden on the 50th floor to enjoy the panoramic view of the city with an entrance fee of S$6.

pinnacle at duxton

Potato Head Building

The Potato Head Building is one of the most iconic places to take pictures in Singapore. It is a charming spot with bars, rooftop garden and restaurants located within its walls. The building sits at a road junction, between two roads. It is the perfect place to take your daily dose of pictures.

Potato head building

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