Area guide: Thomson uncovered

Traipsing between Thomson Community Centre and Thomson Plaza, Yip Min-Ting sifts out the charming haunts that make this stretch an intriguing ’hood
By Time Out Singapore editors |


This isn’t a hippy outfit, though the posters of creative patterns worked into buzz cuts on the shop’s wall-to-wall glass windows may suggest otherwise. This hair salon prides itself on using plant-based, ammonia-free hair products (ranging from shampoo to hair dye), hence the name, Natural Organic Salon. 

Costs: Vary according to the length of hair. Hair colouring starts from $60, perming from $70 and rebonding from $100. 
Where: 1 Thomson Ridge 
Contact: 6556 0521, 
When: Daily 10am-8pm

Royal Petique Pte Ltd

Owner Roi Tay was way ahead of the game when he set up this pet-grooming outfit 16 years ago. The shop offers day-care and grooming services for your canine and feline friends, as well as a range of pet-related products and accessories. They also have a studio where you can get your furry friends photographed for posterity. A delivery service is available as well, with charges waived for purchases of $50 and above. 

Where: #01-07, Tower 1 Sin Ming Plaza, 2 Sin Ming Rd 
Contact: 6456 8233/9231 8448 
When: Daily 10am-7pm

Hanaro Mart

If you aren’t conversant in Korean you are pretty much on your own, as Sharon, the manager, speaks very little English. Luckily, the shelves of this small, neatly arranged store are stacked with translated Korean favourites. Look out for wakame laver, dang myun noodles or sweet potato vermicelli, tuna in bulgogi sauce, hot pepper paste, their traditional Korean rice cake Topoki, and all manner of snacks such as Korean barbecue-flavoured ramen, prawn crackers and Lotte candies. 

Where: #01-04 Thomson Imperial Court, 200 Upper Thomson Rd 
Contact: 6352 0447/9177 8450 
When: Mon-Fri 9.30am-9.30pm; Sat 10am-9pm; Sun & public holidays noon-8pm

Heng Soon Pawn Shop

This neighbourhood fixture stands out in a row mostly dominated by food shops. A family business since 1976, pawn items fetch as much as $20,000 – when cash-strapped yuppies bring in their branded watches – to as little as $20 for a single gold earstud. 

Where: 244K Upper Thomson Rd 
Contact: 6459 3298 
When: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; Sat 9am-1pm

Ming’s Pub

At Ming’s everybody knows your name, and even if they don’t, they will soon. This friendly neighbourhood hangout has been around for 18 years. Attracting a strong following of regulars, made up mostly of 30-plus locals with a smattering of expats. Beyond nursing a cold one, patrons can try their hand at a game of pool, shoot some darts or just karaoke (English songs only) the night away. On Saturday nights, sit easy and be entertained by the live band. 

Where: 195 Upper Thomson Rd 
Contact: 6251 3187 
When: Mon-Thu 4pm-1am; Fri, Sat & public holiday 4pm-2am

Spice Sutra

This new indie-on-the-block, open since January, has already won brownie points with neighborhood diners for its tasty North Indian cuisine, affordable prices and above-average service. The menu offers a good selection of vegetarian, chicken, mutton and seafood stews as well as an array of rice and naan. 

Where: #01-03 Thomson Imperial Court, 200 Upper Thomson Rd 
Contact: 6255 4730, 
When: Tue-Sun 11am-2.30pm; 6-10.30pm 

Hankook Rice Cake House

This neat corner shop, an extension of Auntie Kim’s Korean Restaurant down the road, sells traditional Korean rice cakes made on-site. Expatriate Koreans flock here for the authentic selection of rice cakes with fillings like red bean, peanut with sesame seed and pumpkin seed with red bean. 

Where: 9 Thomson Ridge 
Contact: 6456 3456 
When: Daily 11am-5pm


Fashion in Thomson? Surely you jest. Laugh all you want, but here you’ll find racks of colourful, grungy threads imported directly from Hong Kong, Japan, Paris and Italy. Check out HK designer Chau Ming’s creations that are sold here exclusively. The collection, marked by updated oriental designs, effuses bright colours and heavily features those familiar woven buttons. Customers can also request for modifications to be made. 

Where: #01-21/29 Thomson Plaza, 301 Upper Thomson Rd 
Contact: 6459 2893 
When: Daily 11.30am-8.30pm

Secret Chamber

Lego enthusiasts can find a treasure trove of new and out-of-production Lego sets here. They stock perennial favourites like Star Wars sets, collectors’ items and vintage sets. Hard-to-find spare parts are also sold here, so customers can replenish their missing building blocks. If you are hunting for sets that are not produced or sold in Singapore, the shop is more than happy to help you place an order. 

Where: #01-18 Thomson Plaza, 301 Upper Thomson Rd 
Contact: 6552 4338 
When: Daily 9.30am-9.30pm