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Holland Village
Photograph: Mindy Tan/ Singapore Tourism Board

The ultimate guide to Holland Village

A hub of activity, this neighbourhood hits all the right notes with its balance of trendy and local offerings

Written by
Time Out Singapore editors
,
Charlene Fang
&
Fabian Loo
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Named after Hugh Holland (a popular Dutch architect and actor) the leafy enclave that was once home to plantations and nurseries has evolved into a laidback neighbourhood popular with both locals and expats. Thanks to its curated selection of hip eateries, independent fashion labels, design and art studios, it’s often regarded as Singapore’s bohemian enclave. Best experienced on weekends, or in the evenings when part of the road is closed to vehicles, the pedestrian element adds to the area’s overall buzz and charm.

RECOMMENDED: Ultimate guide to Singapore's neighbourhood

DO

  • Sport and fitness
  • Yoga and Pilates
  • Bukit Timah

Drenched in natural light, the cosy 25-mat studio tucked away in a quiet corner of Holland Village accommodates both hot and non-hot classes. It also has a unisex changing and shower room. A godsend for busy urbanites working in the vicinity, this unassuming studio offers a variety of classes: from Acro Yoga to slow-moving Yin-style class and a number of hot yoga sessions.

  • Sport and fitness
  • Bukit Timah

The small enclave of Holland Village is not only home to eateries and restaurants, but also a handful of fitness studios. Axiom is a boutique fitness space that offers spinning classes and strength workouts. Peddle to the beat in the high-energy Rhythm class, or build up your stamina with Road, which focuses more on resistance and high-intensity sprints. The studio will also be rolling out strength training programs in the coming months for those looking to pack some lean muscles. 

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Natureland
Photograph: Natureland

Natureland

Who doesn’t feel like a foot rub at midnight? Book early though, cause Natureland’s eight seats fill up fast for its effective-yet-relaxing reflexology services. Taking place in a darkened room with oversized recliners equipped with handy charging ports and iPads, the 5-in-1 service gives you a second wind after your feet, head, shoulder, neck and back are massaged for 60 bliss-filled minutes. For more privacy, there are two dedicated foot reflexology rooms upstairs and it also offers body massages.

Chip Bee Garden
Photograph: Natsuko Teruya

Chip Bee Garden

A welcome (and recent) addition to the charming Chip Bee Gardens enclave is a number of local fashion brands. Ong Shunmugan known for her modern cheongsams has her atelier there, so you can witness how a dress gets sewed together. Embracing a more salon retail concept, Ling Wu’s sustainably-sourced exotic skin bags are showcased alongside lifestyle brands like hand-poured candle brand A Dose of Something Good, while Our Second Nature has settled into a retail-cum-café home, taking their brand offline into a brick-and-mortar concept so you can admire its printastic clothes up close.

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  • Art
  • Bukit Timah

Known for featuring rising art talents, this gallery – managed by Suherwan Abu – offers a selection of urban art pieces and works by contemporary South East Asian artists. It pays to direct some attention to their featured Artist of the Month: a number of established artists showed at Taksu early on in their career.

EAT

  • Restaurants
  • Bukit Timah

If popular Toa Payoh ice cream café Creamier’s too inaccessible for your dessert fix, you’ll find an alternative in Sunday Folks, the brand’s breezier dessert bar at Chip Bee Garden. Bestsellers include earl grey lavender and sea salt gula melaka, which you can finish with toppings such as sea salt chocolate honeycomb and honey-toasted granola. 

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Bukit Timah

Anyone who says you can’t have dessert for supper clearly hasn’t been proselytised to by this late-night Holland Village sweets bar. And it's not just sweets on the menu. There are savouries like pork croquettes ($18), and night cap-appropriate cocktails ($19-$24).

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Bukit Timah

The OG of acai bowls in Singapore, Project Acai’s berry superfood bowls remain a cut above the rest. While we are not fans of their Supergreens Acai Bowl, we do swear by their beautifully decorated Original Flower Bowl and the Acai Sundae Bowl that comes with lashings of fresh fruit and a layer of chai seed pudding, before its topped with goji berries and a choice of butters (cookie, almond, peanut or cashew).  

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Queenstown

Opened by self-professed ramen king, chef Keisuke Takeda’s duck ramen is a lovely departure from the usual pork-centric bowls. Using fatty, flavourful Irish ducks, there are five ramen choices and two broths (rich and clear) to choose from. The rich broth that’s been simmered for eight hours with duck bones and herbs packs quite a punch, while the clear soup (cooked over low heat for five hours) holds a light but full flavoured taste.

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  • Restaurants
  • Queenstown

There are egg tarts, then there are Tai Cheong egg tarts that are worth every calorie for its eggy, buttery goodness. The beauty lies in the biscuit-like crust that crumbles on first bite. The outlet also offers a cha cha tang-style menu with the signature Tai Cheong HK Noodle made with sausage, curry fishball and cuttlefish and thick-cut French toast served with a liberal amount of maple syrup.

  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Bukit Timah

A stalwart of the neighbourhood, its new location at the corner of the new Raffles V building with its floor-to-ceiling facade offers a great view of the action. A one-stop gourmet deli and dine-in café, all the usual suspects are still available: their moorish take home lasagna, the buttery blueberry and white chocolate scone, and slices of crusty pizza. What’s new is their Greens & Grains, a build-your-own bowl concept that offers a number of lean proteins, gluten and dairy-free options. Also, the creamy, artisanal gelato from Milan’s Chocolat is a must.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bukit Timah

Haakon, pronounced  ‘haw-coon’, is a Scandinavian-inspired café that brings superfoods from Norway to your plate. It only uses premium Norwegian smoked salmon – it’s rich in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants – to make dishes like salad bowls ($11.90) and eggs Benedict ($15.90). For those with a sweet tooth, go for Haakon’s classic acai bowl (from $7.90), topped with coconut flakes, banana, strawberries and blueberries for a quick and guilt-free energy boost.

DRINK

  • Clubs
  • Bukit Timah

Holland Village institution, its second-floor space is still the spot to listen to local musicians live and loud. There are sessions running every night from 7pm onwards and chilled-out acoustic sets on Thursday and Friday. In-between, knock back some ice cold beer (they’ve got seven beers on tap, including Dunkel, San Miguel and London Pride) or catch up a live match screening on one of their TVs.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Bukit Timah

There are a few good things going on for this humble café. For one, the second-floor area features warm wooden fixings and a swing seat that makes for a great spot to grab a cuppa. And it helps that d’Good Café takes its brew seriously. Beans are blended and roasted in-house, with a wide variety ranging from espresso-based concoctions to manual drip options. Want to beat the heat? Its selection of cold brew coffee is also worth a try, alongside a selection of hearty brunch plates.

SHOP

  • Shopping
  • Gifts and souvenirs
  • Harbourfront

What started as a pop-up concept has found a permanent home at Holland Village Shopping Centre. Sharing space with an upholstery shop, the front part of the store is crammed with cheeky Singapore-themed items like Merlion plushies, pillows and doormats emblazoned with Singlish phrases and local hawker favourites, and other cute knick-knacks like a multi-colour kueh doorstop and a variety of ang ku kueh (red tortoise cakes) accessories. 

  • Shopping
  • Art, craft and hobbies
  • Bukit Timah

Offering everything from botanical painting to long-stitch bookbinding and basic leather crafting workshops, Bynd Artisan offers a series of handicraft classes – taught by its own craftsmen or artist collaborators – as an add-on to their atelier space. The store also stocks a range of its leather goods (leather bound notebooks, photo frames, bag fobs, tote bags) that can be personalised on-site with your name, initials, or anything that comes to mind.

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