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Singapore's Seedy Neighborhoods and Warehouses Now Hot Spots

With its Art Deco style wet market and pre-War public housing, Singapore's Tiong Bahru neighborhood has been luring thirtysomething artists, architects, and other creatives in recent years, so it was only a matter of time that funky small businesses began popping up in the area.

Among the ’hood’s latest finds are 40 Hands, an eclectic Aussie-run café that is devoted to the perfect brew; White Canvas Gallery, an industrial space focused on emerging regional artists; and Nostalgia Hotel, 50 petite rooms in a converted bungalow. Gentrification, however, hasn’t dislodged the old-timers, so travelers can still soak in authentic local flavor.

The once seedy Chinatown district of Keong Saik Road has evolved into an attractive culinary strip, with a crop of new, lauded restaurants. The latest is Donoma, a slick, slim space in the Saff Hotel that’s focused on new American cuisine. Other neighborhood gems: Bistro Soori, the latest venture of the city’s fusion die-hard Jimmy Chok, and the French-focused Taratata Bistrot. There’s also a charming café–cookbook shop–test kitchen.

Meanwhile, the remaking of Singapore’s cityscape continues apace with the expected opening of the first phase of Gardens by the Bay, sprawling public gardens that will grace the waterfront. The first phase includes conservatories and 50-yard-tall vertical gardens!

Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at xiaochen6.

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