Housespotting along Emerald Hill

Hey everyone! This week we explore yet another hidden gem in the heart of Singapore’s urban landscape: Emerald Hill!

For many locals, we often walk along Orchard Road, and miss the eclectic slope leading up to Emerald Hill. Amidst the towering shopping malls and modern architecture, the row of Peranakan shophouses can be deceptively inconspicuous. Sandra has a keen eye and noticed them, so we decided to take an unusual detour, and it felt like we were transported back into another time!

Emerald Hill is a quaint neighbourhood and designated as a conservation area. Hence, it was not surprising to see many tourists whisking their way, snapping photos of Chinese Baroque-influenced shophouses and terraces. We noticed that some of these shophouses belonged to an assortment of businesses including bars, pubs, restaurants and antique shops.

A familiar and not so ‘hidden’ road leading up to Emerald Hill!
One of our favourite photos, it captures the traditional design of Chinese shophouses as contrasted by that black signboard.
We are loving the old patterned tiles!
This reminded us of elaborate Chinese lanterns; if only it really worked (it looks like it hasn’t been lit up in a long time).


What struck us about the houses along Emerald Hill is the ubiquitous architecture that appears to be lost in time, especially in light of our modern high-rise apartments. It is not known but the shophouses, although appearing compact and narrow from the front, are actually quite long and occupy much space, as illustrated below:

Credit: Urban Redevelopment Authority website

Obviously we couldn’t take pictures of the interior of the shophouses (as most of them were residential), but some of them were so exquisitely designed and decorated. You’ll have to come to Emerald Hill to see them for yourself!

This is the usual sight as we walked through Emerald Hill; while this is not the only location in Singapore that have shophouses, Emerald Hill certainly boasts a variety of different tones!
Sandra using her Sonar SX-70!
“Eh, did I leave the tap running??”


This outdoor design is sooooooo amazing! What a beautiful complement of sky blue wall paint and patterned floor tiles!
One of the rare shophouses without any gates, allowing us to capture this image without obstruction!
Oriental gate ornaments.
Notice the trend amongst all the shophouses…?
A common tree in Singapore, the bougainvillea provided a stunning object of focus!
Looks like ‘mountain’ at the background!
Sandra pointing out her alma mater’s historical origins! Today occupied by Chatsworth International School!

As usual, we leave behind some of our favourite instant film and Polaroid shots 🙂

The row of shops just beside the walkway up towards Emerald Hill!
Multiple Exposure: TANGS and Wisma Atria 🙂
Image (23) (2)
Damian posing at the side alley along Emerald Hill! This Polaroid was taken with our Sonar SX-70, using a set of Factory Second film with round colour frames. We love how it turned out, with the rich red background providing a strong contrast!
Image (22) (2)
Sandra snapping away with her X-T10 camera//A different coloured frame, this Polaroid was slightly overexposed but the perfectly framed window frame (trying saying that 10 times) formed a symmetrical background that was pleasing to the eye!

We really enjoyed our trip through Emerald Hill; at times we felt awkward taking photographs of people’s houses (after all we would feel awkward too if someone was taking photos of our houses)! Nevertheless, Peranakan shophouses are few and far between, and while we are unlikely to own one in the near future (believe it or not, they cost a cool S$7 million), we would love to try and live in one of them!

Till next time,


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