East Coast Road

Singapore Infopedia


East Coast Road, beginning at the junction of Tanjong Katong Road and Mountbatten Road, is a thoroughfare along the east. It extends as Upper East Coast Road after a junction with Siglap Road and continues on before ending sharply at a bend into Bedok Road. Hugging the eastern coast of Singapore, the road had been demarcated as early as 1828 in Lt. Philip Jackson’s Town Plan but was built only in 1902. Since then, it has served as the main vein to the culturally rich and diverse Katong area.1

Lt. Philip Jackson’s 1828 Singapore Town Plan, following Raffles’s recommendations and vision of 1823, designated roads on both ends of the island as East Coast Road and West Coast Road. Both the roads, though not constructed until much later, were thus among the earliest delineated roads in Singapore. The only access to the areas around Joo Chiat to Geylang was initially through Geylang and Tanjong Katong roads.  But in 1902, a laterite road was constructed, connecting Katong to Bedok.2 This later became East Coast Road, running along the coast until the land reclamation of the 1960s.3 The extensions to Tanjong Katong Road in the west began in 1906.4 Along with this highway into then rural Singapore came new modes of transportation such as mosquito buses and motor trolleys and trams, transforming life and businesses along the coast. Though predominantly a Peranakan (Straits Chinese) and Eurasian enclave, East Coast Road also houses cultural institutions of other major races in Singapore. Its proximity to the sea meant that East Coast Road was a location sought after by the rich to build seaside bungalows. Many by-lanes or offshoots from East Coast Road were named East Coast Road as well. In the late 1990s, Upper East Coast Road was extended to join the Pan Island Expressway (PIE).5

The stretch of road from Katong Shopping Centre on East Coast Road to Still Road is commonly referred to as the “Roxy area” and was supposedly the traditional heart of Katong. Popular landmarks in the 1950s and 1960s include Katong’s first supermarket, Tay Buan Guan, and cinemas such as Odeon, Palace and Roxy. Katong has seen rapid urban re-development with many buildings either being demolished or reused with other business functions. The site of Palace Theatre was redeveloped into an office-and-condominium complex in the mid-1990s while Katong Bakery & Confectionery, the famous “Red House”, closed in 2003.6 It has since been redeveloped into a residential and commercial development that opened in 2016.7 The Tay Buan Guan Shopping Centre wound up in September 2000 and has since made way for a condominium development.8 The Sea View Hotel was sold to the Marco Polo group in 2003. The site has been developed into a condominium project.9

Still lining East Coast Road are landmarks such as Katong Shopping Centre, Odeon Katong Shopping Complex, Eastgate building, Katong Plaza, 112 Katong (previously known as Katong Mall),10 Paramount Shopping Centre, Paramount Hotel (now renamed East Village Hotel),11 Grand Mecure Roxy Hotel (previously known as Century Roxy Park Hotel),12 Tembeling Centre and Church of the Holy Family. Some of these buildings, such as Katong Shopping Centre and Church of the Holy Family, have undergone renovation or reconstruction at the same sites.13

Telok Kurau
The area from the East Coast and Still roads junction, across Telok Kurau Road to its junction with Frankel Avenue makes up the Telok Kurau area. Telok Kurau (Kurau Fish Bay) comprised mainly terrace and semi-detached houses and bungalows built in the 1960s, as well as low-rise flats and walk-up apartments. However, the area is now dominated by apartments. Located in the vicinity are St. Patrick’s Secondary School, the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Primary School (Katong) and Christ Methodist Church.14

Frankel Estate
Frankel Estate was built in the 1950s and was previously a coconut plantation and cattle ground clearing. The estate is mostly made up of landed property. Located nearby are St. Stephen’s School, Katong Special School, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and Bethesda Frankel Church.15

Siglap area
The area of East Coast Road around Siglap Road makes up the Siglap area. The area is made up of private apartments and residential estates.16

Upper East Coast Road
Mainly a residential area, buildings and institutions located along Upper East Coast Road include Crescendo Building, Emmanuel Assembly of God Church, Temasek Primary School and Temasek Secondary School.17 


Thulaja Naidu

1. Norman Edwards and Peter Keys, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 291–3, 295–9 (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA]); Singapore: Street Atlas 2002—2003 (Hongkong: Periplus, 200-), 73‒77 (Call no. RSING q959.57 S-[HIS]); Myrna Braga-Blake and Ann Ebert-Oehlers, eds., Singapore Eurasians: Memories and Hopes (Singapore: Times Editions, 1992), 61‒65. (Call no. RSING 305.80405957 SIN)
2. Braga-Blake and Ebert-Oehlers, Singapore Eurasians, 61, 65.
3. “Coming Up: More Condos and Houses,” Straits Times, 22 August 1995, 2. (From NewspaperSG)
4. “More Condos and Houses.”
5. “Upper East Coast Road to Be Extended to Join PIE: Mah,” Straits Times, 10 February 1996, 32. (From NewspaperSG)
6. Kalpana Rashiwala, “Ex-Palace Theatre Site Makes Way for $70M Office-Condo Project,” Straits Times, 18 November 1994, 47. (From NewspaperSG)
7. Melissa Lin, “Katong’s Iconic Red House to Reopen By Second Quarter of 2016,” Straits Times, 10 December 2015 (From Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
8. “Katong Landmark Up for Sale,” Business Times, 4 December 2001, 8; Ginnie Teo, “View Point,” Straits Times, 26 August 2003, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
9. Teo, “View Point”; Heng Chan Yeng, “Good As Old,” Skyline (May–June 2009), 18–21. (From BookSG) 
10. “112 Katong,” Katong, 2016.
11. Far East Organization, “Paramount Hotel to Be Renamed East Village Hotel,” media release, 4 October 2011.
12. “Century Roxy Park Becomes Grand,” Travel Weekly Asia, 11 August 2009.
13. Lily Kong and T. C. Chang, (Singapore: Joo Chiat Citizens’ Consultative Committee in association with National Archives of Singapore, 2001), 21, 25‒27. (Call no. RSING q959.57 KON-[HIS])
14. Kong and Chang, Living Legacy, 21, 25–27.
15. Kong and Chang, Living Legacy, 21, 25–27.
16. Kong and Chang, Living Legacy, 21, 25–27; “More Shops Will Combine to Pull People to the Area,” Straits Times, 22 August 1995, 2 (From NewspaperSG); More Condos and Houses.”
17. “More Shops Will Combine”; Street Atlas 2002—2003, 73–77.

Further resources
Brenda S.A. Yeoh and Lily Kong, eds., Portraits of Places: History, Community and Identity in Singapore (Singapore: Times Editions, 1995), 118‒23. (Call no. RSING 959.57 POR-[HIS])

Ginnie Teo, “View Point,” Straits Times, 26 August 2003, 5. (From NewspaperSG)

Portuguese Malaccans: Home at Last?Straits Times, 4 April 1993, 2. (From NewspaperSG)

Singapore: Street Atlas 2002—2003 (Hongkong: Periplus, 200-), 73‒77 (Call no. RSING q959.57 S-[HIS])

The information in this article is valid as of 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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