Paya Lebar is one of the districts that are currently undergoing massive development. Crowded with residents of the nearby Macpherson, Eunos and Geylang estates, Paya Lebar is also bustling with office and factory workers.
The area is part industrial, part high-tech and part old-school, not in that order. In fact, with the amount of construction going on in the district, nothing there is in order. Roads that were once straight and parallel to each other are now curved to make way for the construction of Singapore 's Circle Line, a new MRT track that links the others. Like most districts in Singapore go, Paya Lebar is sure to look completely different in a few years.
Meaning “wide swamp” in Malay, the word paya lebar aptly describes the district as it used to be. Prior to the colonial period, Paya Lebar was a squatter's settlement with disparate pig and poultry rearing. Later, it was colonized by Richard Owen Norris, who was working for the East India Company and also owned Jalan Besar.
Business in Paya Lebar comprises offices, workshops and small retail outlets.
* Singapore Post
The main branch of Singapore Post, the local postal service, is located here. This is also the largest building in Paya Lebar and was built according to modernist architectural styles. Some Singaporeans say it looks like a spaceship. The Singapore Post building is also the closest thing you'll find to a typical shopping centre in Paya Lebar, holding stores like homegrown furniture company Barang Barang, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and This Fashion. It also houses many offices, especially on the higher floors.
* Offices and Workshops
There are a number of offices and workshops in Paya Lebar, which are all intertwined with each other in a mish-mashed maze. Many offices here belong to engineering companies, while workshops here specialize in cheap repairs of automotives. Paya Lebar is the place to go if you need to get you car repaired.
* Small Retail Outlets
Paya Lebar is close to Eunos and Geylang, the centre of Malay shopping in Singapore. There are many small retail outlets selling baju kurung (traditional Malay wear), spices, food and household products. Tanjong Katong Complex, located in the district, is an old and worn-down complex.
* Malay Village
Malay Village, a heritage centre and tourist attraction, is located towards the Geylang end of Paya Lebar. Tours, exhibitions and courses are conducted here on a regular basis. Also, there are weekly Kuda Kepang (Javanese horse trance) performances conducted at the courtyard of Malay Village. You can also find many small shops selling clothes, collectibles and spices here, as well as restaurants and supermarkets.
* Hari Raya Bazaar
Every year, during the Ramadhan period, a bazaar lasting one month is held in the area. The bazaar is huge and stretches from Eunos to Joo Chiat to Paya Lebar. Here you find carpets, curtains, food and other assorted goods.