Interesting Singapore Road Names

This is a continuation from the previous article Old, Common Names of Places in Singapore, and their Origins.

Other than names of our pioneers, early local merchants or governors of Straits Settlements, many roads in Singapore are  also named after various items, cities or simply one reason or another.

Even Singaporeans are unaware of the existence of some of the roads!

Do you know while there is a Sunset Way at Clementi, there is also a Sunrise Way off Yio Chu Kang Road? Find out more…

Roads of Fruits

Somewhere off Upper Serangoon Road, there are two minor roads which are interestingly named after fruits: Lorong Lew Lian (罗弄榴莲) and Lorong Ong Lye (罗弄黄梨). The reason is unknown, perhaps in the past there were durian and pineapple plantations around the area. Jalan Durian can be found on Pulau Ubin. There was once a Lorong Koo Chye (罗弄韮菜) at Upper Paya Lebar, but it became defunct when Tai Seng-Ubi was developed into an industrial estate.

Elsewhere at Katong, there is a Lorong Nangka (Jackfruit in Malay), Mangis Road (Manggis is Mangosteen in Malay), Rambai Road, Duku Road, Chiku Road, Langsat Road and Rambutan Road (all tropical fruits).

At MacPherson, there is a network of “fruit-tree” roads which include Lichi Avenue (Lichi is a variant spelling of litchi, or lychee), Cedar Avenue (Cedar trees, native in Southeast Asia and Australia, produce bluish fruits that are poisonous to humans), Mulberry Avenue (Mulberry is native in subtropical regions of Asia, Africa and Americas), Angsana Avenue (common tree found in Singapore with a flat disc-shaped fruit), Kenanga Avenue (Kenanga is the Indonesian name for Ylang-Ylang, a perfume tree with black fruits) and Belimbing Avenue (Belimbing is the Indonesian name for starfruit).

Roads of Bananas

A set of connected roads near Beauty World, Upper Bukit Timah, used banana (pisang in Malay) as names. They are called Lorong Pisang Asam (sour in Malay), Lorong Pisang Batu (stone), Lorong Pisang Emas (gold), Lorong Pisang Hijau (green), Lorong Pisang Raja (king) and Lorong Pisang Udang (prawn). Jalan Pisang is located at Kampong Glam.

Roads of Nuts

At Bukit Panjang neighbourhood, a series of minor roads, drives and crescents are named after nuts, namely Almond, Cashew, Chestnut and Hazel.

Roads of Royalties

There exists a “royal” estate along Farrer Road, where the roads are named after monarch titles: King’s Road, Queen’s Road, Empress Road, Prince Road, Duke Road, Duchess Road, Prince of Wales Road, Princess of Wales Road and Coronation Road.

Prince Charles Crescent and Prince Phillip Avenue are two parallel roads along Alexandra Road, while King Albert Park is a minor road at the junction of Bukit Timah Road and Clementi Road, and King George’s Avenue is found at Jalan Besar.

King’s Road and Queen’s Road are not to be confused with King’s Avenue and Queen’s Avenue located at Sembawang. There is a Queen Street in the City but no King Street exists in Singapore. There is a Jalan Rajah (“king” in Malay) at Balestier though.

Roads of Poets

The roads at Teacher’s Estate, Yio Chu Kang Road, are all named after famous poets and philosophers. There are three roads named after Chinese poets, namely Li Po (李白) Avenue, Tu Fu (杜甫) Avenue, Tung Po (苏东坡) Avenue. Iqbal Avenue is named after Muhammad Iqbal, a Muslim poet and philosopher who lived in British India from 1877 to 1938.

In the same estate, there are also Tagore Avenue (named after Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)), Kalidasa Avenue (refers to 4th century Sanskrit writer Kalidasa), Omar Khayyam Avenue (named after Persian poet/philosopher Omar Khayyam (1048-1131)) and Munshi Abdullah Avenue (Munshi Abdullah (1797-1854) was the Father of Modern Malay Literature). At Serenade Walk, the word serenade means a musical performance in someone’s honour.

Roads of Places

There are many roads in Singapore that are named after cities or places of other countries in the world.

Two parallel short roads called Butterworth Road and Ipoh Road (Malaysia) exist at Tanjong Katong. At Raffles Place, there is the Malacca Road, whereas Pahang Street and Johore Road (now defunct) are located in Kampong Glam. There are three roads named after Penang, namely Penang Road, Penang Lane (near Fort Canning) and Jalan Pinang (Penang) at Kampong Glam. Interestingly, Perak Road is at Little India while Trengganu Street is found in Chinatown.

In the downtown where the early Chinese resided, many streets are named after cities or provinces of China, such as China Street, Amoy (厦门) Street, Canton (广州) Street, Chin Chew (possibly referring to 泉州) Street, Hokien (福建) Street, Nankin (南京) Street  and Pekin (北京) Street (now an inner street). Shanghai (上海) Road is located off River Valley Road, and Yunnan (云南) Crescent/Drive/Walk are at Jurong West.

Interestingly, during the days of Nanyang University (1956-1980), many roads inside the campus were named after cities and places of China, as seen in the map above. There were the likes of Peking (北京), Sinkiang (新疆), Tibet (西藏), Fuchow (福州), Swatow (汕头), Amoy (厦门), Thaipu (大浦), Wuchang (武昌), Szechuan (四川), Chungking (重庆), Nanking (南京), Tientsin (天津) and Hangchow (杭州). All these roads were defunct after the university shut down in 1980.

A host of roads named after Burma cities, towns and landmarks can be found near the  Moulmein Flyover of CTE. On one side there are the Rangoon (capital of Burma 1948-2006) Road and Mergui (Burma’s Mergui Archipelago) Road. On the other side lie Akyab (Burmese city) Road, Ava (capital 1364-1841) Road, Bassein (city) Road, Bhamo  (city) Road, Irrawaddy (Burmese river) RoadMandalay (capital 1860-1885) Road, Martaban (Burmese town) Road, Minbu (city) Road, Pegu (city) Road, Prome (town) Road and Shan (Burmese ethic group) Road.

Near Little India, Bristol Road, Cambridge Road, Carlisle Road, Devonshire Road, Dorset Road, Durham Road, Gloucester Road, Hampshire Road, Hertford Road, Kent Road, Norfolk Road, Northumberland Road, Oxford Road, Rutland Road,  and Truro Road are all named after England counties.

Singapore roads that are named after England’s towns, cities and suburbs include Exeter Road, Oxley Road, Somerset Road and Tiverton Road.

Outside Sembawang Shipyard, which was formerly the British Naval Base, the roads were named after countries, capitals and cities in the Commonwealth of Nations. They are the Auckland (New Zealand city) Road, Bermuda (British territory in North Atlantic Ocean) Road, Canada Road, Canberra (Australia’s capital) Avenue, Deptford (area in London) Road, Durban (South African city) Road, Falkland (British territory in South Atlantic Ocean) Road, Fiji Road, Gibraltar (British territory at south of Spain) Road, Kenya Cresent, Lagos (Nigerian port) Road, Malta Road, Montreal (Canadian city) Road, Ottawa (Canada’s capital) Road, Pakistan Road, St.Helena (British territory in South Atlantic Ocean) Road, St. John (Canadian city) Road and Wellington (New Zealand’s capital) Circle.

Other than Pahang Street and Jalan Pinang mentioned earlier, Kampong Glam also consists of a number of roads named after Muslim places, such as Bali Lane, Java Road (both Indonesia islands), Baghdad (capital of Iraq) Street, Muscat (capital of Oman) Street and Kandahar (Afghanistan city) Street.

A Ceylon Road can be found along East Coast Road. Ceylon is the former name of Sri Lanka from 1948 to 1972. The name of Kadayanallur Street, which is off Maxwell Road, is derived from an Indian city. So is the nearby Banda Street.

Interestingly, the road connected to Kadayanallur Street is called Erskine Road, where Erskine is a Scottish town. Glasgow Road is in Kovan, where Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. Ireland’s capital, province and townland are also reflected in Dublin Road, Connaught Drive and Killiney Road. French Road is near Jalan Besar Stadium.

There is also the Hongkong Street between New Bridge Road and South Bridge Road.

The famous Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple stands on Waterloo Street, which was named after the Battle of Waterloo where the Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesley claimed a famous victory over Napoleon Bonaparte. Waterloo is a municipality in Belgium.

Roads of Emotions

Residents going to the Aljunied Park will probably feel a sense of joy as the network of roads beside the park are named Happy Avenue. Indeed, it is said the area, once part of MacPherson, had a theme of contentment and virtues for happiness. One cannot say the same for the Sembawang folks with its Jalan Malu-Malu (Malu-malu is affectionately shy or modest in Malay) off Sembawang Road.

Meanwhile, people staying at Kay Poh Road will not be pleased if anyone calls them busybodies. Kay Poh Road, however, was named after Wee Kay Poh (黄继宝) who was a former apprentice at A.L. Johnston & Company in the 19th century and later became the owner of opium and liquor business.

Roads of Numbers

At Old Airport Road, a network of small roads are named according to numbers in Malay. Jalan Satu, Jalan Dua, Jalan Tiga, Jalan Empat and Jalan Lima simply means “road one” to “road five”.

Roads of No Names

Many small roads of the early days still exist in the under-developed parts or restricted areas of Singapore. They have no official names and are simply called… tracks. They usually come with a single- or double-digit suffix.

Punggol Road has a Track 24 leading to a fishing pond, while there is a Track 14 off Old Choa Chu Kang Road that enters a Chinese cemetery. Mandai Road’s Track 7 and Track 16 are still around, but the tracks at Lim Chu Kang Road (Track 11 & 13) and Jurong Road are now defunct.

Both Punggol and Ponggol were in use since the early days. Today, the name Punggol is being used officially, whereas the name Ponggol is now only found at the small roads of Ponggol Seventeenth Avenue and Ponggol Twenty-Fourth Avenue.

Published: 11 April 2011

Updated: 03 January 2013

This entry was posted in Cultural. Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Interesting Singapore Road Names

  1. Pat says:

    Thanks for the interesting summary of road names. If I may add on a little …

    1) Former British Military Area bordering Alexandra Rd & AYE, where roads are named after officers, counties, capitals & cities of the British homeland & colonial empire — Hyderabad Rd, Canterbury Rd, Cornwall Rd, Royal Rd, Berkshire Rd, York Rd, Russels Rd, Winchester Rd & Normanton Park on the western side of Alexandra Rd; & Lock Rd, as well as the defunct Gillman Heights (formerly called Railway Hill) on the eastern side of Alexandra Rd. Incidentally, before AYE was built in the mid-1980s, there was a Friendly Hill at the current Depot Close.

    2) Small cluster off Tanjong Katong Rd — Sandy Lane, Pebble Lane; as well as Grey Lane, Green Lane, Rose Lane.

    3) The musically-themed Opera Estate cluster at Siglap, where roads are named after operas, symphonies, songs & composers — Fidelio St, Figaro St, Carmen St, Tosca St, Aida St, Lakme St, Dafne St, Dido St, Rienzi St, Ernani St, Metropole Dr, Norma Terrace, Swan Lake Ave, Maria Ave, Jln Bangsawan, Terang Burang Ave, Jln Bintang Tiga.

    4) Small cluster between Siglap Rd & East Coast Rd — First St, Second St, Third St, Fourth St.

  2. Christopher says:

    Hi. To add, there’s a Lychee Avenue in Senette Estate, Macpherson Road.

  3. Zulfadli Ketari says:

    May I commend on the work being done on the website.. Great job! Kudos to you.

    But may I turn your attention to Names of Roads with emotions? Jalan Malu-malu

    Although malu may mean it is embarrassing. If you put malu twice together, it has a different meaning. Same as Mata. Which means eye. If the word was mata-mata, it would mean the police.

    Being coy, affectionately shy or modest, would best fit the term malu-malu.

    Just my two cents worth. :)

    have a nice day..

  4. For those who are interested in the stories of the street names in Singapore, you can visit the National Library. The exhibition is held at Level 7 & 8 from 12th January 2012 to 29th June 2012. :)

  5. plumerainbow says:

    Was wandering why the (Singapore) Moulmein area is named after Myanmar cities/towns, and the search showed this page! Great job with this informative list. Stumbling upon interesting street names is like picking up golden nuggets of whimsy.

    May I add some more?
    Fish names: Jalan Ikan Merah, Jalan Keli, Jalan Terubok, Jalan Sembilang
    Days of the week: Jalan Isnin, Jalan Rabu, Jalan Khamis
    and a Jalan MInggu *LOL*

  6. GF says:

    Hi All, Does anybody know the history behind Poh Huat Road, Robey Crescent, Lim Ah Pin Road?
    Are those some names? I am interested to learn the story behind.

    Kind Regards,
    Gerard

    • ame says:

      yea. not sure about the rest, but i know that lim ah pin is a person’s name. and the road along it, Florence road, is the name of lim ah pin’s wife.

    • There’s a closed facebook group dedicated to Lim Ah Pin / Florence. Let me know if you’re still keen to find out more.

      • Dylan Scott Low says:

        Peter Lim Ah Pin was a bee hoon factory owner who owned land in the areas now known as Lim Ah Pin Road and Florence Road. Florence Road was named after his wife, Florence Yeo.

        I am their great grandson.

  7. Eric HK Lim says:

    Devonshire Road is in the Orchard area.
    Other roads near Little India is Owen Road where the ill fated New World Hotel was located. Another is Worecester Road. That area also had an estate called Cumberland Lane where there were some very pretty cottage like houses. The roads and estate in that area had all English names like Durham Estate, Owen Estate, Norfolk Estate but the estate bodered by Owen Road, Norfolk Road and Cambridge Road was called Tasek Utara Estate. These estate were defunct after the redevelopment of the area. The current Pek Kio Community Centre was the old Cambridge Road market but it days are number with the new Pek Kio CC coming up at Farrer Park. Stangely there is no Pek Kio Road.

    • Paul says:

      That’s an interesting observation. I’m quite sure there is a Pek Kio Road in the area though, I think I’ve seen signage for it. And why Pek Kio, I wonder?

    • Eric Lim says:

      Kio is the Hokkien dialect for bridge. The locals in the olden days could have used the bridges to land mark their locations. Thus we have Pek (white) Kio it could be the bridge joining Keng Lee Road and Kg Java Road and just infront of the KJ Police post. There is Ang (red) Kio; this was added with Tau at he end. In full “Ang Kio Tau” to signify the start of the bridge at that loction. It is located at the confluence of Kg Java Rd, Thomsom Road, Norfolk Road and Cavanagh Rd just under the CTE. It is still painted in red.
      Then there is the Ngoh (black) Kio referring to the area around Balestier Road. I am not sure of its location. Maybe some one may throw some light?

  8. Gretal says:

    Anybody knows the history of sembawang hills estate? Has it got to do with the sembawang shipyard workers?

  9. Julia says:

    would anyone reading this know about the founding story behind King George’s Avenue? could it be linked to the days of the British occupation and any affiliation with the former Christ Church School (currently People’s Association) built along the same street?

  10. Joey Foo says:

    Edgware Road, Regent Street, Sussex Gardens, Bayswater Road, Brompton Road, Lambert Walk, Mornington Cresent, Piccadilly and Piccadilly Circus.

    Yes, you’ll find them in London, but they’re also found in Seletar!

  11. gsm_wu says:

    dones anyone know tampines road name come from where?

    • The name Tampines came from the Tampinis tree, or “Strebulus elongata”. It used to be abundant in the Peninsula Malaysia on its western coast (from Penang) and eastern coast (from Pahang to Singapore). Probably the strongest of all Malaysian woods, the tree can reach heights of 12m, and its wood can be used for almost anything due to its hardness and durability.
      In Singapore, Tampinis tree was almost extinct, except a few left in the Bukit Timah natural reserve. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is trying to preserve the local species by actively growing its saplings.


      (Photo Credit: 30 Years of Tampines)

  12. Dr S J Hartadi says:

    Can anyone tell me about the fire that destroy the entire
    Kampong where PUB building stands today. I was living
    there in the early 60s in Devonshire Rd – some 50 odd
    years ago. I can’t find the achive of the tragedy.

  13. Hwee says:

    Hope you can help me with this. Does Ang Mo Kio mean the caucasian’s bridge or tomato? I’ve had conflicting accounts on this. On the subject of AMK do you know there’s no AMK Ave 7, although there’s Ave 1 through 10? I wonder why.

    • The theory of Caucasian’s Bridge is more correct than the tomato one. It refers to John Turnbull Thomson’s (1821–1884) bridge at the junction of Upper Thomson Road (which is named after him) and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1.

      Actually prior to the seventies, the Ang Mo Kio area was better known as Cheng San, which was a huge village stretching from present-day Serangoon Gardens to Upper Thomson Road. During that time, it was also commonly known as cheng sua lai (青山内). Of course, in today’s context, Cheng San is just a small neighhourhood in Ang Mo Kio, along with Teck Ghee, Mayflower, Kebun Baru, Yio Chu Kang Gardens, etc.

      As for Ang Mo Kio Ave 7, it’s said that it was in the plan but somehow the building of the road never materialised during the initial stage of development of Ang Mo Kio (need to check the older street directory to confirm this).
      The avenues in Ang Mo Kio are planned in orderly manner, ie the east-west avenues are in odd number (Ave 1, Ave 3, etc), whereas north-south avenues are evenly numbered (Ave 2, Ave 4, etc). There is Avenue 12 but no Avenue 11 because Yio Chu Kang Road is the next main road parallel to Ang Mo Kio Ave 9.

  14. Former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong planted a durian sapling at Lorong Lew Lian during the Clean and Green Week in 1995.


    (Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore)

    The durian trees, as well as the durian plantations, had long vanished when the area around Lorong Lew Lian was being developed into a housing estate. Today, there are 11 of them growing around this small neighbourhood.

  15. The complete list of “China” road names at Nanyang University in the 1950s


    (Source: http://gallery.ntu.edu.sg/photos/main.php?g2_itemId=223)

  16. Obitan says:

    Just recently stumbled upon this blog; love it, great job!
    Being born out of the late 70s, can totally relate to so many things in here.

    By the way, there is a Loromg Stangee off East Coast road( near Katong), any idea what Stangee means? Someone told me its a fruit name in Malay…

  17. netcon96 says:

    Hello Friends
    There is a free Android app that allows you to lookup old streets of Singapore in English and their colloquial names in Chinese characters, pinyin and dialects. Malay and Tamil colloquial names are also available for some of them.

    Look for “Singapore Heritage Streets” in Google Play.

    Cheers

  18. Found out that there used to be some roads off Lim Chu Kang Road (near Lim Chu Kang Camp and Tengah Air Base) that were named after WWII fighter planes, such as:

    - Spitfire Road (named after British single-seat fighter Supermarine Spitfire)
    - Meteor Road (named after Gloster Meteor, the first British jet fighter used in WWII)
    - Vampire Road (not named after Dracula but a British fighter called de Havilland Vampire)
    - Old Stirling Road (named after WWII British bomber Short Stirling)

    There was also an Old Canberra Road which might be named after the US warship in WWII

    The roads lasted until the late 80s and no longer exist today (they might be incorporated into the roads within the military camps)

    • Mick Hall says:

      I’m Sure Old Canberra Road was named after the British Forces Jet which flew from RAF Tengah.

      • Eric Lim says:

        Probably not because the roads in Sembawang area fringing the dockyard are named after various places in the Countries of the Commonwealth.

      • Oh, Old Canberra Road was a road (not to mixed up with Canberra Road) off Lim Chu Kang Road that still existed until the late 80s.
        I think Mick Hall is right. The road might be named after English Electric Canberra, a RAF jet-powered bomber, but it only entered service many years after the end of WWII

      • Mick Hall says:

        Thanks Remember Singapore, RAF Tengah streets were named after RAF Aircraft, Also RAF Changi streets are named after RAF Stations in the UK, RAF Seletar streets are named after streets of London, I went to Seletar Secondary Modern from March 1968 to March 1971.

  19. aretha says:

    Does anyone know how the name Jalan Klinik came about and any information about it?

  20. Sue Burgess says:

    Hi there, love this site! Wondering about the name Aliwal st in Kampong Glam? Does anyone have any info on it?? thanks in advance

  21. wilson says:

    There is also a Lim Tua Tow Road near Upper Serangoon! What a road name…

  22. Haji Lane, off Beach Road…
    possibly the narrowest road in Singapore??

  23. Erwin Chan says:

    Awesome article!

    There is also a cluster at Siglap (Behond Siglap Centre) with Scottish Name Connections
    - Burnfoot Terrace
    - Lothian Road
    - Ettrick Terrace
    - Jedburgh Gardens
    - Cheviot Hill
    - Wilton Gardens
    - Yarrow Gardens

  24. yamabudoc180 says:

    Hi there..is King Albert Park named after a King of the Belgians ? If so, which one is it – King Albert I or King Albert II? Thanks.

  25. antoh says:

    There’s lots of unofficial road names.
    Only the old folks will know
    Like hougang three Stone (in hokkien )
    Bt timah road many ‘miles’ , ie, 10mile junction
    Tanglin halt 10 lau, aljunied 10lau…

  26. polaris says:

    There is also several roads in Serangoon Gardens named after English Cities
    https://www.google.com.sg/maps/preview#!data=!1m4!1m3!1d6752!2d103.8644023!3d1.3640796

  27. Whiskeyrose says:

    Since when 5 Sorby Adams Drive replaced 55 Potong Pasir Avenue !?

  28. kmj says:

    There’s also a bunch of streets named after Malay word for lime, Limau off Upp East Coast. Limau Bali, Limau manis, Limau garden etc.

  29. BC says:

    Hi… We recently moved to Jalan Tua Kong at Siglap. We are quite fascinated with the street name. Does anyone know its origin?

    Many thanks.

  30. Nancy tan says:

    Poh Huat road is named after Tan Poh Huat.
    He is my father-in-law’s maternal grandfather .
    Please contact him at
    tayanthonyhs@ymail.com
    For further details . He is 87 but quite savvy .
    He is on Facebook and uses smses.

  31. GF says:

    Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for your help. We are still looking for the the Poh Huat Road Story.
    My brother had contacted Mr. Tay, your father in law which is a grandson of Tan Tong Watt (Tong Watt Road) a Hokkien Land Owner around Orchard Rd.

    Hope somebody will try to help and preserve the history. Again we appreciated your help
    Grace

  32. rancidgas says:

    I want to know the story behind Ho Ching road in Taman Jurong!

    • Ho Ching Road is called 河景路 in Chinese, literally meaning “river view road”. (Definitely not named after PM Lee’s wife) :D

      When it was being developed, the roads at the Jurong Industrial Estate (Taman Jurong to Pioneer) were named by the Street-Naming Committee to reflect “industry”, “progress” and “stability”, such as Jalan Pesawat, Soon Lee Road, Fan Yoong Road, Yung Juang Road and Neythal Road.

  33. Eugene says:

    Appreciate if someone can explain the history of Everton Road ?

    The word Everton is a famous English Football Club in Liverpool (U.K) founded in 1878.

    Any relations to our Singapore version ?

  34. Janet kwek says:

    We, a group of teachers from Holy Innocents Primary School , would like to research on why the school address Lorong Low Koon was named after a doctor. Would appreciate any info as we would like to come up with a heritage trail of the area.

  35. kate says:

    I come from Poole on the south coast of England and have seen several road names in the Joo Chiat area that are also places in Poole. Parkstone road, Bournemouth road, Wimborne road, Poole road. Does anyone know who named these roads?

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