Evening visit to Golden Mile Complex and Golden Mile Tower. The former, Singapore’s “mini-Thailand.”
Golden Mile Complex and Golden Mile Tower hold many memories for me.
The former was where my first office was, this being a shoebox unit on the fourth floor. It was also where I embarked on my very first solo trip overseas, i.e., I took a bus ride from here to Ipoh in the early 90s.
The above memories aside, Golden Mile Complex is naturally the name that comes to my mind when asked about “Thailand in Singapore.” It’s where I’d head right to if hunting for Thai cosmetics, decorations, etc.
As for Golden Mile Tower, well, I used to pop by an arcade here after a full day in my shoebox office. (There was a Volfied machine; I spent so much money on that!) In more recent years, I still visit now and then, either to have dinner with friends at the basement restaurants or to catch a movie at The Projector.
What I’m saying is, I love this corner of Singapore, and not just because of nostalgic reasons. Both retro buildings are so unlike other shopping centres in the country. As far as heading overseas without leaving Singapore is concerned, these two deserve to be at the top of any listicle.
Golden Mile Complex: Singapore’s Mini Thailand
Some architecture trivia to begin with. Golden Mile Complex is one of the most visually distinctive Brutalist buildings in Singapore, other noteworthy examples being OCBC Centre and People’s Park Complex. For a layman like me, the style implies a certain industrial, raw, “crushed” visual sensation. I tend to associate it with striking columns and unusual protrusions too.
Golden Mile Complex was also designed by William Lim, one of Singapore’s most famous and respected architects. His other works include the above-mentioned People’s Park Complex and Tanglin Shopping Centre.
Today, these buildings are all visually different with unique vibes. But somehow, they have the same “feel” to me?
I guess that’s what’s meant by “signature” in the world of architecture.
Just to share, I didn’t visit just for the sake of this article. Since early Feb, I felt an urge to offer (CNY) prayers at the famous Four-Face Buddha i.e. Phra Phrom altar outside the complex. It’s been a long time since I did so.
After stepping into the complex:
As it was but 6 pm i.e. I wasn’t ready for dinner yet, I headed to the Thai Supermarket on the second floor.
After paying for my purchases, I cautiously investigated the “alleys” of Golden Mile Complex.
Nope, I’m not being florid here. The upper floors of the complex have different passageways each featuring a product or service, some of which are rather …
I’ll just say the one with pubs will make you think you just stepped into a side street in Bangkok’s Patpong district.
Golden Mile Tower: A Slice of Yesterday’s Singapore, and the Artistic
Though just steps away, Golden Mile Tower feels like another world. This time, the theme is that of “retro Singapore.” There’s also the ambience of a hobbyist paradise. Many establishments here cater to specific interests.
Chinese Dinner at Thien Kee, Western Nibbles at Intermission Bar
Finally feeling the need for food, I headed over to Thien Kee Steamboat for Hainanese Chicken Rice.
To end my visit, I headed up to The Projector. Not to catch an artsy movie but for some post-dinner snacks at Intermission Bar.
Update January 2023
Some pictures of Golden Mile Complex that I took in November 2022.
By this time, you probably already know that William Lim, the great architect who designed the complex, has passed away.
All pics taken with my Samsung S20+
Read my other Home Tourist photo essays.