Golden Mile Complex and Tower | Home Tourist Photo Essay 14

Golden Mile Complex, Singapore
Golden Mile Complex, Singapore

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.

Brutalism Architecture in Singapore
My ex-office had one of those rounded windows. Thus, for a long time, I associated Brutalism with pipe-like windows. (LOL)

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.

Golden Mile Complex Phra Phrom Shrine
If you’re unfamiliar, Phra Phrom is the Thai Buddhism name for Brahma, the Hindu God of Creation. Phra Phrom is also one of the most venerated gods in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

After stepping into the complex:

Golden Mile Thai Food
Walking into Golden Mile Complex is like entering a Bangkok open-air market! There are food stalls and restaurants everywhere. All sorts of shops featuring Thai products too.
Golden Mile Complex Thai Products
Thai beauty items, preserved food, and fresh fruits are all available on the ground floor. Not quite a Chatuchak Market, but the impression is there.
Golden Mile Complex Interior
Check out that exposed ventilation pipe. Probably a maintenance nightmare, but it gives the whole building such a retro, unusual style.
Golden Mile Complex Restaurants
Another view of the ground floor eateries. There’s a lot of Mookata restaurants here!

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.

Thai Supermarket in Singapore
As you can see from the above pictures, the 2nd floor Thai supermarket sells Vietnamese products too. There’s also a variety of Thai Buddhism veneration items on sale. (I was looking for some)
Hey, there’s even a Thai dessert stall in the supermarket!

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 Complex Clothes Stores
The clothing “alley” on the second floor. For … obvious reasons, I decided it would be rude to photograph the pub alley.
Thai snacks at a shop outside the complex. I bought some before leaving.

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.

The very retro-style main entrance. Unfortunately, this is currently closed because of COVID-19. Entry is only via the office building entrance.
Golden Mile Tower Shops
Shops catering to different collector and hobbyist interests are found throughout the shopping floors.
Happy Philatelic Agency
Philatelic shops in the basement. Reminded me of my primary school days when I was a keen collector.
Golden Mile Tower Mookata.
Speaking of the basement, part of it is like a food square. Yummy roasted meat scents fill the area.

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.

Golden Mile Thien Kee Steamboat Restaurant
II haven’t eaten at Thien Kee since 2013. The whole restaurant still looks and feels the same, though.
Thien Kee Steamboat Chicken Rice
Thien Kee’s famed chicken rice, with an additional serving of roasted pork. Doesn’t look very colourful but the chicken was fresh and succulent. The rice, not too oily too. (Chilli tasted a bit off, on the other hand)

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.

The Projector Intermission Bar Menu
Intermission Bar ordering and collection counter, and the menu.
The Projector Intermission Bar
Full of chicken rice, I only had a nacho and a coke. (Hmm, Jojo Rabbit, the first movie I reviewed last year)

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.

Golden Mile Comples Reverse Tiers Floor
The visually unique “reversed tiers” of the upper floor. I read that such staggering helps project lower floors from the sun as well as facilitates ventilation.
William Lim Buidling in Singapore
I didn’t realize till now. The industrial yellow highlights really accentuate the architectural uniqueness of this iconic building.
Mini Thailand in Singapore
It is, of course, still a Thai paradise inside.

All pics taken with my Samsung S20+

Read my other Home Tourist photo essays.

Golden Mile Complex and Tower | Home Tourist Photo Essay 14
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Golden Mile Complex and Tower | Home Tourist Photo Essay 14
Evening visit to Golden Mile Complex and Golden Mile Tower. The former is Singapore’s very own mini-Thailand.

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