Golden Mile Complex: Singapore's Little Thailand

Golden Mile Complex: Singapore’s Little Thailand

Architecturally, the building’s unique stepped-terrace design makes it a true standout in Singapore. Culturally, the lively scene in the complex and its vicinity shows that a visit to an ethnic enclave can feel like a day out of Singapore. Formerly known as the Woh Hup Complex, Golden Mile Complex was completed in 1973 at the cost of S$18 million.

The redevelopment of Beach Road area for the Golden Mile project in 1967. Image courtesy of Singapore Press Holdings.

The redevelopment of Beach Road area for the Golden Mile project in 1967. Image courtesy of Singapore Press Holdings.

Golden Mile Complex under construction in 1971. Image courtesy of Singapore Press Holdings.

Golden Mile Complex under construction in 1971. Image courtesy of Singapore Press Holdings.

Golden Mile Complex was one of the government’s pioneer urban renewal projects, of which centres and complexes were built to cater for both residential and commercial purposes. In its completion, the 16-storey building was considered to be a megastructure in the Beach Road area. It also received much praise by acclaimed architectural critics on the international scene. English architectural historian and author, Reynar Banham, once described it as an exemplary type of megastructure.

Design Partnership, the same firm behind People’s Park Centre, designed Golden Mile Complex. On their website, they provided an insight to the latter’s design concept:

“The building’s form responds to site conditions, climate, view and sun orientation, and circulation – its shallow, staggered profile provides each residential unit with protective shading necessary for housing in tropical climates, and enhances the performance of ventilation and daylight.”

The view of Golden Mile Complex from Nicoll Highway.

The view of Golden Mile Complex from Nicoll Highway.

The building does resemble a giant typewriter from afar.

The building does resemble a giant typewriter from afar.

View from Golden Mile Complex.

With views like this one, it is not surprising that residential units at Golden Mile Complex were in hot demand in the initial release.

The stepped terrace provides a panoramic view of the skyline and sea, owing to the building’s prime location between Beach Road and Nicoll Highway. One thing of interest is that Golden Mile Complex is mainly serviced by its rear entrance, with its front entrance facing Nicoll Highway. The staggering profile from the view at Nicoll Highway also gives it the moniker of the typewriter building.

The atrium of Golden Mile Complex.

The atrium of Golden Mile Complex.

A water fight during the Songkran festival. Since it is a congregation point for the Thai community in Singapore, Thai festivals are celebrated here.

A water fight during the Songkran festival. Since it is a congregation point for the Thai community in Singapore, Thai festivals are also celebrated here.

Little Thailand in Singapore

Other than the many Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand bus and coach operators that line the Beach Road front, Golden Mile Complex is known to be a congregation point for the Thai community in Singapore. Specifically catering to this market, majority of the shops in the atrium are businesses, which include authentic Thai eateries, remittance centres, and a large Thai supermarket on the second floor.

There are also several convenience stores that sell Thai produce and products. At night, the many Chang and Singha-serving bars and discotheques come alive with karaoke machines and resident bands playing popular Thai music. Some find the night scene at Golden Mile Complex a little edgy while others like me love it for what it is – an authentic ethnic enclave with their local flavour.

Daily newspapers and magazines from Thailand can also be picked up at the convenience stores.

Daily newspapers and magazines from Thailand can also be picked up at the convenience stores.

The atrium consists of businesses that cater mainly to the Thai community in Singapore.

The atrium consists of businesses that cater mainly to the Thai community in Singapore.

There is a popular Phra Phrom shrine at the rear entrance of Golden Mile Complex.

There is a popular Phra Phrom shrine at the rear entrance of Golden Mile Complex.

Sabai dee mai

For a guide on buses and coaches to Malaysia from Golden Mile Complex:

Coach Guide from Golden Mile Complex

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