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Many people shy away from Geylang because this is where Singapore's red-light district is situated, but this need not concern the visitor unless he/she wants to wander among the many (legal) brothels along Lorongs 14, 16 and 18. Prostitutes are permitted to ply their trade as long as they follow strict health guidelines.
Geylang, situated east of the central business district, is one of the best places to get a glimpse of traditional Singapore. Geylang has been an enclave for the Malaysian community since the 1840s, when the Malays were forced to abandon their floating villages near the mouth of the river. Nowadays the Malays have been joined by Indonesians and Arabs who have also settled in this neighbourhood.
There is a tourist centre called The Malay Village which is quite interesting, but if you have the time, head for Geylang Serai, with its brightly painted shophouses and lively fresh produce market, the 'living heart' of the neighbourhood. Stay near the market for Malay and Indonesian delicacies, or venture into the various lorongs (alleys) for some of Singapore's best Chinese food.