Geylang is a neighbourhood in Singapore east of the Central Area, Singapore's central business district. It is located to the east of the Singapore River, an area that locals have associated, from the days of Stamford Raffles, as a Malay kampong opposite facing two islands Batin and Rokok (where the former National Stadium used to stand), reclaimed to make space for Singapore's first commercial airport opened in 1937. The airport control tower has been preserved that served, in its day, as an observation deck and is today used by the People's Association.
The location of Old Airport Road bears witness to the fact that Geylang, under the British administration, was thought to be outside the limits of the city proper and, therefore, suitable for the siting of Singapore's first commercial airport. The hangars for repair for the light aircraft can still be seen today that have been slated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for redevelopment into commercial and shopping precincts linked by the nearby Kallang MRT station.
The word Geylang is found early in Singapore's history and also in early topographical maps showing marsh and coconut plantations beside and adjacent to the mouth of the Kallang river, home to the Orang Laut (sea gypsies). One possible etymological link in the stock vocabulary of the Malay is 'geylanggan' meaning to 'twist' or 'crush' a reference to the process of extracting the coconut meat and milk used by the locals to thicken curries in Malay-Chinese (Peranakan) cuisine.
The idea persists to this day, of the process of heartache and desperation associated with the broken and hurting lives of those involved in buying and selling of sex and drugs on the streets and in the registered brothel in the area. The word Geylang may be derived from a corrupted spelling of the Malay word 'gelang' which is a type of edible creeper (Portulaca oleracea). This is a more plausible explanation for the name because Malays typically name places based on the abundance of certain plant species (e.g. Melaka after the tree species of the same name) or geological formations (e.g. Bukit Gombak based on the comb-like hill summit).
The Geylang area is composed of north and south sections that are divided by Geylang Road which stretches for about three kilometers. Throughout the length of Geylang Road, there are lanes (or "lorongs" in the local Malay language) that extend perpendicularly from the main road. The lanes in the north are given odd numbered names (i.e. Lorong 1, Lorong 3, Lorong 5 and so on), and the lanes in the south are given even numbered names (i.e. Lorong 2, Lorong 4, Lorong 6 and so on).
To get to Geylang Road, there are several MRT stations in the vicinity of Geylang Road: Aljunied, Kallang, Dakota, Mountbatten and Paya Lebar stations. There is also the Geylang Lorong 1 Bus Terminal situated in the Kallang planning area.