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Guide To Visiting Kampong Glam Singapore [2024]

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Kampong Glam Singapore

Best Kampong Glam Singapore
Best Kampong Glam Singapore

Kampong Glam (or Arab Street) has its own character: although part of a global city, it hasn’t been completely homogenized.

As a leisure destination, much of its old and traditional Malay culture remains. It attracts local and overseas tourists, who come here to sightsee and find cool things to do in Singapore.

It has a timeless quality — both old and new at the same time; Asian history, the arts, culture, up-to-date Snapchat (if that’s your thing).

Historical and Cultural Landmarks

(Credit: Visit Kampong Gelam)
(Credit: Visit Kampong Gelam)

Sultan Mosque

The Sultan Mosque (1824), as seen from one of the surrounding shophouses in the area known as the Malay Quarter of Malabar. Photo courtesy the Heritage Gallery, Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore Cathedral of Islam or not, the spectacular Sultan Mosque is a building with a national story to tell.

Completed in 1824, it is Singapore’s grandest mosque, with a domed roof plated in gold and topped with struts made of silver, and walls clad in an exuberantly ornate finish. A house of God this mosque certainly is, but don’t underestimate its narrative powers.

Malay Heritage Centre

Meanwhile, the Malay Heritage Centre is another under-visited museum that deserves to be seen – it is currently closed for redevelopment until 2025 – housed in the old palace of Sultan Hussein Shah and charting Southeast Asian Muslim history through dramatic exhibits of Malay culture.

Istana Kampong Gelam

The second heritage building is Istana Kampong Gelam, a former royal palace now a museum with marvellous interiors depicting the lifestyle of the Malay royalty. The items in the museum are both historically and culturally rich.

Gelam Gallery

For art lovers, Gelam Gallery is a definite must visit. This outdoor art gallery is alive with murals and various artworks painted by both Singaporean as well as foreign artists. A treasure trove for all Instagrammers, the murals in Gelam Gallery make for very picturesque backdrops.

Dining in Kampong Glam

(Credit: Lifestyle Asia)
(Credit: Lifestyle Asia)

Fika Swedish Café & Bistro

Want to taste a little bit of Sweden? Then Fika is the place for you! This café has a wonderful traditional Swedish menu, serving mouthwatering Swedish meatballs, cold cuts and desserts, and has been my home away from home ever since I discovered it.

Alaturka Mediterranean & Turkish Restaurant

Alaturka is a restaurant that dishes up fabulous kebabs and other Turkish goodies. Endorsed by the Michelin Guide, it transports you to the Mediterranean right in Kampong Glam.

Chix Hot Chicken

Hot chicken fans can get their fix at Chix Hot Chicken; a wonderfully spicy Nashville-style fried chicken with varying levels of spice to choose from.

Lickety

Egglet waffles topped with ice cream at Lickety. a fun twist on dessert on a toasty day.

Kampong Glam Cafe

This outdoor restaurant serves authentic, good and inexpensive Malay food. You can have nasi goreng or for something sweet and hot, a cup of teh tarik in a relaxed surroundings.

Best Places for Drinks

(Credit: Hotels.com)
(Credit: Hotels.com)

% Arabica

Coffee lovers will definitely enjoy % Arabica. This minimalistic coffee shop is known for its good coffee and sleek decorating elements that make it an ideal place to start your day.

Bhai Sarbat

Bhai Sarbat serves up a dollop of history with your drink and its traditional teh tarik has been served up by this stall for decades.

Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall

Craving something different? Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall offers cocktails inspired by local coffee culture. It’s a quirky spot to enjoy innovative drinks.

Oriental Elixir

Step into Oriental Elixir for a themed bar experience with gin infusions crafted from exotic ingredients. Each drink here tells a story, making your night out memorable.

Shopping and Souvenirs

(Credit: Conde Nast Traveler)
(Credit: Conde Nast Traveler)

Supermama

If you are looking for neatly gift-wrapped local products, including their signature Singapore Blue porcelain, this is the place to get some nice souvenirs – Supermama.

Haji Lane Boutiques

You want a fashion hot-spot, then? Haji Lane is the place to go if you’re a fashion fanatic. For several years, the countless vintage-clothes shops and hip indie boutiques on this lane lure fashionistas to find the latest threads.

Arab Street

You can sample a dizzying array of textiles in the Arab Street shops, a district famous for its fabrics, or go to one of the perfume sellers and create your own blend.

Activities and Experiences

(Credit: Smart Singapore)
(Credit: Smart Singapore)

Perfume Making at Sifr Aromatics

Take your pick from three signature scents, and create your own customised concoction by combining oils on a wooden tray. Book ahead for the aromatherapy treatment, which you’ll receive in your specially blended scent, at Sifr Aromatics.

DIY Gin & Tonic Classes

Mixologists will teach you how to prepare drink your DIY Gin Tonic.

Leather Craft Workshops

Many leather craft workshops have opened in Banda, including those offering the traditional sago palm fibre Ba Zhang/Ketupat pouch, which you can make yourself. It’s a fun place for a hands-on activity that will make a lasting impression, as well as a souvenir for your friends at home.

Arts and Entertainment

(Credit: Times of India)
(Credit: Times of India)

Vintage Camera Museum

The Vintage Camera Museum is a trip through the history of photography , but this museum is not your average photography exhibition. This place is dedicated to showing a massive assortment of cameras and takes an interactive approach in showcasing its collection.

Gelam Gallery

But come back soon – because the art at Gelam Gallery changes all the time. The outdoor gallery is ever-changing, with new work to see every day.

Kampong Glam Singapore

The cultural heritage, cuisine, art and creative activities make the neighbourhood a diverse place to savour every moment.

You can soak up the history in old buildings and architectural gems such as Sultan Mosque, Malay Heritage Centre or the palace, or indulge in the numerous restaurants serving sumptuous cuisine from all corners of the world.

Even fashion retail and other shopping experiences have their own unique appeal. But above all the intricate layers of history and modernity, the vitality of people who live and work in these lively streets touch the hearts of everyone who visits Kampong Glam.

Check out some of our other related articles and guides below:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have any questions about Kampong Glam in Singapore, you can refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Visiting Kampong Glam in Singapore below:

What is the best time to visit Kampong Glam?

When it’s hot – which it always is – you’ll want to go in the morning or evening. That way you can visit at an unhurried pace, opting for breakfast at ubiquitous local coffee shops or night walks to avoid during the tourist surge.

Are there guided tours available?

Yes, you can read about these descriptions and sources, but it is almost nothing if you cannot start by seeing with your own eyes a part in Kampong Glam and how it came into existence to become the area it is today. There are so many tours that you can take to different parts in Kampong Glam and be educated with a guide who can tell you many things about the uses, how the residents lived through time, how the monuments and landmarks came into existence, and why there is a concentration of culture by race here. You can check out and purchase such tours online through travel websites or you can visit local offices that are home to such professionals to assist in getting you on a guided tour in Kampong Glam.

Is Kampong Glam family-friendly?

Absolutely! The Kampong Glam is available for everyone as it has a lot of places to attract citizens. Firstly, it has a museum for people who want to learn something new and aside from that it provides a way for children to have more fun. Additionally, it has plenty of cafes and restaurants where tourists can enjoy varieties of food. Moreover, there are parks and playgrounds for children to play and families to sit back and relax. The vibe of the Kampong Glam is the best activity for your family as it will make them warm and more excited.

What are the transportation options to Kampong Glam?

By public transport
The area is accessible via two MRT stations – Bugis and Nicoll Highway. The heart of Kampong Glam is about a five-minute walk from either station. There are numerous buses that pass through or near Kampong Glam making it easy to find a bus. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also easily available if you prefer to hop into one for a comfortable, direct ride.
By car
If you are driving, there is street parking. Parking spaces, though usually adequate, can be scarce during peak hours.

Are there any special events in Kampong Glam?

The vibrant history and diverse community are showcased in year-round cultural festivals, art exhibitions and food fairs in Kampong Glam. Actual annual events feature traditional performances while touring international and local art shows showcase innovation in this unique art centre. Food fairs also bring the unique food culture of the area along with other exotic cuisines of the world. The best place to know about the events which are about to happen is from the local listings as well as tourism websites and information centres.

Rachel Tan avatar

Article by

I'm currently the editor at FunEmpire Media. I've over 8 years of experience in the media industry discovering the best local businesses, places and things to do. From lifestyle, entertainment, food, travel, education and more, I strive to curate the very best in Singapore. Singapore.

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