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Guide To Visiting Little India Singapore [2024]

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Little India Singapore

Best Little India Singapore
Best Little India Singapore

Little India, a slice of South Asia squeezed into the middle of Singapore, pulses with life.

Streets bustling with colourful saris, warm conversations in Malayalam and Tamil, and pungent aromas of spices – it’s a district with layers of tradition and modernity, all carefully preserved and honoured.

Little India is the down-to-Earth sibling of the more pristine things to do in Singapore. When you visit Singapore, take some time to walk around Little India.

Getting to Little India

(Credit: TimeOut)
(Credit: TimeOut)

Little India can be easily accessed by public transportation. Arriving by MRT will be the quickest and most comfortable way possible. The Little India and Farrer Park MRT stations that reach into the neighbourhood are your stations of choice. Both stations will let you within walking distance of all attractions. Buses and taxis are also great ways to get you into the heart of Little India.

Best Times to Visit

(Credit: Singapore Tourism Board)
(Credit: Singapore Tourism Board)

Little India is busy at any time of year, but avoid midday heat and come either in the very early morning or in the very late evening. Festivals like Deepavali or the Pongal Festival are also a great time to visit.

Historical and Cultural Highlights

(Credit: KKday)
(Credit: KKday)

Brief History

Little India has been a home for Indian immigrants since the early 19th century and transformed into a commercial enclave retaining the cultural and historical identity.

Key Cultural Landmarks

1. Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

This is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore. It is dedicated to goddess Kali, and is designed along Dravidian style with gorgeous galleries and intricate details.

2. Indian Heritage Centre

Immerse yourself in the diaspora story, through a turn-of-the-century shopfront along Armenian Street run by two families of Indian peddlers. Exhibits and memorabilia transport you through the colonial and postwar periods.

3. House of Tan Teng Niah

A multi-coloured Chinese villa in Little India. Once home to John Paul Jones, whose mysterious Indian wife disappeared, it is now a popular photo spot and a historical relic.

Shopping in Little India

(Credit: xyzAsia)
(Credit: xyzAsia)

Popular Shopping Spots

1. Mustafa Centre

The place is open 24 hours, and you get everything, all kinds of goods, very cheap – electronics, groceries.

2. Tekka Centre

Renowned for its wet market and food stalls, Tekka Centre is one of the most authentic places to experience local shopping and food culture.

3. Little India Arcade

A picturesque alley of shophouses selling traditional Tamil products, from spices to traditional clothes, or your tourist tat for that matter.

Unique Items to Buy

Little India is the perfect place to shop for:

  • Spices: As fresh and pungent as home-ground spices can make them. Try some of the distinctive blends such as garam masala or rasam powder.
  • Traditional Indian Clothing: Stunning saris and ethnic Indian wear. very diversified in styles and designs.
  • Jewelry and Accessories: These dainty items are made with exquisite flair, and make for brilliant souvenirs. Whether it’s a neck piece or a bangle, every shopper is guaranteed something delightful!

Food and Dining

(Credit: SingaporeFoods)
(Credit: SingaporeFoods)

Little India is a foodie heaven. There is almost every North and South Indian food available here.

Must-Try Restaurants and Eateries

  1. Banana Leaf Apolo: Renowned for its fish head curry served on a banana leaf.
  2. Azmi Restaurant: Known for its chapati and keema, a favorite among locals.
  3. Khansama Tandoori Restaurant: A haven for North Indian cuisine lovers.
  4. Kailash Parbat: Specializes in chaat and other Indian street foods.
  5. Copper Chimney: Offers North Indian as well as Indian Chinese food, known for its butter chicken.

Festivals and Events

(Credit: The Jakarta Post)
(Credit: The Jakarta Post)

Little India is a cultural hub, especially vibrant during major Indian festivals.

Major Festivals

Deepavali

Little India is a dreamscape, its skyline punctuated with hundreds of thousands of light installations. Deepavali is the Festival of Lights.

Pongal Festival

This harvest festival celebrated on 15-18 January 2024.It is generally the purpose of the festival that the rangoli. This rangoli is lit by a traditional type of lamp placed outside the home.

Thaipusam

Famous for the fervour of processions and rituals. Kavadis — decorated frames festooned in flowers and peacock feathers — are carried amid devotees headed towards the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple.

Unique Experiences

During these festivals, you can enjoy:

  • Light Displays: Stunning illuminations that light up the streets.
  • Cultural Performances: Traditional dance and music performances.
  • Special Markets and Bazaars: Festive goods and delicious treats.

Attractions and Activities

(Credit: Pelago)
(Credit: Pelago)

Walking Tours and Heritage Trails

Walking exploration is a good way to get to know Little India’s history and culture. Many guided tours involve a walk around its historical sites and markets.

Visiting Local Markets

  1. Tekka Market: Known for its fresh produce and food stalls.
  2. Street Art Scene: Paint the town red with the Little India street art trail. Take in the lively block-sized murals depicting the spirit of this community.

Art Galleries and Cultural Centers

Discover art and culture at local galleries and cultural centres throughout the district.

Wellness and Spa Options

Get massaged in traditional Indian style using ayurvedic treatments by visiting local spas or relax and take yoga or meditation classes from various centres.

Family-Friendly Activities

(Credit: Klook)
(Credit: Klook)

Little India offers plenty of activities for families.

Kid-Friendly Spots

  1. City Square Mall: Features eco-friendly playgrounds and kid-friendly facilities.
  2. Indian Heritage Centre: Offers interactive exhibits that are both educational and fun for kids.

Activities and Workshops for Children

  • Pongal Crafting Activities: Engage your kids in festive crafts during Pongal.
  • Cultural Workshops: Participate in various workshops during festivals to learn more about Indian culture.

Practical Tips for Visitors

(Credit: Klook)
(Credit: Klook)
  1. Safety and Etiquette: Little India is very safe, but watch your surroundings. Dress modestly and cover up from the sun, especially when visiting temples.
  2. Dress Code for Temple Visits: Sleeved shirt and long pants (or skirt that covers the knees) should be worn. Shoes should be removed before entering.
  3. Best Times to Avoid Crowds: Come midweek or early morning to skip the hustle.
  4. Currency Exchange and Payment Methods: Visa/MasterCard is generally accepted in most places but cash for smaller shops, though, might be useful.
  5. Recommendations for Accommodations: Consider staying at nearby Bugis, a traditional district and a retail haven (with cheap hotels), or Orchard Road, a meeting point for both tourists and locals alike (with hotels to suit all budgets).

Little India Singapore

An ‘don’t you dare miss’ hub of exotica, featuring a newer, more design-conscious marrying of savvy enterprise and South Asian culture, Little India is worth a look whether it’s for the aroma of spice and flower markets, for coconut chicken curry, or for getting swept up in the colourful, vibrant festivals down Serangoon Road. Pack your suitcase and get ready to go.

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have any questions about Little India in Singapore, you can refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) about visiting Little India in Singapore below:

What is the best time to visit Little India?

The best time to go is early morning or in late afternoon when it’s a little cooler, and also around festival times such as Deepavali or Pongal.

How can I get to Little India using public transport?

The easiest access is by MRT: Little India main street and Farrer Park station are the nearest MRT stations. Buses and taxis are easy to find.

What are some must-try dishes in Little India?

Go for the fish head curry at Banana Leaf Apolo, or the chapati and keema at Azmi Restaurant, or the North Indian cuisine at Bhayani Khansama Tandoori Restaurant.

Are there any kid-friendly activities in Little India?

Sure, City Square Mall has its playgrounds, and the Indian Heritage Centre has its multipurpose exhibition spaces and children’s activities.

Is it safe to visit Little India?

Yes Little India is safe for tourists. Don’t forget it’s not only a Little India, tourist must follow local security protocols.

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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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