There is lots of great food to discover in this area of Singapore so if you’re planning a trip to Kampong Glam, Arab Street and Little India, I would suggest setting off with an empty stomach!
We took the Metro to CC5 Nicholl Highway using the EZ card. They were having a ‘kindness’ campaign on the Metro with little characters and hashtags called #standupstacey #givewayglenda #bagsdownbenji and #moveinmartin urging people to be considerate on the Metro. It was hardly needed; everyone is so friendly and well-behaved here.
Our first stop was Beach Road, but there wasn’t much to see because there was a lot of construction work going on and most of the buildings were covered in scaffolding. We crossed Kampong Glam Park (which is more of a triangle of land really) to the Masjid Haijah Fatimah mosque. This is nicknamed the Leaning Tower of Singapore because the miranet leans at a six degrees angle.
It was lunchtime so we decided to stop at a hawker centre next door to the Kampong Glam community centre where I had duck and rice for $3 and a lime juice for $1.20. Limes are similar to lemons in South East Asia so, really, it was closer to a lemonade than a lime soda. The whole meal came to less than £5 for two people.
We were heading to the Malay Heritage Centre but when we got there, we discovered it was closed on Mondays, so we moved on to the Masjid Sultan, a large mosque. Because it was Ramadan, there were loads of food stalls outside and we regretted eating earlier because the food smelled so good! The mosque was very welcoming. You can borrow sarongs at the entrance if you’re not wearing modest clothing and there was lots of information available about Ramadan. It was quite busy with tourists.
On to Arab Street and the adjacent Haji Lane, an eclectic and colourful area packed with shops, cafes and bars. It was very gentrified and a lot of fun to walk around and shop for souvenirs.
From there we walked over to Little India which was a short walk, or you can take the Metro to Jalan Besar. We headed to the Mustafa shopping centre however this was just a supermarket really, albeit one packed with every single product you could possibly imagine ever needing.
Sam Leong Road was full of Peranakan-style buildings with the shops below and the colourful living quarters above. They have beautiful shutters decorated in lovely colours, ranging from bright neon to pastel shades.
Our next stop was the Veeramakalimman, an elaborately decorated Hindu temple which was also very welcoming. You have to remove your shoes to go in and you can borrow a sarong if you need to cover your legs and arms. The statues were very interesting and included one of a female goddess squashing her husband with her foot! There were more Peranakan houses and interesting shop fronts to discover along Dunlop Street and we would have visited one of Singapore’s newest museums, the Indian Heritage Centre, but it was closed.
We ended our tour at the Tekka shopping centre. The second floor of this centre is filled with Indian clothes and the ground floor is a huge food court. It’s a little scruffy but you can see the hygiene ratings for each stall so look for one that is rated A or B. I had a huge portion of mutton biryani for $5 accompanied by delicious Indian ginger tea made from black tea, condensed milk and ginger.
The walk took around 3.5 hours (but allow longer if you are visiting the museums).