Travel to Little India, China Town and Kampong Glam, Singapore

Usually, people use Singapore as a hub for their travel in Asia, but some areas are really worth a visit. This is exactly what we did and we do not regret it at all. 

Located two hours from Ho Chi Minh City through different companies such as Scoot, JetStar, VietJetAir or Hahn Air, you do not need any Visa process, so for travelling for a week-end Singapore is a great solution! To read our full article about Singapore, click here.

Little India: a multicultural area

Little India (originally Serangoon road) is also called Tek kah by the Chinese population (a short version of Tek Kia Kah), which refers to the bamboo that grew along the Rochor Canal. The first settlers in this quarter were mostly labour convicts needed to develop the city. Indeed, many of them chose to stay after serving their sentences. To respond to the growing need of labourers in the 1880’s many Indian labourers came to the city and chose to stay after their contract was completed.

What to see there?

The Tan Teng Niah House is one of the most iconic sights because it is the last Chinese villa that remains in the area, and is a particularly colourful building. Tan Teng Niah started building for his wife in 1900, incorporating elements from European and Southern Chinese architecture.

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Street Art , although Little India is famous for its fabric shops, spicy Indian curries and 24-hour Mustafa shopping centre that sells more than you can imagine, it is also a surprising street art home. There are a large number of murals by internationally renowned artists. The emergence of Art Walk Little India, an annual art festival that integrates works of art into the unused streets of this colourful neighbourhood.

The Sri Mariamman Temple was built in 1881 and dedicated to the destroyer of Evil, Kali, who has always been popular in Bengal. It is constructed in a South Indian style like many of the Tamil temples rather than in the style of the North-eastern Indian Kali temples in Bengal. During the Japanese aerial attacks in WWII the legend says that the temple played a protective role to many, who were kept safe from the bombings.

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Little India Arcade is located in the middle of Serangoon Road, a number of restored shop houses will allow you to find saris, tableware, clothing, handcrafts, souvenirs, incense and spices. It is very pleasant to stroll between alleys.

Where to eat?

Tekka Centre/Market offers an amazing selection of food stalls, Sri Lankan, South Indian, North Indian, Malaysian, Chinese… The place is filled with happy people enjoying the food. You can also find a wet market and a fresh produce market in the centre. Upstairs you have souvenirs, clothes, fabric, flowers and beautiful scarves.

Khansama Tandoori Restaurant is a good restaurant in the Little India area, we suggest you to order the tandori chicken!

China Town: one of the oldest district

To immerse yourself in the Chinese atmosphere of the Asian city, you will have to discover Chinatown, located southwest of the city. Although this district has lost some of its authenticity to more modern and tourist establishments, some typical small trades are still represented: public writers, sculptors, rickshaw drivers. It is always a great pleasure to wander around, to eat there for a cheap price.

What to see there?

The Thian Hock Keng Temple  is one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore, built in 1840 by the Hokkiens who hailed from the Fuzhou province. You just can not miss it!

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Keong Saik Road is a pretty street with strong colours, even if after seeing the Arab neighbourhood you will be a bit disappointed. At the end of this street you will find many small itinerant shops, useful to buy all your souvenirs for cheaper than in shops on Marina Bay!

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Where to eat?

Hawker centres are the best places to experience the authentic flavour of Singapore as locals do, and Maxwell Road Hawker Centre  is one of the more popular with both Singaporeans and tourists.

Chinatown Complex  welcomes more than 260 food stalls on the second floor offering a generous variety of Singaporean street food fare, from traditional Hainanese chicken rice and Char Kway Teow, to craft beer on tap and even some Michelin-Starred stalls, mostly at very budget-friendly prices.

Kampong Glam: the Malay heritage of Singapore

Kampong Glam, which is also called Arab Street, is our favorite area in Singapore for all the buildings and its history. In Mala, Kampong means village and Glam is a tree that was used by sailors and fishermen. The fruit of the tree is used as a spice and the dried leaf is used to make herbal oil.

What to see there?

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Masjid Sultan is a must-see in this district with its massive golden domes and huge prayer hall. Masjid Sultan, as it is also known, is a prominent mosque in Singapore and one of the country’s most impressive religious buildings. The mosque was built in 1824 for Sultan Hussein Shah, the first sultan of Singapore. Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, gave S$3,000 to the construction of a single-storey building with a double-tiered roof. A hundred years later, the old mosque was in desperate need of repair. The present mosque as you see it today was designed by Denis Santry from Swan and Maclaren, Singapore’s oldest architectural firm, and rebuilt in 1932.

Walk around the streets of this small area is a good tip to enjoy all your time in Singapore!

Where to eat?

The nasi padang (Indonesian dishes flavoured with spices and served with rice) at Hjh Maimunah is famous among locals, and the establishment was listed in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide in 2016.

Finally, getting lost in one of its three neighbourhoods will allow you to see what each street has to offer: wall paintings, coloured houses, a smile on the corner of a less busy street... All the charm of Singapore!