Sunday, 26 June 2011

Exploring the heart of Arab and Malay communities in Kampong Glam

Earlier this year, I told myself that I will travel more around Singapore, but I really haven't done much of that! Last weekend, while browsing the Internet to find activities to do in Singapore, I decided that it is about time to take a walk around Kampong Glam.

Kampong means village in the Malay language, while the name Glam is from the Gelam tree which grew in abundance in the area. Kampong Glam is the heart of the Arab and Malay communities in Singapore, and right in the heart of Kampong Glam is Masjid Sultan (Sultan Mosque).


The area is filled with rows and rows of colourful shops that has been around for years. There are shops selling alcohol-free perfumes, handicrafts, textiles, carpets and many more. There are also lots of restaurants selling Turkish and Middle Eastern food. When your feet are tired from walking and shopping, don't forget to stop by a local shop selling Malay food and have a cup of teh tarik!


The quirkiest row of shops are along Haji Lane. Probably the narrowest street in Singapore, the shops along the street is filled with fashionable boutiques and trendy stores.


And when you're done shopping and eating, and want to visit something different, walk across to Jalan Kubor (which literally means Grave Road) to the old Malay cemetery. The quiet and deserted cemetery is believed to be the final resting place of many Malay royalties.


In a country where old buildings are demolished in favour of the new, there are not many area that has has kept the charm of the old buildings and shops like Kampong Glam. So, do visit the area when you can, because you never know when it might be gone. Just like the blacksmith shops along Sultan Gate which I wanted to visit - it was already torn down.

::: Footnotes :::

Use this walking map as a guide around the area, or simply walk about and explore the area yourself. Don't forget to check out the shops along Haji Lane

{ Click here for other posts on Singapore and a list of my travelogues }

5 comments:

  1. I love this neighborhood. There's a Mexican restaurant called Piedra Negra at the end of Haji Lane that is definitely worth trying.

    I visited the old Malay cemetery a few months back, too. We practically got eaten alive by bugs. http://www.jeffreyandflora.com/2011/01/malay-cemetery-in-kampong-glam.html

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  2. I got bitten too and quickly left the area! So, only managed to snap a few photos of the cemetery. Yeah, lots of restaurants around the area which I shall try to go to when I can.

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  3. Happened to come across your blog from 365days! :) I love reading travel and lifestyle blogs so you can pretty much say that I'm hooked to yours :) By the way, did you check out the little children museum at bussorah street? It's 1 of my favourite place to visit and I make it a point to visit this quaint museum once a year :)

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  4. Saw the museum but didn't go in! Shot the photo of the vespa right in front of it! Thanks for the tips! I'll definitely visit the museum the next time I'm there.

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