Once inhabited by the Malay and Muslim elite of Singapore, the Kampong Glam neighborhood is one of the city’s most attractive. Former shop houses have been restored to their former beauty and now house modern shops and restaurants. The area is also home to the Sultan Mosque and Malay Heritage Centre.
Kampong Glam is replete with local restaurants, art galleries, and textile-and-carpet shops. Explore the area, also known as the Arab district, on a walking tour; tours reveal more about local history and culture than you’ll find in the guidebook, and typically come with Arab-Malay food recommendations from a local. Most walking tours stop at the Sultan Mosque, the Malay Heritage Centre, and the Royal Graveyard, while several food tours also focus on Kampong Glam.
Things to Know Before You Go
- While many restaurants don’t serve alcohol, Kampong Glam is an excellent spot to smoke a hookah or water pipe.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes, as this area is best explored on foot.
- Plan to spend at least half a day exploring this vibrant neighborhood and its attractions.
How to Get There
To get to Kampong Glam by public transport, take the MRT to Bugis Station. It’s also within walking distance of Little India and the Golden Mile. The neighborhood is also a stop on the Red and Blue routes of the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus.
When to Get There
There isn’t really a bad time to visit this busy neighborhood, though it tends to be at its liveliest during Ramadan. Come in the evenings during this Muslim fasting month to join the daily iftar (breaking of the fast) or to explore the night market.
What to Eat in Kampong Glam
This neighborhood is known for its Middle Eastern cuisine, with restaurants representing Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt, among others. Be sure to try the nasi padang (steamed rice served with a selection of meats, fish, and vegetables) or kueh (a bite-sized Malay sweet).