Singapore’s Haji Lane is a corner of the city which, more than any others, remains untouched by the extensive modernization that has been changing the face of Singapore over the second half of the 20th century. Much of the world has little idea of what Singapore looked like before skyscrapers took over the city-state and reshaped its skyline; it is yet another Asian city where the western aesthetics of architectural grandeur, huge shopping malls and a million lights were brought to the extreme – but not quite as far as Haji Lane. With its larger-than-life street art, quirky fashion shops housed in pre-war buildings and buzzing shisha bars, this street has developed an atmosphere all of its own, and reached the status of Singapore’s best alternative destination for the hipster crowds of locals and tourists alike.
Haji Lane, located in Singapore’s Kampong Glam, is one of the most fascinating and authentic neighborhoods in the Lion City. Filled with quirky shops, local eateries and shisha bars, it is also a real haven for art and culture lovers: the street’s facades are both historical, with typically South Asian architecture, and dynamic, decorated with bright colors and, occasionally, street art. We explore the history and culture of the unique Haji Lane.