Sri Manmatha Karuneshvarar Temple
Built in 1888, this temple marks a minor Hindu community that played an important role in the modernisation of Singapore. In the 19th century, the Hindu community near the Kallang river were made up of employees of Kallang Gasworks, the company that fueled the city’s gas lighting until electric lighting was adopted. The temple is dedicated to Siva, one of the major deities in Hinduism, and is therefore also known as Sivan Temple. Architecturally, the temple is in the Dravidian style, known for its distinct, elaborate entrance tower.
Address: 226 Kallang Road, Singapore 339096, +65 62992360
Singapore Chinese Opera Museum
One of Singapore’s hidden gems, the Singapore Chinese Opera Museum is a privately owned museum that displays and educates on the rich history, colourful costumes, and diverse styles of Chinese opera, from the well-known Beijing opera, to the Hokkien opera practiced by a Chinese linguistic minority. There are also classes and workshops that you can sign up for, giving you an authentic taste of this unique and dying art. Opening hours: 11am – 6pm, closed Sat – Mon
Address: 100 Sultan Plaza #01-27, Singapore 199001, +65 62923393
Kallang Riverside Park
Tired from the bustling city? Kallang Riverside Park is a great place to relax amidst nature and it has something for everyone. A water sports site, it is a popular place kayaking, canoeing and dragon boat racing. For joggers and cyclists, there are plenty of tracks around the seven hectare park. If you’re not much of a sportsman, you can sit beneath the shady trees or the beach for a picnic. Frequent water sports competitions are also held here on the weekends.
Address: 66 Kampong Bugis, Singapore 338987
Golden Mile Food Centre
Eat like a local at Golden Mile Food Centre, which serves dishes and snacks from all over the region, from Hainanese chicken rice to authentic Thai tom yum. Like all food centres in Singapore, this place is noisy, crowded, and filled with local flavours, both figuratively and literally. Here you will find some of the most delicious food that Singapore has to offer, and at the cheapest prices.
Malay Heritage Centre
Located in the middle of Kampong Glam, Singapore’s Malay quarters during its days as a British colony, the Malay Heritage Centre is housed in the former royal palace of the Malay sultan. The Malay Heritage Centre has exhibitions on the history and significance of Malay life and culture in Singapore, particularly in the Kampong Glam district. The museum has several permanent galleries, as well as a couple of temporary ones. The centre offers free guided tours by friendly and informative guides, so check their website for the available times. Opening hours: 10am – 6pm, closed Mon, check website for details.
Address: 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501, +65 6391 0450
Situated next to the Malay Heritage Centre is the Sultan Mosque. One of the most important places of worship for Muslims in Singapore, this shrine marks a religious centre in Kampong Glam and in the country. It was built by the Sultan of Singapore in the early 20th century as a place of worship for himself and his court, and is therefore one of the most important mosques in Singapore. The mosque has iconic golden domes and is famous for its spacious prayer hall, which can hold up to 5,000 worshippers. Opening hours: 9am – 12pm, 2pm – 4pm (Sat – Thurs), 2:30pm – 4pm (Fri) *Note: the mosque may be closed due to restoration and upgrades so check the website before you go*
Address: 3 Muscat Street, Singapore 198833, +65 6293 4405
Children Little Museum
Situated in an ordinary-looking two-storied house right next to the Sultan Mosque, you can’t miss the adult-sized robot that guards the entrance of the Children Little Museum. In it you will find out exactly what it was like for children growing up in the area, or indeed Singapore and Southeast Asia, half a century ago. With the philosophy that tactile contact and interaction are the best ways to understand an era, the founders, three older gentlemen who want to preserve and pass on their heritage, have included many interactive exhibits. Buy old toys from the museum’s shop, to satisfy your nostalgia and reconnect with your inner child. Opening hours: 11am – 9pm
Address: 42 Bussorah St, Singapore 199460, +65 6298 2713
One of the major roads in Kampong Glam, Arab Street is the centre of the Muslim quarters’ vibrant community. Colourful shops and restaurants line the road, selling goods that range from Persian carpets and exotic fabrics to Muslim clothing and religious items. Not only is Arab Street a great place to get a sense of the Kumpong Glam area, you can also find the best authentic Malay and Middle Eastern food here.
Address: Arab Street, Singapore
This quirky street has been transformed from a ramshackle area to one of the most energetic places in Kumpong Glam. Haji Lane is home to independent boutiques by local designers, unconventional home décor, and chic bars and cafes. From Sup Clothing, which features fashion with local graffiti artist The Killer Gerbil’s art, to the Halal bakery I Am Café, this narrow, graffiti-lined lane is a great place to walk through and explore. You might just find a hidden gem of your own.
Address: Haji Lane, Singapore
Local food and cafes
Speaking of food, be sure to check out the many local food joints in Kumpong Glam. The majority of restaurants serve Malay and Arab fare, as can be expected in this district. Be sure to try the Halal food, which is sure to be authentic and delicious, as the area is an important religious centre for Muslims in Singapore. Hip cafes are also starting to be opened in the area, so it’s a great place to explore and find quirky coffee shops.