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Angela Koblitz / © Culture Trip
Angela Koblitz / © Culture Trip

The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Little India, Singapore

Picture of Sameer Ghurye
Updated: 2 February 2018

Little India in Singapore is a microcosm of India itself. Originally settled by Indian laborers in the late 18th century, this little pocket will remind you of the sights, sounds and smells of India. As one visitor describes it, “It’s India without the cows!” Located east of the Singapore River and right along the most economical pockets of accommodation for backpackers, Little India is the most colorful and vibrant part of Singapore.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

The largest, prettiest temple in Singapore, dedicated to the Goddess Kali and dating back to the 19th century, this structure stands in the heart of Little India, on Serangoon Road. It’s hard to miss, with its hundreds of tiny statues depicting frescoes from the legends of the Goddess. The place is thronged with devotees on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Entry is free but be sure to dress modestly and take off any footwear outside the gates.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, 141 Serangoon Rd, Singapore, +65 6293 4634

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Angela Koblitz / © Culture Trip

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple

A short distance down the Serangoon Road from the Veeramakaliamman temple is the Sri Srinivasa Perumal temple. While outwardly similar in appearance to the former, this temple is devoted to Lord Sri Srinivasa Perumal, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu (the Keeper or Nurturer in Hindu religious belief). More spacious than the Veeramakaliamman temple, it has a more laid-back and relaxed environment that encourages contemplation.

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, 397 Serangoon Road, Singapore, +65 6298 5771

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Angela Koblitz / © Culture Trip

The Temple of a Thousand Lights

Apart from Hindus, this area is also host to a significant population of Buddhists originating from Sri Lanka, and the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, or Temple of Thousand Lights as it is known, is a focal point of that community. The imposing 15-meter-tall statue of Buddha is the prime attraction, as is the room which gives the Temple its name – a room that contains a thousand lanterns and lamps.

The Temple of a Thousand Lights, 366 Race Course Rd, Singapore, +65 6294 0714 

 

House of Tan Teng Niah

This is a landmark in Little India that one has to see to believe. The house of Tan Teng Niah is a free standing, two-storey structure. What’s unique about it is its appearance – the house is the most colorful dwelling on the entire island! A survivor of Chinese colonization, the house has been maintained by the locals as a tourist attraction and it also houses a food court outside, where you can grab a biryani or try some of the local Chinese or Malay cuisine from small shops.

House of Tan Teng Niah, 37 Kerbau Road, Little India, Singapore

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Angela Koblitz / © Culture Trip

BRETON Restaurant & Bar

Holding its own, among the numerous curry houses in Little India, is a little diner that concentrates on lobsters and ribeyes for main courses, and a great selection of galettes and crepes for dessert.
BRETON Restaurant & Bar’s menu is both affordable and divine and definitely worth a visit.

BRETON Restaurant & Bar, 544 Serangoon Rd, Singapore, +65 6299 3544

Mustafa Centre

A landmark of a different kind, the 24-hour Mustafa Centre stocks just about everything under the sun, from textiles to electronics and a lot of stuff that you’re not likely to find anywhere else. The shopping center claims to have over 75,000 items across nearly 70,000 square foot of space. Locals come to bargain and the tourists to pick up some mementos that will remind them of their trip to this hectic, consumer-mad metropolis!

Mustafa Centre, Syed Alwi Rd, Singapore, +65 6295 5855

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Angela Koblitz / © Culture Trip

Little India Arcade

The pivot of the Indian shopping experience in Singapore is found in the Little India arcade. A small, two-storey shopping center saturated with even smaller shops selling just about everything Indian, from textiles and dresses to handicrafts, spices, perfumes and Hindi movie CDs. Fresh food and sweets are also sold here, mostly in bulk. Ladies can even get an intricate henna tattoo (temporary, like body paint) in some of the stores.

Little India Arcade, 48 Serangoon Rd, Singapore, +65 6295 5998

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Angela Koblitz / © Culture Trip

Prince of Wales Backpacker Pub

The Prince of Wales Backpacker Pub is a hostel that doubles as a watering hole (or is it the other way?) for the backpacking tourist community. Located just off Serangoon Road on Dunlop Street, the pub comes alive in the evenings with live music, televisions and conversation floating around, reminding travelers of similar places in Bangkok and Manila.

Prince of Wales Backpacker Pub, 101 Dunlop St, Singapore, +65 6299 0130

Tekka Centre

This place is the Singapore equivalent of a hawker’s market, filled with everything from fresh vegetables to textiles and electrical items. The second floor has a food court where you can eat local food – Indian, Chinese, and Malay – from a variety of stalls run mostly by mom-and-pop types and Singaporeans with a super-wide smile!

Tekka Centre, Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore

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Angela Koblitz / © Culture Trip

The Banana Leaf Apolo

A visit to Little India cannot be considered complete without an Indian meal. The fish head curry is the local favorite, and the Banana Leaf Apolo holds itself up as the gold standard where this dish is concerned. The name of the restaurant comes from their practice of serving food on banana leaves, a practice that’s common to Southern India. The spice quotient can be high, so be sure to ask for less spicy when ordering if that’s what you’re after.

The Banana Leaf Apolo, 54 Race Course Rd, Singapore, +65 6293 8682

BRETON Restaurant & Bar

Holding its own, among the numerous curry houses in Little India, is a little diner that concentrates on lobsters and ribeyes for main courses, and a great selection of galettes and crepes for dessert.
BRETON Restaurant & Bar’s menu is both affordable and divine and definitely worth a visit.

BRETON Restaurant & Bar, 544 Serangoon Rd, Singapore, +65 6299 3544