Before Singapore was colonised by the British, Kampong Glam was home to the Malay aristrocracy. The neighborhood still has strong ties to Singapore’s Muslim community in general, with influences from North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia. Kampong Glam feels like a village, with chirping birds and iron street lights. Bussorah street, a small pedestrian mall, is lined by oriental shops, Turkish and Moroccan Restaurants as well as little French-Arabic cafes. Sit here and relax. You will no longer feel that you are in a huge, densely populated city. Eat some crispy lemon crepes, sip on a Turkish coffee and smoke a hookah. You are in heaven now.
Venture a little further and you will reach the vibrant Arab Street where the main merchandise is textiles. Here, you find amazing huge Afghan carpets, thai silk in every colour imaginable, intricate hand-embroidered fabric appliques and roll after roll of excuisite lace trim. When your feet are killing you and the sun starts to set, go back to Bussorah and have your evening meal. It is now, when darkness falls, that the magic of Kampong Glam really kicks in. Sit down at a streetside cafe and enjoy the fragrant air, the palm trees moving slowly in the wind and listen to the evening prayers being called from the beautiful, large Sultan Mosque. Then you will understand why this is my favourite part of Singapore.
Click on the video at the very bottom of this post, under the “night in Bussorah street” photo below, to watch a little video I made about Kampong Glam.