My favourite part of Singapore: Kampong Glam

IMG_3005Before 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.

Shopping for shoes in Bussorah Street.
Shopping for shoes in Bussorah Street.
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.IMG_3008

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.


Little India, Singapore

We flew in over Singapore in the late afternoon, watching all the ships in the harbor, the sun pink-orange over the horizon. Arriving in Singapore feels more and more like coming home; I now find my way around the city, I know the neighborhoods, the roads, the waterholes; I no longer go to Raffles Hotel and pay a fortune for a Singapore sling.

Getting a henna tattoo next to my real one....
Getting a henna tattoo next to my real one….
We stayed on the outskirts of Little India which is so exotic and fragrant that it always feels like a new adventure walking around there at night, amongst all the people and the shops packed to the brim with gadgets, clothes and bright jewellery. Sensory overload, in a good way. In Little India, you are immersed in all imaginative colours from crimson to summer sky blue, and every thinkable smell between jasmine and vindaloo.

The amazing vintage shop.
The amazing vintage shop.
We discovered a new vintage shop in Cuff Road, with an air thick of incense and yesteryear. Here, we found the most amazing carved infinity sculptures, vintage guns and embroided camel leather slippes (of course I bought a pair). We marvelled at the intricate oriental buttery high carat gold jewellery at Mustafa’s and ate hot fresh ochra curries in banana leaves. A perfect warm, tropical velvet night.

Click on the video below to watch my “guide to Little India”!