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10 Best Things To Do In Kampong Glam

We love to explore Singapore’s cultural enclaves. Whilst Singapore is home to many cultural areas, the most well-known are bustling Chinatown, colourful Little India and the Malay Quarter aka ‘Kampong Glam’.  This name stems from two Malay words; kampong means ‘little village’ and ‘glam’, a type of tree that grew in the area.  Nowadays it’s a funky place filled with culture, shopping and food.

Arab Quarter

How long should I spend in Kampong Glam?

This really depends on your itinerary.  If you’re visiting the Malay Heritage Centre, you may want to allow 2-3 hours to soak up both the museum, exploring the quarter and a bite to eat.  Last entry to the Malay Heritage Centre is 5.30pm.

My favourite time of day to visit Kampong Glam is late afternoon/early evening. The area comes alive at night with the open-air cafes around Haji Lane and Bussorah Street. The majority of the boutiques open from 12 to 8pm. I also love to see the beautiful Masjid Sultan mosque lit up.

Fun Activities in Kampong Glam

  1. Walk the streets.  The beauty of Kampong Glam is it’s not that big, which means that your kids can’t complain about a lengthy walk!  Download the Kampong Glam Heritage Trail for an easy to follow map and information of the area.  There are also signposts dotted around, sharing information on historic sites.
    Kampong Glam Heritage Trail
  2. Go on a Scavenger Hunt!  Leap & Hop do a lovely range of kids travel books. The Singapore title includes a scavenger hunt around the Malay Quarter which was a fun way for my kids to explore.
  3. Learn the history of the area by visiting the Malay Heritage Centre.  The building was once the residence of Malay royalty.  I had anticipated the Centre to be quite dry but actually there are some fun interactive exhibits.
    Malay Heritage Centre
  4. Admire the Masjid Sultan, ‘Sultan ‘Mosque’.  Built in 1824 by the first sultan of Singapore, Sultan Hussein Shah, this magnificent mosque is the biggest in Singapore.
  5. Visit a traditional perfume shop. Jetlag & Mayhem loved looking at the colourful bottles and smelling all the scents.  The bottles make great gifts!
  6. Browse traditional Middles Eastern wares and fabrics in the stores that line Arab Street.  You may find yourself bargaining for a Persian rug you didn’t know you wanted.
    Lamps in Kampong Glam
  7. Haji Lane is lined with funky boutiques, ranging from hat stores to boutiques showcasing local Singapore brands. It is one of my favourite places to shop for clothes in Singapore.
  8. Scout the street art for Instagram-worthy shots.  There are some beautiful murals along Haji Lane and Baghdad Street.
    Kampong Glam Street Art
  9. If you’re a feline lover, spend some time at the Meomi Cat Cafe.  Cats roam free and admission includes an hour’s play and a choice of juice or tea. Needless to say Miss Jetlag was overjoyed when we spent the afternoon here for her birthday.
  10. Grab a snack, there are so many delicious options in Kampong Glam. We love ice-cream from Lickety and chendol soft-serve from Overrun.
    ChendolDining options are plentiful although I must admit that I don’t come to the Arab Quarter for Arabic food (I’ve had a few disappointing meals from the colourful Turkish style cafes). Instead I make a bee-line for The Flying Monkey for amazing Indian tapas or Sushi Airways, for fresh sushi in an airplane setting (yes really). For authentic, low-priced Malay food, pull up a pew at the Kampong Glam Cafe. The nasi goreng is delicious!

Leap & Hop Book in Kampong Glam

  • hilary


    That soft serve looks delicious! There are times when a treat like that will take the place of dinner, we have our priorities and if there is only room in the belly for one…. #farawayfiles

  • Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)


    What a great area to spend some time with kids. That Sushi Air sounds intriguing and we love the Leap and Hop guidebooks too. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  • Trish


    I love coming over here for a read as I’m always taken somewhere totally different to my own travel experiences. I fancy doing a bit of shopping here! #farawayfiles

  • JIll


    Thanks for posting such great ideas! I hope to travel to Singapore in the near future and have so many places to visits that have not been mentioned on the travel websites. GOOD job! Visit to a traditional perfume shop; Haji Lane; the Malay Heritage Centre; and, Kampong Glam; ALL sound amazing! Thanks Jetlag Y Mayhem!

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