Kampong Glam

Another post I drafted and did not finish before lockdown….enjoy.

What is it?

Kampong Glam is a neighbourhood and ethnic enclave in Singapore.

Where is it?

It is located north of the Singapore River known as the Malay-Muslim quarter.

A little bit of history

Kampong Glam has its origins as a thriving port town and is Singapore’s oldest urban quarter. In Malay, the word kampong means “compound”, while glam is often attributed to the gelam (long-leaved paperbark tree), which was found and used locally for boat-making, medicine and even as a seasoning for food.

In 1822, Sir Stamford Raffles allocated the area to the Malay, Arab and Bugis communities. The area subsequently became one of the seats of Malay royalty in Singapore.

What’s there?

Kampong Glam is the Muslim center of Singapore, and is traditionally home to mosques, carpet shops, and Middle Eastern cuisine, while more recently the area has seen a surge in boutique cocktail bars and funky restaurant openings. Sightseers will enjoy the picturesque streets with their beautifully restored shophouses, while shoppers are in for a treat with a selection of Singapore’s best offbeat boutiques selling cult labels and vintage clothing.

As the Muslim center of Singapore, Kampong Glam is home to the city’s biggest mosque, the Masjid Sultan (or Sultan Mosque) – its huge golden dome and four minarets cannot be easily missed. Bussorah Street is one of the most picturesque streets in the whole of Singapore, with its tiled pedestrian area, heritage architecture, and palm trees, while Kandahar Street around the corner is home to some of the most beautifully restored elaborate shophouses in the whole city. The area is also home to the Malay Heritage Center, its nine galleries showcasing the history and culture of Singapore Malays. 

Kampong Glam is traditionally associated with Middle Eastern cuisine – and you will find an abundance of reasonably priced Lebanese, Turkish and Egyptian restaurants here. Many establishments are Halal; so don’t expect to enjoy a beer with your kebab

Many people head to Arab Street for its abundance of carpet and fabric shops, while Bussorah Street is home to a string of souvenir shops, with the odd antique or jewelry store in amongst the mix. The area is also known for its vintage clothing boutiques, and Haji Lane is one of Singapore’s hidden gems for shoppers. This narrow shabby lane is lined with offbeat boutiques selling cult labels and vintage clothing stores, and offers a different world of shopping from the glitzy shopping malls that Singapore is famous for. 

Street Art

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