We travel to Singapore, a multicultural and modern city to discover Kampong Glam, one of its oldest neighborhoods. If Chinatown is the Chinatown of the city, Kampong Glam is, from the beginning, the neighborhood where the Arab population settled. Do you want to know more about him? Join us!
History of the Kampong Glam neighborhood
The history of the Kampong Glam neighborhood begins long before the British colonization, which occurred in 1819. Before the English landed in Singapore, this place was occupied by the Malay aristocracy of Singapore. It was a small fundamentally port nucleus.
In addition to the aristocracy, it was an area where immigrants from Indonesia, Sumatra and Malaysia settled. When the coexistence of the inhabitants of Kampong Glam and the British began, with the Raffles Plan of 1822, the neighborhood came under the rule of the Sultan of Hussein.
As a result, the area was occupied by Arabs and Malays. The trade was mostly commercial, since since 1819 they had a trading post. To the east of this region was what was known as the “European city”. Over the years, the sultan ordered the construction of his own mosque and a palace.
Slowly, it was expanding its population until it became one of the most important neighborhoods in Singaporepartly because of its history. In fact, the name of the neighborhood derives from two terms. On the one hand, “Kampong” which means village and “gelam” in Malay, a tree with medicinal properties.
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What to visit in Kampong Glam
During your tour of this fantastic neighborhood there are some obligatory stops that you have to take into account. They are the following:
1. Sultan Mosque
It is the jewel of the Kampong Glam neighborhood and the most important mosque in the entire city. It was built in 1924, although the works did not end until 1932, when the structure was renovated.
The Muslim community considers it the national mosque. The most impressive is the great golden dome that fills this imposing Arab construction with light. Visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
2. Arab Street
It is one of the first streets that were created after the foundation of the neighborhood. It is the favorite place to walk and take the opportunity to enter the different shops. It is the most representative street of Kampong Glam for a reason: because of the endless establishments of perfumes, fabrics, carpets…
3. Bussorah Mall
Bussorah Mall It is considered the most beautiful street in the neighborhood. It is born from the Mosque of the Sultan and along the street you have beautiful colonial-style buildings.
However, what makes this place more special is that It is the perfect place to eat and enjoy Arabic cuisine. Here you will find the best bars and cafes. Many of them have terraces where you can relax while having a drink.
In addition to Arabic cuisine you can find dishes from Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. A perfect way to soak up three cultures at once.
4. Palace of the Sultan
It is the place of residence of Sultan Ali, the successor of Sultan Hussein. It was built in the year 1840. It is located on Kandahar Street, a street where immigrants from Indonesia and Malaysia lived.
How to get to the neighborhood
Kampong Glam is located north of the Singapore River and the best way to get there is by taking the metro. The stop where you have to get off is Bugis. From there, you have to walk a few minutes until you reach Jalan Pinang, very close to the Sultan’s Mosque.
We recommend you take a walk through the main streets: Arab Street, Muscat Street and Baghdag Street. They are the first streets of the neighborhood, although yes, there is nothing like going off the beaten track and investigating all the corners of Kampong Glam for yourself. The visit will not last more than a whole morning making stops. You will not regret!
There is nothing like getting carried away by the curiosity of visiting a new place and Kampong Glam invites you to get lost in its streets, to discover new places, flavors and sensations. Do not miss the opportunity to live a unique and unforgettable experience. It is in your hands to make your trip to Singapore a memory for the rest of your life.