Had I not known about Sultan Mosque in Singapore, I wouldn’t have come across this beautiful street. The moment my trip to Singapore finalized , I started looking for things that would suit my interest and should not be something out of a zillion itineraries. Whoever I asked about places to visit in Singapore, I got the same reply, either Sentosa or Universal Studios.
Not that I didn’t like either of the two attractions, but Arab Street, Little India and China Town had a different charm altogether.
The day I got free from my project, I took a taxi and left for Arab Street, the place where Masjid Sultan is located. In my mind, I was thinking that it will be a mosque hidden between the tall skyscrapers. But no, instead I found a beautiful locality filled with gorgeous houses, beautiful windows and colorful lanes.
I also wanted to visit Tiong Bahru, a similar neighborhood, but had to skip my plans.
As the name suggests, Arab Street is a Muslim dominated area of Singapore. One of the many regions that have retained the old charm while the world around them got filled with rising skyscrapers and multi storied buildings.
Right next to Arab Street is Haji Lane. By name, it feels like it will be boring place with some carpet and chandelier shops. But no, there is nothing boring in Haji Lane. This one small alley is the most lively part of Arab Street. It feels like you are walking in an open art gallery.
So much beauty made me realize, this is why I came to Singapore.
As an Indian tourist in Singapore, I have to say that vibrancy and colors sometimes reminded me of markets from my own country. Only this was way cleaner, smelled good and no one pushed me while walking. 😛
There is no such thing as offbeat in Singapore, these are the streets that exist as a bridging gap between the old and the new. They remind you that how far this country has come.
Haji Lane is as small as you can imagine. The entire street is not even 800 meters long. And yet, it is filled with some of the coolest cafes. My backpacking experience in Singapore would have remained incomplete if I had not come here. You’ll find pretty girls posing against the colorful walls, couples buying local embroideries from the small boutiques and artists just writing or painting in peace.
You will find many interesting things to do in Singapore, including S.E.A. Museum, Universal Studios, and Sentosa Island but these streets will stay hidden unless you want to have an introduction to the real Singapore. In my opinion, this is one of the best places for street photography in Singapore.
Exploring Haji Lane is easy. You enter from the side of the mosque and then take a walk straight into the lane. As you go further, the art gallery starts unfolding. You’ll find colors and then more colors.
Now that you have walked a lot, take a break, sit at one of the many cafes or pubs located here. Working Title, The Lab SG, Bar Stories are some of the coolest places to stop and unwind in Haji Lane and Arab Street.
Or if you are not interested in spending time at the small pubs then try these open air restaurants on the main Arab Street. Have some fun and enjoy the local Muslim cuisine including Shawarma, Biryani and Kebabs.
I was lucky to visit Arab Street on a weekend. It was so much fun to see local bands jamming in the open, and the families just chilling on community carpets. It was evening, the sunset behind the Mosque was spellbinding.
You can explore the nooks and allies of Singapore on these electric cycle rikshaws. A unique concept, gives you the feeling of Singapore from the 1900s when rikshaw pulling was a major source of income.