Little India and Kampong Glam.
Singapore Travel Blog› entry 2 of 7 › view all entries
February 24th, 2008 – by: LeighTravelClub
But after crossing the canal at the top of the road, we entered what was clearly Little India proper.
Awash with scents and sights of the subcontinent, this is a microcosm of India where every imaginable Indian product can be found: trinkets, sarees, spices, sweetmeats, nose studs, flower garlands and anything else that an Indian household needs. Traces of Hinduism are found everywhere, from the elaborate temples to wall calendars with pictures of Hindu deities. On Sundays, Indian locals and foreign workers flock to the streets to eat, chat, shop and worship.
Next, we headed for The Arab Quarter.
Kampong Glam, named after the Gelam tree which used to grow in the area, and was the historic seat of Malay royalty in Singapore. The Sultan Mosque was the first thing to catch our eye here. This is a huge, golden-domed structure, built in the 1920s, and it sits where Arab Street meets North Bridge Road. Remember, this is an Islamic area, so one must dress modestly when wandering through this area. That means no shorts or sleeveless tops, and always ask permission before entering a mosque especially if you are a woman..
Arab Street is where everyone congregates. It is full of shops selling synthetic carpets, jewellery, fabric, leather and bamboo baskets even tombstones (with a real stonemason in charge).
You can eat quite well here too, especially at Singapore's oldest restaurant, Sabar Menanti, which means “Wait patiently”, a good indicator of its popularity.
Sizable numbers of Indonesians and Arabs still live here, harking back to its beginning as a Malay village which it still resembles in many ways, with its 19th-century mosques, restaurants and shops selling prayer rugs, perfumes and silk.
Next it was head back for our hotel for a swim and some lunch. But during the course of our walk we came accross The DHL Balloon.
|Climb on board Singapore's first helium balloon ride - a novel way to take in the wondrous sounds and beautiful cityscape of Singapore. The DHL Balloon - the world’s largest tethered helium balloon designed in France. || |
Monday to Sunday: 11am until 9:30pm
SGD23 adults, SGD13 children (3 to 12 years), SGD2 children below 3 years.
Approximate Thrilling Time
Bugis, Tan Quee Lan Street
Take the MRT and alight at Bugis station (EW12) and walk to the open plot of land next to the 7th Storey Hotel.
After lunch, we headed for The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel. S$50 for two Singapore Slings.....but it's one of these things we had to do. Nut shells on the floor, a novel system of fans with leaves mechanically flapping to and fro. Very nice. Hope to upload a video of Lynda very unnaturally throwing her nut shells on the floor!!! We were able to wander around the grounds a little and soaked up the grandeur of this quaint old hotel.
Now we were starting to think about dinner and remembered that the cab driver who drove us to our hotel from the airport recommended a restaurant just around the corner from Intercontinental and he insisted that we should try a Singapore Steamboat!! We couldn't recall the name of the restaurant so just started wandering the streets around the hotel when we came accross a restaurant serving steamboats and with several locals waiting for a table.
For those who have not heard of this dish it is Chinese-style hotpot, eaten communally. Side dishes of raw meats(chicken, pork, beef, liver, minced balls), fish, squid(sotong) and vegetables are cooked by dipping into the hotpot which is kept simmering at a boiling temperature. The best part of the steamboat meal is savouring the soup after all the meats and vegetables have been cooked and eaten. It is at this time that the soup is at its richest and tastiest !
The restaurant was Chongqing Original Old Hotpot at 01-02 Chye Sing Building, 87 Beach Road.
Very much my No1 tip for eating out with the locals in Singapore. Just wonderful!!
And that was that, for our first full day in Singapore. After a nightcap, got tucked up in bed with our guidebooks and started to plan the next day. Cable-car to Sentosa Island and what else could we discover.
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