buddha-tooth-relic-temple-chinatownlittle-india-house-of-tan-teng-niah kampong-glam

A Kaleidoscope of Cultures

Singapore is a nation of rich heritage, reflected in its food, places of worship and shops. Engage your senses and experience how multiculturalism is celebrated on this little island.

Singapore is a melting pot of cultures, with major ethnic groups in the country being the Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians. Different races, places of worship, cuisines and languages co-exist harmoniously together, contributing to the vibrant ethnic landscape.

Take a good look around and you’ll see cultural diversity evidently at the numerous and wonderfully varied places of worship. Scattered around the island, Chinese and Hindu temples, mosques, as well as churches, are often located near or even next to each other. One such example can be found along Pagoda Street in Chinatown, where Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu place of worship here dating back to 1827, stands next to Jamae Mosque, which caters to the Tamil Muslims in Singapore and showcases South Indian and neo-classical architectural styles. Also within the Chinatown precinct sits the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum—it houses the Buddha’s tooth, making Singapore one of six countries in the world that has this sacred relic—but don’t be surprised to find Sri LayanSithiVinayagar Temple just a stone’s throw away. The brightly-coloured temple was built in 1925 for the worship of the first Hindu god Sri Vinayagar, also known as the Elephant God.

Just walking down Telok Ayer Street alone, you can find four historic buildings with different religious origins: Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church, the oldest Chinese-speaking Methodist Church in Singapore; Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of the city’s oldest and most recognized Hokkien temples; NagoreDurgha Shrine of Indian Muslim heritage, built in the 1820s; and Al Abrar Mosque, one of the earliest mosques in Singapore.

Other noteworthy religious sites that speak of Singapore’s cultural diversity include the Armenian Church of Saint Gregorythe Illuminator, the oldest church in Singapore founded in 1836, which features an elegant ode to neo-classical architecture, as well as the MaghainAboth Synagogue. Constructed in 1878, it’s the oldest synagogue in not just Singapore, but also Southeast Asia.

Given Singapore’s cosmopolitan and pluralistic environment, you can expect many cultural festivals taking place concurrently throughout the year. In January, look forward to Thaipusam, a Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya (or Murugan) where devotees perform amazing acts of faith such as the piercing of their bodies. Also happening around the same time period are the festivities surrounding Chinese New Year, which is celebrated with much gusto, particularly in Chinatown. Streets will be adorned with beautiful festive decorations and displays, and the precinct will be bustling with stage shows, bazaars and people doing their last-minute shopping before the public holidays arrive.



Walking Tour - Chinatown Discover the Unexpected

Explore this charming neighbourhood and find a multitude of heritage sites alongside choice dining options and watering holes.

Chinatown is a mix of old and new, a place where disparate culture converge. Beyond Chinese landmarks, the neighbourhood delights with beautiful heritage buildings dedicated to Indian, Malay and even Arab communities. The ever-evolvin neighbourhood is also in the heart of the financial district an office workers from surroundin buildings flock here in the evening. Chic nightclubs and cutting-edge restaurants exist within traditional shophouses—
just one of many unexpected surprises. Whether you’re looking to indulge in the latest innovations by envelope-pushin chefs and mixologists, or satisf your curiosity about local culture, you’ll be spoilt for choice here. And with all of them located in such close proximity, you’ll have the luxury of doing it all in a single day.




Exit Chinatown MRT on New Bridge Road. A short walk away on Pagoda Street is the  1  Chinatown Heritage Centre, which recreates the original interiors of its shophouse tenants in the 1950s and offers a glimpse into the lives of Chinatown’s early residents. Further down the street is the  2  Sri Mariamman Temple. An astounding sight, the Hindu-Indian structure is an unexpected find in Chinatown and is covered with colourful sculptures of deities. Head down to Amoy Street and stop at  3  Annalakshmi Janatha, a ‘pay as you wish’ Indian vegetarian eatery run by volunteers. South Asian food may not be the first thing that comes to mind in Chinatown, but this place is a local institution. Meals are served buffet-style so load up on rich curries and oothappams (rice and lentil pancakes). If you’re up for a detour after lunch, stroll down Telok Ayer Street to  4Thian Hock Keng Temple. Completed in 1842, this Hokkien temple is among the oldest and most important in Singapore. A curious feat of architecture, it was also built entirely without nails. Returning to the main Chinatown area, venture down Smith Street for some surprising shopping options such as 5 Li-Hong Jade which has traditional and contemporary jewellery, made from premium Burmese stones. Also, check out 6 Mei Guo Ginseng along the same road where you can buy traditional Chinese medicine and    Vitatron & Medical Co. for health supplements. Don’t be surprised to discover some unconventional remedies here! Off this stretch, find old-school street markets on Trengganu and Sago Streets, hawking knick-knacks and crafts; a sight that always adds flavour to this modern metropolis. When you emerge from Sago Street onto South Bridge Road, visit the 8 Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum. The Tang Dynasty architectural design of the temple lends it an imposing air. The building is famous for housing a Buddha tooth relic, a sacred treasure found in 1980 under a collapsed stupa in Myanmar. At Kreta Ayer Square just behind the temple is the 9 Chinatown Visitor Centre which offers detailed information about Chinatown’s shops, history and culture. You can also go on Chinatown walking tours and purchase quirky merchandise here. Leaving the temple, you’ll see 10 Maxwell Food Centre, which houses some of the best street food in the country. You’ll find some unanticipated cuisine here such as Thai fare among the delicious Chinese food. For a fancier meal, continue down South Bridge Road to Duxton Hill, one of the city’s dining hotspots. Be enthralled by diverse and often surprising cuisines here, including Russian fare at 11 Buyan Russian Restaurant & Caviar Bar. Other star options in the vicinity are highly-acclaimed 12   Restaurant Andre, and the quirky 13 Group Therapy, which serves excellent all-day breakfasts. End the day with a nightcap at cocktail specialists such as 14   Drink Culture or newbie 15   The Cufflink Club where you can sip on surprising concoctions.



Some of the coolest bars can be found along nearby Ann Siang Road and Club Street.


Come here for novel cocktails mixed with unusual spirits. Popular orders include the Pornstar Martini, a mix of vodka, raspberry liqueur and passion fruit served with a shot of Champagne.

Ô Batignolles

This French wine bar has a distinctly Parisian air, with its marble-top tables and rattan chairs. On offer are affordable by-the-glass options with most of the wines— around 75 percent— sourced straight from French vineyards and exclusive to this spot.

Oxwell & Co.

This beautifully dolled-up gastrobar is hard to miss—it’s situated right at the junction and usually attracts sizeable crowds, thanks to its unpretentious, affordable beers and simple cocktails, all dispensed from real (faucet-style) taps.

Ying Yang

Located on the top floor of The Club Hotel, this bar boasts a minimalist, black-and-white decor. Stand outdoors (they have an amazing view of the city skyline) as you enjoy your drink.

Address Book


Annalakshm i Janatha
104 Amoy Street.
tel(65) 6223-0809.

Bart ini
46 Club Street.
tel(65) 6221-1025.

Buddha Tooth Relic
Temple & Mus eum
288 South Bridge Road.
tel(65) 6220-0220.

Buyan Russ ian Restaurant
& Caviar Bar
9 Duxton Hill.
tel(65) 6223-7008.

48 Pagoda Street.
tel(65) 6221-9556.

Chinat own Visitor Centre
2 Banda Street.
tel(65) 6534-8942.

Drink Culture
51 Kreta Ayer Road.
tel(65) 6557-0538. 
Group Therapy
#02-01, 49 Duxton Road.
tel(65) 6222-2554.

Li-Hong Jad e
20/20B Smith Street.
tel(65) 6323-3919.

Maxwell Food Centre
1 Kadayanallur Street.

Mei Guo Ginseng
62 Smith Street.
tel(65) 6224-5691.

2 Gemmill Lane.
tel(65) 6438-3913.

5 Ann Siang Road.
tel(65) 6438-3984.

Restaurant Andre
41 Bukit Pasoh Road.
tel(65) 6534-8880.

Sri Mar iamman Temple
244 South Bridge Road.
tel(65) 6223-4064. 

The Cufflink Club
6 Jiak Chuan Road.

Thian Hock Keng Temple
158 Telok Ayer Street.
tel(65) 6423-4616.

Vitatron & Medical Co.
60 Smith Street.
tel(65) 6221-5438.

Ying Yang
28 Ann Siang Road.
tel(65) 6808-2188.


All venues are nearChinatown


Kampong Glam




It’s a strange paradox that one of the oldest precincts in Singapore—an important gathering area for the original settlers in Singapore, the Malay and Muslim communities— has over the years embraced modern shops that are bohemian and alternative. This curious mix of trendy and traditional means that you could be eating nasi padang (Indonesian dishes flavoured with spices and served with rice) in a century-old conservation shophouse, shopping for new wave boutique clothing and chilling out at a brandnew bar on the same visit. That’s what creates the buzz in this place and it’s why people keep coming back to the area, whether they’re hipsters or history buffs.



Walking Tour - Kampong Glam - Indulge in Heritage and Hip Happenings


threadbare-and-squirrelFrom Bugis MRT station, walk down Victoria Street and make a right turn at Arab Street. At the junction of Arab Street and North Bridge Road, you’ll see the impressive  1  Sultan Mosque. Built in 1824 by the Sultan of Johor, Hussein Shah, it is the largest mosque in Singapore and a national heritage site. Turning left onto Muscat Street will bring you to the entrance. If you’d like to explore the interior of the mosque, check out the mosque’s dome base, formed out of many glass bottles collected by devotees— an impressive sight to behold. Outside the mosque’s entrance is Bussorah Street, a short pedestrian alley with Indulge in Heritage and Hip Happenings two-storey shophouses filled with chic Middle Eastern cafés, souvenirs and traditional clothing stores selling batik materials, as well as boutique spas and funky stores selling vintage curios. 2 Jamal Kazura Aromatics is not to be missed here. A family business for more than 80 years, this intimate fragrance boutique offers a wide range of Arabic perfumes, massage oils, scented body soap and shower creams from the Middle East, India and Europe. Across North Bridge Road is the 20-year-old nasi padang stall 3 Hjh Maimunah. Famous among locals, it has been featured on celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s television show No Reservations. The beef in the rendang (dry curry), is especially tender, while the tahu telor—fried beancurd coated with egg and drizzled with kicap manis, a sweet black sauce—is a favourite here. After lunch, head off to Arab Street where you can buy some of the most exquisite fabrics like Malay and Indonesian batiks (intricately dyed patterns on fabrics) as well as Chinese and Thai silks.4 Ali Baba Fabrics and Royal Fabrics are some of the best and most affordable stores along the street. There’s also Threadbare & Squirrel, an indie multilabel store which stocks a wide range of trendy clothes. A small, unmarked lane halfway along Arab Street will bring you to the quaint Haji Lane, one of Singapore’s narrowest streets at just 3.5 metres across. Here, you can find small, quirky shops that you won’t find in established malls. Two of the latest additions are eclectic little stores Shop Wonderland and Mondays Off, both purveyors of locally designed home decor items and made-in- Singapore artisanal foodstuff like jam and granola. If you’re looking for old-school frocks and accessories, don’t miss 5 Dulcetfig, which sells vintage clothes for the modern girl. If walking fatigue is setting in, Going Om, which does tarot card readings and yoga classes, has a café with a tranquil interior for a restful break. Fancy something stronger? Bar Stories, also on the same street, is a quirky little bar that serves mean cocktails. As evening approaches, you can stay in the area and eat at 6 Fika Swedish Café and Bistro, an intriguing eatery serving home-style halal Swedish food like pickled herring and meatballs in cream sauce with lingonberry jam. After, head to 7 Blu Jaz, an indie-style bar in a hip shophouse for drinks. Populated with a casual and cool crowd, the live bands and DJs play anything from funk, soul to pop music and occasionally jazz. There are also plenty of great café options around this area. Just down the alley from Blu Jaz is CAD Café, a eclectic, hole-in-the-wall place with a vintage vibe, craft beers and great coffee. Or, if you walk back down Baghdad Street, there’s Maison Ikkoku on Kandahar Street, a charming hangout serving up a distinctively smooth cuppa. (Tip: head upstairs for their hidden gem of a cocktail bar.) Alternatively, there’s 8 A for Arbite on Aliwal Street. Decked out like a cute, cheerful classroom, this establishment is where you can enjoy bistro fare like porcini mushroom and duck rillette fettucine. Finish the night round the corner at 9 The Beast, a trendy bourbon bar that takes inspiration from the American South, from its rocker-inspired interiors to classic dishes like chicken and waffles. On your way back to Bugis MRT station, stop by the 10 Bugis Street pasar malam (night market), Singapore’s largest outdoor shopping street, with shops opening as late as 10 or 11pm. Here you can find trendy street wear and accessories, cafés and street hawker snacks. What a vibrant finish to the night.




Address Book


A for Arbite
#01-01 Aliwal Arts Centre,
28 Aliwal Street.
tel(65) 8321-2252.

Ali Baba Fabrics
61 Arab Street.
tel(65) 6392-1621.

Bar Stories
57A Haji Lane.
tel(65) 6298-0838.

Blu Jaz
11 Bali Lane.
tel(65) 6292-3800.

Bugis Street pasar malam
(night market)

3 New Bugis Street.
tel(65) 6338-9513.

CAD Café
23 Haji Lane.

41 Haji Lane.
tel(65) 6396-5648.

Fika Swedish Café and

257 Beach Road.
tel(65) 6396-9096.

Going Om
63 Haji Lane.
tel(65) 6396-3592.

Hjh Maimunah
11 Jalan Pisang.
tel(65) 6297-4294.

Jamal Kazura Aromatics
21 Bussorah Street.
tel(65) 6293-3320.

Maison Ikkoku
20 Kandahar Street.
tel(65) 6294-0078.

Mondays Off
76 Haji Lane.

Royal Fabrics
65 & 94 Arab Street.
tel(65) 6396-5801.

Shop Wonderland
37 Haji Lane.
tel(65) 6299-5848.

Sultan Mosque
3 Muscat Street.
tel(65) 6293-4405.


The Beast
17 Jalan Klapa.
tel(65) 6295-0017.


Threadbare & Squirrel
660 North Bridge Road.
tel(65) 6396-6738.







Walking Tour - Little India - Go on an Eclectic Escapade

Little India




Venture to Little India along Serangoon Road and you’ll quickly notice that the place is rather different from the rest of Singapore.

Indian culture doesn’t just present itself to you here; it engages your five senses in such a way that it makes you feel alive: the smell of turmeric, coriander and chilli mixed in with the scent of jasmine flower garlands being sold by the roadside and Bollywood music blaring at every street corner.

Look up and you’ll notice that the street signs are equally offbeat with quintessentially English names like Dickson Road, Clive Street and Dunlop Street named after the colonial settlers of old Singapore. But that’s not all Little India has to offer. Scratch beneath the surface and you’ll stumble upon a new generation of quirky establishments like tapas restaurants and gastrobars who have decided to make this fascinating place their home.





muthu-curryOnce you’re out of Farrer Park MRT on Race Course Road, you’ll see the iconic 1Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple. Originally built in 1885, you can join devotees of Lord Vishnu as they pray to the deity for protection at this national monument. The temple is also the starting point of the famous Thaipusam festival, a sacred religious festival where devotees pierce their skins with the skewers of kavadis (heavy ornate structures). Further up the road is the 2Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple also known as the temple of 1,000 lights. These lights surround a 15-metre high statue of the reclining Buddha weighing 300 tonnes. Interestingly, because there are statues of Ganesha and the four-faced Buddha—similar to the Hindu god, Brahma—the temple is visited by both Hindu and Buddhist worshippers.


sri-srinivasa-perumal-templeHead down Serangoon Road towards the city and you’ll see a Singapore shopping institution, the 24-hour 3 Mustafa Centre on the left. Besides stocking an estimated 300,000 items, it also offers additional services like money transfers, visa processing and travel booking. A couple of streets away along Race Course Road are some of Little India’s best restaurants. 4 Muthu’s Curry, 5 Gayatri and 6 Banana Leaf Apolo are popular for South Indian food and you can try a famous and intriguing local delicacy, fish head curry. A large fish head the size of two palms sits in a tantalising curry and feasting on this unusual dish is a delight. A few doors down at 7 Mustard, you have the rare opportunity to try Bengali and Punjabi cuisine. The food here is delicious; try the much-recommended pakoras, samosas and kebabs. Walking down Buffalo Road will bring you to 8 Tekka Centre, Singapore’s largest indoor ‘wet’ market which sells an incredible array of produce and hard-to-find ingredients. Some of the more noteworthy stalls include one which sells goat meat airflown direct from Australia and a fresh vegetable stall that pipes jazz music to passing customers.
The other side of Serangoon Road at Dunlop Street is Little India’s backpacker district. You’ll find lively bars like popular Spanish tapas joint 9 Zsofi Tapas Bar and the authentically Aussie live music pub 10 Prince of Wales. At nearby Dickson Road, you can find design-oriented boutique hotel 11 Wanderlust, which is housed in a former 1920s Chinese school. Each of the four levels of the hotel is designed by award-winning Singaporean design agencies with progressive, bold designs. Sandwiched in between a Chinese hardware store and a Thai coffee shop, the hotel sums up the area’s delightful mish-mash of cultures.


Strange but true, French food is all the rage in Little India...

cocotteCocotte at Wanderlust Hotel 11


Simple, hearty French cuisine served in family-sized portions with classic rustic dishes that include beef bourguignon and snails in cheese puffs with fresh herb butter.


TFS Bistrot along Serangoon Road 12


French food in a localcoffee shop, resulting in the oxymoron ‘cheap French food’. The gratinated escargots and duck confit are both highly recommended.



Address Book

Banana Leaf Apolo
54 Race Course Road.
tel(65) 6293-8682.

G/F, Wanderlust Hotel,
2 Dickson Road.
tel(65) 6298-1188.

#01-01, 122 Race Course Road.
tel(65) 6291-1011.

Mustafa Centre
145 Syed Alwi Road.
tel(65) 6295-5855.

32 Race Course Road.
tel(65) 6297-8422.
Muthu’s Curry
#01-01, 138 Race Course
tel(65) 6392-1722.

Prince Of Wales
101 Dunlop Street.
tel(65) 6299-0130.

Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple
366 Race Course Road.
tel(65) 6294-0714.

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
397 Serangoon Road.
tel(65) 6298-5771.

Tekka Centre
Blk 665 Buffalo Road.

TFS Bistrot
544 Serangoon Road.
tel(65) 6299 3544.

Wanderlust Hotel
2 Dickson Road.
tel(65) 6396-3322.

Zsofi Tapas Bar
68 Dunlop Street.
tel(65) 6297-5875.

Main Menu

Useful Myanmar Phrases

Auspicious to you all
Mingalar Bad

How are you?
nei kaun: ye. la:

Good morning
mingala nan ne khin: ba

Good evening
kaun: tho: nya. nei khin: ba

Good night/Good Bye
thwa: bi

Thank you
kyei: zu: tin ba de

Thank you very much
kyei: zu: amya: gyi: tin ba de

I cannot speak Myanmar
Myanmar lo matat' bu:

Do you understand?
khamya: na: le tha la:

May I take a photograph?
da' poun yai' lo. ya. mala:

May I use the telephone?
te li hpon: thoun: lo. ya. ma. la:

Where is the restroom?
ein tha be ma shi. tha le:

How much?
be lau' le:

What's that?
e: da ba le:

Very expensive
zei: mya: de

See you again
noun gya. thei: da paw.

Please to meet you.
twei. ya. da wan: tha ba de

Good luck
kan kaun: ba zei

sel' mashi ba ne.

Excuse me
thi: khan ba

It's all right.
ya ba de

Yes (Male)
hou' ke khin bya.

Yes (Female)
hou' ke shin.

hin. in:

da ge la:

It's impossible.
ma hpyi' nain bu:

hpyi' nain ba de

I beg your pardon (Male)
khin mya (?)

I beg your pardon (Male)
Shin (?)

Can I help you?
ku nyi ba ya. zei

kegya. ba oun:

hla. lai' ta

I want...
...gyin de


I want to go...
... go thwa: gyin ba de

Where is...? na: ma le:

Turn left
be be cho:

Turn right
nya be cho:

Straight ahead
te, de. thwa: ba

Stop here
dima ya' ba

Slow down
hpyei: byei:

Be careful
tha di: hta: ba

Be careful, don't drive too fast
tha di: hta: ba: phyie: byei: maun:

Turn back
pyan hie:

Turn back
pyan hie:

How much do I owe you?
be lau' kya. tha le:

Keep the change
maan: ne. daw


lei zei

Bus Station
ba saka: hma' tain

Railway Station
buda youn

hou te

than youn:

hsei: youn

hsei: gan:

Police Station
ye: sa khan:

Post Office
sa dai


River Boat jetty
thin: baw: zei'

Guest house
e. yei' tha

sa: thau' hsain

Travel Related Links

Association of Southeast Asia NationsASEAN
Association of Southeast Asia Nations

Association of Southeast Asia NationsASEAN
Association of Sou<<4R543W90-=98theast Asia Nations

Pacific Asia Travel AssociationPacific Asia Travel Association

Myanmar Hotelier Association
Myanmar Hotelier Association

  MTFMyanmar Tourism Federation

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Union of Myanmar.


Tel: 95 67 406129, 406130,
406460, 406244

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