OWL Magazine Korea

Singapore ‘Arab Street’ (Kampong Glam)

Singapore stands out as a multicultural nation in Asia, evident in its diverse population composed of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Arab, and more. While the Chinese community holds the majority, Singapore thrives as a city where multiple cultures coexist.

“Little Arab in Singapore, Arab Street”

Near Bugis in Singapore, there’s a blossoming Arab cultural enclave often referred to as ‘Arab Street.’ Here, you can find Hindu temples, as well as buildings showcasing exotic Arab-inspired architecture. The street is adorned with women in hijabs and men donning Arab hats, adding to its distinctive atmosphere.

“Formerly Kampong Glam, Now Arab Street”

Arab Street was formerly known as ‘Kampong Glam.’ ‘Kampong’ means village in Malay, and it referred to a fishing village near the entrance of the Rocher River. In 1822, Sir Stamford Raffles, along with Sultan Hussein Mohammed Saha, allocated this area to the Muslim community, including Arab and Bugis traders. While it’s now called Arab Street, some still refer to it as ‘Kampong Glam.’

“At the Heart of Arab Street, Sultan Mosque (Masjid Sultan)”

The central landmark in Arab Street is the ‘Sultan Mosque,’ the largest and most beautiful mosque in Singapore. Built in 1824 for Sultan Hussein Mohammed Saha, the first Sultan of Singapore, it received a $3,000 donation from Sir Stamford Raffles towards its construction.

The mosque welcomes visitors to explore its prayer hall. However, women must adhere to a dress code, and for those not appropriately dressed, the mosque offers free long skirts at the entrance.

“Haji Lane – Arab Street’s Hip Hangout”

A trendy alley in Arab Street is ‘Haji Lane,’ which has evolved into a vibrant and trendy spot where young Singaporeans set up small shops selling unique and interesting items.

While the lane is only about 200 meters long, it has gained fame for its distinctive murals and quirky shops. It’s often compared to Singapore’s version of Hongdae in Seoul.

Haji Lane comes alive in the afternoon, as many stores remain closed in the morning.

Arab Street, a small piece of Arabia in Singapore, offers a touch of exotic charm, providing another dimension to explore during your visit to Singapore.”

“Singapore Arab Street (Kampong Glam)”