Singapore sightseeing around Arab Street

Bussorah Street

Singapore is a multicultural city mainly because, as one of the world’s great trading ports, people from many nations were attracted to the area with the prospect of acquiring wealth.  Because of its multiculturalism, Singapore has a number of areas in which people of a dominant ethnic race preside; these include Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street.

When I travel I usually get into the habit of having an early morning walk.  This gives me a chance to get some exercise, and believe me, I really need it, plus I get to know an area by walking around it at a time when it is usually quiet.

I’ve stayed at the Golden Landmark Hotel on Arab Street, near Bugis, a couple of times.  I think it to be a reasonably priced hotel; the rooms are quite large and it is clean.  Also, I really like staying around Bugis because it just seems to be handy to everything.  I’ve often walked around the Arab Street precinct, and I find it to be a little treasure, perhaps because it is not as well known as Chinatown or Little India, and it caters more for locals than visitors.

Some of the gems that I’ve discovered on my wandering are a great little jazz pub of Ophir Road, and a great coffee shop in the Raffles Hospital on the corner of Ophir and North Bridge Road.  The pub doesn’t come alive until the evenings, but they have live jazz and cold beer.  You have the choice of sitting inside, on the street out the front, or in a little alleyway next to the pub, and the atmosphere is terrific.

Shophouses

One of the prettiest streets in Singapore would have to be Bussorah Street, which runs off Beach Road.  In this area many of the old shophouses have been renovated, so you get interesting shops and cafes, and part of the street has been turned into a pedestrian mall, but the way they’ve down it is to block off the street to vehicular traffic by adding attractive gardens.  At the top of Bussorah Street is the Sultan Mosque, which is architecturally interesting, and is usually busy with processions of worshippers and visiting school children.  I normally follow the road around the mosque to North Bridge Road where there are many more interesting shops, including one of the best toy stores that I’ve ever seen; close by there is a shop containing hundreds of different types of buttons and threads, so much so, you are actually dazzled by the immense range of good they manage to fit into their store.

Blue Jzaa PubBeneath the Golden Landmark Hotel is a shopping mall which caters mainly to customers who follow Islamic traditions.  Of interest to me was one of the best junk shops I have ever seen situated on the ground floor of the centre.  This shop has everything piled up inside its confines, but it does seem to specialise in Russian communist era paraphernalia which is fantastically tacky.

A stroll around the Arab Street area is interesting, and can be completed in about an hour at a very easy pace during which there are plenty of stops for window shopping and browsing.

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