8 Things You Need To Know About Arab Street and Little India

Even if you are in Singapore, the ambiance here in Arab Street and Little India is one of a kind. From the vendors selling to the aroma of food all over, it feels like you are really in India. In Singapore, they have this place where you can shop and stroll at the same time.

1. Key area for the Muslim community

Although Arab Quarter, now known as Arab Street, is different from Chinatown, it is the center of the Islam community. Surrounding these areas are where the Malay ethnicity reside, mostly Muslims. Many shops are influenced by the Muslim culture and tradition. They sell prayer rugs, articles, antiques, jilbab, Muslim caps and others. A total memorabilia package!

2. Center for trading

Arab Street is where the Arab traders in Singapore settled in the earlier days of the colonial times. But when prices for real-estate rose up around 1920s, a large number of original settlers opted to leave the area. Nowadays, the Singapore’s Muslim community is residing at Geylang Serai, which is located on the East Coast.

3. Location for mosques

There are great structures including buildings and establishments found in the Street. Moreover, the remarkable Haijah Fatimah Mosque has been modeled after the spire of the authentic St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Meanwhile, the Sultan Mosque, appearing with its unique architecture and its famous golden dome, is also found here. This is popular among tourists and locals alike. It is accurately located wherein many interesting Malay heritage settled.

4. Supply of various textiles

Arab Street is popularly known for its textiles material like silk, Indonesian batik and Indian fabric. You can be satisfied with its price too as you can negotiate with the vendor. The friendly locals will entertain you as they promote their products for you to choose and buy. Haggle away!

5. Home of the Indians

Little India was, during the colonial times, the enclave of the Indian community in Singapore. The area is located in the northeast of Singapore’s city center and northwest of Bugis and Arab Street. Converse with them, they certainly would want to be your friend, too.

little india SG
Photo by Khalzuri Yazid

6. Most renowned temple

One of the oldest and most beautiful Indian temples, known as Kali Amman Temple, can also be found in Little India. It was built at 1881 by the Bengalian workers. It is known to be dedicated to the goddess named Kali, one of the wives of Shiva. She is the goddess of the power and the name Veeramakaliamman means “Kali the brave”.

7. More temples everywhere

It is a tradition that you must take off your shoes before entering if you wish to explore more and discover the interior of the Hindu temples and mosques. Traditionally, it is of utmost importance to follow the rules and regulations of each temple and mosque as it is a way to pay respect to the locals.

8. Authentic Arab and Indian stores and restaurants

Little India maintains its one-of-a-kind character since the streets here flaunt a dazzling array of authentic shops. Here, you can easily locate emporiums, spice markets, magnificent sari boutiques, commercial establishments, and modern shopping malls. Not to mention, the food also tastes great here and you can experience how the people eat just like in India.