The Best of Singapore Walking Tour takes you to all the top attractions in Singapore, and by walking you get a real insight into the city.
How to get to the start of the Best of Singapore Walking Tour
This walk starts in Chinatown, to the west of the city centre. The best MRT station is Chinatown MRT, located on the edge of this district. Chinatown MRT is on both the Blue Downtown Line and Purple North-East Line. Exit the MRT station via exit A. There are also many buses that stop nearby.
Best of Singapore Walking Tour Map
Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with Maps.me on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the Maps.me bookmarks.
Tips for the Best of Singapore Walking Tour
- Set off early so you can get some walking done before the heat of the day. Head into a few museums in the mid-afternoon to avoid the sun.
- For several religious sights on this walking tour of Singapore, you must dress respectfully i.e. cover shoulders and knees.
- You can get discount tickets to attractions in Singapore on Klook*.
- For more heritage walks, check out our Singapore Walks Page.
Attractions on the Best of Singapore Walking Tour
This is a self-guided walking tour. On this walking tour you’ll see the main sights and attractions of Singapore:
- Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
- Thian Hock Keng Temple
- Marina Bay
- Marina Bay Sands
- Gardens by the Bay
- Singapore Flyer
- Merlion Statue
- Colonial District
- Fullerton Hotel
- National Gallery
- Saint Andrew’s Cathedral
- Bras Basah
- Raffles Hotel
- National Museum of Singapore
- Waterloo & Albert Streets
- Little India
- Tekka Centre
- Tan Teng Niah House
- Kampong Glam
- Malay Heritage Centre
- Sultan Mosque
Best of Singapore Walking Route
This walking trail starts from Chinatown MRT station, Exit A. You will come up into Pagado Street, a pedestrianised street in the heart of Chinatown.
In the late 1800s, Chinatown was known for its trade, opium. Today, however, it’s morphed into a hipster, touristy district full of culture. You can see many shophouses in the area – a style of terraced house typical to Singapore, with narrow fronts and five-foot ways covering the pavement.
Directions: Walk down Pagoda Street and take the pedestrianised Trengganu Street just opposite the Chinatown Heritage Centre.
Chinatown Street Markets
The outdoor Chinatown Street Markets are between Chinatown MRT and Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. Small market stalls line the streets, selling everything from souvenirs to antiques, plants, drinks and snacks. The streets come alive around mid-morning so it may be quiet first thing.
Directions: After exploring the streets, walk down pedestrianised Tregganu Street and you will reach Telok Ayer Square.
Telok Ayer Square is just behind Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and is a gathering area for the locals. On the right, in the colourful Chinatown Complex building, is a hawker centre specializing in Chinese food. You’ll also find the Chinatown Visitor Centre here (open Mon-Sun, 10:00-19:00).
Directions: Walk around the temple to its entrance on the opposite side.
1. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Key Information: Open 9am-5pm every day and free to enter. You must dress respectfully, which means covered shoulders, no mini-skirts and no shorts. They do have some spare clothes in case you forget. Allow 30 minutes – 1 hour.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) looks old, but it was actually built in 2007 at a cost of S$75 million. The temple’s name comes from the holiest relic it protects – one of Buddha’s teeth, specifically the left canine. It was supposedly taken from Buddha’s funeral pyre when he died roughly 2400 years ago.
Inside there are several large worship halls filled with buddha statues both large and small. Upstairs there is a little museum containing Buddhist artefacts and at the very top is the stupa (shrine) holding Buddha’s tooth. You have to take your shoes off at some point, but you don’t have to climb any stairs because there’s a lift inside the temple!
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple Viewpoint
Directions: If you don’t mind climbing stairs, head to the back left corner of the temple. Take the stairs at the side of the flats and climb up 9-11 stories.
From the HDB balcony you have splendid views over the temple, Chinatown, and the tall buildings of downtown beyond.
Directions: Back at the front of the temple, head left along the road until you see a Hindu Temple on your left.
Sri Mariamman Temple
Key Information: Free to enter, small fee for cameras. Open daily 5 am–11.30 am and 5 pm–8.45 pm.
Sri Mariamman Temple (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is named after a folk goddess who helps cure illnesses. Originally from 1827, it’s built in a southern Indian style, with a colourful gopuram over the main entrance. The temple is most famous for fire-walking (Thimithi), which occurs a week before Divali (Oct-Nov). Hindu devotees walk across hot coals to receive a blessing from Draupadi, a popular goddess in Tamil Nadu.
Directions: Head back down the road the way you came and take the first road on the left. Continue straight on into the park.
Ann Siang Hill Park
Ann Siang Hill Park is named after Chia Ann Siang, a Chinese Hokkien merchant who traded goods such as spices, tea, silk and coconuts between China and Europe. He became very wealthy and bought land for the park in the late 1800s when Peranakan Chinese lived around the hill. Today there are good views of the skyscrapers in the financial district from the walkways.
Directions: Take the path around by the cafe which leads to Ann Siang Hill passageway. Walk down the hill to the road, continue to the next junction and turn left.
Telok Ayer Street
This street is lined with many old religious buildings on one side and modern skyscrapers on the other. Apart from the heritage buildings, you’ll also find some of the coolest bars in Chinatown in this area.
2. Thian Hock Keng Temple
Key Information: Free to enter and open daily 07:30-17:30.
Thian Hock Keng Temple (Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a definite must-visit in Singapore. It’s the oldest Chinese temple, dating from 1839. The temple structure is held together by cleverly designed interlocking wooden joints, no nails were used in its construction!
Telok Ayer Street used to be on the shoreline and at this temple, Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea, is worshipped. Chinese immigrants straight off the boats came here to give thanks for their safe passage. There are several smaller shrines dotted around the temple complex dedicated to Guanyin and Confuscious among others.
Nagore Dargah Shrine
Key Information: Free to enter, donations welcome. Open 10-12:30 and 2:30-5 on weekdays, 9-1 on Saturdays.
Nagore Dargah Shrine (Tripadvisor Reviews*) is adjacent to Tian Hock Eng Temple. It’s actually a small-scale replica of a shrine in Tamil Nadu, on the east coast of southern India. The Indian Muslim Heritage Centre is inside. It contains lots of interesting information about this community and its role in trading and Singapore today. The building is a wonderful mix of styles – French windows, Greek columns, Eurasian and Berber arches, and Malay influences.
Directions: Turn right just after the shrine and in a couple of blocks you’ll see the next stop on your left.
Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre
This hawker centre is located in a historic cast iron Victorian building. It was Singapore’s first wet market, dating back over 150 years. Now it serves delicious, fairly cheap local food in the middle of the financial district. It’s a great place to stop for a drink, snack and rest before continuing with the walking tour through Singapore.
Directions: Cross the busy road on the far side of Lau Pa Sat and walk left before taking the first right.
Marina Bay area contains some of the most famous sights in Singapore. These include iconic Marina Bay Sands, the lotus-shaped Art Science Museum, the Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay and the famous Merlion Statue. This walking tour continues anticlockwise around the bay, with a detour via Marina Bay Sands to the Gardens and all the way around to the Merlion.
Directions: Walk around the grassy promontory for good views, and continue by the water around the corner.
Red Dot Design Museum
Directions: Continue walking by the water.
The Shoppes (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) at Marina Bay Sands is a large shopping mall complex (Open 10:30 am–11 pm every day, until 11:30 pm on Fri & Sat). It’s fairly posh and quite nicely designed for a shopping mall. The Louis Vuitton and Apple stores float above the water outside. Inside, there are plenty of upscale restaurants and cafes, and all the big fashion labels.
At the lowest level, you can take boat rides on a sampan (11 am – 9 pm). This is a flat-bottomed boat traditional in China and Malaysia, slightly like a Venetian Gondola. The ‘canal’ runs along one aisle of the mall and you can get discounted tickets here*.
Directions: To get to Marina Bay Sands, head through and out on the opposite side of Shoppes Mall and across the road.
3. Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands (Website, Booking Reviews*) is the most iconic building in Singapore. Apart from marvelling at the soaring atrium, the most popular thing to do is visit the rooftop. You can either do this by buying a ticket to SkyPark Observation Deck, or by visiting CÉ LA VI Sky Bar. It’s roughly the same price for a Deck ticket or a cocktail at the bar. Unfortunately, if you’re not a hotel guest there is no way to swim in the famous rooftop pool.
SkyPark Observation Deck
The SkyPark Observation Deck (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is on the roof of the spaceship at the top of Marina Bay Sands. You can get tickets here* – make sure to tick the option ‘Admission to Sands Skypark’.
CÉ LA VI Sky Bar & Sky Lounge
Key Information: Open weekdays 4-10:30pm, Sat 12-10:30pm and Sun 12-9pm. Reservations are recommended.
Ce La Vi (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) sits on the rooftop of Marina Bay Sands. The seating is mainly outdoors, though there are also tables inside for when it rains. You can go for drinks only, lite-bites, or full meals at the restaurant. While slightly pricey, the drinks aren’t much more than any nice bar way down on ground level.
Directions: Head through MBS and into the gardens on the other side.
4. Gardens by the Bay
While the gardens themselves are free to walk around, there are five attractions inside for which you have to pay. These are the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest Dome, Floral Fantasy, OCBC Skywalk and the Supertree Observatory. The most worthwhile are the Flower and Cloud Forest Domes. Walk to these domes via the Supertree Grove.
Supertree Grove is one of the highlights of Gardens by the Bay. These towering, artificial trees are now an integral part of the Singapore skyline. Garden Rhapsody Light Show is the light show that happens daily at 7:45 pm and 8:45 pm. It’s free admission but it can get quite crowded, especially on weekends. The show is short – only ten minutes – so don’t be late.
The OCBC Skyway (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is an aerial walkway through the Supertrees (Open 9am-9pm daily, $8, allow 15 minutes).The Supertree Observatory (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) contains a circular observation deck wrapping around the largest tree in the garden, plus a rooftop deck on top (Open weekdays 4-9 pm, weekends 12-9 pm. $10/14 local/international, allow 15 minutes). You get 360-degree views of the marina, the Singapore city skyline and the shorter trees below.
Flower Dome & Cloud Forest
Key Information: Open 9am-9pm daily except for maintenance days. $12/20 local/international per dome. Allow at least 1 hour each.
Flower Dome (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) displays a large selection of flowers and plants from different floral kingdoms around the world. On the lower floor are temporary exhibitions based on festivals, seasons, or flowers from other countries. These include a Sakura cherry blossom show in early spring and red-dominated flowers for Chinese New Year.
Cloud Forest (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is famous for its large artificial waterfall and luscious central mountain. You take a lift and a short flight of stairs up to the top of the mountain and then wander back down on a walk ‘through the clouds’. The vegetation is native to cloud forests and there are hundreds of beautiful orchids.
Directions: After the domes, head left along the water.
Key Information: Open daily 10-7. Exhibits are ticketed separately and mostly S$18 each (with a discount for multiple exhibits) or slightly cheaper if booked via Klook*.
The ArtScience Museum is within the strange white lotus flower structure, but the architecture is much more impressive from the outside. Future World is the only permanent exhibition, the others change yearly. The exhibits are all very interactive and great for kids.
Directions: Walk across the Helix Bridge (which represents the structure of DNA) and turn right to the big white wheel.
5. The Singapore Flyer
Key Information: Open daily 2pm-10pm, tickets are $40/25 per adult/child. You can book tickets on Klook*.
The Singapore Flyer (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) takes you up into the air just next to the water. The views are ok but you can’t really see the downtown skyline or any older areas. It is, however, a nice break and a very relaxing way to spend 30 minutes.
Don’t forget to check out the Time Capsule, another attraction underneath the Singapore Flyer and free with your ticket. It’s an immersive, interactive story of Singapore through time.
Directions: Head back the way you came and continue by the water’s edge.
Makansutra Gluttons Bay
Key Information: Closed Mon. Open 4pm-10.30pm Tue-Fri and 3pm-10.30pm Sat-Sun.
Makansutra Gluttons Bay is a small hawker centre (Tripadvisor Reviews*) on the edge of the Marina. I love the pizza stall here, it’s almost the best pizza in Singapore but at a fraction of the price.
Directions: Continue walking around Marina Bay.
You’ll soon walk past Float @ Marina Bay where there are sometimes football matches, concerts and more. To the left is the colourful stadium seating that gives great views to watch the events held here, including the Singapore Grand Prix Formula One Race.
The Esplanade (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is an arts complex and contains the Theatres on the Bay. Many famous international performers visit and there can be several concerts here per day. There are also sometimes free outdoor performances. The spiky design of the building has led locals to call it the ‘durian’ – a local fruit with a similar spiky skin. There are two guided tours here – one daily at 1 pm that explores the buildings, and one on Mon & Tue at 7 pm to discover the nighttime views. Both are $15-25.
Directions: Pass the Esplanade and head left over the bridge.
6. The Merlion Statue
The Merlion Statue (Tripadvisor Reviews*) is one of the most famous attractions seen on this walking tour of Singapore. It’s a large white sculpture of a cross between a mermaid and a lion. Gushing water spews out of its mouth into Marina Bay below. Make sure to walk out on the extension of Merlion Park to get a view of the famous statue in front of the huge skyscrapers that form its background.
Taking a boat tour is a great way to explore Marina Bay and/or the Singapore River. While there are several tour options, the two main ones are Singapore River Cruises* and Duck Tours*. The River Cruise lasts 40 minutes and is cheaper than the Duck Tour, while the Duck Tour lasts 1 hour and you drive on the roads to explore some other main sights as well as cruising around Marina Bay.
Directions: Cross the main road behind you to the Fullerton Hotel. Turn right to walk around the building to the front entrance.
The colonial district contains many older, grand buildings in Singapore and it’s definitely worth walking through the area.
7. Fullerton Hotel
The Fullerton Hotel (Website, Booking Reviews*) is one of the most famous and distinctive sights on Marina Bay. It looks tiny compared to the huge skyscrapers of the Financial District just behind. The current building dates from 1924, though it was built over a fort from 100 years earlier which guarded the river mouth.
This luxury hotel contains several restaurants and bars, with a classic highlight being afternoon tea in The Courtyard.
Detour: Boat Quay
Boat Quay is the name of the riverbank upstream from the Fullerton Hotel to the next bridge. It’s lined with many bars and restaurants, all with outdoor seating on the edge of the river. To explore more of this area, you can walk along Boat Quay, over the next bridge and back down the other side. This will add about 1km to your walk.
Crossing the river by the Fullerton Hotel are two lovely old bridges, Cavenagh and Anderson Bridges (from 1869 and 1910 respectively). They are named after two Governors of the Straits Settlements, designed to help facilitate trade across the riger.
Directions: Cross over one of the bridges.
Asian Civilisations Museum
Key Information: Open daily 10-7, or until 9 on Fridays. Tickets are free/$20/$15 for locals/international/concessions. Buy tickets here*.
The Asian Civilisations Museum (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is one of the best museums in Singapore and has a large collection of treasures from around Asia. A highlight is the Tang Shipwreck, an Arab ship from 1100 years ago that sank off Sumatra, rediscovered only in 1998. Another wonderful exhibit displays artefacts from the great Asian religions and chronicles their spread.
Victoria Concert Hall
The distinctive Victoria Concert Hall (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is next to the Asian Civilization Museum. The neoclassical design comes from the early 1900s and it’s always been a place to enjoy entertainment, first as a Town Hall and later as a Concert Hall. Just in front of the building is the original statue of Sir Stamford Raffles.
Directions: Continue by the water and don’t miss the view from the corner of the financial district. Walk onwards and take the second left to the cenotaph and the Padang.
Padang is Malay for ‘field’, and the Padang in the centre of Singapore is just one big grassy field. Raffles himself set aside this land for public use, though today it’s mostly private and you can only walk along a narrow path in the centre. The open grassy spaces on either side are used exclusively by the fancy Singapore Cricket Club on your left and the more modern Singapore Recreation Club on your right.
8. National Gallery Singapore
Key Information: Open daily 10-7. Tickets are free/$20/15 for locals/international/concessions. Buy tickets here*.
The National Gallery Singapore (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a large art museum occupying two colonial buildings – the former Supreme Court and City Hall. These buildings were joined and redesigned to form the museum. The art exhibits themselves are very diverse, from old to modern and from Asia to Europe.
If you don’t want to pay to see the art, at least walk in to see the atrium and architecture. You can head to the roof for free and visit Smoke & Mirrors, a bar with views (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*).
Directions: Head to the small white church just off the Padang. The entrance is on the far side.
9. St Andrew’s Cathedral
St Andrew’s Cathedral (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a little old Anglican church (open 9-4) in the middle of a grassy area. It looks slightly out of place surrounded by all the modern buildings. You can enter the grounds and the inside of the church during open hours. The nave is bright and colourful with lovely stained glass windows.
The church’s architecture is Gothic Revival style and convict Indian labourers actually constructed it in 1861. Though it looks fairly small to be the main cathedral, the church is just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath are two large basements from 2003, including a large worship hall.
Directions: Walk past Raffles City shopping complex to reach one of the most famous hotels in Singapore, the Raffles Hotel.
Bras Basah District
Bras Basah is a busy district blending the old with the new, where street markets rub shoulders with stately buildings. There are plenty of surprises in this area, with new exhibitions and art spaces popping up all the time, along with plenty of restaurants and cafes.
10. Raffles Hotel
This legendary hotel (Website, Booking Reviews*) is one of the best stops on this walking tour of Singapore. It started off as a 10-room hotel occupying a bungalow by the beach. Today it’s still on Beach Road, but land reclamation means the sea is now over 2 km away. The main building opened at the turn of the century, in 1899, with the first electric lights in the whole of Singapore. It’s also the birthplace of the famous Singapore Sling cocktail, born in 1915 at the pricey Long Bar.
You can enter the Raffles courtyards to view the tranquil gardens, admire the architecture and check out the fancy stores and restaurants. Or, walk around the outside to find the main front entrance on Beach Road.
Directions: Leave Raffles onto Bras Basah Road. Cross over to walk up the outside of Chijmes and turn left at the next junction to reach the entrance.
Chijmes (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a shopping and dining complex centred on a gleaming white gothic chapel. The name is an anacronym for Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Middle Education School, since it started out as a Catholic convent in 1852. If the church looks familiar, the wedding scene from Crazy Rich Asians was filmed here. Around the church are many restaurants and bars, a pleasantly quiet square in the middle of the bustling city.
Directions: Continue walking up Bras Basah Road, then turn left after the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd and through the park to the next grand museum on the other side of the road.
12. National Museum of Singapore
Key Information: Open daily 10-7. Tickets are free/$15/10 for locals/international/concessions. Special exhibitions cost extra. The museum is large so allow several hours. Buy reduced-price tickets here*.
Visiting the National Museum of Singapore is a great way to learn about the history and culture of the region. The Singapore History Gallery is particularly worthwhile as you trace back the development of the island as a trading station. The Story of the Forest Exhibition, while a bit tacky, is quite fun as you walk round and down beneath the Rotunda to the basement following animated designs of animals in a Malaysian forest.
Directions: Cross back through the park to the Singapore Art Museum, opposite the strange water features.
Singapore Art Museum
Key Information: The Singapore Art Museum is closed until 2026.
The Singapore Art Museum (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) focuses on contemporary art from Southeast Asia. The collection is housed in a gorgeous colonial building that used to be a Catholic boys’ school, hence the religious overtones. Once reopened after refurbishment, this museum promises to be top-class.
Directions: Head down the road to the left of the Singapore Art Museum.
13. Waterloo & Albert Streets
These are two bustling streets in the heart of the Bras Basah District. On Waterloo Street, you will see a synagogue, a church, a Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple all within 400 m of each other. There are also several colourful old colonial bungalows, now dwarfed by the surrounding skyscrapers.
Just before Middle Road (the big, busy street), you’ll see a yellow building reminiscent of a church. Built in the 19th century, it used to be a Methodist Girls School and then a Methodist Church. Stamford Arts Centre, in the smart red and white building, is an arts centre with free art exhibitions, a theatre, cinema, tourist information, a bar and a cafe all in a group of restored buildings.
After the junction on your left, you’ll see Sri Krishnan, a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. Initially no more than a banyan tree under which a statue of the god rested, this holy place has transformed over the years into the beautiful, colourful building you see today.
Further along the street is Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, devoted to Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, and Shakyamuni Buddha. People practice Kau Chim, or lottery poetry here. Little divining sticks with writing on are placed into a can and shaken. The first stick to fall out is the answer to the question you were thinking about. Unusually, this temple also has English translations of the divinations if you want to have a go yourself.
Directions: Continue along Waterloo Street and you’ll soon meet a busy pedestrian street, Albert Street. Head left.
On Albert Street during the daytime, every day of the week, there are many little stalls along this street selling everything from incense sticks to fruit and vegetables. Further up the street you’ll reach Albert Court, a courtyard with bars and restaurants, including a local brewery (Hospoda Microbrewery). The restaurants and bars are relatively affordable with many happy hour deals.
Directions: Walk through the arch and turn right to cross the busy road into the next district.
Little India feels a world away from downtown Singapore, with many temples, marigolds, delicious smells and bustling streets.
14. Tekka Centre
The Tekka Centre (closed on Mondays) is a hawker centre specialising naturally in Indian cuisine, though with a fair share of Chinese stalls too. A large wet market behind the hawker centre sells everything from meat, fish, fruit and vegetables to nuts and beans. It’s a great place to have a cup of steaming masala chai and a curry.
Directions: Head past the Tekka Centre and take the second left to a little pedestrian area.
15. Tan Teng Niah House
The former house of Tan Teng Niah is the last remaining Chinese villa in Little India, built in 1900. Tan Teng Niah was a businessman who owned factories that processed sugarcane to make sweets. Today there are some shops and cafes occupying the lower floor, but otherwise you can’t visit the inside and the main attraction is taking photos of the strikingly coloured outside architecture.
Directions: From the villa, walk back to the main street, cross over and take the second left on pedestrianised Campbell Lane.
Campbell Lane is a wonderfully evocative street. Brightly coloured Indian stalls line the road, selling vegetables, fruit, marigolds and antiques, some blaring out Bollywood music, and incense wafting through the air. The Indian Heritage Centre in on the left.
Indian Heritage Centre
Key Information: Opens at 10 am. Closes at 7pm Tue-Thu, at 8 pm Fri-Sat and at 4 pm Sun & PHs. Fully closed on Mondays. Entrance is free/$8 for locals/internationals. You can buy tickets online in advance*.
The Indian Heritage Centre (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is the place to learn more about Indian Heritage. The museum contains a permanent exhibition about the history of Indians in Singapore, as well as temporary exhibitions which might focus on specific Indian groups.
Directions: At the end of Campbell Lane turn left then take the first right. After about 150 m you will see the green and white spires of Abdul Gafoor Mosque on your right.
Abdul Gafoor Mosque
This elegant mosque was constructed in 1907 with a fusion of Saracenic (Islamic, featuring onion domes and typical arches) and Neoclassical (inspired by ancient Greece and Rome) architecture.
Directions: Walk onwards and at the end of the road turn left, cross the main road and continue on the lane through to Rochor Canal. Walk left along the river before taking the second right on Arab Street, across busy Victoria Street and into Kampong Glam district.
Kampong Glam is a centre of Malay and Muslim heritage in Singapore. Many of the streets are named after places in the Middle East, and it used to be an organisation point for pilgrims wanting to visit Mecca.
Directions: At the first junction you’ll see the back of the famous mosque on your left. Head left along the road, then take the first right. The entrance to the Heritage Centre is on your left, while the front of the mosque is to the right.
16. Malay Heritage Centre
Key Information: Open Tue-Sun 10-6. Entrance is free/$8 for locals/internationals. Buy reduced-price tickets here*.
The Malay Heritage Centre (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is located in Istana Kampong Glam, or the Sultan’s Palace. Sultan Hussein built the original wooden istana here in 1819. The museum focuses on the old Malay way of life and how it has changed as Singapore developed as a trade centre. After the museum, you can quickly walk around the herb garden in the grounds.
17. Sultan Mosque
The picturesque Sultan Mosque, or Masjid Sultan, dominates the centre of Kampong Glam and is a highlight of this walking tour of Singapore. The first mosque here was constructed by Sultan Hussein around 1823. Sultan Hussein is famous for signing a treaty with Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819. It recognised himself as the legitimate Sultan in return for allowing the British to set up a trading post in Singapore. A new mosque was built in 1924 by Sultan Hussein’s grandson and this is what you see today.
Directions: Head down pedestrianised Bussorah Street in front of the mosque.
Atmospheric Streets of Kampong Glam
Beautifully restored, colourful shophouses and palm trees line Bussorah Street. It’s pedestrianised and full of lights, delicious smells and people during the evenings. Bussorah Street is a great place to eat Middle Eastern food and they serve good food in a nice setting, though prices can be higher than elsewhere.
Directions: At the first junction turn right, then left down Arab Street.
Arab Street used to be a bustling centre of the materials and textiles trade in Singapore. Today it is quieter and has lost some of its atmosphere, though you can still see evidence of the importance of textiles to this street today. Many quaint little stalls sell rugs and fabric for saris and other clothing. Several other shops are still run by descendants of early Arab traders to the region. They sell honey, dates, frankincense and myrrh, and other goods imported from the Middle East.
Directions: At the end of Arab Street turn right, then take the first right up Haji Lane.
Bali and Haji Lanes are narrow, insta-worthy streets full of bold street art and walls covered with imaginative graffiti. Many of the artsy murals on the walls for some reason have a Mexican theme, and many of the eateries are also Mexican. Bali and Haji Lanes really come alive in the evenings when bands sometimes play and people sit outside to drink beer/wine/cocktails. It’s a great place to end the day, and it’s the final stop on the Best of Singapore Walking Tour.
Moving Onwards: The nearest metro station is Bugis MRT, one block to the west. There are also several bus stops nearby.
Guidebooks to explore more of Singapore
If you are in Singapore for several days, you can explore the different districts in more detail. Check out our individual walking tours of the Colonial District, Chinatown, Marina Bay, Bras Basah, Kampong Glam or Little India. For more walks in neihgbourhoods and jungle, check out our Singapore Hiking Page.