Kampong Glam and Bugis, Singapore: 19 Things to See, Do, and Eat

Bugis and Kampong Glam Guide: 19 Things to See, Do, & Eat

The superb food, culture, and sights of Bugis and Kampong Glam await!

Whether you’re visiting Singapore for the first time, have been here many times before, or have lived here for years — Bugis and Kampong Glam are exciting places full of things to do, eat and see! If you’re looking to drop by the area soon, read on for our comprehensive guide to the area, so you don’t miss out on everything it has to offer. 

Also read: Singapore MRT Guide: One Attraction Near Each Popular Station

A brief overview of Bugis and Kampong Glam

Kampong Glam in Singapore is historically one of the island’s oldest urban quarters. Otherwise known as Kampung Gelam, it was named after the long-leaved paperbark tree that was commonly found in the district. During the colonial era, this was the area where the Malay, Arab, and Bugis communities stayed. Today, the area retains its cultural roots with a touch of hipster flair; making it a cafes and boutiques galore. 

The unique cafes and trinket shops continue onto Bugis Street, a retail haven in Singapore. From large, well-established brands, to small and charming boutiques — you can find almost anything in Bugis! But apart from all the shopping available here, there’s tons of good eats, too. Plus, Bugis is conveniently located a few minutes walk away from Kampong Glam. So, expect a fun-filled day touring around the Bugis and Kampong Glam area!

Things to do in Bugis and Kampong Glam

1. Visit the Sultan Mosque

kampong glam

Image credit: Lezlie

Sultan Mosque, otherwise known as Masjid Sultan, is a prominent mosque in Kampong Glam. It is also the largest unofficial centre of worship for local Muslims, so it’s a great place to visit if you’d like to have a more “local” experience here. Despite being built in 1824, the structure remains lustrous, with its onion-shaped domes decorated in glass bottles donated by the local community. If you’re here during Ramadan, check out the night market hosted by the mosque and try out some traditional halal fare! 

TripZilla Tip: Avoid visiting on Fridays, as the mosque is closed for prayer services. 

2. Enjoy the amazing cameras on display at the Vintage Camera Museum

If you’ve been to the Bugis and Kampong Glam area, you’ve probably noticed a large white camera nestled between the alleyways. The Vintage Camera Museum displays around 1,000 cameras, from old-school cameras to modern versions that we’re more familiar with today! They’ve even got a wide variety of unconventional cameras such as pistol cameras, walking stick cameras, and spy cameras. 

Moreover, the museum displays a rare collection of photographs, including an authentic replica of the first-ever photograph taken! This is definitely one of the most unique museums in Singapore you have to check out.

Also read: 10 Best Art Museums and Galleries to Visit in Singapore

3. Admire the vibrant statues lining the Sri Krishnan Temple

Image credit: Eugene

Located just behind Bugis+ stands the striking Sri Krishnan Temple. Established in 1870, this is the only South Indian Hindu temple in Singapore. Thus, the temple’s design is heavily inspired by classic South Indian elements, such as the square-chambered sanctuary. 

Its highlight feature is the main entrance adorned with vibrant statues of the 10 incarnations of Hindu deity Vishnu, a wedding scene, and Garuda. Not to mention, the main entrance tower is decorated in semi-precious stones. It’s truly one of the most eye-catching temples in the area!

4. Thrift for unique fashion items

It’s undeniable that thrifting is one of the trendiest things to do in recent years. And the Bugis and Kampong Glam area is littered with vintage and thrift stores. There are several thrift stores selling graphic tees, sweatshirts, and windbreakers — with pieces going for as low as $5! These include Function Five Thrift Stores, Woofie’s Warehouse, and Flame Vintage Store.

You’ll also find some vintage stores with niche themes. Get yourself some beautifully reworked pieces like corsets and maxi skirts at Vintagewknd. Alternatively, if you’re into a different kind of aesthetic, head down to Re:Drmg for some grunge-esqe clothes and accessories. You can certainly make a day of hunting down for hidden clothing gems in the area!

5. Immerse in Middle Eastern culture along Arab Street

Kampong Glam

Image credit: Chris Putnam via Canva Pro

Colloquially known as the mecca of Middle Eastern culture in Singapore, Arab Street is a lively spot to explore while you do your own Kampong Glam tour! The street is filled with Lebanese and Turkish fare, with aromatic spices wafting from the restaurants (and staff trying to get you to dine at their restaurant!). Expect tons of fun shopping too, as there are tons of textile shops, Turkish lamps, and one-of-a-kind perfumeries. 

6. Snap photos with the famous murals along Haji Lane

Haji lane

Image credit: ckstockphoto via Canva Pro

Both tourists and locals will be familiar with Haji Lane. It’s a small yet exciting stretch nestled in the heart of Kampong Glam. There are tons of bars, quaint cafes, and boutique shops that draw in crowds both in the day and at night. However, the true highlight of the street is its iconic murals! 

You’ll find eye-catching graffiti along the walls of the inner alleys, like the Ultraman and Merlion murals and a bakery mural which is aptly in front of a bakery. And you simply can’t miss the iconic Aztec mural which towers over the entrance to Haji Lane.

Also read: 14 Free Attractions in Singapore for Budget Travellers

7. Capture your memories at a photo booth or studio on Haji Lane

We bet you’ve gone to a photo booth or studio at least once in recent years. And we get it — it’s truly an experience that families, friends, and couples would enjoy! From picking out the adorable accessories and props to use in photos, to carefully selecting the photos to print and take home; the whole process is something to look forward to.

Haji Lane in Kampong Glam has a plethora of such photobooths and studios, such as the simple and wallet-friendly photobooths at Solace Studios and the professional One Click Studio. Solace Studios has also introduced more unique photobooths: Low-angle, fisheye lens; as well as an elevator-themed booth on the second floor. Who knew taking photos could be so fun?

Also read: 22 Photoshoot Locations in Singapore That You Never Thought Of

8. Shop and eat all that you can at Bugis+ and Bugis Junction…

Bugis+ and Bugis Junction are the two largest shopping centres in the Bugis and Kampong Glam area. Expect trendy clothing and accessories shops, bookstores, supermarkets, and beauty salons in these bustling malls. Plus, you’ll find many eateries that boast a myriad of cuisines — you’re simply spoilt for choice! 

Bugis Junction and Bugis+ are connected via an overhead bridge. So, when you’re done with one mall, you can simply walk over to the next one in a matter of minutes! 

Also read: A Shopping Paradise: The Best Malls in Singapore to Shop Till You Drop

9. …Or along the famous Bugis Street!

Bugis Street, Kampong Glam

Image credit: Choo Yut Shing

Known as a shopping haven selling souvenirs, clothing, and accessories at affordable prices, Bugis Street is a must-visit! You’ll be surprised to see all the quirky items they have on sale. With over 400 shops densely packed in this three-storey building, you can shop for the latest clothing styles, grab a local snack, and even get your nails done at one of their many beauty studios. 

With so many things to do here, it’s no wonder this place is popular with locals and tourists! Bugis Street is also conveniently located opposite Bugis Junction and next to Bugis+, so you can truly shop till you drop in Bugis, Singapore.

10. Get inspired at the National Design Centre

Image credit: Design Singapore Council Official Website

The National Design Centre might just be one of the trendiest places in the Bugis and Kampong Glam area. An emblem of Singapore’s growing design and architecture centre, the centre hosts various events that cover a myriad of design-related topics — from furniture exhibitions to seminars on business transformation through design. So, to all the fashionistas and design enthusiasts: Don’t miss out on the exhibitions and programmes offered here. Make sure to stop by fashion and lifestyle boutiques; you might be able to find a truly unique gift for yourself!

11. Catch some prawns at Fish@Bugis+

At Fish@Bugis+, Singapore’s only indoor rooftop prawning pond, expect a truly relaxing time as you sit around the pond and chat with friends while waiting for the prawns to take a bite into the bait! There are seasonal lobsters and crabs, waiting to be caught and be barbequed shortly after. There’s even longkang fishing available for children, where numerous guppies await to be taken home! This is one of the best things to do in the Bugis area for night owls too, as the place is open till 6am daily. 

Also read: 8 Midnight Activities in Singapore for When it Gets Dark

12. Stroll through Gelam Gallery

Talk a walk along the back alleys of Muscat Street and discover the vibrant street art of Singapore’s first outdoor art gallery: Gelam Gallery. You’ll find mosaic artworks, murals, and framed art pieces by local and international artists. Some of these notable artists include PrettyFreakyFantasy and Sei Nishiyama, as well as students from NAFA and LASELLE College of The Arts. 

As you walk down this street of IG-worthy art walls, you’ll also be able to learn about the inspiration and messages behind each artwork. Plus, admission to the gallery is free, making this one of the best things to do in Kampong Glam!

13. Spend an afternoon solving puzzles at Xscape Singapore

The local youth will be familiar with this next item: Solving riddles and puzzles in the famous Xscape Singapore! Going to this escape room is one of the most popular things to do in the Bugis area, especially amongst students. What makes it stand out from other escape rooms on the island is its impressive seven game themes and 42 game chambers; each room specially designed to get you immersed in the plot. 

Whether you’re looking for horror-themed challenges or something more light-hearted yet mentally stimulating — Xscape definitely has something for you! So, grab your friends and test out your problem-solving skills at this exciting activity. 

Where to eat at Bugis and Kampong Glam

14. Albert Hawker Centre

Kampong Glam

Image credit: Choo Yut Shing

Who says you can’t find delicious yet affordable food in Bugis and Kampong Glam? Located just behind Bugis Street, Albert Hawker Centre is a gastronomical gem for locals. From traditional Chinese desserts like tau suan (Mung bean dessert) to satiating Malay dishes from the Michelin-awarded Pondok Makan Indonesia, Albert Hawker Centre promises a feast! 

You’ll also find the usual Singaporean local affair: fishball noodles, carrot cake, rojak (an Indian salad), and more! And if you don’t know what to eat, fall in line at any of the long queues — we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.

Also read: 15 Best Hawker Centres in Singapore That Locals & Travelling Foodies Swear By

15. What the Pug Cafe

What the Pug Cafe stands out as one of the most well-known dog cafes in Singapore. Nestled on the bustling Haji Lane, the cafe is immediately recognisable with numerous pug posters plastered all over the storefront. Expect adorable and affectionate pugs who are excited to get all the treats, pats, and cuddles from their new playmates! 

This experience is definitely a serotonin booster, especially for animal lovers. Plus, you’ll get a complimentary Polaroid to commemorate your time with these cute critters! This is definitely one of the most popular things to do in Kampong Glam. 

Also read: 12 Best Themed Cafes in Singapore Worth Exploring

16. Cafe Margaret

Missing the aesthetic cafes and desserts in Korea? Head down to Cafe Margaret, a two-storey dessert cafe along Bali Lane. Originally from Seoul, Cafe Margaret opened its first overseas outlet just a few minutes’ walk from Kampong Glam. 

With top-notch decor resembling a cosy cottagecore aesthetic, you’ll want to take lots of pictures and OOTDs here! Not to mention, their scones, large cookies, and pound cakes are both delicious and pleasing to look at. You should also save some room to try the cafe’s signature cubepies (cubed croissants), which come in various flavours like Nutella, matcha cream, Lotus cream, and injeolmi (Korean rice cake)!

Also read: 12 Best South Korea-Inspired Places in Singapore

17. Ji Xiang Ang Ku Kueh

Ang ku kueh (or “red tortoise cake” in Hokkien) is a Chinese snack made of a soft, sticky glutinous rice flour skin wrapped with a sweet filling. You can find stores selling this at hawker centres, shopping centres, and even shophouses. But one of the most famous places selling this addicting confection would be Ji Xiang Ang Ku Kueh, located right on Bugis Street! 

Apart from serving up consistent, good-quality kueh, they are known for their unique flavours. Besides the usual sweet bean and peanut fillings, they sell kueh filled with salty bean paste, corn, coconut, yam, and durian! These different flavours are easily distinguishable by various vibrant exteriors. It’s almost impossible to walk past this without grabbing some to take home!

18. Alaturka

Amongst the myriad of Middle Eastern restaurants in Kampong Glam, Alaturka stands out for its authentic Turkish food and striking decor! Led by a Turkish-born chef, the restaurant boasts delectable hot and cold appetisers, well-seasoned meats and kebabs, and traditional Mediterranean dishes. Not to mention, this beautiful restaurant is decorated with beautiful tiles and twinkling Turkish lamps. 

19. Mother Dough Bakery

Sourdough fans, you’ll want to visit Mother Dough Bakery right after reading this article! The bakery started out as a pop-up in 2017. Due to its popularity, it later became a permanent store in Kampong Glam. 

You’ll see a variety of baguettes, croissants, and quiches through the shopfront’s window. Trust us, a view of these bakes will pull you in! So, order yourself a coffee and some of these baked goods for a satisfying mid-day snack. 

Also read: Which Singapore Tourist Attractions Are Actually Worth the Hype? 

And there you have it, everything you can do, eat, and see in Bugis and Kampong Glam, Singapore! You’re all set for a fun day in this exciting and bustling area. We would love to see what else you guys will be exploring in that district, so do share with us your stories and pictures on our Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Featured image credit: thyegn via Canva Pro

About Author

Beautrice Oh
Beautrice Oh

Beautrice enjoys exploring new places and jumps at any chance to try something new. She loves learning about different cultures through their food, landmarks, and hidden local spots (if she can find them)! Always enthusiastic for an adventure, she plans itineraries that fully immerse herself in the destination’s culture, and will never forget to bring along her camera to capture the memories.