Kampong Glam Photo Tour - Marvel at the Colourful Shophouses

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Take a walking tour of Singapore's Kampong Glam and be rewarded with a feast of colours. The shophouses are as colourful as the wares they sell...


  • Colourful fabrics: shawls, sarongs, scarves, etc.

  • Exquisite carpets and rugs

  • Interesting rattan house ware

  • Quaint 19th-century Singapore shophouses

Kampong Glam Shops - Windows of a colourful shophouse on Bussorah Street. Kampong Glam Shops - Windows of a colourful shophouse on North Bridge Road. Kampong Glam Shops - Colourful shophouse on Kandahar Street.

Above (left to right): Colourful shophouses on Bussorah Street, North Bridge Road and Kandahar Street.

Arab Street - Enjoy browsing colourful textiles, carpets and rattan home decor

At first glance, Arab Street seems like an area manufactured for the tourist. But, it's not. The locals do shop here. At least I do. And I've seen locals bargaining with the shopkeepers. This is a street not to be missed on your Kampong Glam Walking Tour. Is there another spot on the earth with a wider selection of fabrics?

Kampong Glam Shops - A friendly textile shop on Arab Street, Molkan Fabrics.

The shopkeepers of Molkan Fabrics (72 Arab Street) are friendly and helpful.

Choose a piece of fabrics for that elegant gown, or just marvel at the colours here.

Kampong Glam Shops - The colourful fabrics in a shop on Arab Street, Singapore. Isn't the mix of colours bewildering?
Kampong Glam Shops - A well-stocked carpet shop on Arab Street, Singapore.

Arab Street is also a good place to snag a good mat.

The shops are pretty well-stocked, with carpets sourced from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Persia.

Kampong Glam Shops - Carpets on sale, Arab Street walkway. There are also bargains to be had, if you care to look carefully.
Kampong Glam Shops - Rattan baskets of different colours and sizes. Also worth getting on Arab Street are the rattan knick-knacks - baskets, hand-bags, laundry containers, etc.

Bussorah Street - A Study of Colonial Singapore Shophouses & Reminders of the Good Old Days

Bussorah Street today is quite different from what it used to be. Before this area was 'renewed', the families here were a close-knit community. It was common for one to shout across the road asking a neighbour for an onion or such. It was also cool to yell out your orders to the eatery downstairs, I was told.

Today, you'll not find any village girl yelling immodestly here in Kampong Glam. It's just not glam any more (excuse my corny-ness). But, the shophouses are still worth marvelling at. If anything, they serve as examples of Early Shophouse and Second Transitional Shophouse architecture.

Kampong Glam Shops -  Early Style Shophouses on Bussorah Street, with Sultan Mosque in the background.

The beautiful pastel shophouses on the right are examples of the Early Singapore Shophouse (circa 1840-1900).

Notice the simple lines and lack of ornaments. Presumably, these were built during less wealthy times.

Kampong Glam Shops - Examples of the Late Transitional Singapore Shophouse on Bussorah Street.

More elaborate than the Early Shophouses, these ones on the left are Second Transitional Shophouses (1930s onwards).

They seem a mixture of European and Asian styles - Malay wooden eaves, Palladine arches, French louvred windows.

Kampong Glam Shops - Scarves for sale on Bussorah Street.

I find the stuff a bit gawdy here. But the hordes of women - both locals and visitors - don't seem to get enough of it.

So, go on and buy, buy, buy.

Shawls for only S$10.

Sultan Gate Arts Village - A Little Bohemia Rising?

I didn't expect to see it here in Kampong Glam. But as I came out of the Malay Heritage Centre's main gate, I stumbled upon this charming little spot. You'll find it on a little street called Sultan Gate. They call themselves Sultan Arts Village, and they are worth a look.

Kampong Glam Shops - A colourful mural at Sultan Arts Village. An interesting mural at Sultan Arts Village. Is this a new bohemian centre sprouting out of Kampong Glam?
Kampong Glam Shops - Art Shop at Sultan Gate. An art shop with, you've guessed it, more murals.

Suggestions for Travellers

  1. There are many eateries here serving authentic Malay dishes. If you want to sample delicious local Malay dishes, you'll be spoilt for choice. Just stroll around. You'll find many eating places.

  2. The places on this page may all be enjoyed on a walking tour of Kampong Glam, which also takes in the sights at Sultan Mosque. It's worth spending an hour or 3 here. Also drop by the Malay Heritage Centre nearby.

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