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Why Arab street is special ?
Arab Street lies between Victoria Street and Beach Road in the Kampong Glam area, and is located in the Rochore Planning Area of the Central Region in Singapore. Sir Stamford Raffles designated the Kampong Glam area as the most appropriate area for Arabs in Singapore to live. Other streets nearby are also named after Arabian cities. They are Bussorah Street, Muscat Street and Baghdad Street. Arab street is in the centre of the original Muslim section of town, famed for its speciality shops, Muslim restaurants and more.
Arab Street was a spine for transportation in the "Arab Kampong" or "Muslim Quarter" drawn up in Sir Stamford Raffles' Town Plan of 1822. By 1824, Arab Street was laid. The area saw residents who were Malays or other Muslims comprising Arabs, Indians, Bugis, Boyanese and Javanese. Arab Street served as the "town centre" and became the main shopping street and trading centre of activities in this Muslim quarter. Several fires have gutted Arab Street since the early days, and a great fire of 14 January 1889, caused much damage.
What to explore at Arab street?
Arab Street today is still a key Muslim centre in Singapore. All walks of life gather here to savour the culture, colour and cuisine. Many of Singapore's "first generation" shophouses of squat two-storey buildings, with one or two windows on the upper floor facade, are found here on Arab Street. Each block of these shophouses are 135 m (35 shophouses) long and 8 m deep. Here amidst the heady smells of Arab Street, were import-export businesses, wholesale and retail textile merchants, all catering to the needs of the various ethnic Muslim communities settled here although it became popular with other Singaporeans and even foreigners. Today, the shops sell jewellery, sweet perfumes, carpets, curio, rattan and other basketware, preserved food and other delicacies; spices, flower-shops, Muslim restaurants, and money-changers too. Travel agents here specialise in the travel needs of Muslim pilgrims heading for Mecca.
On 7 July 1989, Kampong Glam was gazetted a conservation area by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Arab Street comes under this conservation area. In 1993/1994 the Arab Street/Baghdad Street/Bussorah Street area came under the URA's conservation pilot project.
How to get to Arab street?
1. Get onto the Green Line and get off at Bugis Junction.
2. Look out for the signs. Head towards Raffles Hospital and not Bugis Junction
3. Head to Exit B. You’ll see icons of the Sultan Mosque and Raffles Hospital. They make it so easy.
4. When you get out, turn Right and not left – that’s where Bugis Junction is.
5. Walk towards Raffles Hospital which is on your right. You can’t miss it. You can see the Parkview Square Art Deco building as well.
6. Walk past the Raffles Hospital fountain with the fish.
7. Golden Landmark Hotel is just next to Arab Street, so you’re very close already.
8. Walk past the fountain where thirsty birds flock.
9. On your right you’ll spot the Gateway office building.
10. Before you know it, Arab Street appears.
- A perfect place to spend an afternoon
- Exepriencing a piece of Singapore past
- A small Arab in Singapore
- Fabrics and Carpets aplent
- Lots of shops selling fabric for clothes
- Noise level Small
- Budget Medium
- Alcohol NO
- Air condition NO
- Had kid menu NO
- Accept credit card NO
- Serve breakfast NO
- Serve halal NO
- Serve vegeterian NO
Arab St Singapore
Tips for you
I love going to Arab street to look at the wonderful fabrics. Last trip to Singapore, I went with a friend to get a sarong kebaya (traditional outfit worn by nonyas, Straits born chinese women). Bought a beautiful black embroidered top(not cheap) and silk sarong with a gorgeous crystal buckle to fasten the sarong. While walking along the street and looking at the wares, I decided to go into one of the shops and didn't know there was a small step from the street up to the shop walkway and tripped and fell flat on my face. Was so winded I couldn't get up. I was afraid I broke something but was fortunate I had a badly bruised knee, scraped elbow and wrist, bruised body. Very, very lucky. Knee hurt for 2 weeks. The shop keeper was very concerned and got me a chair to sit down while i got my breath back but not much they can do.