Arab Street

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Weather:

Time Required: 2-3 hours

Timings:

Most shops on this street operate from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Arab Street, Singapore Overview

Singapore is filled with streets and neighbourhoods dedicated to a specific culture such as Chinatown or Little India. Arab Street is one such street that retains the beautiful Arab culture while also being in the know of the trends of the world. The street gets its name from history, as an Arab merchant owned it and also because it was known to be an Arab Kampong or village. The shops and stores on both sides of the street proudly display and highlight all that the Arab culture has to offer. The street is splashed with colours and a vivacious, bustling, yet tranquil and entrancing atmosphere. The area around Arab Street includes the Bussorah Street, Haji and Bali Lanes and Muscat Street which together forms the Muslim Quarter.

The authentic street has people pouring in for its classic patterns and colours splashed over its walls. The street makes a great place for photographers and people curious about unique knick-knacks not found in ordinary malls. The Masjid Sultan Mosque with its beautiful golden dome looms over the street. The Mosque is Singapore's national mosque and has been dated back to early 1800s. The street is also home to the Projector, a 40 year old cinema that is unlike any with its diverse array of local as well as international films and events. The street clearly holds a lot of history while still being modern and that awes everyone who visits Arab Street. It is also best enjoyed during the month of Ramadan when the entire place comes to life and doubles the celebration and joy of Ramadan.

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Arab Street is a cultural treasure trove. The shops and stores lining the street offer their respect to the Arab Heritage in their own unique ways by selling or displaying trinkets styled and inspired by the same. The shops sell everything- new and old, from Persian rugs, fabrics and textiles with colourful designs to intricate and detailed lamps. Some of the shops found on the street are-
  • Craft Assembly: The vintage store pays special attention to each item sold. The handmade vintage items are as valuable as any collectable and are truly one of a kind. The store adds to the authenticity of the street itself, and if not to shop, it's a place to look around.
  • Soon Lee: This trendy, hip store has an array of clothes, books, bags and dainty jewellery from both local and international designers. The store screams chic, and if you are someone who enjoys shopping, this makes it to the top of the list.
  • Trippies/Children Little Museum: A place for the young at heart, the store takes you back to your childhood with all the toys and knick-knacks you would be familiar with. The owner, Patrick Neo, has himself collected all the articles present and is sure that it would fill you with a feeling of extreme nostalgia.
Aside from these the street has much to offer from perfumes at Sifr Aromatics or DIY supplies from Kin Soon or just a walk between the shelves of bookstores specialising in Arab Literature.

Aside from its atmosphere and shops, another thing that truly adds to the charm of this street is the food and restaurants scattered throughout the place. A variety of smells waft through the restaurants and cafes that serve different cuisines. Some of the famous cafes include-
  • Kampong Glam Cafe: The old school cafe has been serving traditional Kampung food since 2004 and has never once disappointed its customers. A meal at this cafe is a nice touch for the ones who wish to experience everything the Arab culture has to offer.
  • Blujaz Cafe: As the name suggests, this cafe plays Jazz music three times a week- Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The courtyard is filled with wooden tables that add to the atmosphere. Inside the three storey building, each place gives off a different vibe, so choosing where you sit is imperative. The first floor contains front row seats to the live band playing jazz tunes and enhancing the mood whereas the upper level is reserved for the bar and the dance floor.
  • ATAP: A unique Halal bar, the rooftop 'speakeasy' is known for its blend of mocktails. Not only do you get to choose between several mocktails but you also get to make your own mocktail by choosing from the several options of toppings bases given. The bar has become increasingly popular and has been designed to reflect the street it resides on.
These are just the prominent eateries on the street which offers several different rustic, modern or continental cafes.

Arab Street has a rich history that dates back to several years. The street is said to be named by a famous Arab merchant, Syed Ali Mohamed Al Junied. The place was a kampong or village for Muslims of Arab, Malay, Indian, Bugis, Javanese and Boyanese individuals. The street soon became the main shopping and trade centre with several shops lining its sides. However, the street saw several fires which burned down its shops and destroyed property several times. Still, the people persisted, and infrastructure was re-built and made it the trendy place it is today.

Closest MRT stop is Bugis Station- EW12/DT14 (5-minute walk from Exit B). Look for sign for Exit E. Once out of the escalator, turn left and walk along Victoria street till you reach Arab Street at the 2nd Junction. If exiting at Bugis, the key roads are Rocher Road and Victoria Street. Walk north till you see the golden domes of Sultan Mosque. Turn left from here for Arab Street.

Bus 2N, 4N AND 48 stop here. Arab Street is a minute away from its nearest Bus Stop.

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