A cacophony of car horns, bicycle bells and vibrant chatter of its residents, Little India is one of the most vibrant and culturally authentic districts of Singapore. Take in the sights, sounds and smell as you immerse yourself in an authentic Indian experience in Singapore.
As its name suggests, Little India is Singapore’s foremost Indian enclave. Its charm lies in the fact that many of olden-day trades can still be found by its roadsides, alleys and back lanes. Fortune-tellers and their parrots, flower vendors selling garlands of jasmine, kachang puteh (roasted nuts) sellers on pushcarts and street-side newspaper vendors are just some of the interesting sights to be found.
Amid the pungent fragrances of spices and blooms is Serangoon Road and its inner lanes like Campbell Lane, Dunlop Street and Hindon Road. Here, look out for stalls selling Ayurvedic massage oils, gold, incense and fabrics in a variety of textures. For a glimpse of Hindu rituals, do stop by the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kali.
While in this cultural enclave, don’t pass up the opportunity to dine in well-established restaurants like Komala Villas, Banana Leaf Apolo and Muthu’s Curry, where you’ll find spicy classic South Indian fare. Or taste some of the best Indian hawker food in Singapore such as roti prata (dough flat bread) and thosai (Indian-styled pancakes) at Tekka Market and Food Centre.
For unique accommodation, stay at Wanderlust, located at 2 Dickson Road. This experimental boutique hotel occupies a building that was originally an old school in the 1920s. Each of the four levels of the hotel is designed by award-winning Singaporean design agencies, with themes such as Industrial Glam and Eccentricity.
No trip to Little India is complete without an all-night shopping spree at the 24-hour emporium, Mustafa Centre, located at the corner of Serangoon and Syed Alwi Roads. Despite its modest exterior, Mustafa Center is a treasure trove of household knick-knacks, decorative items, foodstuff, Indian spices, apparel and textiles, electronic items and more–at some of the lowest fixed prices in Singapore.
Like most areas in Singapore, Little India can easily be explored by foot and accessible by the MRT. Also, you can hop onto SMRT Link, the first regular free shuttle bus service by a public transport operator. A loop service from Dhoby Ghaut MRT station to Little India, SMRT Link operates on weekends and public holidays from 11am to 10pm at a frequency of 8 – 15 minutes.